Steam Deck: Deciding "the price was painful, but secondary" for Gabe Newell

Steam Deck: Deciding the price was painful, but secondary for Gabe Newell

Steam Deck

After surprising the world of video games and technology with Steam Deck, Valve is slowly explaining the genesis of this machine. In a recent interview Gabe Newell said that getting to that "price was painful, but secondary" compared to having a machine with those technical characteristics.

When designing new hardware, especially one in many ways innovative and without a reference user base, the price is a fundamental element. Or rather, the balance between price and performance is.

When they created Steam Deck, however, Valve wanted to put performance first. "I want to take this [hardware] and say, 'Oh, it all works. It's all fast. It's all ...' and then the price was secondary and painful," Newell said. "But the first thing was to ensure performance and experience, [which] was the main and fundamental thing that was driving this project."

Valve hardware director Shreya Liu added: "We knew that price was very important, so [...] from the very beginning, we designed [Steam Deck] with that in mind, and we worked very, very hard to reach the price range at which we will propose Steam Deck ".

Newell added that Valve's goal is to create a new product category within the ecosystem that Valve and other companies can rely on for the next few years. "Our computation is more, 'This is the right product, and it's a great way to test through a product of enormous value, for both gamers and game developers, if there is room to extend the ecosystem. PC in this direction? This is the real challenge ", don't sell more games on every machine.

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Valve’s gaming handheld is called the Steam Deck and it’s shipping in December

a screenshot of a video game remote control

Valve just announced the Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like handheld gaming device. It will begin shipping in December and reservations open July 16th at 1PM ET. It starts at $399, and you can buy it in $529 and $649 models as well.

The device has an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different types of storage: 64GB eMMC storage, 256GB NVMe SSD storage, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage, according to Valve. You can also expand the available storage using the available high-speed microSD card slot.

The Steam Deck has a huge number of control options. There are two thumbsticks, two small trackpads beneath the thumbsticks, ABXY buttons, a D-pad, and a 7-inch touchscreen. Like the Switch, it also has two shoulder triggers on each side, and there are four back buttons (two on each side) as well.

On the software side of things, the Steam Deck runs what Valve is calling “a new version of SteamOS,” that its optimized for the handheld’s mobile form factor. But the actual OS is based on Linux, and will utilize Proton as a compatibility layer to allow Windows-based games to run without requiring that developers specifically port them for the Steam Deck.

Ultimately, though, the Steam Deck is still a full fledged Linux computer, meaning that more technical users will be able to jump out to the regular Linux desktop, too. Valve You can also install and use PC software, of course. Browse the web, watch streaming video, do your normal productivity stuff, install some other game stores, whatever.

Valve notes that the Steam Deck’s features are designed to emulate the regular Steam app on desktop, complete with chat, notifications, cloud save support, and all of your library, collections, and favorites all kept in sync. And if you want more power, you’ll be able to stream games to the Steam Deck directly from your gaming PC using Valve’s Remote Play feature.

When pre-orders for all three versions open on Friday afternoon, they’ll initially be available only to accounts with purchases on Steam before June 2021, in a bid to keep reseller bots at bay. There’s also a reservation fee, and one pre-order per person. In December the first units will be available in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, with other areas following in 2022.