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NEWS: Valve Announces Steam Deck Portable PC Gaming Console


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R. Kasahara



Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 436
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 11:50 am Reply with quote
Vanadise wrote:
I'd say whether you should buy this instead of a Switch depends on how much you like Nintendo exclusives, but if you buy this and a Switch, there's little reason to buy anything else unless you want a high-end console or desktop PC for 4k gaming on a TV.

I have a Switch, love it to pieces, but I also play a lot of PC/Mac games, primarily via Steam. My current desktop machine is a bit on the older side, but I'm not ready to take the plunge to build a new one yet (especially with GPU prices as they are right now).

All that said, I'm really interested in this new bit of hardware from Valve. As a handheld, the ergonomics look horrible, but that would be moot provided the docking feature works well enough. My main questions right now have to do with the more technical aspects of the device: performance, power draw, etc.

There is definitely a market for this sort of thing, regardless of whether or not one has a Switch, and I seem to be in it.
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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1946
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 2:58 pm Reply with quote
ranran-001 wrote:
AiddonValentine wrote:
-Looks at the mountain of skulls outside of Nintendo's handheld fortress-

Good luck with that


It doesn't need to compete against Nintendo. It needs to compete against PC gaming desktops and laptops. In that space, it could do well.


Funny how "It doesn't need to compete with Nintendo!" has been a common saying just before Nintendo adds another head to its mantelpiece. Furthermore, there are just so many questions to this thing, like how the battery life is, what happens when some new game like Elder Scrolls 6 comes out that is impossible to play on it, dealing with many Steam games being incompatible with gamepads, etc. And that's before getting into Valve's infamous history of mercurial behavior. This isn't going to light the world on fire
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ranran-001



Joined: 25 Oct 2018
Posts: 378
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 3:11 pm Reply with quote
AiddonValentine wrote:
ranran-001 wrote:
AiddonValentine wrote:
-Looks at the mountain of skulls outside of Nintendo's handheld fortress-

Good luck with that


It doesn't need to compete against Nintendo. It needs to compete against PC gaming desktops and laptops. In that space, it could do well.


Funny how "It doesn't need to compete with Nintendo!" has been a common saying just before Nintendo adds another head to its mantelpiece. Furthermore, there are just so many questions to this thing, like how the battery life is, what happens when some new game like Elder Scrolls 6 comes out that is impossible to play on it, dealing with many Steam games being incompatible with gamepads, etc. And that's before getting into Valve's infamous history of mercurial behavior. This isn't going to light the world on fire


That rant might have made sense, if Valve was releasing a handheld with a closed architecture, like PSP, Vita, Game Gear, etc. It's not.

Steam deck is staying within the PC platform, offering an alternative to desktops, laptops, and other handheld pcs. It can do decent business in that market, and will do fine so long as Valve comes out with hardware updates to their system at least every year or other year.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 14105
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 3:32 pm Reply with quote
v1cious wrote:

My biggest concern is longevity. With how fast PC graphics are evolving, will you even get a few years out this thing? Next year games like Starfield are coming out, and I don't think it's equipped to handle that, based on the specs.


Ya can stream it - the Steam machine is also a stream machine Laughing
(it can stream Xcloud, Google Stadia, etc.)

Incidentally, Valve and Elgato announced their new Steam Deck and Stream Deck within hours of each other yesterday Shocked




AiddonValentine wrote:

dealing with many Steam games being incompatible with gamepads, etc.


Won't be as portable, but keyboard & mouse can connect to it

Anyways, preorders just opened and there’s enough Steam Deck demand to take Steam’s store down
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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1946
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 4:28 pm Reply with quote
ranran-001 wrote:

That rant might have made sense, if Valve was releasing a handheld with a closed architecture, like PSP, Vita, Game Gear, etc. It's not.

Steam deck is staying within the PC platform, offering an alternative to desktops, laptops, and other handheld pcs. It can do decent business in that market, and will do fine so long as Valve comes out with hardware updates to their system at least every year or other year.


