There is no library of games out there larger than what Steam offers. Valve’s PC game store and launcher features almost any game someone can imagine including AAA’s, indies, and retros. It is a must-have for any PC gamer out there, but it has one major barrier to entry. Not everyone has PCs capable of downloading and playing games off of Steam. For many people, their home computer is simply something they check social media or work on, and gaming doesn’t come to mind to them — particularly those whose home computer is a laptop.
However, these same people may soon have access to Steam’s extensive library of games. Valve has announced the “Steam Deck” a portable gaming console that will bring PC gaming to a handheld device. Anyone with a Steam account will be able to log in and play games in their Steam library on the Steam Deck. This is huge. Not only does this mean that PC players can now take some of their favorite games on the go, but it means a whole new group of people have access to the Steam library.
— Wario64 (@Wario64) July 15, 2021
One look at the Steam Deck and their inspiration for it becomes very clear. This is a clone of the Nintendo Switch and a pretty blatant one at that. It even features a dock for players to connect to external displays. The overall design of the console looks almost exactly the same as a Switch. The only major difference seems to be the placement of the buttons d-pad, which are admittedly in an awkward place. Early pictures don’t make the Steam Deck look particularly comfortable to play on the go, but that may be something that feels more natural once it’s actually in our hands.
This may be a bit of a surprise to some, but it’s not a completely out of nowhere announcement. Rumors of Valve trying to make a console version of Steam have been persisting for some time. Why they decided now was the time to finally pull the trigger on that is anybody’s guess, but it’s going to be fun to see Steam enter the console market against giants like Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation. What will separate this console from those however is that Valve is advertising it like a PC. That means it will have an operating system with third party downloads available. Just like a normal PC.
Do I need a Steam account to use Steam Deck?
The default Steam Deck experience requires a Steam account (it’s free!). Games are purchased and downloaded using the Steam Store. That said, Steam Deck is a PC so you can install third party software and operating systems.
Until we know how the console actually performs we can’t say for certain how great this is, but the concept alone is a good thing for gaming. The barrier to entry to PC gaming can be fairly high sometimes and that’s unfortunate because there are so many fantastic games that are only on Steam. Great games should be available to everyone that wants to play them and this is going to get more people playing fun video games, and that’s awesome.