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

eonden

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I think they arent really losing money in total, but they are benefiting from economies of scale (they are probably buying like x5-x10 the number of APUs than the Aya is all at once) and the ability of not having to profit from teh consoles allows them to price it more aggresively. For a product like this, Aya would probably have a sizeable profit margin (due to the kind of high risk involvement on it) so all combined allows Valve to severely underprice the competitors.
 

C-Dub

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I agree with some of those (especially OLED!), but I don't really think the size is necessarily a compromise. I think it's close to the smallest possible size to get all the controls it has on it and still make something you can hold and play on for hours. The ergonomics wouldn't work if it was smaller.

Of course, from that perspective you could argue that putting this many different controls on it is in itself a compromise, though I'd classify it more as a design decision which is a result of the primary goal of making as many existing PC games playable on it as possible.
Yes, I see that point entirely. You are taking a design/size compromise to ensure better controls in older games.

I guess you will see compromises where a device doesn’t do what you want. I think my needs are a bit more niche than most Steam Deck customers, and that in itself is a niche device so maybe I am seeing compromises in what I’d like versus what most people find acceptable.
 
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C-Dub

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More storage, a better screen, smaller unit size and as we’ve discussed before better compatibility with games from non-Steam sources like GOG with a UI that unifies different sources and emulators (though I believe I read last month that Valve has alluded to them improving the non-Steam game functionality in the Steam client, so this could be a moot point by time the Deck releases).

I think if you’re entrenched in Steam’s ecosystem the Deck’s default state is going to be great. Yeah it could do with more storage, but in reality it’ll be fine with a bit of fridge cleaning.

And the OLED screen is almost guaranteed for a future version of the device.

But as soon as you have other use cases you’re going to start hitting more walls and potentially making your own compromises and sacrifices to use the Deck how you want to. That may include installing Windows over Linux, or as Valve warned against, opening up the device (and diminishing its drop resistance) to change the SSD.

But I guess that sort of thing can be a strength depending on how you look at it. Valve has often talked about a “turnkey” solution and this is the closest they’ve come to it so far.

I also think some of my criticisms are also things you can level at Steam writ large, not just the Deck.
 
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kio

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C-Dub out of curiosity, would you want a powerful future proof powerful PC that would cost 1k+? What would be it's use case then, why not just buy a laptop or save a bit more for a top performing desktop?
Of course we all would love to get a bit more power or a bit more storage but for the price and the form factor it's hard to reasonably expect better than what we're getting.
 

Minsc

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I think the thing the Steam Deck will have as its biggest advantage is the flexibility of the OS and variety of controls methods you can use in a game from a single device. I don't think there's a handheld on the market that even comes remotely close to it in those areas. I also believe in the eventual future Steam OS >>>>> Windows for gaming too, and I already like Windows better than any console ever made for gaming as far as the OS goes (though there's a few shortcomings to Windows - like lack of quick resume etc).

Plenty of gaming devices do OLED equivalent - many phones and tablets anyway lol. My current phone is OLED, and the new iPad Pro features the XDR display that rivals OLED i think, given it's got HDR+ built in. I think these shortcomings are very minor for a first round too, future Steam Decks should bring a lot of improvements on these features and shortcomings.
 
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eonden

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When thinking about sales numbers of units for Win and AYA, think 5 digit range in total. Steam Deck will outsell total sold of entire Win series and Neo on day 1.
Ye, I would also expect that Aya new buys their APUs in smaller batches too to minimize the danger of the product floping (so maybe if they end up selling 30k, they buy 3 times 10k just in case they dont fully sell the first batches).
Meanwhile, Valve probably ordered a long term deal with AMD with 1M+ APUs (and might even have a further contract with future generation APU for the Deckard / Deck 2). In terms of electronics, economies of scale decrease the price a fuck ton.
 

Amzin

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More storage, a better screen, smaller unit size and as we’ve discussed before better compatibility with games from non-Steam sources like GOG with a UI that unifies different sources and emulators (though I believe I read last month that Valve has alluded to them improving the non-Steam game functionality in the Steam client, so this could be a moot point by time the Deck releases).

