Valve has, in very Valve-like fashion, announced its latest attempt at a standalone Steam-compatible device: Steam Deck.
Steam Deck looks to be directly analogous to the Nintendo Switch. It’s a portable game-playing device with a dock that’s hooked right up to players’ Steam libraries.
The device comes in several different models, all of them using a custom AMD accelerated processing unit, built on Zen 2 and RDNA. Its 7-inch LCD touch screen displays at 1280 x 800 resolution (16:10 aspect ratio) with a 60Hz refresh rate, and claims to use a 40Whr battery for 2-8 hours of battery life.
Each of the three models comes with a different price point and storage space.
The $399 model includes 64gb of eMMC internal storage, the $529 model includes 256gb of NVMe SSD internal storage, and the $649 model includes 512gb of NVMe SSD internal storage, along with anti-glare etched glass.
The Steam Deck does include a dock that will let users attach their Steam Deck to a TV or monitor like the Nintendo Switch, but unlike the Switch, it will be sold separately from the base device. In an extensive hands-on at IGN, Valve confirmed that users will be able to simply use any third-party USB-C adapter to connect monitors and peripherals, just like a PC.
The Steam Deck runs on a customized version of the Linux-based SteamOS, though Valve emphasized in that hands-on that the Steam Deck is a PC at heart, and can run any OS and users can install any storefront. If you can do it on a PC, you can do it on Steam Deck.
The physical device has a controller layout similar to the Nintendo Switch, but with slightly smaller, higher-placed buttons, and two touchpads resting right beneath the joysticks.
A section of the Steam Deck website aimed at developers currently looks a bit barebones, currently saying that no porting work is needed to prepare games for Steam Deck. Details about improving your game to run on Steam Deck are apparently available on Steamworks.
Valve's apparently very invested in scalpers not being the first ones to get their hands on this device. Its reseveration system will not allow Steam users to reserve the device unless they've made a purchase prior to June 2021 during the first 48-hour window.
The Steam Deck will begin shipping in December 2021.
Updated with details from IGN's hands-on