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Well well, perhaps we finally know what the end game is here for the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer and a lot of the other work Valve has been doing for Linux with a possible handheld Steam console. Take this with a heavy pinch of salt as we're into super speculation territory now. UPDATES WILL BE POSTED AT THE BOTTOM.

Pavel Djundik, creator of SteamDB who has often dug up interesting new strings showing up in Steam updates has a new Twitter thread up going over some new appearances that raise some eyebrows.

New appearances are seen mentioning a "Neptune" controller along with things like "GameList_View_NeptuneGames", "SteamPal Games" and more curious entries that mention things like quick access and a power menu - all of which point to something quite a bit more than just a new controller. Not only that, there's also earlier mentions of a "Callisto Developer Program" and "Device Optimized Games" going by what Djundik found.

Recently, Valve's Gabe Newell spoke at Sancta Maria College in Auckland, New Zealand that was highlighted in a since deleted Reddit posts (but you can find the video on the likes of YouTube) where Newell was asked about Steam on consoles to which Newell replied "You’ll get a better idea of that by the end of this year". Initially, we thought that might mean the likes of Half-Life: Alyx on PlayStation VR 2 but now we're not so sure going by this new set of leaks.

It would make sense for such a device to be powered by Linux, so Valve has no licensing fees to deal with and can heavily customize it to their needs. It could easily leverage all the work Valve has put into Linux graphics drivers, Steam Play, perhaps Gamescope and much more that Valve has done for Linux. Perhaps their work on sorting out "new ways for prospective users to get into Linux gaming" and the "live USB media" that we mentioned here were all efforts towards this in some way? Would be a given for it to use an AMD GPU of some kind, considering Valve's investments into the open source Mesa drivers too.

Imagine if "Device Optimized Games" were those specifically ported to Linux to work with this device, that would also work well across desktop Linux with the Steam Linux Runtime dealing with any possibly library incompatibilities. Oh the possibilities. Throw in the idea I recently brought up of a Steam Game Pass…quite exciting.

Then again, it could end up just being a Steam Controller 2 and these optimized games are just setup for it ready. I would be happy with that anyway, not quite as happy as a full Linux-powered handheld Steam console but I do love the Steam Controller. Possibly even something standalone for future VR kits and of course possibly nothing as some leaks turn out. However, with the hints mentioning an "AirplaneMode", that would only be useful for a full handheld.

Bundle a new Valve game with it like they did with the Valve Index and Half-Life: Alyx and you could get plenty of sales.

What are you thoughts on all this?

UPDATE: the website Ars Technica has reportedly spoken to "sources familiar with the matter" who have confirmed it's real and will be Linux-powered. It may even launch by the end of this year. We've reached out to Valve Press to see if they have anything to say about it for us.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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BielFPs 25 May
Since I already said some of my thoughts in another similar topic, I would only suggest two things if I could:

1 - Use of ssd nvme m.2 as storage disk (no sd cards or internal static memory)

2 - Use of arm architeture, so developers would need to recompile (and test) their games before selling and customers would have a clear distinction of which game they can run (not counting streaming) on it, instead of complaint that their cyberbattlefieldofdutybattlegroundsredemptionV doesn't work as it works on their PCs.

offtopic
Spoiler, click me
I hate how similar are tough, though, thought, through, thorough and throughout. It's one of the few difficulties of english
Julius 25 May
Quoting: BielFPsSince I already said some of my thoughts in another similar topic, I would only suggest two things if I could:

1 - Use of ssd nvme m.2 as storage disk (no sd cards or internal static memory)

2 - Use of arm architeture, so developers would need to recompile (and test) their games before selling and customers would have a clear distinction of which game they can run (not counting streaming) on it, instead of complaint that their cyberbattlefieldofdutybattlegroundsredemptionV doesn't work as it works on their PCs.

offtopic
Spoiler, click me
I hate how similar are tough, though, thought, through, thorough and throughout. It's one of the few difficulties of english

I agree on the first one, and that was for example done in the GPDWin2 AFAIK.

The second one would be the death sentence for this. Steam users expect to use their existing library. It running Linux will be bad enough from that perspective (but doable with Proton), but ARM would be a total non-starter. Your argument makes a bit of sense, but I think under those circumstances (i.e. much much smaller usable game library) people will stick to existing handhelds like the Switch.