I think if you’re entrenched in Steam’s ecosystem the Deck’s default state is going to be great. Yeah it could do with more storage, but in reality it’ll be fine with a bit of fridge cleaning.

And the OLED screen is almost guaranteed for a future version of the device.

But as soon as you have other use cases you’re going to start hitting more walls and potentially making your own compromises and sacrifices to use the Deck how you want to. That may include installing Windows over Linux, or as Valve warned against, opening up the device (and diminishing its drop resistance) to change the SSD.

But I guess that sort of thing can be a strength depending on how you look at it. Valve has often talked about a “turnkey” solution and this is the closest they’ve come to it so far.

I also think some of my criticisms are also things you can level at Steam writ large, not just the Deck.
I went for the biggest storage option and I'm not sure I'll ever fill it up, but mainly because I have no intention of using the deck as a catch all gaming device - it's my PC-handheld, I'll play games that are very ideal in that form factor. I'll leave Hitman and its' 150GB installed on my normal PC. For people that don't have a PC they game on, the "small" deck is probably a really bad investment, but the bigger ones should be as manageable or better than Switch or even phones.

Better screen I can agree with, it's definitely my only real criticism. Size I disagree with entirely, it's more or less perfect size for me (and the controls). To me it sounds like really, you want more of a Windows device anyway? Like sure it'd be nice if the deck was the one thing perfect for everyone but that's clearly not the goal, and in Valve fashion they are still allowing people to repurpose it anyway which is more than can be said for almost every other company in existence. Most of the non-Steam games I'd be interested in are in my itch or Twitch accounts and those aren't exactly high profile clients to make work somehow.

My single biggest fear for the deck doesn't have anything to do with the hardware - it is that they just don't support the software well enough - it's still under revision so updates keep coming but once it's out in the wild is the real test. Big Picture Mode was pretty much sent out to die years ago and still lacks fundamental functionality that you have to work around (like browsing the actual list of guides for a game, or it booting itself back up when you power off a controller when Steam is in focus, etc.)
 

Alexandros

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My single biggest fear for the deck doesn't have anything to do with the hardware - it is that they just don't support the software well enough - it's still under revision so updates keep coming but once it's out in the wild is the real test. Big Picture Mode was pretty much sent out to die years ago and still lacks fundamental functionality that you have to work around (like browsing the actual list of guides for a game, or it booting itself back up when you power off a controller when Steam is in focus, etc.)
I really don't think there's anything to worry about on that front. I believe that devices like Steam Deck and the ecosystem that supports them is a crucial part, maybe the most crucial part of Valve's business going forward.
 
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undu

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I don't believe releasing a steam deck with OLED is such a good idea from Valve's point of view.

Full Linux support for HDR is still a year+ away. Once it's rolled out and tested on the desktop it makes sense to release a Deck with HDR capabilities. Having HDR on a steam deck only when using windows would look really bad on them.

To understand why it's quite far away, the kernel support HDR, but no desktop environment supports it. Not only that, but of the underlying display protocols available, one is too antique and won't get support for it, and the work for the other one is still on the design phase. The vulkan and opengl drivers need to be changed as well and on top of this, Proton needs to be adapted as well.
 

Li Kao

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I don't believe releasing a steam deck with OLED is such a good idea from Valve's point of view.

Full Linux support for HDR is still a year+ away. Once it's rolled out and tested on the desktop it makes sense to release a Deck with HDR capabilities. Having HDR on a steam deck only when using windows would look really bad on them.

To understand why it's quite far away, the kernel support HDR, but no desktop environment supports it. Not only that, but of the underlying display protocols available, one is too antique and won't get support for it, and the work for the other one is still on the design phase. The vulkan and opengl drivers need to be changed as well and on top of this, Proton needs to be adapted as well.
Uh, forgive me for saying so, as I'm really not that versed into tech, but I would guess people want OLED most, HDR less so. I mean HDR is still a shitshow on windows, and I'm not sure what this kind of tech would do to the poor battery (maybe nothing). I would guess people want thoseeee blacksssss. I'm personally lucky to not being bothered by grey blacks on non-OLED. I would evidently vastly prefer to have a top of the line screen, though. But then again I don't really want to live in fear of burning my handheld, so...
 
