A new challenger has emerged in the gaming hardware category. Game distribution giant Valve today announced the launch of Steam Deck, a $399 gaming portable designed to take PC games on the go.
The handheld (which has echoes of many portable gaming rigs from years past) has a seven-inch screen and runs on a quad-core Zen 2 CPU, coupled with AMD RDNA 2 graphics and 16GB of RAM. Storage runs from 64GB to 512GB, with the latter price going up to $649. The built-in storage can be expanded via microSD.
Naturally, this thing is made for Valve’s wildly popular Steam platform (it’s right there in the name, after all). Users log into their Steam account and their library – and friends list – are there, ready to go. There’s even a dedicated Steam button.
The system has been rumored for some time now, but it enters the world during a rapidly evolving era for gaming. Essentially the company is hoping to beat the accepted graphical limitations of Nintendo’s Switch (OLED or not), while still working to gain a foothold in the form of cloud-based gaming from companies like Microsoft. Because they deal with latency and other technical limitations. The Nvidia Shield is portable too – though we haven’t heard from that project for too long.
Flanking the 1280 x 800 touchscreen is the trackpad and a pair of thumb sticks. A built-in gyroscope also uses movement to control the gaming experience. There’s a single USB-C port for charging, connecting to peripherals and the larger screen, while the 40Wh battery promises between 7-8 hours of gameplay, according to Valve’s numbers.
The system is up for preorder now and starts shipping this December, just in time for the holidays.