Doing hardware updates even "every other year" is hugely impractical. It's one thing for computers, phones, and cars to come out with new yearly models considering that most people just get a new one when their old one starts tanking, but consoles are proprietary. People get them once and that's it until the next generation. Furthermore, trying to keep up with the latest CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, etc would be a logistical nightmare. It's completely impractical
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RockSplash



Joined: 28 Oct 2019
Posts: 225
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 4:36 pm Reply with quote
One argument I hear is that this makes the switch irrelevant due to emulators. Good luck getting switch hardware to be emulated on this, while also taking into consideration Joycon support, various audio and visual bugs, as well as updates. People act like getting emulators to work are easy. For the tech inclined, absolutely, but the majority of people are not going to be. I just worry about the battery life, heat, and noise level of the system. Also, it can install windows. What about updates? Drivers? How about good file browsing or editing? It seems like people have jumped onto the hype train without realizing where it is going, to put in an analogy. I guess it does not help I have a gaming laptop, so this thing feels absolutely useless to me.
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HAL14



Joined: 01 Apr 2018
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Location: Heart of africa
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 5:19 pm Reply with quote
RockSplash wrote:
One argument I hear is that this makes the switch irrelevant due to emulators. Good luck getting switch hardware to be emulated on this, while also taking into consideration Joycon support, various audio and visual bugs, as well as updates. People act like getting emulators to work are easy. For the tech inclined, absolutely, but the majority of people are not going to be.


I don't think this device is going to fail or be niche, in general, but the emulation potential of it is going to be niche. People outside the gaming community fail to understand that to the average consumer, emulation is not even a consideration unless the device comes built-in with an emulator and a library of roms. Ease beats Ability, i.e., consumers would rather go with the easier option than the (arguably) better option. It's the same reason why the average consumer would rather buy a smartphone port of a DQ or FF game than emulate it for free.
The idea that being able to emulate Nintendo games will hurt Nintendo is laughable.
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ranran-001



Joined: 25 Oct 2018
Posts: 378
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:00 pm Reply with quote
AiddonValentine wrote:
ranran-001 wrote:

That rant might have made sense, if Valve was releasing a handheld with a closed architecture, like PSP, Vita, Game Gear, etc. It's not.

Steam deck is staying within the PC platform, offering an alternative to desktops, laptops, and other handheld pcs. It can do decent business in that market, and will do fine so long as Valve comes out with hardware updates to their system at least every year or other year.


Doing hardware updates even "every other year" is hugely impractical. It's one thing for computers, phones, and cars to come out with new yearly models considering that most people just get a new one when their old one starts tanking, but consoles are proprietary. People get them once and that's it until the next generation. Furthermore, trying to keep up with the latest CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, etc would be a logistical nightmare. It's completely impractical


There is nothing impractical for them to make hardware updates each year. Its based off PC architecture, this isn't the same as console updates like that of Nintendo or Sony.
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p3rseus



Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 72
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:23 pm Reply with quote
The hardware should be fine for the entire console generation, since it runs at 800p resolution and has the performance in teraflops matches a PS4/Xbox One. It's very different from the Switch, it's a PC, which can be played on the go or docked. I see it as a way to bring PC gaming more mainstream and to me at least it's very compelling due to the large library of games, good specs and utility.
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Vanadise



Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 263
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:46 pm Reply with quote
RockSplash wrote:
Also, it can install windows.

It is a PC that uses the x86 architecture, but assuming that you can install Windows on it may be premature at this point. It likely has several custom pieces of hardware that are not going to have Windows drivers available for them at launch.
RockSplash wrote:
What about updates? Drivers? How about good file browsing or editing? It seems like people have jumped onto the hype train without realizing where it is going, to put in an analogy. I guess it does not help I have a gaming laptop, so this thing feels absolutely useless to me.

Presumably Valve will push updates to it through SteamOS. If all else fails, it's running Arch Linux under the hood, so you can probably just use pacman to get updates as one would expect in Arch. As far as good file browsing and editing, it's also got KDE on it -- and heck, KDE has had a better file browser than Windows for a few decades now.

