Games

Valve Announces Handheld Gaming Device Called Steam Deck

Valve has announced Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like handheld gaming device. It will begin shipping in December and reservations open July 16th at 1PM ET. The price starts at $399, and you can buy it in $529 and $649 models as well.

The device has an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different storage tiers: 64GB eMMC storage for $399, 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649, according to Valve. You can also expand the available storage using the high-speed microSD card slot.

The Steam Deck has a huge number of control options. There are two thumbsticks, but also two small, Steam Controller-style trackpads beneath the thumbsticks, which could give you more precision for things like first-person shooters.

The front of the Steam Deck also has ABXY buttons, a D-pad, and a 7-inch 1280 x 800 touchscreen for 720p gameplay. The device also has a gyroscope for motion controls. Like the Switch, it has two shoulder triggers on each side, and there are four back buttons (two on each side) as well as built-in microphones.

Valve has said, “Steam Deck’s onboard 40 watt-hour battery provides several hours of play time for most games. For lighter use cases like game streaming, smaller 2D games, or web browsing, you can expect to get the maximum battery life of approximately 7-8 hours. You can play Portal 2 for four hours on this thing. If you limit it to 30 FPS, you’re going to be playing for 5-6 hours.”

The Steam Deck offers a quick suspend / resume feature built into SteamOS that will let you put the device into sleep mode and pick up where you left off later, if you need to pause your game. Valve will also sell a dock you can use to prop up a Steam Deck and plug it into external displays like a TV.

You won’t need a dock to plug it into a TV, though — Valve says that the “Deck can be plugged in to your TV, monitor, or even your old CRT if you have the right cables.” The Deck comes with fully-fledged USB-C ports that contain HDMI, Ethernet and USB data, as well as standard Bluetooth. You’ll have native Bluetooth audio, something that’s missing from the Nintendo Switch.

Valve says the Steam Deck’s features are designed to emulate the regular Steam app on desktop, complete with chat, notifications, cloud save support, and all of your library, collections, and favorites kept in sync. And if you want more power, you’ll be able to stream games to the Steam Deck directly from your gaming PC using Valve’s Remote Play feature.

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