Sponsored By

Steam Deck designers talk future iterations, Steam hardware revival

With the Steam Deck's repeated success, Valve is exploring the option to try again on some of its previous hardware ventures.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 15, 2022

3 Min Read
Screenshot of Valve's Steam Deck handheld.

In a new interview with The Verge, Steam Deck designers Pierre-Loup Griffin and Lawrence Yang spoke about the future of Valve's handheld console. When asked about the possibility of releasing a version of the Steam Deck with a better performance, both men admitted that it's a low priority for them both at the moment. 

The Deck was always going to be iterative, but other console makers like Microsoft and Sony have (or plan to) released multiple versions of their consoles in the past. Performance and resolution is often the big selling points for getting one system over the other, such as an Xbox Series S over an Xbox Series X.

But Griffais quite candidly said that all Steam Decks having the ability to play the exact same games comes with a "lot of value," and that it may stay that way for a good while. "I think we’ll opt to keep the one performance level for a little bit longer, and only look at changing the performance level when there is a significant gain to be had." 

Steam Deck's success throughout the year is important for Valve, given that its previous dips into the hardware market weren't as successful as Valve initially hoped. One of those attempts was the Steam Controller, effectively the Deck's predecessor. 

In the wake of the Deck's success, Yang said that a second version of the Steam Controller is something "we want to make happen. It’s just a question of how and when.”

Valve ended support for the Controller in 2019 following its loss against Ironburg Inventions over a patent violation. The controller was originally meant for the developer's Steam Machines, which themselves have been quietly phased out over the years.

During its lifetime, the Steam Controller sold 1.6 million units and was notable for its two trackpads that replace the two joysticks that defined other game controllers.

Yang continued by saying that a second version of the controller was something that Valve had been kicking around for awhile, but gradually got put on the backburner. He reaffirmed that the Deck remains a priority for Valve, and that the Steam Controller will eventually have another day in the sun. 

"It’s definitely something where we’d be excited to work with a third-party or explore ourselves."

If Valve has its way, making the Deck's Steam OS3 available for PCs by other manufacturers may also result in the return of the Steam Machine. Yang said that Valve was "excited to see people make their own SteamOS machines which could include small PCs that they put next to their TV."

Further hardware concepts are being tested out for the living room, confirmed Griffais, who reaffirmed that the company will focus on where it feels Steam may best fit. 

"We’re doing our own experiments, but would also love to work with third-parties to see what they would have to bring to the table as well."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like