As expected really, Valve said they don't really expect to see a true next-gen Steam Deck for a few years yet. Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun, it's clear Valve are very happy with the first year of the Steam Deck.
Talking to Valve's Lawrence Yang and engineer Pierre-Loup Griffais, it seems it has been blowing their minds. Something of a surprise though, even to me, is that Yang mentioned how they've noticed that "of the people who've purchased a Steam Deck, 42% of them end up spending the majority of their Steam gaming time on Steam Deck – preferring it over their other devices".
So not only is it still selling like tasty sugar-coated hot doughnuts, with it being in the top 10 of global sellers (based on revenue from SteamDB) where it's up against games shifting multiple millions, plenty of people are sticking with it and even shifting over to it.
One sticking point is more games coming out that don't perform well, and while the Steam Deck is impressive, it all depends on developers actually optimising for the hardware, as Griffais said "it'll depend on how developers approach it" and that "If high-end current-gen titles are able to scale to Deck and be a great experience, it also enables smoother performance on a wider variety of PCs, and improve the experience for the whole playerbase". Yang also mentioned how they've "seen a number of recently released demanding titles perform well on Steam Deck, due to developers targeting and testing on the device.".
As always, the problem is in numbers. If the Steam Deck continues selling well, developers won't be able to ignore it. I've seen many games perform brilliantly, even surprisingly so, when they've clearly had a lot of optimization done on them. Then I've also seen the opposite myself, with games that you would think would also work well simply don't (often these bigger AAA games that primarily seem to target consoles…).
When it comes to a true Steam Deck 2, we're clearly in for a wait, as Yang said "a true next-gen Deck with a significant bump in horsepower wouldn’t be for a few years".
Valve don't exactly need much to make the Steam Deck 2 a success — or do they?
Need some more games for Steam Deck? Check out the new Humble Heroines Bundle overview.