It’s a perfect indie machine
The newly announced Steam Deck is a tempting deal, especially for a product that starts at $399. But there’s one thing worth considering before pre-ordering your own, and that’s storage space. The $399 model comes with 64 GB of flash memory, which is a bit of a tight squeeze. Games shown in Valve’s promotional videos, like Control, at 42 GB, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (55 GB) would gobble up the majority of the drive. Doom Eternal and Death Stranding wouldn’t fit on the entry-level Steam Deck, due to their size. Each requires 80 GB of storage, according to their Steam pages.
The midrange $529 model has 256 GB of available storage and the $649 top-tier Deck has 512 GB available, solving that issue. Each could handle even the meatiest Call of Duty title, and comes with other technical upgrades. (The 256 GB and 512 GB models also feature much faster NVMe SSD internal storage.)
Every tier of Steam Deck comes with a microSD card slot, which allows people to expand their internal storage. Thankfully, they’re cheap: On Amazon, you can get a 256 GB Samsung microSD card for $35.99 and a 512 GB card for $69.99, which is another way to fit some more games on there.
Another workaround? The Steam Deck will also support Steam remote play out of the box, letting players stream their library of games from a separate home PC.
It’s unclear how much of the Steam Deck’s built-in storage will be eaten up by its OS, but regardless, customers opting for the entry-level version of Valve’s handheld should expect to buy some extra storage. Nintendo Switch owners are already familiar with this virtual prerequisite; Nintendo’s system ships with just 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, depending on the model.
Overall, though, it seems as though the cheapest version of the Steam Deck is going to be best for indie titles or older games that require less space. AAA titles increasingly gobble up tons of storage; I could have three games the size of Cyberpunk 2077 … or an absolute buffet of indie titles like Overboard!, Carrion, Stardew Valley, and dozens of other games of similar size and scope. Even the standard $399 model could hold tons of classics, like the Half-Life Complete Pack, the Portal Bundle, and a copy of Ricochet.
While the Steam Deck looks like an appealing purchase, especially if you’re the kind of person who loves to play games in bed, you’ll likely need to either set your expectations or pay for a larger model. However, the Deck will likely be worth it for people who have big Steam libraries with tons of variety — it seems a good way to experience older classics and diverse new indies.