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Valve doesn't need much to make a Steam Deck 2 a huge success

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With the Steam Deck recently having a first anniversary, no doubt many are thinking on what's next — I certainly am. Valve don't exactly need much to make a Steam Deck 2 a success either.

As a gaming device, the Steam Deck clearly isn't perfect. Nothing is. However, it's clearly popular and overall it does the job quite nicely of making the PC as a platform more accessible to a wider audience. And putting Linux in the hands of many who previously didn't care about Linux. We already know Valve are looking to the future for more Steam Decks too, as they said it's a "multi-generational product line".

Valve need to be careful on the timing of the announcement and the release. We are after all, only one year since the original's release. They need to ensure people feel like their purchase and personal investment into it was worth it, and not do any announcement too soon. How soon is too soon though? Two years? Three years? By three is it too late?

They need to make the upgrade worth it too. Is it just enough to have perhaps a better battery and screen? The more I think on it, I don't believe it is. Don't get me wrong, you can pry my Steam Deck from my cold dead hands but I do want more power in my hands too. Really though, it very much depends on what type of games you're playing for what you'll settle for. People will argue both ends from just wanting a better battery to play longer, to wanting more power to keep those troublesome AAAs at at least a solid 30FPS (or better).

Valve doesn't need much to make the Steam Deck 2 a success, clearly. A little wait for AMD to come out with a fresh APU that's a decent step up, a better screen and battery and job done right?

Hold on, this is going the exactly opposite way to what I thought…

I'm not asking for much. Well, clearly I am. The Steam Deck 2 is not exactly an easy task. A better higher resolution screen would need more computing power, so a newer APU would end up essential if they ran a higher resolution and then you may not see such a big performance increase (and likely a higher power draw too) — but then you would get better and clearer looking games, a better battery would make it heavier and it can already be uncomfortable for playing longer periods. There's actually ups and downs to anything they could upgrade, then you have to take into account the pricing on it too (even if they stuck with the same resolution, but just had a better looking screen cost is a problem).

That's without even thinking about storage, gosh, the problems continue. The 64GB model is so often just too small, especially with the shader pre-cache system, every single day there's support questions on people confused as to why their 64GB is full. Valve need to go bigger. Games are getting fatter all the time too, have you seen how laughably massive some games now are? This problem will only get worse over time.

Given how clearly people are wanting to play some of the latest games, as well as plenty of older titles, I don't think they could just settle without putting in a new more powerful AMD APU. I just don't think it would make a whole lot of sense.

It's a very tricky balancing act, so it really doesn't surprise me when Valve's Gabe Newell said the pricing on the current Steam Deck was "painful" in an interview with IGN.

One thing we can at least count on, even with the original model, is continued improvements to compatibility thanks to their continued work on Proton (or Native Linux ports if the market share became big enough to make it truly worth it), GPU drivers and much more.

So actually, Valve have one heck of a job to improve on what is already a good product. Can they do it? What do you think? What exactly do you want from a Steam Deck 2?

Check out my recent Steam Deck news round-up video below if you missed it and be sure to follow me on YouTube.

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BlooAlien Mar 2, 2023
I want a Steam Controller 2. One with more durable shoulder buttons, and a rechargeable battery pack that charges when the controller is plugged in to USB. Steam Controller was / is the best controller I've ever owned, and I'd sure love to buy a newer model.
Kneewax Mar 2, 2023
All of what you've said! Plus charging pins or a drop-on charging port like the switch would be a nice feature too.
CatKiller Mar 2, 2023
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I would say 2025/2026 for a Deck 2: a more consistent development target platform than the standard PC upgrade cadence, but not as long as a console generation.

Things I'd like in a Deck 2:
  • Get rid of the bezels. Have a bigger screen. If the performance is there to be able to have 1920×1200, make the screen big enough so that's at a feasible pixel density, otherwise stick with 1280×800.

  • Have a better quality screen. Whether it's OLED or simply IPS with a more comprehensive gamut, I don't really care. Use whichever is best for battery life.

  • Have a kickstand, or a prop solution that comes in the box, since external controller support is already good.

  • Kensington lock slot so that game devs use it to demo their games, meaning they're necessarily making sure that running on Linux is a first class concern.

  • Have much better L1/R1 shoulder buttons. These ones seem like an afterthought, aren't especially comfortable, and aren't especially consistent. PlayStation controllers do these much better.

  • Have a power LED that can go amber when the battery is low.

  • Have some means, either tactile or backlight, to find the supplemental buttons.

  • Any magical new-fangled battery tech that lets you fit more battery inside.

  • Bigger base storage in the entry-level tier. 256/512/1 TB, or even 512/1 TB/2 TB

  • Better haptics. They've done what they can with what's essentially an audio output, but dedicated controllers with motors do a much better job.
Solarwing Mar 2, 2023
I say I need....er we need a steam deck powered by quantum processor! it would be a real powerhouse and then there would be no need to update Steamos or upgrade Steam Deck ever again. It would outlast the competitors and the mankind!And what is best - Valve could include AI with Steam deck 2 which would be really fun! Imagine: Your Steam Deck Could give few very useful advices how to add a couple of zeroes on to your bank account. Or how to blow up you secret moonshine kettle and your neighbour's house at the same time!. Or it could give also some advices how to get rid of your nagging girlfriend! So a bright future awaits us!Eh i got too excited again. Sorry.I'll buy the next version of Steam deck if the price is reasonable and the improvements are good enough!
scaine Mar 2, 2023
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Not gonna lie, almost all the improvements I'd like to see in a Steam Deck 2 are just software updates to my existing Steam Deck 1. I'd like a better consistency in Desktop Mode between controller settings (and for common Steam/Options shortcuts to work in Desktop Mode too). I'd like the Store page to have easier navigation and better search. I have issues buying anything on the Store - the credit card check frequently fails during purchase.

