A while ago, Valve unveiled a brand-new handheld system that players could use to play their Steam libraries away from their PC. The Steam Deck, as it’s been named, has been making waves recently, and now Valve’s designers, such as Tucker Spofford, went into detail on their design decisions for the device.
“We tried to put enough types of input and ways to play on there, and make it all easy to use, so that anybody can find a comfortable way to play the game they want to play.”
While various other handheld consoles such as the Nintendo Wii U and Switch consoles have made console gaming portable, the Steam Deck will be the first attempt at making a portable PC gaming device that isn’t a laptop computer. As such, Valve has taken big steps to ensure that everyone can play it properly, especially compared to the company’s previous attempt with the Steam Controller, according to designer Greg Coomer in PC Gamer magazine:
“We learned a ton when we were iterating with features on the Steam Controller. We even built ones with physical trackballs and all kinds of methods of doing capacitive input and touch. Once we got to the Steam Deck, we felt like we had our desired inventory of controls.”
The Steam Deck is reputed to be capable of playing all 50,000 games that are currently in the Steam library, ranging from low-graphic games to big high-end Triple-A titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Titanfall 2. This is all possible through the power of Proton, the tool that lets Windows games run on the Linux-based SteamOS for the Deck. However, even if some games need an extra nudge, Coomer is optimistic.
“There remain one-off problems that we still consider important, because people will still want those games to function on Steam Deck. But we’ve managed to make our way through the largest categories of those things and the ones that remain we have pretty good confidence that we’re going to be able to solve, like anti-cheat.”
Considering that previous attempts such as the Steam Controller and Steam Machine fell flat in Valve’s attempts to make PC gaming more widespread and portable, hopefully the Steam Deck is something that will end up taking off in the end. The Steam Deck itself is slated to come out in December of this year, so hopefully by then Valve will have overcome all of these other problems they have yet to solve.