A Steam portable device has been long-rumored, but there has been no word of it officially until today. Valve confirmed that the Steam Deck line of portable hardware will be released in December of 2021 and feature a lot of carry-over from the Steam controller. Two trackpads are featured alongside two analog sticks, a d-pad, and a full set of four face buttons and a bumper/trigger set similar to the Xbox One/Series controllers.
Valve is working with AMD to craft a portable device that can handle modern-day AAA games with a wide variety of control methods. The 7 inch touchscreen enables easier navigation, while the trackpads enables more mouse-like functionality to make simulation-style games easier to play. The addition of a gyroscope enables for more accurate shooting in FPS games as well. A couple of heavy-hitters are shown running, including Doom Eternal and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
There are a variety of storage options available with a built-in SSD that can be either an 64GB eMMC, or a 256GB NVMe or 512GB NVMe drive. For $400, folks get 64GB of storage and a carrying case – while $530 gets a faster 256GB SSD, the carrying case, and a Steam community profile bundle, while spending $650 gets 512GB of storage, an anti-glare etched glass screen, an exclusive virtual keyboard theme, and its own exclusive Steam community profile bundle.The device features a USB-C port to enable charging, peripherals, or showing the gameplay on a big screen over the course of a gaming session. The 40 watt-hour battery is expected to allow the device to last around 7 or 8 hours. It’s also possible to expand storable with a microSD card – and while that may not be a great storage method for AAA games, it should be perfect for smaller games that don’t need rapid-fire loading.
The Steam Deck is a portable device and PC all in one – enabling the user to connect an external keyboard and mouse to the device and then run games on a monitor for a better experience. This is a pretty exciting piece of tech, and having it available for as little as $400 is a game-changer. We will be keeping a close eye on the Steam Deck, and it will be interesting to see how well it does when pre-orders go live on July 16. The starting price point is incredible and with the Switch OLED set for a release at $350, this is going to be a price point that makes higher-end portable gaming more accessible price-wise and its portable console-style design, it could lead to portable console owners getting into PC gaming thanks to that form factor.