Steam made a surprise announcement this week: The Steam Deck, a handheld gaming device that lets you play your PC games on the go, is now in production and will ship later this year. It’s a move we’ve long heard that Valve was going to make, but actually seeing the new console for the first time shows that the company is taking a big leaf out of Steam’s book.
There have been rumors about the Steam handheld called “Project Neptune” for a while now, and now we can finally see they were true. The Steam Deck is a somewhat Switch-shaped handheld that will cost $399 and will ship out in December. It’s more or less a very small PC, and you can install and play your Steam games on it directly. It can be plugged into a PC and also run other PC-based software. It’ll have a 7” screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution, and a custom AMD APU. It’ll also come with a dock if you want to use it with another display, such as a TV.
Valve claims that the game can run just about any Steam game that a PC can and that all the other features of Steam will be available to use within the Deck. The control layout appears to contain all the buttons and triggers we’ve come to expect, along with a few new buttons, the functions of which are a mystery. There are three versions of the console, with SSD size apparently being the critical differentiating factor, with accompanying price points.
Valve also appears to be making an effort to head the scalpers off at the pass with its reserve policy. You won’t be able to buy the console outright — you have to reserve it through your Steam account. To be eligible for a reservation, your Steam account must be in good standing and you must have purchased the game before June 2021. Additionally, you have to put down a reservation fee, which the company says shows intent to purchase. Valve must be watching the rest of the game’s industry and learning from their mistakes.