News Steam Deck , handheld by Valve - announced for December 2021

Arulan

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If you already have a PC, in my mind Steam Deck isn't meant to replace your PC but augment it so you can play games in ways you couldn't before.
That's more or less my use-case. It's a way for me to play games in situations I couldn't easily before -- outside, traveling, on the couch while someone else uses the TV, in bed, etc.

Steam Link and Remote Play already did a lot to expand this to just about every screen in my home, but I never really got a phone + controller setup that I liked enough for a mobile setup. The Steam Deck will make for a great handheld experience, and I don't have to rely on streaming. Plus, it's a full-fledged Linux PC.

So, all together my setups will probably look like:
  • Primary Desktop Setup (Local)
  • Primary Lounge Setup (Local off of Desktop PC)
  • Secondary Lounge Setups across various rooms (Streaming)
  • Handheld (Local, Streaming)
I could even do Secondary Desktop setups in other areas by docking the Steam Deck, but it's probably not something I'd use often.

It's really nice to just be able to play your games wherever and however you want.
 

Wok

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Any advice?
👇

I really hate wasting money on things that I don't need.
I don't really need a Steam Deck.
Keep the money on your bank account for now... and wait. The situation should be clearer in a year (or two) once Steam decks are everywhere.

As far as I am concerned, I am extremely skeptical about people using a Steam deck as a primary computer. Sure, you can, but that does not mean you should.
 
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Minsc

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IMO if you don't care about playing the newest AAA games day 1 or have a console alongside a PC that can run them - the Steam Deck should handle pretty much all one's PC gaming needs - again assuming you don't care about the day 1 experience.

If you consider the average higher end gaming PC costs ~$1500 (this is what happens to me every time even though I've gotten better at not buying the latest and best), basically the price of 3 Steam Decks, whatever the first Steam Deck can't run, the second will, and whatever the second can't, the third will, and in the end you're still only out the same amount of money - it just depends on your needs.

There's certainly more than enough games that can run on the Steam Deck to last 5 lifetimes - let alone its successors. So the question is whether you want to play very specific games on it or whether simply playing good games on it is the goal - and if you enjoy all sorts of games there's no doubt to be enough to outlast the devices lifetime.

For me personally, the form factor and convenience of the Steam Deck will give me more opportunities to game than my laptop. So even though my laptop is a stronger device - the Steam Deck should be a better gaming device for me - and I really look forward to customizing it and creating the "ultimate" handheld PC / gaming device with all my favorite games on it from the past 3 decades or so. All wrapped up in a pretty GUI.
 

Durante

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Personally I'm in a dilemma precisely because Steam Deck would basically be a sidegrade for me and I've always been a budget gamer. I can technically afford buying Steam Deck and upgrading a bit later but I really hate wasting money on things that I don't need. So, if I commit the money to buy Steam Deck I will not be upgrading for at least the next three years. In such a case and since my current PC is roughly at Steam Deck's hardware level (Core i5 6500, 1050ti), if next-gen games start having requirements that both my PC and Steam Deck can't handle I will be locked out of new games for quite some time.

Then again, unless the GPU market situation improves dramatically over the next year I am locked out of upgrading anyway. I usually upgrade a couple of years into each console generation, when I can get a 200ish euro card that comfortably outpaces consoles. Given the current situation it seems we are at least two years away from that happening. For my use case the perfect choice would be a Steam Deck Pro three years from now that would be guaranteed to handle next-gen games. I don't really need a Steam Deck... but man do I want one!

Any advice?
In your situation I'd rather keep the money to upgrade my PC.
 
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prudis

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That's kinda weird, isn't it? Steam Deck doesn't seem powerful enough to be a meaningful upgrade. Unless Valve is targeting those still playing on old PCs or laptops with slow integrated GPUs?
well lot of people is on laptops with 1050ti and below and if we take the "power per pixel" into account one could argue that deck is stronger than that

ultimately i think you are looking at it from the wrong perspective ... for most people interested its not really upgrade in terms of pure power , but rather in terms of versatility and usability to enhance your existing library

For example someone like me who is moving bewteen 3 places throughout the week with 1050Ti work laptop , thats mostly really playable behind the desk or in bed for mouse oriented tiitles.

Another example of target audience might people with family and single tv or pc .... as in you just let your wife use watch the tv , kids play the pc and you can still enjoye your own library elsewhere

Or lets just look at the people who cant really disjoint Work and entertaiinment from PC (i remember lot of folks saying the "i work on PC at work thats why PC is bad for gaming" comment from the old forum)

and thats just 3 examples of appeal i
BTW: C-Dub said it well
If you already have a PC, in my mind Steam Deck isn't meant to replace your PC but augment it so you can play games in ways you couldn't before.

