Valve’s Steam Deck seems laser-focused at potential buyers for the Nintendo Switch — it shares a similar silhouette and offers similar features, and coincidentally is announced on the same day Switch OLED pre-orders go live — but it claims that it can run any PC game title that gamers have in their Steam libraries. So, how does that work, exactly? The handheld works on SteamOS, a custom Linux OS, and allegedly can run non-gaming software that you’d use on a PC.
Originally rumored under the names of “SteamPal” and “Project Neptune,” the Steam Deck runs Windows games on its Linux OS, thanks to Proton. To quote the software page: “It’s a new version of SteamOS, built with Steam Deck in mind and optimized for a handheld gaming experience. It comes with Proton, a compatibility layer that makes it possible to run your games without any porting work needed from developers.”
As if the Switch parallels weren’t obvious enough, the Deck also comes with a dock — though, unlike the Switch, you have to purchase it separately. The Deck dock allows you to connect to external displays, and while Steam says more info will be coming soon, the device appears to have ports for HSMI, DisplayPort, ethernet, three USB slots, and a USB-C slot. Presumably, we’ll know more about it closer to the device’s launch. At the moment, you can’t reserve the dock.
However, one of the features that will be available on the Deck that’s not available on the Switch is that the Deck can allegedly run the same hardware that can be run on a normal PC. That means that you could potentially install other game stores on the handheld, including (dare I suggest it?) the Epic Games Store or even Xbox Cloud Gaming in a web browser. There’s huge potential here. Reservations open tomorrow, and the console will ship out sometime in December and will cost $399.
Source: Steam Deck