On Thursday, Valve announced their latest piece of hardware, a portable PC akin to the Nintendo Switch. The Steam Deck will start shipping in December of this year, but preorders begin Friday 16th July.
The Steam Deck brings PC gaming on the go for a palm of your hand gaming experience. There will also be a dock sold separately, but the most basic unit alone will cost $399 USD or £349 GBP. The Steam Deck runs SteamOS 3.0 and the storage is expandable with a micro-SD card.
The device has 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM and an AMD APU processor (CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz up to 448 GFlops FP32 | GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz up to 1.6 TFlops FP32 | APU power: 4-15W). The resolution on the handheld screen is 1280 x 800px with a 16:10 aspect ratio, includes HD haptics, and has a 6-Axis IMU Gyro installed. The 7″ diagonal display refreshes at 60Hz. Depending on the game that’s being played, the 40 Whr battery will last from two to eight hours without needing a charge.
There are three different options to choose from. The base model at $399 USD / £349 GBP has 64 GB storage space and comes with a carrying case. The middle selection runs at $529 USD / £459 GBP and quadruples the storage space to 256 GB on a faster, more reliable solid state drive. This model also comes with a carrying case and an exclusive Steam Community profile bundle.
The top tier device will set you back $649 USD or £569 GBP. This model has the best storage option on a 512 GB SSD, plus it also includes “premium anti-glare etched glass.” This comes with an exclusive carrying case, exclusive Steam Community profile bundle and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme. It pays to be exclusive.
Now, the newly launched website advertises the entire Steam library is accessible on this handheld device, and racing games are most definitely on Steam. If you plan on racing competitively with this new Steam Deck, I suppose it will be technically possible. The dock, sold separately, will allow this portable PC to be plugged into a monitor or TV. The dock also features USB ports, which the device on its own only has a single USB-C port on the top.
What I’m getting at is that it might be possible to plug in a steering wheel, but for the intents and purposes of this device, most people won’t likely be purchasing this to use a home PC. Still, I wonder what it would be like on those joysticks to load up iRacing or rFactor 2 and race competitively while sitting in a Starbucks or waiting at an airport terminal.
The new Steam Deck feels like a Nintendo Switch, but to be fair, the best-selling racing game of all time, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is exclusively on the handheld Nintendo systems, both the Switch and Wii U. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing one in action later this year, and if it’s all that it looks like it’s cracked up to be, I might just have a new travel toy for when I head to the real racetrack.
If you’re interested in learning more about the device or you want to put a reserve payment down for one, head to the new Steam Deck website and check it out. As always, let us know what you think about it and which racing games you’d like to try on it in the comments below.