I'd not consider it a side-grade or replacement, but closer to an accessory for established PC gamers. If you don't want to budget for that kind of device, don't get one.

also part of the appeal is perfectly explained in the Casey's twitter thread (includes herexperience wih GPD Win 2 which is super underpowered compared to deck)

and tweets below
 

Mivey

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The only other big purchase I was thinking of for this year was getting an Index, but with the recent patents from Valve, indicating they are working on ideas for a wireless headset, I feel more inclined to wait another year or two for that to come out. So that leaves plenty of money for a Deck in early next year.
 

Alexandros

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Good to know that the 8 CUs will consume that little power but the application tested in the video was the Unigine graphics benchmark. Is that workload really typical of PC game power usage? Phawx wouldn't a normal PC game that has to run bigger worlds, AI and physics simulations etc require much higher clocks to hit at least 30 fps, therefore leaving less power for the GPU?
 
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Phawx

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Good to know that the 8 CUs will consume that little power but the application tested in the video was the Unigine graphics benchmark. Is that workload really typical of PC game power usage? Phawx wouldn't a normal PC game that has to run bigger worlds, AI and physics simulations etc require much higher clocks to hit at least 30 fps, therefore leaving less power for the GPU?
Pretty much all DX9 and DX10 games need exceedingly little cpu.

Typically from all of my testing, only a few outlier DX11 games require significantly higher CPU clocks that would start to impact power that goes to GPU. These are DX11 games from 2015-2017~ like the tail-end of DX11 games where resolution scaling wasn't even an option on PC. I'm still very confident that many of these types of DX11 games will hit 720p60 with a bit less power for the GPU though (albeit settings will have to be low). But even GTA5 doesn't really require very high cpu clocks constantly. It's still very comfortable in the ~6w for CPU+uncore area. It also should be noted that pushing games to max settings will make them more GPU-bound and would kind of force more GPU power automatically.

Really the problem for 720p60 is going to be games that are 2019+ and we'd have to start using res scaling options that should be built into most modern games or just use gamescope for the few that outright don't support res scaling in game.

The bottom line is that you are correct. We have a razor thin profile to feed the GPU all the time within 15w. However, there is a still an enormous number of PC games that will run exceedingly happy at Zen2 base clocks.
 

Alexandros

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Pretty much all DX9 and DX10 games need exceedingly little cpu.

Typically from all of my testing, only a few outlier DX11 games require significantly higher CPU clocks that would start to impact power that goes to GPU. These are DX11 games from 2015-2017~ like the tail-end of DX11 games where resolution scaling wasn't even an option on PC. I'm still very confident that many of these types of DX11 games will hit 720p60 with a bit less power for the GPU though (albeit settings will have to be low). But even GTA5 doesn't really require very high cpu clocks constantly. It's still very comfortable in the ~6w for CPU+uncore area. It also should be noted that pushing games to max settings will make them more GPU-bound and would kind of force more GPU power automatically.

Really the problem for 720p60 is going to be games that are 2019+ and we'd have to start using res scaling options that should be built into most modern games or just use gamescope for the few that outright don't support res scaling in game.

The bottom line is that you are correct. We have a razor thin profile to feed the GPU all the time within 15w. However, there is a still an enormous number of PC games that will run exceedingly happy at Zen2 base clocks.
Thank you very much for the detailed reply.
 
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Minsc

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The prospect of moving from a gaming laptop that requires a huge power brick to charge and is literally incapable of charging without it to a smaller form that can charge off a standard usb-c power bank is really appealing for portability too.

My gaming laptop battery lasts like 75 minutes unplugged and if I want to charge it remotely I need to bring a huge cluster of cords and power brick with cords coming out each end.

So it's really nice a tiny little device with minimal wattage will cover most of my PC gaming and general use needs, perhaps it'll even drop my electric bill a buck or two a month.
 

Minsc

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Picked up a Logitech MX Keys board and mouse (and a nice 27" 1440p 165hz MSI monitor, getting tired of my laptops small 1080p display), supposed to be able to easily hop between windows/Linux/iOS etc, pretty much any device with the press of a button, looking forward to getting the dock adapter when it's out and using the heck out of this thing. Should be a great entryway into learning the OS better, don't have much Linux experience. I plan on trying to make the Steam Deck into as much a desktop replacement as it can be, just need to find good software for everything I need or a way to run stuff I use now through the OS.

Hopefully mine moves up to December or January when they start taking the full balance and people back out!
 
