Valve unveiled the Steam Deck, a Linux-based portable Computer that can play hundreds of games from Steam’s massive library, one year ago this week. Since then, the Steam Deck has received several software updates, including compatibility for Windows 11, and it has proven to be a huge sales success for Valve. If you expected the firm to turn around and introduce a replacement within a year or two, you may be disappointed.
In a discussion with Rock Paper Shotgun, Valve designer Lawrence Yang confesses that the popularity of the Steam Deck “has got us even more enthusiastic to look closely at what might be improved”. Having said that, Vang remarked, “a truly next-generation Deck with a major increase in horsepower would be a few years away.”
On the current Steam Deck, the interview with Vang and engineer Pierre-Loup Griffais is rather extensive. Valve has been astonished by how many people use the Steam Deck as their primary method of playing games on Steam. According to Vang:
One thing we’ve learned recently is that of the people who’ve purchased a Steam Deck, 42% of them end up spending the majority of their Steam gaming time on Steam Deck – preferring it over their other devices.
With the Steam Deck, over 7,000 titles on Steam have been designated as “playable” (you may need to make some settings tweaks) or “certified” (fully playable with no faults). Nevertheless, owing to hardware limitations, a few current PC titles, notably Returnal, cannot be played on the portable device. Griffais, on the other hand, believes the Steam Deck may hold its own for a long if developers put in some effort:
I believe the Deck has the potential to be a solid target throughout the generation, but the work involved is trickier than the typical Deck UX tweaks that developers have had to do for games that already perform well.
That said, there are benefits to game developers doing this work. If high-end current-gen titles are able to scale to Deck and be a great experience, it also enables smoother performance on a wider variety of PCs, and improve the experience for the whole playerbase.
Given how well the device has sold for Valve, it will be fascinating to see whether those developers make an extra effort to get higher level PC games working on the Steam Deck.
Source: Rock Paper Shotgun
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