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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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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Comandante Ñoñardo Jul 15, 2021
Even if SteamOS 3.0 is Arch based, Valve still recommends Ubuntu 20.04 for testing purposes.

Now, I want to know what Valve gonna do with SteamCEG games...
LordDaveTheKind Jul 15, 2021
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Quoting: scratchiThis looks great! But if they don't sell it through retail channels like Gamespot, ebworld, Bestbuy, etc., it won't turn the tide against consoles and Windows. Hopefully if online sales directly from Valve are successful, they'll sell these in brick and mortar stores too.
Yes this is exactly my concern. The initial sales trend would be pivotal. In the meantime kudos to Valve for investing in an integrated gaming ecosystem.
jordicoma Jul 15, 2021
Can I plug a big harddrive to the usb-c in order to play games? 512GB it's small for a gaming library.
If it can play well, it could be a good alternative between n-switch and ps4/5.
There is a gaming segment, if they do well.
jordicoma Jul 15, 2021
Quoting: scratchiThis looks great! But if they don't sell it through retail channels like Gamespot, ebworld, Bestbuy, etc., it won't turn the tide against consoles and Windows. Hopefully if online sales directly from Valve are successful, they'll sell these in brick and mortar stores too.

The ps5/ xbox ss sells "well" even if I never found one on retail.
Shmerl Jul 15, 2021
That's pretty nice. But don't APUs usually combine Zen 3 + RDNA 2?
wvstolzing Jul 15, 2021
Quoting: subWe can only profit from it
as long it's not failing like Steam Machines.

This project avoids the total hardware spec mayhem that doomed steam machines; so if it fails, at least it won't fail because of the absurdity that no one knew what it really was.

I follow this channel on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_0CVCfC_3iuHqmyClu59Uw where the host reviews various handheld/compact systems. My impression is that Nintendo Switch style PCs have been really expensive crowd-funded curiosities so far, but that might be changing now that Valve has entered the picture.
kuhpunkt Jul 15, 2021
Quoting: RaabenProton generally works well, but they must have some big updates (other than that anticheat news) and faith to be marketing it as taking your entire library on the go. I know I can put up with some minor work or glitches when using it but the general public who just want handheld Steam? And the games that still flat out don't work? Will be interesting to see what happens.

Really hoping this works out for the best as it could be a nice win for compatibility.

They said they are working directly with Anti-Cheat devs to make everything work with Proton and that they have a lot of stuff that's not in the Public Proton yet.
Supay Jul 15, 2021
I want one, really badly. I am hoping that with all the protondb info out there and whatever they get from Steam directly that it has a Lutris like system as well for setting up Proton correctly for the games that need it. That is a missing piece in the desktop version and something Lutris manages far more effectively. Also, if they can improve their video streaming options with it or even just offer them as available to be installed for use, that will add another important aspect. Carry your whole Steam library and all your streaming films and TV with you in one package.
Shmerl Jul 15, 2021
I'd like some FOSS UI for it though. Is it using some custom Plasma or Steam's own UI?
Xpander Jul 15, 2021
EAC/BattlEye support would be sweet. Don't really personally care about handheld gaming devices though. But nice to see some push on linux powered devices. Hopefully it will succeed
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