In fact, the only thing hardware related I'd like to see in a Steam Deck 2 is more pronounced Steam/Options buttons. I use them to adjust brightness and finding them by touch in a dark room is hit or miss. Would be nice if the newer model is lighter too... but I'm happy with the screen, the heat, the fans, the power, and just about everything else on the hardware front. It's an amazing device. I love it.


And the battery - good grief, it's amazing. I don't play top-end games, so I restrict frames to 40, and TDP to 10, and it lasts for hours. Easily four, at least. It's incredible. And yet silky smooth gameplay on things like Soulstone Survivors, Monster Train or Ring of Pain.

I know that when we were kids, we were promised jetpacks... but until they appear, I'll take the Steam Deck, thanks.
const Mar 2, 2023
Quoting: CatKillerI would say 2025/2026 for a Deck 2: a more consistent development target platform than the standard PC upgrade cadence, but not as long as a console generation.

Things I'd like in a Deck 2:
  • Get rid of the bezels. Have a bigger screen. If the performance is there to be able to have 1920×1200, make the screen big enough so that's at a feasible pixel density, otherwise stick with 1280×800.

  • Have a better quality screen. Whether it's OLED or simply IPS with a more comprehensive gamut, I don't really care. Use whichever is best for battery life.

  • Have a kickstand, or a prop solution that comes in the box, since external controller support is already good.

  • Kensington lock slot so that game devs use it to demo their games, meaning they're necessarily making sure that running on Linux is a first class concern.

  • Have much better L1/R1 shoulder buttons. These ones seem like an afterthought, aren't especially comfortable, and aren't especially consistent. PlayStation controllers do these much better.

  • Have a power LED that can go amber when the battery is low.

  • Have some means, either tactile or backlight, to find the supplemental buttons.

  • Any magical new-fangled battery tech that lets you fit more battery inside.

  • Bigger base storage in the entry-level tier. 256/512/1 TB, or even 512/1 TB/2 TB

  • Better haptics. They've done what they can with what's essentially an audio output, but dedicated controllers with motors do a much better job.

Completely agree. Especially the prop solution is important to me.
I'd also like to have the dual gyro NerdNest showed of with a prototype controller, recently. Seems like a perfect fit to get a Deck2 even more versatile.

Also, a lot can still be done in software. E.g. life with the 64GB model could be seriously improved if all data of microSD installed games was actually stored on the microSD. Add a fixed (configurable) size cache on the primary drive and move files on startup if necessary to ensure performance.
As storage will always be a problem, multiple microSD slots would also be really really nice.

Whatever they do, I hope Valve will release some games that show how to really target the Deck before releasing new hardware.


Last edited by const on 2 March 2023 at 1:12 pm UTC
MArKiTo Mar 2, 2023
In my opinion the next step for Valve is to sell a new Steam machine. It should be possible to build a unique looking small-form-factor PC with decent enough hardware that can play most games at 1080p. right now about 8000 games are verified or playable. This is a huge difference with 2015. Also it would prove that SteamOS is flexible enough to support more hardware than only the Deck. Ideally they launch it with a Steam Controller 2.
CAVR Mar 2, 2023
From most to least important for me:

- Put an additional USB-C port on the bottom;
- Reduce the screen bezel and use this space to shrink the device a little. I think the current screen size (except the bezel, obviously) and resolution are fine for now. Maybe make it a little thicker to compensate for the reduced footprint, like other similar devices do;
- Offer a reasonably priced OLED SKU;
- Try to make space for a full-sized (2280) m.2 slot. Obviously, also offer the mounting point for those who already have a 2230 SSD. 2280 SSDs are just so much cheaper, can offer much higher capacity, and are much easier to find;
- Better "Steam" and "..." buttons;
- Replace the self-tapping screws with metal threaded insert ones, so people don't have to be worried about wearing out the plastic threads when opening the device multiple times;
- Improve the haptics. I know Valve said that it can drain battery life, but make it optional for players that want to use it anyway;
- Instead of using that weird "L" shaped battery, add another layer (on the previously imagined thicker body), and make it squared, with less glue to attach it to the case to also make it easier to replace;
- Make the triggers dual-stage like the original Steam Controller;
- Make the USB-C support eGPUs;
- Manufacture the USB-C ports as daughterboards that can be detached from the motherboard for easier repair;
- Make the AC power adapter cable detachable;

BONUS:
- IMPROVE THE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION. I know the logistics are VERY complicated, but there are a lot of people out there who want to buy the device, but can't.
- Make it a dual gyro controller. Seems like it improves a lot the stability of gyro controls: https://youtu.be/OrucAJknMys?t=262
Tau Mar 2, 2023
Whatever they do they have to mantain the starting price or even lower it.

If we are talking about raw power/battery life a Steam Deck 2 shold have better battery life and enough power for modern games.

However, I think the better option would be to wait a few more years (even 4-5 like consoles) and implement frame-generation techniques like FSR 3 which would make demanding games perform better or even make them playable in some cases and preserve more battery life since it need to render less frames
CatKiller Mar 2, 2023
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Quoting: CAVRReplace the self-tapping screws with metal threaded insert ones, so people don't have to be worried about wearing out the plastic threads when opening the device multiple times
That's a good point. Also recognising that replacing the battery is something that people are likely to want to do, and so make it straightforward to do.
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