Steam Deck: How Will It Impact the Gaming Industry?Jul 19, 2021 | 1 Votes by Mikhail 10 rate Valve announced the Steam Deck last week, and it looks poised to become THE dominant handheld gaming device in the future. How? Well, let’s take a look at how it may affect the entire gaming industry:
Valve surprised the game industry by introducing something we never thought anyone would: the Steam Deck, which is essentially a handheld gaming PC. Yes, it’s a significant thing, and its arrival has numerous implications. All of which will favor us gamers and even some of Valve’s competitors.
So, let’s take a look at what this new device has to offer and how it can potentially change the gaming landscape.
Steam Deck: What we know so far
Steam Deck is, as said earlier, is a handheld gaming PC. It’s not just a device that can only run Steam nor one that strictly lets you play games. IT IS A HANDHELD PC. It uses Proton, an adapted version of Linux which will let players play Linux and Windows games. The previous sentence doesn’t sound that big, but it kind of is.
Well, considering you’re able to play Windows games, you’ll be able to install other gaming clients and launchers, like Epic Games, with Epic’s Tim Sweeney praising the move. It is mindblowingly weird for a direct competitor to grant players access to their rivals’ software, but then again, it’s a PC, and you should be able to install whatever you want in it. With that said, you could potentially gain access to Xbox Game Pass, Origin, and UPlay.
The Steam Deck has three versions:
- 64 GB eMMC - $399
- 256 GB NVMe SSD - $529
- 512 GB NVMe SSD - $649
Every version has its bundles, and in the future, there will also be a dock. The chipset is custom-made and is powerful enough to run even the latest triple-A games. We’ve seen them run Hades, Crusader Kings 3, and even Death Stranding on the Deck, so there’s no doubt it’s on par with many PCs, and this means you can play whatever is on your Steam library. It’s equipped with a seven-inch screen, a couple of touchpads, and apart from the standard button layout, it has four back buttons. There will also be a dock in the near future.
Finally, competition for the Nintendo Switch!
I’m a Switch owner, and though I’m perfectly content with playing exclusives and treating it as a Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing machine, Nintendo has to step up its game. The Steam Deck announcement came a few days after Nintendo announced the new Switch, which is the same thing just with an OLED screen. This did not sit well with the fanbase that wanted a faster, stronger version of the device and joycons that won’t drift.
Nintendo has been dominating the handheld/hybrid gaming market for years now, and the Deck might light a fire and actually force them to innovate. Sure, you can argue they have a completely different player-base, but note that like the Deck, the Switch also has triple-A titles from third-party developers. Here’s to hoping we’ll get a stronger version of the Switch that can run more demanding games to the point that it rivals the PS4 Pro.
Sony and Microsoft: What will their next move be?
Microsoft never had a handheld console, while Sony had a couple: the PSP ended up as a success story, while the Vita didn’t live up to its namesake. With the arrival of the Steam Deck, what will both companies likely do?
In the case of Microsoft, they’ll likely laud the move and work on making the Game Pass and their other Xbox-related services available on the Steam Deck. It’s the only logical move, seeing as most of their games are playable on PC and are already on Steam.
Meanwhile, we don’t expect another handheld from Sony. The company may focus on PS5-related supply issues and also work on their new mobile branch. There’s also the option of bringing Vita games to Steam (subscription service, anyone?) as well as PS4 ones, seeing as some “exclusives” (which are not so exclusive anymore) like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Days Gone are on Valve’s gaming platform. However, these moves might be a tad too radical, and we may not get anything from them except a Steam Deck-specific version of Remote Play.
Ideal games and experiences
If you have a gaming PC, why in the world would you buy a Steam Deck? If you ask me now, the main reason would be convenience and the fact there are certain types of games that aren’t exactly a perfect fit for a PC.
For example, open-world JRPGs and action arcade games are MEANT to be experienced on a handheld. The best titles that come to mind are Hades, the upcoming Tales of Arise, and Ni No Kuni. We can say the same about sports games like FIFA and NBA 2K and visual novels like Suzerain. Meanwhile, first-person shooters like Rainbow Six Siege, and real-time strategy games like Total War, are best played on PC.
Overall, the Steam Deck is a fairly ambitious venture. Not only does it seek to change the way we play games, but also revolutionize handheld devices in general. What is the use of weaker handheld devices when you can fit a gadget as powerful as a PC on both palms?
So, what do you think of the Steam Deck? Do you think it’ll be a flop, or will it succeed?