Valve has announced its own Nintendo Switch like handheld gaming device, called Steam Deck. Unlike the Switch, however, it functions similarly to an actual PC.
Valve is allowing reservations on Friday the 16th for a £4 refundable fee – this is not a pre-order but having a reservation will allow you to pre-order the product later this year before shipping begins in December.
The Steam Deck starts at £349 for the base model, with two further higher spec models also for sale, priced at £459 and £569. The main difference between the models appears to be larger and faster storage, however, the full difference between them according to Valve is as follows:
All models include a MicroSD slot for additional storage.
Putting the storage aside, the internals on all the models appear to have the same offering. The internal specs of the Steam Deck are:
Size and weight:
Therefore, the Steam Deck is quite powerful, more so than the Nintendo Switch, however it is almost twice as heavy. But one very important thing to consider is the fact that the Steam Deck is very open and not closed software-wise like the Switch is. The Steam Deck runs on SteamOS by default (which is based on Linux), but since it is basically just a handheld PC, the Steam Deck can actually run Windows if a user would like to do so. Even with SteamOS however, the Steam Deck generally will have a much larger offering of games than most other handheld gaming devices, since it is literally just a PC that can run any game on Steam, making its game library enormous.
Overall the Steam Deck would appear to be a great device from what we know so far, but ultimately it is aimed at a different customer base than the Nintendo Switch. It is less aimed at families or people who just want something very simple and easy to use and more aimed towards existing Steam users who wish to complement their PC gaming experience with a handheld device.