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meschio94

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Uh, forgive me for saying so, as I'm really not that versed into tech, but I would guess people want OLED most, HDR less so. I mean HDR is still a shitshow on windows, and I'm not sure what this kind of tech would do to the poor battery (maybe nothing). I would guess people want thoseeee blacksssss. I'm personally lucky to not being bothered by grey blacks on non-OLED. I would evidently vastly prefer to have a top of the line screen, though. But then again I don't really want to live in fear of burning my handheld, so...
HDR is not supported in linux kernel nor in any linux distro, and they started to working on it two (fedora) months ago.

I don't think we will see HDR on linux before two years at least
 
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Phawx

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My single biggest fear for the deck doesn't have anything to do with the hardware - it is that they just don't support the software well enough - it's still under revision so updates keep coming but once it's out in the wild is the real test. Big Picture Mode was pretty much sent out to die years ago and still lacks fundamental functionality that you have to work around (like browsing the actual list of guides for a game, or it booting itself back up when you power off a controller when Steam is in focus, etc.)
An old version of SteamOS 3.0 is pretty fuggin good. It's blurred the line enough that it's easily the most consolified PC I've ever used. It's more than just a frontend and while I agree that they can help on the backend as much as they want there will still be corner cases where the illusion of it being a console falls apart, for the most part, it's excellent. And this is coming from me where I've only used it on a device that doesn't have SteamPads or Gyros to alleviate some of those corner cases.
 

Amzin

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I really don't think there's anything to worry about on that front. I believe that devices like Steam Deck and the ecosystem that supports them is a crucial part, maybe the most crucial part of Valve's business going forward.
An old version of SteamOS 3.0 is pretty fuggin good. It's blurred the line enough that it's easily the most consolified PC I've ever used. It's more than just a frontend and while I agree that they can help on the backend as much as they want there will still be corner cases where the illusion of it being a console falls apart, for the most part, it's excellent. And this is coming from me where I've only used it on a device that doesn't have SteamPads or Gyros to alleviate some of those corner cases.
Yea, I know current-state is pretty solid and by all appearances dedicated support is there... but, it is Valve. Randomly not updating stuff for forever is one of their biggest reoccurring issues (I mean, the Steam store itself was extremely behind the times until recently even if it was the best "game store" out there).

And even then, most of the issues I have (like with current BPM) can be worked around, it's just annoying and shouldn't be necessary.
 

MomoVideo

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Speaking of Aya

The design doesn't look good to me, it reminds me of those cheap Chinese handheld clones, but I'm sure it's better to hold than the previous version thanks to the handles. Fingerprint that needs swiping with a high rate of failed reads? Oof.
 

C-Dub

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Speaking of Aya

The design doesn't look good to me, it reminds me of those cheap Chinese handheld clones, but I'm sure it's better to hold than the previous version thanks to the handles. Fingerprint that needs swiping with a high rate of failed reads? Oof.
Yeah, this doesn't look amazing. I actually think the system looks okay - I'm not mad about the design of the one Phawx got, but some of the other colours look fine.

But if you're going to charge over $1000 for a handheld PC, it needs to do something exceptional to justify the higher price, and I don't think this is it. At this point, if you've got a Steam Deck pre-order for this year, might as well stick with that.

I'm not a fan of the Deck's small storage (I could only get a 256gb model) or its size, but I don't think 1-2TB of storage, better portability but with (probably) less performance is really compelling. And by time this ships (March) I will probably be near the front of the queue for the Deck.

A shame, as I'm really keen to see a good alternative to the Steam Deck and I'd be willing to pay extra for something that doesn't have the Deck's shortcomings.
 

