Today, Valve unveiled the Steam Deck, the company’s new handheld gaming device that will be launching this December. The announcement came mere hours before pre-orders went live for the upcoming Nintendo Switch OLED model, which was announced just last week.
The Steam Deck appears to be in a league of its own in terms of on-the-go gaming. Named after Valve’s digital game store, the Steam Deck allows users to access and play their entire Steam library from anywhere. That’s because it is essentially a portable PC, capable of being modified and connected to various peripherals.
Valve has partnered with AMD to create the Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU used in the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck will feature a 7” LCD touchscreen display and can be connected to monitors and television screens using the proper cables. The Deck also has 16GB of RAM and microSD card slot. The built-in Bluetooth 5.0 support and USB-C jack allow users to easily connect controllers, audio accessories, and other peripherals.
While the Steam Deck doesn’t have removable Joy-Con-like controllers, it does have a much different button layout than that of the Switch, due to the sheer number of extra buttons. Two capacitive-touch thumbsticks are found at the top of the device on either side of the screen, with a D-pad and cross buttons beside them. Below the thumbsticks are two customizable trackpads that allow for better handling in games that were not intended for handheld gaming. There are four customizable grip buttons on the back, similar to those of an Xbox Elite controller. The device’s gyro capabilities allow you to physically position the device to aim more accurately while playing a game.
As for its software, the Steam Deck runs its own custom Steam OS built for handheld gaming. Logging into your Steam account on Deck allows for instant access to your entire Steam library. Through cloud saves, you can start a game on Steam Deck and swap over to PC without losing progress, and vice versa. You can also stream games from your desktop directly to the Deck via Remote Play.
Steam Deck Release Date and Pricing
Three versions of Steam Deck will be available, with the only difference between them being their respective storage sizes. An official dock will be coming soon that will be sold separately. Below is a breakdown based on price detailing what comes with each model.
- $399 – 64 GB eMMC internal storage, carrying case
- $529 – 256 GB NVMe SSD internal storage, carrying case, exclusive Steam Community profile bundle
- $649 – 512GB NVMe SSD internal storage, anti-glare etched glass, carrying case, exclusive Steam Community profile bundle, and exclusive virtual keyboard theme
Steam Deck will arrive in December 2021 and reservations go live tomorrow, July 16 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Head over to the official Steam Deck website for more details on how the reservation process will work.