Valve has shaken the gaming market up majorly this morning by announcing the Steam Deck which is releasing later this year in select countries. The Steam Deck is a proper PC handheld gaming device that has a 7-inch touch screen, full D-pad/face buttons, gyro controls, analogue sticks, analogue triggers, track pads and rear buttons. The Steam Deck is able to play your entire Steam library right out of the box with games such as Doom Eternal, Control, Stars Wars Jedi Fallen Order and more shown off alongside the reveal.
Housed with 8 RDNA2 CUs which is roughly half of what is in the Xbox Series S and much more powerful than the Nintendo Switch, this device will be more than capable of playing all your PC games locally on the device. Valve has also announced that you’ll be able to output visuals straight from the device with the USB-C port but there is a dock (sold separately) that has 3 USB ports, an ethernet port, a HDMI port and a display port.
What is mostly surprising is the Steam Deck’s price, which starts at $399 USD ($539 AUD) for the 64GB eMMC storage option and includes a case, $529 USD ($712 AUD) for the 256GB NVME SSD option and $649 USD ($874 AUD) for the 512GB fastest NVME SSD storage option which also includes an anti-glare etched glass option. This means that the entry level price point puts it right about at the price point of the new Nintendo Switch OLED model. Similarly to the Switch, there’s also a MicroSD card slot so you can expand your storage even if you go for the cheaper option. The Steam Deck also has Bluetooth support which is something that Nintendo Switch owners have clamoured for.
Unfortunately for Australians, much like the Valve Index at launch, we look to be in the next wave of release countries. Whilst the US and UK will get it in December of this year (with pre-orders starting tomorrow), it’s only mentioned that other regions will need to wait until 2022.
So far, IGN has had the exclusive hands-on for the device. I was a bit sceptical about the button placement but IGN’s Tom Marks had the below to say:
“Seeing lots of folk say the controller layout looks uncomfortable, which is what I thought when I first saw it too.
But when I actually held the thing, it feels shockingly natural and comfy. This is not a Steam Controller repeat where “I swear you just have to get used to it.”
If you’re wanting to read more about the Steam Deck or get a pre-order in and somehow get it routed to Australia (like I know many did for the Index), you can do so HERE.