Steam Deck: Valve went and made a Linux handheld gaming system

Sample size of one: yes, we do :slight_smile:
Nonstandard aspect ratios as well, especially ultrawide, but also narrower than “normal”.


I feel like the potential audience for the Steam Deck hits four potential categories:

  1. PC-dominant people (people who play only/primarily PC games)
  2. PC-affiliate people (people who play some PC games but it’s not necessarily their primary form of gaming)
  3. PC-curious non-PC players (console players who are for various reasons not PC players)
  4. hardware people who like to goof around with Linux distros

I agree with you that Valve makes the lion’s share of its money from Category 1. I feel like the Steam Deck is aimed at Categories 2 and 3. I think the question on the table is whether or not that’s enough money to make it viable. If it’s the case that your Steam library as it is just kinda runs over there and Valve’s at least breaking even on the hardware? Heck yeah. If getting games to run on the Steam Deck is more than like “recompiling with some new settings,” it’ll collapse faster than Google Stadia.


A use case I haven’t heard anyone mention yet is MMOs: they are usually designed to run on lower end machines, have good controller support, often have a big PC modding scene, bad don’t run on the Switch. You probably wouldn’t want to use it for difficult stuff like raids, but you could do dailies while traveling or in bed.

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2 is exactly where I’m at. I am primarily an Xbox Series X user but have a pretty good gaming PC in the living room for weird Steam curiosities, occasional Sony exclusives that cross over, and indies that don’t reach the Xbox.

This is kinda why my interest in the Steam Deck is piqued - a way to do those things on the go and also a robust in-home handheld streaming platform from the PC.

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I am also Cat 2. I rotate between my PS5/XSX/Switch with a solid gaming PC but the fiddliness of PC gaming (and some wrist problems) have largely kept me to consoles. A “console” that can play my languishing PC library though? One I could theoretically take with me? And play all of the indie games? My Switch would basically go back to being the Nintendo Box.


I think I’m in a category of people who play both PC and console games, but most of what I play on PC either does not have controller support or is still largely better with mouse+keyboard. Startegy games, little itchio games, shooters, isometric RPGs, etc. So it’s definitely a device I find interesting, but I can’t quite think of what I’d use it for.

But I do wonder if, after Sony tried to pull the plug on the Vita store, this might have a market with the people left behind by Sony abandoning handheld.


Yeah, your point about M&K games is the other big question I have beyond the compatibility. If you get full compatibility, the Steam Deck becomes a killer indie game player. If M&K games work well on it, you get something really interesting.

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I will say that the one niche the Steam Controller really hit for me was in strategy games, specifically turn-based ones. I played a fair bit of XCOM2 with my Steam Controller, and the touchpad really worked well for that game.

The place where the Steam Controller fell very short, IMO, was ironically in trying to play games with native controller support. The face buttons were in an awkward position, and camera controls only worked well in games that allowed using the trackpad as a mouse rather than trying to emulate an analog stick with it. And the left trackpad was obviously a terrible substitute for an actual d-pad in games that want to be played on a d-pad.

To the Steam Deck’s credit, it addressed all of those problems, though I’m skeptical about the ergonomics with everything being packed in so close together. It’s impossible to really know how well that control layout will work without holding the thing for yourself, though.


I think things like the Steam Link and the Steam Controller totally had audiences and had benefits, and in their own right were perhaps successful, but they evidently weren’t sustainably producible. I think the same thing will happen here. I think in a couple of years’ time, as machines get lighter, cheaper, more efficient, this kind of product would be much more appealing. My point here is more about the fact that ValvE’s attempts to break into the hardware market are hampered by their locus within the industry. These days, they’re a distributor, a software developer, and a game studio, in that order. They would have to make some dramatic changes both in their internal structure and their brand image to etch out a hole in the hardware market permanently. They’re working on it, but it’s had mixed results.


Can’t wait to not know why slay the spire is not running smoothly for a minute just to remember that I forgot to ‘docker-compose down’.

This is actually a very great thing :smiley:

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I think they will have good mouse and keyboard support. The other consoles have plug-in-and-play KB+M support, it’s just a matter of the games and software supporting them. Which we know Steam games support KB+M.

Even the switch supports a Logitech Unifying Receiver.