Minsc

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Can't you just upgrade the Deck's storage - either internally or externally? I got the 512GB one, so it's more than I'll really need, but future models probably will do larger capacities. Sometimes it's nice to have a lower option if someone really just wants retro games or indie stuff too.

I also feel every other handheld will have the shortcoming of not having Steam OS, so that's a big drawback for me to buying another device (and even if you load it yourself, I doubt it would run as nicely as on the Deck - between lacking control options and hardware not being optimized as much as on the Deck).
 

Knurek

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It has an SD card slot, and all the footage you saw so far was games running off of SD cards.
 

Phawx

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I've heard rumblings of a device targeting SteamOS and they want to make it small (like fit in your pockets small) and targetting $200-300. The price would reflect and performance from I've seen and tested against, it's similar-ish to Win2 perf.

Nothing has been started as of yet.
 
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Minsc

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That sounds cool, probably a bit even more niche, but better suited to emulation - less suited to indie and PC games.
 

MomoVideo

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Saw this image on Reddit. Apparently some random YouTuber uploaded it to Twitter. The different "select" button above dpad and lack of developer's ID in bottom left corner of the screen would suggest it is a retail unit. Maybe Valve already sent some units for review? Just a speculation.

 

Le Pertti

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That's a lot of deck.

Speaking of, I wonder how easy it would be to use the deck for streaming. Sure I have a capture card so I'll just plug it in, but I wonder if it could be done internally, like just connecting a mic and webcam and go.
 

Durante

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Saw this image on Reddit. Apparently some random YouTuber uploaded it to Twitter. The different "select" button above dpad and lack of developer's ID in bottom left corner of the screen would suggest it is a retail unit. Maybe Valve already sent some units for review? Just a speculation.
Could also just be the second batch of dev units. That said, what developer ID do you mean? I don't remember anything like that (but maybe I just don't remember :p).

The unit has an ID of course, but that's only visible in the settings screen IIRC.
 

madjoki

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I assume "devkit - not final" text? (seen on leaked build)

I think xpaw just added his name manually next to it.


 

Mivey

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HDR is not supported in linux kernel nor in any linux distro, and they started to working on it two (fedora) months ago.

I don't think we will see HDR on linux before two years at least
If a Deck successor goes for an OLED screen, I could see Valve actively helping with getting a good HDR implementation into the Linux kernel.
 

MomoVideo

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That said, what developer ID do you mean? I don't remember anything like that (but maybe I just don't remember :p).
Hmmm, I might be misremembering things, but I thought that at one point Valve changed the "Devkit - hardware and software not final" sign to Developer's ID to identify the person if he was to publish any unallowed footage. I think I saw that in some footage but now I question my memory.
 

Li Kao

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The deck might be a bigger deal than I was expecting.
It’s half of the excitement, or let’s say the part of the hype that remains after you have determined if you want one or not. I mean I dreamed of playing my Steam games on a Switch-like device for years, even before the Switch (Vita ?), so it’s quite literally a dream come true.
Then I determined that my most probable use case was emulation and VN. Because it has been a few years now that I felt that old 16 bits games were still good looking but don’t need a fucking 30’’ screen, and the portability of an handheld may help me finish a VN.
But the exciting part remains that the thing has potential to alter the status quo. Help linux grows ? Be considered when new games dev begin ? Help Steam grow in Asia ? There are all sorts of unknown results it could have.

Now I’m a pessimist, so I remain in the camp of it won’t change shit, but I want to be proven wrong. It has potential, which, in itself, is wonderful.
 
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C-Dub

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The deck might be a bigger deal than I was expecting.
I think the second iteration is where it takes off if it’s a product people want.

If Valve can prove the concept they can justify making more and releasing them to market. There’s scope for mini-PC type devices too. These APUs plugged into a wall socket and adequately cooled are no slouches.

Its price and form factor has huge potential in Japan where Nintendo pretty much dominates. Japanese developers are already embracing PC better than ever, but a device with the form factor that appeals to that country could be a big deal not just for the few established Japanese developers still holding out on PC, but also in bringing indies into Steam.

