RIP Nintendo Switch: Steam Is Releasing a Handheld – Steam Deck

Steam Deck Handheld Release Date and Price and Versions
The Steam Deck... oh, it's beautiful. Is it ok to be hyped already? | © Valve

Valve is launching the Steam Deck: A handheld PC that will play your entire Steam library. Also, they're releasing it this year and, yes, the Nintendo Switch is sweating bullets right now.

Valve was long rumored to be releasing a handheld system, and now they're doing it: The Steam Deck is coming, and it's a portable device that will be able to play your entire Steam games library on the go. What's more, the Steam Deck is releasing this year and is more powerful than you'd expect. Nintendo... I want you to know how badly you messed up with the crappy new Nintendo Switch and that Steam is now coming for that booty. RIP.

Everything We Know About the Steam Deck

Steam Deck Release Date

The Steam Deck will release in December 2021 and you can start making reservations on July 16 at 1pm ET. Also, for now, the new handheld is only available for orders in the United States, Canada and Europe. Of course, the Steam Deck will also release in other regions, but those will have to wait until 2022.

Steam Deck Specs

The Steam Deck has a 7-inch touchscreen and the usual sticks and buttons. What's nice to see is the placement of the right analogue stick: It's placed at the top right next to the action buttons, rather than the terrible placement at the bottom that the Switch and Razer Kishi are going far. So, gamers, rejoice: You can actually use the right stick on this one.

There are also two trackpads, which makes sense, since the Steam Deck will be able to play your entire PC games library and the two trackpads will naturally work as a mouse replacement. Slick. I like it. In terms of triggers, the Steam Deck also comes with some innovations: There are eight triggers – four on the top and four on the back, where your pinky and ring fingers rest. Again... slick, very slick. Nintendo, you feelin' the heat yet?

The Steam Deck will run all PC games on its own, without any need for cloud-gaming. Whether or not cloud-gaming will be an option is unclear at this point. It sure would be a great addition, though, as it would give the system some serious longevity. Since the Steam Deck is essentially a Linux PC with browsing capabilities and the ability to install other applications, we'd assume that installing streaming services like Game Pass or Stadia should be no problem.

What we do know is that you will have the option to stream more powerful games directly from your gaming PC to the Steam Deck via Valve's Remote Play feature.

More on the specs below:

Steam Deck Comes With 3 Versions and a TV Dock

As if all that wasn't enough, the Steam Deck can also be docked to your TV, just like the Nintendo Switch. The dock will be sold separately.

As for the three versions, they all have the same graphics and Valve promises that there are no graphical differences between them:

  • The cheapest version will set you back $399 and comes with 64 GB storage and a carrying case
  • The $529 version features 256 GB storage and said storage is faster. It has the same carrying case, but comes with an additional Steam Community profile bundle
  • The most expensive version will set you back $649. It has all the features listed above, except it has 512 GB storage, which is even faster, has premium anti-glare glass, a more exclusive case and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.

Again: There is no in-game difference in frame rates or graphics between the models.

Steam Deck Games Library

The Steam Deck will have access to the entire Steam library, which easily makes it the handheld with the largest games library. Literally, no other handheld comes even close. In order to access your games library, all you have to do is log into your Steam account and start gaming. There is no confirmation yet on whether that means you will be able to log into your friends' games libraries, but we'd assume so, which makes the Steam Deck incredibly versatile and particularly interesting for households with several Steam accounts.

The great thing about this is that you'll likely already have plenty of games bought and ready to go and will not have to buy the system as well as a bunch of new games.

Besides that, the Steam Deck is a legit Linux computer: You will be able to install other game stores, PC software, can browse the web, plug in a mouse and a keyboard and a whole lot more.

We will update this article if there are important new developments on the Steam Deck that are not covered here.

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