Steam Deck Is Valve’s Answer To The Switch, Out In December

Steam Deck Is Valve’s Answer To The Switch, Out In December
Screenshot: Valve

Steam Deck is a new portable gaming device from Valve that basically looks and functions exactly like a Nintendo Switch. Models start at $US400 ($539) and will be releasing December 2021, Valve announced today over on Steam.

“We partnered with AMD to create Steam Deck’s custom APU, optimised for handheld gaming. It is a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 powerhouse, delivering more than enough performance to run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope,” the company writes. The Steam Deck thumbsticks are designed for “extended play sessions,” and owner’s entire Steam libraries will be available to the when they log on. There’s even a dock (sold separately) to connect to TVs and computer monitors.

Here are the current models:

  • $US400 ($539) for 64GB internal storage
  • $US530 ($714) for 256GB SSD storage and “exclusive Steam Community profile bundle”
  • $US650 ($875) for 512 GB SSD storage and an “anti-glare etched glass” screen.

There’s a catch, however. To have an actual shot at getting one of these things when it releases you’ll need to pay Valve to reserve a spot in-line for pre-orders. “The main reason for reservations is to ensure an orderly and fair ordering process for customers when Steam Deck inventory becomes available,” Valve writes in an FAQ. “The additional fee gives us a clearer signal of intent to purchase, which gives us better data to balance supply chain, inventory, and regional distribution leading up to launch.” Fortunately, the reservation fee will go towards the total sale price of the hardware.

The news that Valve was working on a Switch-like portable was first reported back in May by Ars Technica.


  • I imagine this will take a while to get over here, but considering my 600 title deep Library, Steam are going to have to really stuff up the hardware for me not to put this head and shoulders above picking up another console anytime soon.

    • True.

      I think the Not in Australia delay may give us a chance to see if any competitors come out to play. Dell and Lenovo had prototypes last CES.

      Nvidia might bite at the AMD challenge revive the Shield Tablet.

  • RetroArch is available on Steam, just saying :P. That MicroSD card is just asking for a ROM library.

    • Currently the Steam version is Windows 10 beta test, you would have to go to RetroArch website to source the Linux version.

      But yeah, that was my first choice too.

      • It’s just running Arch. An according to the website it’s not locked down at all (That said, Steam Deck is a PC so you can install third party software and operating systems).
        Could probably just install retroarch and add it as a non steam game?

  • Well f*ck! I was just looking for a way to get my steam library on my TV without having to buy a full-on gaming pc. I just want to play the latest trackmania game, that could do it!

  • I would love to get my hands on it before purchasing it, and hear testimonials on its performance and the Linux experience. SteamOS and the Steam Machine were a dismal flop due to its open source nature but I hope this product matures into 2.0

    Might be fun to see if Dell, Lenovo of Microsoft/XBox respond with further development.

    • It’s going to be out overseas long before we see it. Might not be as good as holding it, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of reviews around before it’s available here.

    • It was not the right time for Steam machines. It was a poor launch. At least here there is only the one system to target! SteamOS was also not really ready for the big time…. it was in the early days before Proton, if memory serves…?
      Like a different world.

    • I wouldnt worry about it. With how it seems your hands will be sitting, you’re really only going to be seeing screen. Just reaching for the joypads means your thumbs will cover a lot.

  • Looked on their pages for it, there’s a million Q and A questions about the reservation fee but no info on the screen size, battery life etc?

    Looks really cool, plus you can use any USB-C powered hub to play on a screen, can unplug my work laptop at lunch for a sesh!! (If it ever comes to Oz)

  • Is it really an answer to the Switch when the Switch itself was an answer to the multitude of attempts to create portable gaming before it? This is really just the next step in the evolutionary chain.

    • They are joking with the storage amounts aren’t they? These aren’t Nintendo sized games, the64gb edition won’t even fit one normal pc game on it. Plus it looks horrible.

      • The smallest size one is really tragic why is that even an option, but you will still get most games to fit on a even a small SSD today, a lot of Indies will fit easily.

