Valve’s highly-anticipated Steam Deck will include a built-in frame rate limiter to extend your battery life, in what can only be described as a huge win for lazy gamers who always forget to charge their device.
Considering Valve has already asserted that the Steam Deck hasn’t met a game it can’t play (yet), you’d be forgiven for thinking the handheld PC is going to be an absolute battery chewer. But thankfully, Valve has already provided a solution for that, if you’re willing to compromise on frames-per-second (FPS).
Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais announced the FPS limiter in a tweet on Sunday, also confirming that the 30 FPS target is more of a bare minimum.
“The ’30 FPS target’ refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we’ve tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far,” Griffais tweeted.
“There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.”
The "30 FPS target" refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we've tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far. There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.
— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) July 25, 2021
Basically, the frame limiter option is perfect if you’re playing a game that may not necessarily require highly responsive graphics. If this is the case, you can opt for a lower frame rate in exchange for longer battery life.
While this may not be something you use when you’re home and within reach of a charger, it could be — mind the pun — a game-changer while travelling. Imagine you’re on a lengthy road trip or flying cross-country and you want to be able to game but won’t be near a charger all day.
According to Valve, you can expect approximately 2 hours of extra battery life at 30FPS compared to with no frame rate restrictions when playing a game like Portal 2. However, it’s worth noting that the battery life extension will vary depending on the intensity of the titles played.
However, you might not get a perfect gaming experience when running at such a limited frame rate. While this may be useful in a pinch when you’re playing older titles, don’t expect to be having a great time playing brand new, high intensity games at 30FPS.
But alas, it’s nice to have the option there, should you ever need it.
The Valve Steam Deck is out in the US in December. An Australian release date is still yet to be announced, but you can technically order one from the US, if you’re willing to take a bit of a risk.