Steam Deck - the portable gaming computer from Valve. Any interest?

I actually think it looks really cool and if the price drops to $299 at some point, it might be a really fun thing to have.

Some features I have ready about from various sources:

  • Plays most PC games
  • Dock will be sold separately if you want to put games up on the TV
  • NOT limited to Steam. Valve says it will do almost anything a PC can do and can run Epic Games and other game clients
  • Can run applications that are not games if you want. “It an do what just about any PC can do” is the general message
  • Not Windows, but Steam OS. I guess it runs all Steam games? And like I said, can run games from other clients like Epic?

Anyway, it looks neat and my kid would get a huge kick out of it.

I’m interested, but with reservations.

So the steam deck apparently runs on a Linux operating system, but others can be installed. Does this mean that all the games I’ve bought for my windows pc will be incompatible out of the box, and I’ll either have to buy Linux versions or change the operating system? Because if that’s the case, I don’t want the hassle.

If not, and my steam library is instantly playable, I’ll strongly consider buying.

Over the last few months I’ve been considering buying a new laptop, because my current one is close to 10 years old and doesn’t have the specs to play some Steam games I’m interested in, like Subnautica. So yeah if this thing can play Steam games right out of the box, I’d definitely be interested.

(Although I probably still need to get a new laptop anyway…)

64GB for the base model seems silly – many games are 50GB or more, just for the game. Otherwise, it looks pretty interesting.

However, they claim it will be able to run games off of SD cards, instantly loading them in. And apparently some SD cards get to at least hard drive read speeds, so maybe that’s doable.

Ah, I didn’t see that part. That’s cool – you could buy a few 256GB cards and load them up, switch them out as needed.

It will be like the old days with the Apple ][, and having all your games on floppy discs.

I’m skeptical about performance, battery life, heat output, and the fact that it can’t be upgraded. They claim it can run modern AAA titles with no problem but I suspect it’ll end up being mainly for retro and indie gaming.

Ports for the Nintendo Switch are designed with its hardware constraints in mind. I doubt developers will start making “steam deck” ports unless Valve starts throwing its weight and/or money around.

I’ll be very interested in the early reviews.

Yes, and with all the shortages it might be wildly out of date before you can get your hands on one.

Also, the position of the D-Pad and ABXY buttons look to be in a really uncomfortable spot.

The market niche for this seems quite narrow. Basically people who need more portability than a gaming laptop, but also aren’t happy to play games on their phone or Nintendo Switch. It can’t be that many people. Few of the PC exclusives are going to work well with that control scheme or screen size.

This was my question. They claim that even Epic Games can be loaded up and install games from there. I believe they are basically saying your games from GOG that have no client or DRM can also just run on it.

It sounds like they think Windows games can run. Period.

My source for it running Epic Games and being able to do “whatever any normal PC can do” is the IGN interview with Valve, but they are updating so much right now, I can’t find it.

So I decided I would throw the $5 at it to secure a preorder today and decide later if I’m actually going to buy one. Preorders opened at 1000PDT. I submitted my preorder for the 256GB version at 1002PDT. No confirmation, nothing at all. Just a stun locked chopping cart like every other online preorder of the last 5 years. I refreshed and tried to do it again but it wouldn’t let me because I “already have a pending transaction”. Well, that was an hour and a half ago. It’s still pending. The “purchase history” in Steam shows me making the purchase at 1002PDT but shows it still pending. I checked my back account and it indeed shows the $5 charge from Steam but I still have no confirmation, email, nothing. Everything still says pending. In the meantime over the last hour scores of people on Reddit have been able to get theirs to go thru and gotten confirmations.

I seriously over this shit.

I don’t love the resolution (800p) but that should give it a shot at reasonable frame rates at least. I also hate the drive sizes, as 64 GB is a joke. Right at this moment I have three titles installed (Halo, GTA V, Hitman GotY) bigger than the entire drive, and two more (Control, Witcher 3) at 50 GB each.

I dig the gen 3 M.2 drive on the 512 GB version, but they all should have M.2s (gen 3 is plenty) and the sizes should really be 250 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB. 250 GB is the smallest realistic starting size.

The SD card slot definitely saves the day. As far as I can tell, they’re much closer to HDD speed than SSD, but I guess HDD speed technically works. (The glorious M.2 speed in the 512 GB steam deck must be nice.)

Checking SD Card prices on amazon, it’s looking like around $22 for 128 GB, $44 for 250 GB, and $90 for 512 GB. That seems workable even if you get the smallest deck, though it does hearken back to the days of installing games on floppies.

I don’t think Steam sells OS-specific versions of games, I think they just sell titles. Whatever OS you happen to be running, as long as Steam supports it, when you download a title you get whatever version runs on your OS.

As a thought experiment, if I set up a second PC to run Linux, and logged in with my steam account, would it show an empty list because I haven’t bought any linux versions of games, or would it show my whole library? Pretty sure it would show the whole library, and if I downloaded any of them it would of course be the linux version. Same deal with the steam deck, I would think.

I think those are the same talking points. I’m reading it as “You can install Windows on it. And if you do, then you can do anything Windows can do, like install Epic Games, etc…”

My read is that you cannot install Epic Games on it unless you install Windows on it.

I wouldn’t assume that. Between Wine and Proton providing a way to run Windows apps and there being unofficial native apps that can download and install games, a lot of Epic store games can run on Linux already. And SteamOS Is just running on top of ArchLinux.

It might take a bit of futzing around, but I expect that you’ll be able to run any game you can run on Linux (either natively or with Wine/Proton).

Here’s hoping the SD cards (and the hardware slot) are in fact fast enough to make the 64GB version viable. That’s the one they seem to be betting on, as they made a bit cheaper than you’d expect based on the differences from the other two versions.

This is the gist. I imagine there will be a pretty big amount of guides to wiping out the Steam OS and installing Windows 10 on the machine. People also want to play pirated games, too.

I think a cool feature is that it is not “locked” into only being Steam OS. It is a computer and it will let you do what you want with it. I think Gabe Newell is simply asking other companies to go forward and make more of these machines.

Option C: It would show the games available to run on Linux, I believe (which certainly isn’t all of them) though I’m not sure how that would work these days with Proton and whether that’s something you’d need to enable. But your main point that buying a title gets you all versions of it is broadly true. There’s a few titles where you need to buy the Mac version separately but, generally, buying a game gets you any OS versions available through Steam.

As for the Steam Deck, I think it’s a neat concept but I only do any gaming from my desktop aside from the rare super-casual mobile title on my tablet if I’m bored in a hotel room. So I’m not the use case for it at all and passed on getting into the waitlists for this one.

I do wish I’d gotten a steam link back when those were a thing. Is there any good device to wirelessly connect my gaming PC to my television?

The Nvidia Shield Pro is pretty great if you have an Nvidia card.

Mine is a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650. Does that work?

Pretty sure something that recent is fine. The Shield TV Pro came out in 2019 as did the GTX 1650.