        Your big data hogs are the AAA mega titles and the “Live Service” games that have half of their data library dedicated to cosmetics.

        Otherwise nowadays 4k textures are the data hog, and developers could create custom install profiles to reduce sizes.

      • It will fit plenty of normal PC games, just not all of them. Dont be so dramatic. Statistically, the amount of games it wont fit is so small compared to the complete catalog that its a meaningless number. And yes, I know there are some, but there arent that many you couldnt live without them on the go.

        How many games you have installed right now that are bigger than 64 Gb? I dont have any. I have some MMO’s that clock in around 35-40 Gb, and they wouldnt be playable with the controllers anyway.

        Most of the big games arent ones you’d want to be playing on a 7 inch screen anyway. Its a portable system, its going to have limitations that make it less than desirable to play those bigger games.

        Having said that, 64 Gb IS a small number, and one they might regret. The cost of SD isnt so high they couldnt have used 128 Gb as a base volume. But even with that there are games larger, so the same complaint would have been made.

        • It’s not dramatic at all! The 2 games they literally have on the screen are control (42gb) and doom (50gb). So you can one of those plus space taken up by an OS I’d assume you’re done. It’s actually just stupid. It’s not advertising a portable indie console, it’s a steam hand-held that can’t hold steam games?

          • Of course its drama. Of the million games on PC, you’re whinging because a handful are too big for the basic model.

            Thats a sensationalist attitude if there ever was one. Lets bitch and whinge about those few games and ignore the million others that arent as big, as well as the options to solve the ‘issue’.

            If its such a big problem, get a bigger model. Or use the SD expansion port to expand storage. You’re completely ignoring there are simple solutions. Thats a drama queen attitude right there.

          • Most games on Steam rarely go above 5 gigs. It’s 10000s of games includes everything from puzzles, retro and visual novels which are very small… and what some people a small unit is all they need.

            Your talking about the few AAA games on the bleeding edge of visual fidelity, games on Steam which have 4K texture packs installed by default.

            4k texture games typically top out at 70GB, its the popular Live Service games that are creeping to the 200GB amount.

            If Doom and Control want to be on the Steam Deck, they going to have to drop the install size to suit the screens native resolution… or the owner just needs to pony up a bit more for the SSD version.

      • Honestly, with a micro SD slot it’ll be much cheaper to buy the smaller one and upgrade the memory yourself.

        • I definitely wouldn’t do that until I’ve seen how games that stream a lot of information constantly (i.e. opoen world games) work running off the SD card – I suspect there would be a few issues making the mid or higher tier options a bit more safe as purchases go. Indie games or single player games probably will be fine, but I have to imagine there would be some problems with other games.

          Otherwise the base model plus an SD card makes a lot of sense.

  • So, wait, wait. I usually play games on Mac, but I get free games sometimes that activate in steam and they are windows only. Does this mean I can play Windows Only games on this device?

    I mean, not that it matters because “This item is not available for reservation in your country” but just out of curiousity.

    • Using the Proton compatibility layer, built by Valve, does support a lot of Windows-only games. There are some big ones missing due to things like anti-cheat measures, but likely yes, you will be able to play most Windows Only games.

      Or, you could also install Windows on the thing

      • Apparently they have a version of proton that isn’t publicly available yet, which they’ve been working with Anti-Cheat vendors

  • The picture of it with two Arcade fighter sticks plugged into it looks ridiculous.

    Kind of wished it was a larger tablet without built in controllers like the short lived Nvidia Shield or that Razer discontinued unit.

    • I thought the same about the buttons. It looks as though the weight of the whole device will be hanging uncomfortably off my hands, given where my fingers need to be.

  • IGN Youtube channel has the developer interviews and a hands-on.

    The Gabe and developers didn’t seem shy, that their intent is creating a new category of PC mobile gaming and extending the market. They will welcome other developers taking SteamOS and making their own units. So excited about that.

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