While Nintendo announced its OLED Switch last week, Valve also conjured a rabbit out of the hat. A rabbit very similar to Switch: Steam Deck. The idea is that on this handheld console hybrid you can play all the games that are on Steam. PC gaming becomes console gaming.
Valve Steam Deck
Nintendo introduced Switch in 2017, a handheld with a relatively large screen, which you can use to play anywhere you want. When you are at home, there is a dock connected to the television to use the console. You can then (continue to) play on your television. Valve’s new game invention does exactly the same, but not with games from Nintendo, but games that you can find on Steam. There is overlap with Nintendo Switch, especially in terms of indie games, but you cannot play real Nintendo games such as Mario Kart and Zelda on Steam Deck.
Steam Deck is already being called a possible Switch killer. Although he will probably appeal to a slightly different target group with his somewhat rougher appearance, that claim is not unfounded for the time being. Nintendo’s Switch has been out for quite a few years now and apart from an OLED screen, little has been renewed in it. Valve has Steam as a platform, on which not only can you find thousands of games: they are also regularly very cheap when a seasonal Steam sale takes place.
Steam Deck has a 7-inch touchscreen (versus a 6.2-inch Nintendo Switch touchscreen) and a powerful AMD processor. The special thing is that the device is less ‘dense’ than other consoles. Valve puts its operating system on it and it’s up to the user to decide if it stays that way. You can continue to use it purely as a game console, but you could also install Windows and use the device as a computer. A computer that you control with sticks, four-point push buttons and shoulder buttons that is.
With a full battery you can play between 2 and 8 hours. That’s a huge difference and mainly depends on how busy and demanding your game is. The battery life of Switch is between 2.5 and 6.5 hours, so there is a difference.
Valve’s new console is significantly more expensive than Switch, making the device slightly less accessible, especially now that many people have been affected by the corona crisis. Steam Deck costs between 420 and 680 euros, depending on which variant you choose. There is one with 64 gigabytes of storage, but also 256 and 512. The most expensive variant is therefore more expensive than the latest Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. It is completely pricey compared to Switch. The suggested retail price of Switch was 320 euros and the device can now be found for 300 euros.
In any case, Steam Deck is very much in demand. Within half an hour, the reservation platform for the hybrid console was already down. The first Steam Decks will be released in December 2021. Valve has been wrong in the past when it comes to its own consoles, but it seems that there is a lot of confidence in Steam Deck, despite its slightly higher price and somewhat clunky design.
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