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Well today is the big day. Valve has now formally revealed the Steam Deck, a portable handheld gaming console powered by a new version of their Linux-based SteamOS operating system.

"We think Steam Deck gives people another way to play the games they love on a high-performance device at a great price," says Valve founder Gabe Newell. "As a gamer, this is a product I've always wanted. And as a game developer, it's the mobile device I've always wanted for our partners."

Since it's based on Linux, we now know a big reason why Valve has been investing in Linux gaming with the likes of Steam Play Proton. It will play your Linux native titles, with support boosted by Proton. Not only that, Valve said "we're vastly improving Proton's game compatibility and support for anti-cheat solutions by working directly with the vendors". This is pretty amazing, as anti-cheat was the big missing piece. In their FAQ, they make it clear that they are working directly with BattlEye and EAC to get support for Proton.

Anti-cheat support is coming too! That's huge!

The new SteamOS has been optimized for handheld and touchscreen gaming, while it will also have a desktop mode for those who want it. SteamOS 3.0 is also being based upon Arch Linux, with the desktop mode being powered by KDE Plasma.

We also know why Valve has been heavily investing in AMD GPU drivers for Linux too now then. It's a custom APU they partnered with AMD on for Zen 2 + RDNA 2.

Quick specs:

  • Powerful, custom APU developed with AMD
  • Optimized for hand-held gaming
  • Full-sized controls
  • 7" touchscreen
  • WiFi and Bluetooth ready
  • USB-C port for accessories
  • microSD slot for storage expansion
  • 3 different storage options available

The Steam Deck will also have a dock, much like you see with the Nintendo Switch with more ports to play with like USB, wired networking and enabling external displays. More tech info can be seen here.

It's an open system too, since it's basically a PC in your hands. Valve said "you can install third party software and operating systems".

Valve also did a session with IGN where they answered some questions. IGN also has hands-on video to give a better look at the device.

Steam Deck starts at $399, with increased storage options available for $529 and $649. The two higher models have bigger storage space, plus the two higher models actually use an NVMe drive for faster loading time and the top end has an anti-glare screen too.

Reservations open July 16th at 10 AM PDT; shipping is slated to start in December 2021. Currently it's limited to United States, Canada, European Union, and the United Kingdom with more regions becoming available in 2022.

For developers, Valve put up a video overview:

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See more on the Steam Deck website and the Steam Deck store page.

Is this the holy grail of Linux gaming? Could be.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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Ehvis 16 Jul
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Quoting: ArehandoroSomething I haven't seen mentioned anywhere is the dock. Will it be included? Will it have hardware on its own to increase performance/fps dramatically or just more power to effectively overclock it like the Switch does?

It's mentioned on the Steam Deck site that it will be sold separately. In the videos they say that you can also use a generic USB-C dock. No overclocking mentioned, but higher resolutions should be possible as the dock can connect to any external display via DP or HDMI.


Last edited by Ehvis on 16 July 2021 at 3:12 pm UTC
Quoting: ShmerlI'd like some FOSS UI for it though. Is it using some custom Plasma or Steam's own UI?

I hope they come out with a lightweight steam client daemon that can provide steam services with a lightweight system resource footprint. The steam client is a bloated hog.
Quoting: mirvIntel tried x86 phones before and it didn't work at all, but then they were a newcomer to that field too.

I had a couple of their x86 mobile devices and they were actually a lot more powerful than the ARM processors they were competing against. Their problem was that everything was already written for ARM so there was an emulation layer translating the ARM software to run on the Intel chips which sucked away a ton of power and performance. If Intel had gotten in early enough and the software had been written for x86 to begin with we'd probably all be using x86 based phones now.
Quoting: dubigrasuMaybe is a bit silly, but I would love to see a "controller mode only" for this device. Basically using it for your other PC/devices, the same way as any other controller. Not talking here about streaming or anything, but just having it turned off (or some low power/standby mode) and attached to your (more powerfull) PC, instead of the SC for example.
Why, well, because its array of inputs makes it even more awesome and versatile than the Steam Controller itself. Sure, I would very much prefer a SC 2.0, if they ever make one again.

I would be surprised if this doesn't happen. They can even get clever with it and allow additional game interaction through the steam deck touchscreen when it's being used as a controller.
dubigrasu 16 Jul
Quoting: psycho_driver
Quoting: dubigrasuMaybe is a bit silly, but I would love to see a "controller mode only" for this device. Basically using it for your other PC/devices, the same way as any other controller. Not talking here about streaming or anything, but just having it turned off (or some low power/standby mode) and attached to your (more powerfull) PC, instead of the SC for example.
Why, well, because its array of inputs makes it even more awesome and versatile than the Steam Controller itself. Sure, I would very much prefer a SC 2.0, if they ever make one again.

I would be surprised if this doesn't happen. They can even get clever with it and allow additional game interaction through the steam deck touchscreen when it's being used as a controller.

Wow, I didn't even thought of that, that would be even more awesome!
a0kami 16 Jul
This is it.
Honestly could not care less about the hardware but the news that they are working actively with anti cheat software companies is totally welcomed. I literally have no down time avilable when am not near my gaming pc
minfaer 16 Jul
Hey people, why is noone noticing the other BIG news?
QuoteSteamOS 3

QuoteSteamOS 3

QuoteSteamOS 3

Spoiler, click me
Valve can count to 3 now! Half Life 3 confirmed!
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: mirvThat's a marketing video. It's supposed to make it look like the best thing since sliced bread. What's more, it's from IGN. So I really wouldn't trust what's being said.

Well, firstly I trust more in what's being shown than what's being said.
Then, they do mention critique points, e.g. about the buttons.
So I wonder... why do you say it's a marketing video?
Are there signs of IGN being paid for it?

More likely Valve only allowed IGN to look at it if everything reported was favourable, and in return IGN have seen a lot of traffic driven their way. That's not exactly an uncommon arrangement. A critique point is also another trick: it's a critique, but once tried oh everything is perfectly fine and the device is wonderful (you can trust us because we raised a critique). Seen that many, many times before.

Nothing shown was particularly impressive to me either. Portal2 isn't really the most power hungry of games, but it does explain why they put a Vulkan backend of sorts (adapted DXVK) into it: would make a massive difference on a handheld.

I know I'm sounding buzzkill. I've nothing against the device itself, more the hype that's trying to be generated which ultmiately will not live up to expectations.
I get what you mean. Mind you, I and others have said repeatedly over the years that if Valve want their next Steamboxy device to succeed, they're going to have to play the hype game a lot harder than last time. So right now I'm perversely hoping they load up the hype and marketing to the point it makes me gag.
F.Ultra 16 Jul
Quoting: Mohandevir
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: dubigrasuWait, I see underneath paddles, 4 of them. Wasn't a big lawsuit about this?

Well the design of this was probably done before they got hit with that patent lawsuit. On the other hand perhaps they think that this new design isn't violating the patent or they have managed to license the patent (unlikely).

Who knows? It might not be considered a game controller, it's a handheld computer!

Most likely, Valve will probably pay for the rights to use the tech.

Well there is also the question if it's even possible to license that patent from Ironburg, many such patent holders never sell a single license and instead base their income on having exclusive rights to their "invention" or to sue for damages.
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