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MomoVideo

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I hope that more in-depth coverage will appear relatively soon. I want to see Steam Deck properly tested by hardware sites.
While I would really like to see that too, we will probably need to wait few more months for that. I still wonder if Valve have any aces in their sleeve, something that they are working on but was not announced yet.
 

Phoenix RISING

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as far as I know, unless Nintendo stop making hardware, and start to make games for other platforms, this system war is always going to be on favor for Nintendo one way or another.

Yeah one of my friends doesn't play M-rated games so Nintendo will always be his preferred platform.

She even admits that he just has to deal with being fleeced by the Nintendo tax.
In what way?
A valve is making a console/portable.

Conversations asked whether or not this is better than the Switch have already begun!
 

EdwardTivrusky

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Well, it's a PC with a build in controller and screen so of course i expect it to be more powerful than the Switch but I'm keeping both. I'll have my OLED Switch and Steam Deck for next year and between the two portable platforms and my desktop PC i'm sorted for gaming.
 
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Phoenix RISING

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Something new to pass the time:

Good stuff.

No perf increase in dock like the Switch, BUT can run in 4K if you want to eat the perf hit.

This thing has huge potential.


Also they reveal that 4K portable gaming not possible for a few years. Too big, too much power, too hot to run.
 

Minsc

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Not possible with AMD, but nVidia's DLSS would be more than fine IMO. I also think it will be able to do 4k just on very select games that run well in low quality modes. And certain 2D / indie games.

And I still think the potential it has is very largely tied to long-term support. If Valve abandons it and never releases a successor the potential of the Steam Deck will be exponentially less than if it see support over the next few decades.
 

Alexandros

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Not possible with AMD, but nVidia's DLSS would be more than fine IMO. I also think it will be able to do 4k just on very select games that run well in low quality modes. And certain 2D / indie games.

And I still think the potential it has is very largely tied to long-term support. If Valve abandons it and never releases a successor the potential of the Steam Deck will be exponentially less than if it see support over the next few decades.
Well according to the article Valve is already designing the next model so unless it's a complete commercial disaster I'd say that a successor is almost guaranteed.
 
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Phoenix RISING

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Not possible with AMD, but nVidia's DLSS would be more than fine IMO. I also think it will be able to do 4k just on very select games that run well in low quality modes. And certain 2D / indie games.

And I still think the potential it has is very largely tied to long-term support. If Valve abandons it and never releases a successor the potential of the Steam Deck will be exponentially less than if it see support over the next few decades.
Valve did not want 4k on just a select few games. Their aim is comparable perf across the Steam library.
 
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Mor

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4K on a handheld makes absolute no sense at all given that the benefits are smaller than the actual problems (heat, battery life, performance...) so yeah, I totally agree with them going with a much lower base resolution, if anything, DLSS and AMD equivalent will keep getting better and better so that will sure help a lot.
 

Phoenix RISING

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4K on a handheld makes absolute no sense at all given that the benefits are smaller than the actual problems (heat, battery life, performance...) so yeah, I totally agree with them going with a much lower base resolution, if anything, DLSS and AMD equivalent will keep getting better and better so that will sure help a lot.
I did some reading this morning to double-check. Yeah, the new OLED Switch should be able to run some games in 4K according to rumors (mostly Bloomberg, which means Jason Schriver), but it's not a feature Nintendo themselves are pushing, So call me skeptical.

To be honest, I'm still suffering from industry whiplash. Games downgraded to run on the Wii were lambasted. Games downgraded to run on the Switch, like DOOM and Wolfenstein at 30 fps, are praised for "getting so much out of so little."

Prolonged conversations about what's expected out of portable, or what's possible, just end up being bleh to me.
 

Le Pertti

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Damn I had 60 000 microsoft points saved for battlefield, but had to use 30 000 of those to get 20€ to use for food. I mean free money is nice and all but still was so close to having battlefield day one!
 

Mor

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I did some reading this morning to double-check. Yeah, the new OLED Switch should be able to run some games in 4K according to rumors (mostly Bloomberg, which means Jason Schriver), but it's not a feature Nintendo themselves are pushing, So call me skeptical.
It's not about skepticism, it's about what will deliver you a better performance, 800p or 2540p on a handheld that will limit what you notice due to small screen with high pixel density, displaying 4K would absolutely destroy both battery life and performance so no wonder why none of them want to openly talk about 4K Gaming.
 
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Phoenix RISING

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It's not about skepticism, it's about what will deliver you a better performance, 800p or 2540p on a handheld that will limit what you notice due to small screen with high pixel density, displaying 4K would absolutely destroy both battery life and performance so no wonder why none of them want to openly talk about 4K Gaming.
Ok we are on the same page then.
 
