One year ago this week, Valve released the Steam Deck, a Linux-based portable PC that can play tons of games from Steam’s vast library. Since then, the Steam Deck has seen a bunch of software improvements, including adding support for Windows 11, and it’s become a big sales hit for Valve. However, if you thought that the company was going to turn around and launch a successor in a year or two, you may be disappointed.
In a chat with Rock Paper Shotgun, Valve designer Lawrence Yang admits that the success of the Steam Deck “has made us even more excited to look closely at what can be improved”. Having said that, Vang added, “a true next-gen Deck with a significant bump in horsepower wouldn’t be for a few years.”
The interview with Vang and engineer Pierre-Loup Griffais is pretty far-ranging on the current Steam Deck. One thing that has surprised Valve is how many owners use the Steam Deck as their primary way to play games on Steam. Vang stated:
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.
Over 7,000 games on Steam have been labeled as either “playable” (you might need to make some settings adjustments) or “verified” (completely playable with no issues) with the Steam Deck. However, a few recent PC games, including Returnal, can’t be played on the portable device due to hardware constraints. However, Griffais thinks the Steam Deck could hold its own for a while if developers put in some work:
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.
It will be interesting to see if those developers do try to put in some extra effort to get higher end PC games running on the Steam Deck, considering how well the device has sold for Valve.
Source: Rock Paper Shotgun