“I’ve never wanted gaming hardware to stick the landing so much” – The industry reacts to Valve’s Steam Deck

Valve has unveiled their long-rumoured handheld gaming PC, the Steam Deck (more on that here). We of course have our own stance on Valve’s latest entry into the hardware market, but let’s also take a look at the industry’s reaction from across Twitter.

First, Niko Partners’ Daniel Ahmad points out that while devices like the Steam Deck are hardly new, Valve is perhaps best placed to make a success of such an approach.

Elsewhere in the thread, Ahmad praises Valve for solving all three of the core issues for these devices: Providing enough power for portable PC games, finding the right price point for a wider audience, and monetising beyond the hardware itself.  Additionally, he points out that, thanks to Steam integration, the device has access to thousands of games out of the box, without the need for developers to work on ports.

Ahmad does point out that it’s “still unclear if gaming handheld PC’s can break out of the current niche they are in,” but that the enormous success of the Nintendo Switch is proof that there is an appetite to play high end games on the go.

Developers may not need to work on ports – but as Ant Workshop’s Tony Gowland points out, there’s still likely work to be done for a number of games to make them Steam Deck-friendly.

“People seem to be unaware of how much work goes in to the UI side of a solid console/mobile port,” Gowland added. “For many games strategy games the player experience is going to be really bad until they are updated. And are there going to be enough players of your game on SteamDeck to make spending that money on updating it make sense? Maybe? I dunno.”

Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier underlines a key potential market for the Steam Deck, and a way for Valve to win back purchases that have recently been going to Nintendo.

The Switch has certainly become something of an indie darling since its launch, no doubt helped by its portability. By introducing a Switch-like handheld of their own, Valve can perhaps win back some of the indie fans that have made their way to Nintendo. Although he does go on to say that the $650 highest-end model is certainly a “tough sell, but Steam sales might help make up for that in the long run.”

Though as Team17’s Debbie Bestwick points out, the target market is likely still the hardcore audience, at least for the time being.

Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney, owner of rival Epic Games Store, celebrated the announcement.

Of course as Sweeney points out, the Steam Deck is an open platform – meaning that it’s possible to install and purchase games via the Epic Games Store as well.

Digital Foundry’s John Linneman meanwhile seems impressed by the hardware, though expresses disappointment at its screen.

Elsewhere in the thread, Linneman goes on to state that: “[t]he issue here is that 60hz inherently doesn’t look great on a sample and hold LCD. It’s very blurry. An optional BFI style solution would have been nice.”

Technical details aside, there’s plenty of excitement across the industry for Valve’s new hardware. As evidenced by No More Robots’ Mike Rose:

A statement that prompted a lot of excitement for what the Steam Deck might mean for indies in the replies.

Personally though, I think StudioAC Games’ Adam Campbell gets to the heart of the matter:

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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