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Alexandros

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Some impressions from a developer on Resetera who got to play with the dev kit:

Our teams got their dev kits. Word is that everything runs great on them, with some titles requiring some additional tweaking with detail levels to hit target framerates, but medium seems to be the sweet spot for hitting 60fps for modern, intensive games. Overall, they're impressed with what they're seeing with AAA titles, indies, and everything in between. Nothing they've tried hasn't worked, so that's a great sign! And mine doesn't ship until early next year or something. The wait is going to kill me. LOL
Got some hands-on time with the dev unit; I think all of this has been covered by press previews ad nauseam, but just in case you want to hear some nobody-on-a-forum's take, well, here it is. LOL Again, caveat all this with "things could change before launch".

It's heavier than I was expecting, but that also gives the impression that this is a premium piece of kit. Size-wise, width is nearly the same as a Switch with the Hori Split Pad Pros attached. Heat and especially fan noise can be distracting, depending on the game. D-pad is excellent. It looks a bit like a shiny XB1 d-pad, but sits higher and feels more like something between a SNES and Vita d-pad (without the Vita clickiness). It's really nice! Face buttons are also very good. Rounded and smooth like XB1, but smaller diameter. Sticks are fine... like an 8bitdo SN30 Pro+'s with even flatter edges, but maybe grippier than a DualSense's? Triggers are good, but with less travel than on other controllers. Not a fan of the bumpers though... they sit flush with the casing and are difficult to feel, if that makes sense. I hope they raise them a little bit on the final units because I'm fumbling with them the most, but it could also be the way I press bumpers in general. Other controls/inputs are as you'd expect. Haven't messed w/ the trackpads much and no gyro/rear button play yet. Sound quality is nice! I hope the Switch OLED's sound output is as clear/strong as this.
Yeah, sorry that I can't comment on actual games, but I will say that the "big" games I tried from a number of different developers/publishers were able to hit 60fps at 720/800p and medium settings. And depending on how demanding (or less demanding) a game is, you can up your settings to high (some even ultra), or you may have to drop them to low or use a lower internal render resolution (if available) to hit 60fps. That being said, there were some games that I couldn't get to hit 60fps at all reliably, but they still ran at a solid 30fps (or variable unlocked). But games that I remember running at 30fps or lower on last-gen consoles were regularly hitting 60 on this. It's really impressive!
Good question! I don't have large hands, and everything is easily reachable. The d-pad and face buttons living on the very top corners of the Deck look strange aesthetically, but it feels good... very similar to holding a Switch in terms of the left analog and face buttons on Nintendo's Joy-Cons, except here it's an actual d-pad and larger face buttons. I think the biggest adjustment muscle memory-wise is moving your thumbs directly left and right to go between the d-pad, face buttons, and analog sticks. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all have them diagonally configured, so there were a couple times early on where my left thumb went from the d-pad to the trackpad because that's where my brain thought it should go. Doesn't take long to adjust, but there's potential for there to be that brief adjustment period if you have and use different platforms regularly.

Like I said earlier, the main thing I don't like about the Deck control-wise are the L1/R1 bumpers. They sit a little too flush with the case and are positioned about halfway down the back edge, whereas on all other controllers, they are positioned higher, more towards the controller's face.
 

Mor

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Some impressions from a developer on Resetera who got to play with the dev kit:
Overall it sounds really exciting and within the expected.

About the impressions of inputs, well, that's something that each person will notice in a different way, same goes to fan sound, it will depend of which game you play.

Heat is something that sounds weird because if you remember the Linus video about Deck, this fella had the controllers out of the heat range and wasn't a problem, so, I don't know what does the heat is distracting thing means.



Some more Dev kits in the wild. Garry Newman (Gmod and Rust) also got a dev kit but no pics.

Japanese developer

Terraria developer:
 

undu

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I'm surprised by the lack of complaints about compatibility, it's a pretty debated topic even in Linux forums.

I have some games that won't boot on my system, they're niche shoot-em-ups. I guess these issues will pop up in forums and press later on when people interested in niche genres start playing them, I wonder if that will be before or after release.
 

Mor

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I'm surprised by the lack of complaints about compatibility, it's a pretty debated topic even in Linux forums.

I have some games that won't boot on my system, they're niche shoot-em-ups. I guess these issues will pop up in forums and press later on when people interested in niche genres start playing them, I wonder if that will be before or after release.
It's worth mentioning that the proton version that is running in those dev kits isn't the public version of proton so, while experimental builds are being implemented into base proton, the Deck line is getting additional patches.

