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.
Quoting: mr-victoryXbox & Playstation release a new console every 6-7 years with usually one hardware refresh in between. These refreshes do not increase performance but usually make the console smaller and decrease power draw by using smaller nm chips. We could see a "Steam Deck Slim" with same horsepower and chassis but longer battery life.
Last console gen had a performance-increasing hardware refresh. I wasn't happy about this development, I hope this gen doesn't continue the trend. PS3 had 3 versions, each mostly smaller and more power efficient than the last, but no speed improvements. Now even the Switch had a small performance/battery life improvement with the OLED version.
Better screen (same res)/longer battery life on the Steam Deck is definitely what should happen as early as late this year. Then everyone can make the decision whether to upgrade or not.
Ideally, Valve have enough clout in the PC game market to convince game makers they need to make their new releases run fine (40 fps, please) on the SD for at least a couple of years. Either way, I'll be fine getting an SD2 with significant improvements come late 2024/2025.
If the screen is bigger, 1200p can make sense provided the hardware is good enough to run current (current current, not necessarily when SD2 comes out current) games mostly at native res. If the screen is the same size, 800p will be fine (though Youtube will explode with rage and Valve probably need to take it into account). Perhaps something like 1600x1000 can be a middle ground for a slightly bigger screen?
Going for more power without ensuring at least a little better battery life is a no-no, so that's definitely a requirement.
Quoting: CAVR- Put an additional USB-C port on the bottom;Those are my top improvement wishes.
- 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;
- 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;
- Manufacture the USB-C ports as daughterboards that can be detached from the motherboard for easier repair;
- Make the AC power adapter cable detachable;
Last edited by Klaas on 2 March 2023 at 4:25 pm UTC
A lot of people will disagree with me, but personally, I would like to see Valve make a Steam Deck that has detachable controllers, kinda like the Switch's Joy-Cons, but a lot more sturdy and wobble-free, when attached (like, you can literally lock them to the sides with screws).
Why? Because then you could have the option to have the default large Steam Deck, where the side controllers have the trackpads, etc, or you could buy slimmer, 3rd party ones, that makes the entire thing more pocketable. The bezels around the screen would also need to be heavily reduced, too. I think such a design would be a lot easier to tear down and get to the internal guts, battery, NVME, etc, because you wouldn't have to worry about the controller motherboard bits getting in the way; you can just pop those off, and remove the backplate from the "tablet portion".
Last edited by Mrowl on 2 March 2023 at 6:50 pm UTC
Keep your expectations in check guys: moving from RDNA2 to 3 (or 4) but moving resolution up to 1200 will result in no performance gains and hang-wringing about playing at 800p (but then you're missing out on 1200 pixel density!). Adding more battery will make the device heavier. Adding OLED won't be possible at "reasonable" prices (Valve doesn't move Nintendo unit quantities).
I'd prefer they wait until 2024, announce a refresh/2.0, release in 2025. Problem is then any competitor has a spec target to match/beat at a lower price.
- joysticks with magnetic ones
- The APU, a RDNA3 one
- Only one model with 1 TB NVMe as they are cheaper now
- Another battery easy to switch, with replacements and an external charger - optional -
I would not change
- Everything else, including the screen
I would add
- Waydroid or any other Android compatibility layer
- eSIM for 5G+ and phone use
- Webcam for broadcasting and video conference
(if it is as a plugin and you can make pictures or selfies just plugin it backwards, better)
Unless a better screen tech saving energy appears.
And let the OLED version for the SD 3 or later or other brands.
Though realistically, I'm happy with what I have and not looking for any sort of upgrade at the moment, since I don't use mine for pushing the envelope with demanding games. Maybe the one upgrade I'd like would be a bump in screen resolution; for the games I'm usually playing it wouldn't really need more power, but it'd easier to read small text and just look nicer in general.
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