The only sticking point in my mind is Japanese gamers’ preference for physical games. Though I have no idea how strong digital in Japan is these days.
 

beep boop

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[snip reddit post]

After Q2 really isn't that far away, but it sure feels like it.
Note: Mark, the guy talking about Deck, doesn't mean 8-4 when he refers the studio he's working at testing Deck. He's former 8-4 but now works for Enhance Games, i.e. the publisher behind Rez, Tetris Effect, Lumines, etc. So when he says their games work great on it, that's those games I'm guessing. I'll be really stoked to try out Tetris Effect. I bet they can pull off some fun tricks with the haptics if they choose to.

I think he's absolutely right about Deck being a great opportunity for Valve and wider PC gaming to make further inroads in Japan. It picking up a growing niche audience there could be a great stepping stone for more and more growth in that market and have that snowball further. Really hope Valve doesn't drop the ball. Japan may not be as important a market pure sales numbers wise, but that's where a ton of the best games are being made.
 
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C-Dub

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If I worked at Valve, I'd get in touch with Capcom and show Monster Hunter Rise being played on it. I don't think that would make a gigantic difference, I just want to see MHR footage on the Deck.
I bet showing MH World running on it would get a lot of attention in Japan, since that game isn't already on Switch.
 

Minsc

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Would be nice, but I think the cap on the device is in the 1-2 million range, all the numbers I've seen I think put it towards a few hundred thousand launch period, perhaps a few million lifetime sales, not 100+ million. But who knows.
 
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Mivey

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The Japanese are famous for their preference for smaller devices.
I think the Deck looks too big and heavy to really attract a mass audience quickly. I'd expect a very slow buildup through word of mouth. And that's on top of the question when Valve will even be able to distribute the device properly world wide and whether they would be able to market it effectively.

I agree that the Deck (and any future versions of it) has huge potential, but I don't expect it to rock the world in its first couple of years, regardless of how good the experience is.
 
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beep boop

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I’m guessing Valve might be operating on relatively slim margins so for the first period at least they’ll continue to sell via Steam. If/when production costs to down, they could scale up by partnering with other stores, which would allow them to reach a wider audience. I don’t think that’s in the books any time soon though.
 

Paul

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Would be nice, but I think the cap on the device is in the 1-2 million range, all the numbers I've seen I think put it towards a few hundred thousand launch period, perhaps a few million lifetime sales, not 100+ million. But who knows.
I expect it will be at single digit million(s) as long as Valve sells only on Steam and doesn't market in mainstream.
If they ever sell Steam Deck via retail and do a mainstream marketing campaign, then I would expect it to move into double digit millions, if it is good and word of mouth is good. Remains to be seen if they can even get them manufactured in larger number though.
 
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A shame, as I'm really keen to see a good alternative to the Steam Deck and I'd be willing to pay extra for something that doesn't have the Deck's shortcomings.
tbh as someone who is on his second GPD Device and who watches the "hanheld PC scene" for years now ... be it aya or gpd win these devices has their own shares of shortcomings (tbh i would only recommend them to certain kind of people) , especially considering their prices

But i guess looking at related youtubes ... we are now in Aya Neo Next "market rush phase" :upside-down-face:
 
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Durante

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Hmmm, I might be misremembering things, but I thought that at one point Valve changed the "Devkit - hardware and software not final" sign to Developer's ID to identify the person if he was to publish any unallowed footage. I think I saw that in some footage but now I question my memory.
FWIW you were completely right -- the dev units do show an ID in the bottom left. I just forgot about it somewhow.
 
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Durante

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It's a new one (according to the "select" button glyph). I really want to know to what extent the "B" button is improved on those. It's basically the only HW flaw of my early dev unit that I noticed.
 

Li Kao

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It's a new one (according to the "select" button glyph). I really want to know to what extent the "B" button is improved on those. It's basically the only HW flaw of my early dev unit that I noticed.
Care to develop ? I thought the B button thing was mostly an aesthetic thing, but you seem to allude to a more serious issue.