Last edited by Julius on 25 May 2021 at 2:46 pm UTC
minkiu 25 May
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Quoting: rustybroomhandleProcessing Vulkan Shaders

zzz

I though this only happened to me cause of my shitty rig heh Good thing is you can set it to happen on the background.

Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: TheSHEEEPOn the other hand, I don't really know if there is a market for such a handheld.
Well, thinking on it, look at how popular other handhelds like GPD Win has been and the excitement around things like the Alienware Concept UFO prototype and others. There's probably a good market for it, probably more so than VR I would say honestly.

If they were to tie it with a Steam Cloud Play (or whatever the Cloud streaming is named) it could work pretty nicely.


Last edited by minkiu on 25 May 2021 at 2:59 pm UTC
Beamboom 25 May
As long as Valve make the full product and not just throw out an idea for other manufactorers to act upon (like with the Steam Machine), then colour me interested! Their other hardware thus far is really excellent (I have the Index and Controller).


Last edited by Beamboom on 26 May 2021 at 8:05 am UTC
BielFPs 25 May
Quoting: JuliusSteam users expect to use their existing library. It running Linux will be bad enough from that perspective

I agree with you, but you have to think that if the first impression the customer has is "my game can't run of this because reasons" then this project is already a flop.

I suggested arm because games would need to be "treated" before being available and arm processor are better (and cheaper?) for mobile devices than x86/64 processor.

Despite marketing reasons, Steam machines failed because Valve released it as a desperation move against MS store, in a time where Linux was way more unprepared for gaming (no opensource AMD drivers, no wayland, no DXVK, a very outdated wine) and neither average customers nor average developers knew how to work with it.

My point is, this time they have to clearly specify the purpose of this hardware, it's going to be just a fancy streaming receptor or we can install games on it? Which games I can and cannot install and how will I clearly know this before expend money on it?

I want to believe that Valve knows better today about Linux and it's pros/limitations that they knew in 2014, so they can properly think about all of this before release, because the whole Proton concept is pretty much unknown outside of the Linux bubble, therefore most of the customers will expect a "native experience" like they expect in Windows or consoles.
Lightkey 25 May
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: Mohandevir
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: MohandevirChromebooks overtook Mac in the OS marketshare, it could boost the number of Linux native games support directly, as a consequence.

Netmarketshare noted 0.4% ChromeOS vs. 9.5% MacOS in their last statistics...

https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2021/02/data-shows-googles-chrome-os-officially.html

https://www.geekwire.com/2021/chromebooks-outsold-macs-worldwide-2020-cutting-windows-market-share/

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/02/the-worlds-second-most-popular-desktop-operating-system-isnt-macos-anymore/

https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/desktop/worldwide

I guess we can at least conclude that OS market share measuring is very difficult when OS X ranges from 7.5 to 17 % and Chrome OS ranged from 0.4% to 10% last year...

That's because you are comparing sales market share with install base market share.
sub 25 May
Maybe it's a controller with a display that just works as a Steam Remote Play client?
GeoGalvanic 25 May
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Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: TheSHEEEPOn the other hand, I don't really know if there is a market for such a handheld.
Well, thinking on it, look at how popular other handhelds like GPD Win has been and the excitement around things like the Alienware Concept UFO prototype and others. There's probably a good market for it, probably more so than VR I would say honestly.

And here I was thinking that the market it for it would be with vr/ar headset compatibility...

A lot of major industries are getting set to release new AR glasses in the upcoming year, which I think would make is a good time to provide a mobile device that is capable of delivering decent gaming experiences with them.

With proton I do think that there is a much greater chance of success with any new steam hardware than steam machines which probably would have also done better in this market than previous ones. (The new consoles are basically steam machines with a windows OS)
kuhpunkt 25 May
Quoting: subMaybe it's a controller with a display that just works as a Steam Remote Play client?
That would be pretty damn pointless and wouldn't require any of the features that those strings suggest.
c00kie55 25 May
i vote for a steam stream hybrid. can play small games on the go and stream the bigger games :)
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