Valve might definitely have a game-changer that could easily compete with the Nintendo Switch.
Thursday (Jul.15), Valve announced its portable handheld gaming device, the Steam Deck. This sucker is fully loaded with some amazing features that have gamers calling it the Nintendo Switch Pro they thought Nintendo would announce during E3.
Under the hood, Valve’s Steam Deck is powered by an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Potential owners can look forward to three storage options to suit their gaming needs, 64GB eMMC storage for $399, 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649. There is also a high-speed microSD card slot that will allow you to expand the storage.
As for controls, Steam Deck offers users plenty of options. The mini-PC/console has two thumbsticks plus two small, Steam Controller-style trackpads located directly underneath the thumbsticks that should offer users more precision calls while playing games like first-person shooters. There are also the traditional XYBA button setup and D-Pad.
There is also a 7-inch 1280 x 800 touchscreen to deliver gameplay in 720p.
The Steam Deck also features a gyroscope for games that feature motion controls and, like the Nintendo Switch, has two shoulder triggers on each side plus four back buttons (two on each side) and built-in microphones.
When it comes to battery life, “Steam Deck’s onboard 40 watt-hour battery provides several hours of playtime for most games,” according to Valve. “For lighter use cases like game streaming, smaller 2D games, or web browsing, you can expect to get the maximum battery life of approximately 7-8 hours.” Breaking it down even further to IGN, the company said, “You can play Portal 2 for four hours on this thing. If you limit it to 30 FPS, you’re going to be playing for 5-6 hours.”
Steam Deck also provides users with a quick suspend/resume feature built into SteamOS that allows you to pick up right where you left off if you need to pause your game or put the device to sleep.
Another Nintendo Switch-like feature is the ability to dock the Steam Deck by placing it in a dock that Valve will be selling separately so you can prop up the device and plug it into external displays and televisions. The Deck comes with a USB-C port containing HDMI, Ethernet USB data, and standard Bluetooth. There will also be Bluetooth audio as well, a feature the Nintendo Switch is sadly missing.
The Steam Deck runs on “a new version of SteamOS,” based on Linux Valve. Steam Deck is being billed as a full-fledged mini PC that will allow users to plug in a mouse, keyboard, and monitor, and even install other game stores, regular PC software, surf the web, and more.
You will be able to reserve one of the three versions of the Steam Deck beginning Friday (Jul.16). You will have to pay a refundable $5 fee, and initially, reservations will only be open to Steam users who made purchases on Steam before June 2021 to help battle bots.
The first units will be available in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom in December and other areas in 2022.
Gamers couldn’t help but notice that Valve chose to make this announcement the same day Nintendo announced its new Switch OLED model was being made available for pre-order. Many Nintendo Switch fans hoping Nintendo was going to announce the long-rumored Nintendo Switch Pro model only to be disappointed with the reveal of the OLED model are now saying the Steam Deck is what the Nintendo Switch Pro should be.
Gotta love Twitter for always finding humor in any situation.
You can peep more reactions to Valve’s Steam Deck announcement in the gallery below.
Photo: Valve / Steam Deck
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