Valve’s Steam Deck Is the Anti-Switch, a Handheld That Actually Trusts You

On Tuesday, my daughter was in dance class. COVID restrictions meant I couldn’t watch, so I found myself with an hour to kill, while the sound of 7-year-olds poorly shooting basketballs squeaked around me. Luckily, I had a Steam Deck, Valve’s new portable handheld that’s basically a mini computer, inside my backpack. I wanted to try a demo of Neon White, the horny shooter-slash-visual novel from the designer of Donut County, and so I hopped on park district Wi-Fi, gobbled 2GB (hoping the IT person wouldn’t notice), and spent an hour playing a game that’s most likely gonna be one of my favorites later this year.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bvnpmq/valves-steam-deck-is-the-anti-switch-a-handheld-that-actually-trusts-you
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No one will ever own you as hard as your kids.

This is all great. Now let me buy one, Valve!

As a sucker for handhelds, I’m happy to hear this thing sounds like it mostly lives up to the hype. Better battery is always a dream of mine, but I think I can manage (and get by with a portable charger or something).

10 years to the week after the international launch of the PS Vita and a week shy of 5 years since the Switch’s launch, I’m glad handhelds are still going strong. Hopefully it does well enough that we see another iteration or more excitement for handhelds in general. (but also I wouldn’t mind if a few of the Q1 window folks let their orders lapse, so I can get mine a little faster, selfish I know :relieved:)

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Just bought a Vita and 3DS to mess around with hacking, so I’m gonna wait a few years on this one, but the emulation possibilities are pretty cool. Yes, I would like to run Gamecube games on a portable (glares at Nintendo). A second edition of this that’s a bit smaller would really be up my alley.

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Steam Deck is the anti-Switch, the opposite of Nintendo’s locked down fortress.

This reads very funny to me because I am currently trying to set up a complicated Rube Goldberg contraption to entangle my Switch with my PC so I can play Switch games via voice, all because there is a Japanese game coming out in May I really want to play, but which is region locked on Steam. From what I’ve read Steam recently made it harder to bypass their region lock to shutdown people using VPNs to buy games cheaper but Nintendo seems to not really care any more if you just make a new account tied to a different region. (that being said if anyone knows better … uh message me? uncertain if discussing stuff like that falls afoul of the rules)

Like I know Nintendo’s eshop has issues, but this piece is weirdly generous to Steam and Valve.

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Patrick is a dad with two kids, a mortgage, and a movie projector. He is bound by law and honor to be inexplicably excited about gizmos and gadgets.

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On the podcast, Patrick suggests that anyone who wants a smoother, more Switch-like experience might want to wait for a version two of the Steam Deck. I would recommend against that, if only because Valve is never, ever going to make a version two. It’s just not what they do.

To be clear, that’s not a snarky “can’t count to three” joke. I’m just saying that their hardware experiments don’t get version twos. Valve releases them to push other people to make new hardware on the same principles, not because they intend to iterate on the concept themselves.

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part of my growing desire to grab one of these now is that I know these are going to go the way of every piece of Valve tech — everyone who has one loves it and it gets discontinued in less than three years*

edit: well the steam controller was out for four years, so maybe that’s too stingy

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Honestly, the thing Patrick’s describing here is almost exactly the scenario I had in mind when I first learned this was going to be A Thing: fancy new indie game that hasn’t come to Switch yet but runs on this Smaller Computer

Whoa surprise Jake Rodkin appearance!

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I wonder if I’ll end up eating my hat on this. I initially said I think this will flop, which I still essentially stand by, but I am surprised at how many people seem to be into this thing. I don’t expect it to be a knockout, but it could be a foot in the door for a second, more affordable, and efficient system.

The pitch is incredible, the question has always been how well it delivers on actually being a portable handheld that plays your entire Steam library. Sounds like it delivers very well on performance and the ergonomics are better than expected, but the battery life in particular is not great. I still don’t see this being something you can pull out on a commute, so if it can’t survive a long plane flight that reduces its value as anything other than a couch handheld.

I mean, to be fair, my Switch is mainly a couch handheld these days as well, but I like knowing that I could take it on a long plane flight whenever I start doing those again.

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I guess I should mention, the thing that really draws me to the Steam Deck (other than simply being a handheld) is the simple fact that currently, I don’t do a lot of PC gaming. I don’t have a desktop PC nor particularly have a desire to own one–I’ve started to become one of those people who, as I’ve increasingly worked from home over the past couple of years, is kind of put off by the idea of gaming in the same space as my work–and while I do have a semi-competent laptop that can run some games with not-to-taxing requirements, I don’t often use it as such. However, I’m constantly hearing about exciting new games, especially indies, that can only be played on PC, and I frequently tell myself I’ll pick it up. In reality, less frequently do I actually buy it, and still even less frequently, do I put any kind of real time into it. I’m fairly confident that if I had a dedicated gaming device that could play these games, and one that’s fairly portable to boot, I’d be way more likely to actually do so.

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This is me as well. I have a pretty good PC (getting a bit older but still plenty serviceable), but I have such a hard time bringing myself to sit down and game at the desk where I do all my online work and classes. The last time I used my PC for any kind of extended gaming was I think last summer, when I played through an XCOM campaign. Before that, I don’t even remember. Streaming to my TV is possible but a bit awkward and laggy because my internet isn’t the greatest, and there’s just a lot of games I’d really enjoy playing on a Steam Deck instead.

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I don’t think I’m the target audience at all seeing as I already largely only play PC games and I don’t really do a lot of traveling BUT it’s cyber deck looking, has a touchscreen, is beefier then a tablet, and it’s running Arch is very appealing. I can not wait to see what creative nongame things people do with it.

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This is almost me exactly, although my PC can handle most modern stuff. Basically what I want is A Switch That Has Those Other Indie Games Not Yet On Switch and it sounds like the Steam Deck is basically that.

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As someone with essential tremor (aka shaky hand syndrome), I am definitely curious to hear whether this device proves to be helpful to other people with similar/related movement disorders. For me, I’ve had some frustration with trying to play PC games that are built to use mice and keyboard. Because of my hand spasms, I basically only play games for any real length of time that run on Switch and handheld devices or are geared for controllers. I know I’m missing out on some great games because of this. The first time I heard about the Steam Deck, I got excited about the possibilities, so I’m curious to see how this device develops and what the response to the Steam Deck will be like from other people with movement disorders.

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Did anybody here actually score a Steam Deck? I’m wondering what’s in the box or if I’m going to need a carrying case like I have for my Switch

I’m in the Q2 wave, so haven’t received mine yet, but all models of Steam Deck do come with a carrying case

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I am also in the Q2 wave; I am just impatient

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