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Steam Deck: What do we know about Valve’s handheld gaming PC so far?

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-01-14

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Valve has confirmed that its long-awaited Steam Deck games console will begin shipping in time for its revised release date in February, following a delay in production at the end of 2021.

According to the publisher, and barring any further supply-chain issues, the Steam Deck is on track to launch in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada in the coming weeks.

Announced in July 2021, the Steam Deck is essentially a handheld PC powered by Valve’s games platform, Steam. The portable device features Nintendo Switch-style analogue controls surrounding a handheld HD display, on which users can access their existing Steam library of PC games wherever they are.

Since launching in 2003, Steam has grown to dominate digital sales of PC games, becoming the platform’s de facto storefront. If successful, the Steam Deck would mark Valve’s first serious foray into building gaming hardware.

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Pre-orders for the Steam Deck opened shortly after it was announced, and the console quickly sold out. For now, Valve is focusing on getting the Steam Deck into the hands of those who paid a £4 reservation fee back in 2021, with plans for the handheld to go on general sale once its pre-order obligations have been fulfilled.

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Steam Deck latest news

The Steam Deck was delayed for much the same reason as it’s been impossible to get hold of a PS5 or Xbox series X lately. Global supply-chain problems have created bottlenecks in the manufacturing process of pretty much everything with a microchip in it. Rather than sitting on its hands, Valve’s spent the extra few months encouraging more PC game developers to adapt their existing titles to play nicely with the Steam Deck hardware.

The handheld runs on a variant of the open-source Linux operating system, meaning not every game in Valve’s enormous library will work on Steam Deck without a few tweaks. To guide players towards the titles that work seamlessly on the new hardware – and pressure games developers to update their software – Valve has launched a new rating system, ranking each game as “verified”, “playable” or “unsupported” based on how compatible it is with Steam Deck.

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How much does the Steam Deck cost?

There are three versions of the Steam Deck available to pre-order, each with different storage capacities, prices and a few exclusive extras.

  • £349 – 64GB eMMC storage, carrying case
  • £459 – 256GB SSD storage, carrying case, exclusive Steam Community profile bundle
  • £569 – 512GB SSD storage, carrying case, exclusive Steam Community profile bundle, premium glass, exclusive virtual keyboard theme
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When is the Steam Deck release date?

The Steam Deck launches in February 2022. Originally planned to ship in late 2021, a bottleneck in the manufacturing process forced Valve to delay the console’s launch by a few months. The publisher has since confirmed a February release date in a blog post .

Valve is aiming to fulfil all of its pre-order reservations before the Steam Deck goes on general sale, however, so unless you’ve registered your interest and paid your deposit, you’re unlikely to be able to pick one up until April at the earliest. The advertised release date for the Steam Deck on the device’s product page is “after Q2 2022”, which covers the period between 1 January and 21 March.

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What are the Steam Deck specs?

Valve revealed the Steam Deck’s specifications back in July 2021. The console’s architecture is built around AMD components and is powered by the chipmaker’s Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU. We reckon it’s a decently powerful handheld machine – not quite on par with next-generation games consoles, but more than capable of AAA gaming at 720p resolutions.

Here are the complete specs, which can be found over at the official Steam Deck site .

Steam Deck specs

CPU

AMD Zen 2 @ 2.4-3.5GHz

GPU

AMD RDNA 2

RAM

16GB

Storage

64GB / 128GB / 512GB

Controls

Face buttons, twin analogue sticks, capacitive trackpads

Display

7in touchscreen

Resolution

1280 x 80px

Size

298mm x 117mm x 49mm

Weight

669g

OS

SteamOS

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