I am willing to bet that you cannot hold your laptop in two hands as you play games on it and you can't just push a "sleep" button and drop it in your bag, which are big selling points for this kind of device. Also, for somebody who doesn't currently have any kind of portable PC, the specs on this blow away any laptop you can get for $400.
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Megiddo



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 8225
Location: IL
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:18 pm Reply with quote
People thinking that Starfield or ES6 are going to be unplayable on this is just the funniest thing. If the Series S is able to play it then with these specs the Steam Deck will be able to play it.
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phantom360



Joined: 27 Feb 2013
Posts: 33
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 2:45 am Reply with quote
This is great because it's competition for the switch and i'm hoping this does so well that it makes Nintendo understand hardware is just as important as games and no one wants to play games that barely runs on old hardware.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 14105
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 7:09 am Reply with quote
Can imagine this would be very helpful for those who have the dreaded "Steam backlog"
(hundreds of games unplayed but bought just because the prices were so low during Steam sales)
Now they don't an excuse Laughing

Essentially, people will play this thing at the same places people play their Switch, e.g. in bed before sleeping, on the couch while watching TV, in the bus or train commuting, at the long convention lines waiting to get in the next panel, etc.

So ask people - where do ya play your Switch?
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Primus



Joined: 01 Mar 2006
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Location: Toronto
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 12:18 pm Reply with quote
It's been amusing to see the vitriol from Nintendo diehards over this announcement. This isn't going to be a Switch killer. Mainstream audiences who consume Animal Crossing, Mario and Pokemon, with little else, aren't going to buy this. It'll require too much tinkering for their liking. Emulation has been easy to do for decades, yet millions lap up those dedicated Genesis, NES, SNES Classics, etc boxes.

Given the low key announcement, Valve likely doesn't have any delusions of grandeur either. I doubt there will be Super Bowl commercials or dedicated kiosks in Wal-Mart. What this is, is something tailored for enthusiast gamers. This has access to thousands of titles, from the twilight of the industry to the modern day. This is for people who can tell that Monster Hunter Stories 2 is clearly beyond the Switch's hardware capabilities. If you've already heavily invested in Steam, you don't even have to pay for the games again. If you're one of those people, this is a very compelling offer.

Complaining that this isn't going to be future proof seems silly to me. Is that not true of every piece of hardware? It's definitely not new ground in the PC gaming space. Android and iOS are available on billions of devices and there are games that run poorly on decently specced phones that are only 2-3 years old (see: Genshin Impact). Heck, we're seeing that garbage in the dedicated console space now that mid-gen hardware refreshes have proven successful. How many newer releases chug on the base PS4 and Xbox One? Cyberpunk being the most recent infamous example.

All of that said, there are obvious drawbacks to retrofitting software created for desktops to a handheld platform. Storage is going to be an issue. PC games can be gigantic in file size thanks to uncompressed assets. There are also power consumption concerns. Trying to encompass as many inputs as possible has also made the shell kind of weird looking. I'd have to hold one in person to make any real judgment, but that button placement is definitely odd. It's the kind of thing that might need a few iterations to iron out the kinks.
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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1946
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 2:38 pm Reply with quote
Primus wrote:
It's been amusing to see the vitriol from Nintendo diehards over this announcement. This isn't going to be a Switch killer. Mainstream audiences who consume Animal Crossing, Mario and Pokemon, with little else, aren't going to buy this. It'll require too much tinkering for their liking. Emulation has been easy to do for decades, yet millions lap up those dedicated Genesis, NES, SNES Classics, etc boxes.

Given the low key announcement, Valve likely doesn't have any delusions of grandeur either. I doubt there will be Super Bowl commercials or dedicated kiosks in Wal-Mart. What this is, is something tailored for enthusiast gamers.


Well, that's the problem: EVERY handheld outside Nintendo's has tried to market itself as being for "the hardcore/enthusiast gamer" and the only one that didn't crash and burn was the PSP because it was bolstered by the Monster Hunter franchise. Being for "enthusiasts" really goes against a lot of the handheld philosophy, it's typically not a winning strategy.
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