Most likely they will unify the versions once Deck is out in the wild for consumers.
 
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undu

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I'm not using the normal proton builds either, these have fixes for video playback, game-specific setups, gamepad fixes, FSR, RBAR, etc

The good thing about having Valve involved in open-source projects is that there are quite a few patches flying around by contractors and they can be tried before they are released into the general public through steam itself.
 
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sprinkles

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Only in parts Steam Deck related: I got a SMS this morning from German Customs saying I owe them 170 € for a surprise package being delivered this afternoon: my Aya Neo, backed in - what now feels ages ago - February, forgotten since and finally arriving. Multiple delays and the Steam Deck announcement made me question this investment. I always laughed when in discussions about the Deck the Aya Neo was talked about as "competitor already on the market". They shipped just 500 units in June and the rest of the backers had to wait until now. I get it, launching hardware is hard in a Pandemic world.
I wonder how much usage this little PC will get from me with the Deck coming in December. I'll try Tales of Arise tonight, plan on finally finishing SMT3 Nocturne on it and Retroarch's Steam launch was also timed nicely for some emulation.
 

Mor

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I'm not using the normal proton builds either, these have fixes for video playback, game-specific setups, gamepad fixes, FSR, RBAR, etc

The good thing about having Valve involved in open-source projects is that there are quite a few patches flying around by contractors and they can be tried before they are released into the general public through steam itself.
Ah, this is very interesting, and yeah, being open source means patches can come from multiple places and quicker than others, so yeah, should be cool :blobeyes:
Only in parts Steam Deck related: I got a SMS this morning from German Customs saying I owe them 170 € for a surprise package being delivered this afternoon: my Aya Neo, backed in - what now feels ages ago - February, forgotten since and finally arriving. Multiple delays and the Steam Deck announcement made me question this investment. I always laughed when in discussions about the Deck the Aya Neo was talked about as "competitor already on the market". They shipped just 500 units in June and the rest of the backers had to wait until now. I get it, launching hardware is hard in a Pandemic world.
I wonder how much usage this little PC will get from me with the Deck coming in December. I'll try Tales of Arise tonight, plan on finally finishing SMT3 Nocturne on it and Retroarch's Steam launch was also timed nicely for some emulation.
I mean, enjoy it as much as you can even if it came out later than expected and IDK, once Deck is out, if you use it more than the Neo you can always sell it if you want to get some money back.

Anyway, enjoy the Neo :D
 

Mor

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So far 6 development kits have been found thanks to the social networks interestingly enough no game is like the other, very different approaches, genres and scale of games, so far all indies, that's what they all have in common but aside from that it's quite interesting that they went to a very varied poll of developers.

See the list here.

-Terraria developers
-Tabletop Simulator developers
-Gmod/Rust developers
-The Long Dark developers
-V-Katsu developers
-Getting Over It with Bennett Fodd developer
 

Mor

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Mor Could just be that indies are the ones probably more open on social media.
Absolutely, as I said, only 6 have been found in public but you can bet most of the main Steam partners (publishers) got at least 1 of them too.

Indies are always more open to talk about this even if it's just a bit.
I am wondering if Steam Deck will get delayed due to the cargo ship crisis that probably will not end in many years
Don't think so, it seems they are within the schedule
 

ExistentialThought

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Yeah, I think Valve is probably being conservative with their shipping estimates to account for supply constraints. It may also be a factor for limiting countries the Deck is available, though with Japanese devs receiving dev kits, I have imagine it is on their radar to expand into Asia sooner rather than later.
 
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Mor

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Yeah, I think Valve is probably being conservative with their shipping estimates to account for supply constraints. It may also be a factor for limiting countries the Deck is available, though with Japanese devs receiving dev kits, I have imagine it is on their radar to expand into Asia sooner rather than later.
That's correct, the fact that pre-orders became 2022 orders so quick is because they want to ensure an steady line of production and stock availability without delays, also, they already have the Deck website translated into Asian languages so they sure have the region in their radar but I think there are two main reasons why they haven't launched it there yet.

1st - The region would become their main one and western users wouldn't stand a chance of getting one at the current situation so they went the easy way by ensuring availability for the west, fix whatever needs to be fixed and then with a more polished or smoother experience, launch in the East which will be crazy popular if it doesn't get delayed forever.

2nd - Valve usually works with partners in Asia, for example, Degica in Japan to ensure some physical units at retailers or EBGames in Australia/New Zealand, China is another place in which they will have to get a partner to enter the region most likely, I think this is a really interesting point of discussion.
 
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