Introducing the Steam Deck: Valve Enters Handheld Console Arena

Valve announced its entry in the handheld console race July 15 when it unveiled the Steam Deck.

The new mobile system boasts an 800p, seven-inch screen, comparable only to the OLED version of the Nintendo Switch and beating its other two models — though the differences go farther than just the display. Comparisons to the Switch may seem inevitable, but it’s clear that Valve has its eyes set on a different kind of market.

Storage might be the most blatant difference since the Steam Deck has versions available with 64, 256 and 512 GB, and an IGN article confirmed that SSDs can be manually swapped out on Valve’s system. Despite a Valve hardware engineer telling IGN that the focus was on repairability, he didn’t rule out the possibility of adding extra memory to the portable console.

The Steam Deck will also have a wider variety of games available when it ships due to the fact that players will be able to access their full Steam library from the system. And — because of the heftier load expected to be carried by the Steam Deck — its processing power was upped accordingly. 

The new console also allows players to take 16GB of RAM — four times that of the Switch — on the road. However, players may still have to knock down graphics settings in-game to achieve 30fps gameplay on more intense games. This is closer to its Nintendo rival, which also offers 30fps on-the-go.

The Steam Deck is now available to pre-order with a $5 down payment going toward the $399, $529 and $649 models. The first shipments are set to go out this December. 

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