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Report: Valve eyes a return to 'console' hardware with leaked handheld SteamPal

Valve is reportedly looking to squeeze back into that space between PCs and consoles with its own line of video game hardware. This time around however, Valve has portability in mind.

Valve is reportedly looking to squeeze back into that space between PCs and consoles with its own line of video game hardware. This time around, however, Valve has portability in mind.

That rumored device is the SteamPal, a Linux-powered handheld built to play Steam games on the go. Sources speaking to Ars Technica say the Nintendo Switch-like device has been in the works for "some time," and recent changes to Steam itself seem to indicate its reveal could be growing nearer by the day.

According to Ars' sources, the device is currently just a prototype but takes many cues from the Switch such as its form factor (though Ars says one prototype is wider than a Switch) and its use of USB-C to connect to a larger display.

It's not Valve's first stab at the hardware side of the video game business. The company still dabbles in VR through its work on the Valve Index VR headset, but its past attempts at creating a hardware platform for PC games haven't gone particularly well. Its biggest push into that space came in the form of Steam Machines: essentially pre-built computers running SteamOS and built as a dedicated machine for Steam games in the home.

However after years of hype, partnerships, and development, Valve started quietly phasing the devices out in 2018. The Steam Controller released alongside it was discontinued the next year.

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