The Steam Deck Has Transformed PC Gaming

The runaway success of the Nintendo Switch might suggest that anything similar in form factor and price will perform similarly. But since its launch in 2017, nothing has captured the attention quite like Nintendo’s hybrid console. Valve, maker of stellar devices such as the Valve Index as well as equally unsuccessful products such as the Steam Controller and various Steam Machines (if you can even remember them), made a surprising new addition to the space when it announced the Steam Deck. He was a rival. A handheld PC that can take your Steam library anywhere and everywhere sounds too good to be true, but since its launch in February of this year, it’s been a device that has Barr is surprised.

Early on, a lot stood in the way of Steam Deck’s success. When it launched, Valve announced just over 100 games that were confirmed to be compatible with Steam Deck, with only 60 achieving its highest level of compatibility. . A Linux-based operating system and Proton – the translation layer games will use – looks like it could ruin any chances for a Steam deck before it actually gets going. But that didn’t stop early stock from going up for pre-order faster than most could react, making the Steam deck a big, and telling, launch.

Currently running: 8 Horror Games to Play on Steam Deck

When it finally made its way into the hands of consumers, it was just the right amount of imperfection to be endearing. Yes, not every game in your library worked immediately, but that didn’t even matter when you could easily take games you played on the PS4 months ago and make them look amazingly good on the handheld. Can be run. Smaller titles shined on Valve’s device, where hardware limitations were less of a factor for outstanding performance and the form factor made these games more appealing than playing behind a monitor on a desk. Steam Deck delivers on its promise of letting you bring a huge library of games with you on the go, while also encouraging you to continue growing within Valve’s ecosystem.

Perhaps its biggest triumph was how it completely simplified the process of playing games on PC. Valve has used its console-like interface, Big Picture Mode, on Steam for years, but it’s never felt quite as at home as it does on Steam’s deck. Browsing your existing library of titles and purchasing new games is satisfyingly easy within the confines of a slickly designed user interface, never exposing you to the nitty-gritty of the software underneath. Something is happening. With easy-to-understand flags that indicate whether or not a game works on a Steam deck, it’s fairly easy to understand why something might or might not work, without having to wonder if it’s a desktop build. I have nothing to do with your unique setting and, worse still, how you’re going to solve it.

Ignoring its competing hardware, this user-friendly layer of software is what distinguishes the Steam Deck from many other similar competitors, such as the numerous handhelds under the Aya brand. These handheld PCs run primarily on Windows, making them more similar to desktop PCs and, incidentally, a bit more difficult to play games as the OS and hardware struggle to work together. do With such a tight link between SteamOS and the Steam Deck’s hardware, the handheld is the closest PC gaming has yet come to replicating the straightforward operation of a console, without sacrificing the granularity of choices that Allows you to play games the way you want. .

Steam Deck is versatile enough to satisfy those who want to tinker with it, with refresh rate, resolution scaling (with system-level AMD FSR support), and power consumption to extend battery life. with options to limit All of these have an impact on how you’ll experience the games, along with the wealth of options that most PC titles offer. So, while its high-end user experience allows most games to be enjoyed without the complexity of these options, they’re still there for those coming from backgrounds where they’re too much to enjoy overall. are necessary. It’s this balance that allows the Steam deck to cater to the same PC crowd that Steam has been catering to for over a decade, while also inviting those who potentially have a number of choices. are feared and required by simplifying most processes. Valve has successfully lowered the barrier to entry in PC gaming, with a device that begs the question of why you’d buy a bulky, overheated, and overpriced laptop for gaming on the go. drag It’s a feat that many PC manufacturers are trying to achieve without ever coming close to this level of success.

It’s the Steam Deck’s flexibility that makes it such an attractive purchase, made even easier by Valve’s aggressive pricing that makes building a desktop equivalent a challenging prospect. Better yet, the Steam Deck can also double as a productivity device, though it’s better suited for relatively light workloads like word processing and web browsing. Given its open nature, you can choose to wipe what Valve has put on it and reset everything from scratch, load Windows and engage with Xbox Game Pass if you so desire. are You’ll be sacrificing a lot of what makes Steam Deck so easy to use, but Valve’s decision to leave that up to you (while also giving you the tools to give everything back) to its users. that very few platforms of this ilk. This is a sign of realizing that time spent in the way of such experiments would be wasted, and that optimizing the process to support it as much as possible is more worthwhile for the time that Valve spends. Self will spend on these systems and support for them in the end.

In the same way that it was almost impossible not to recommend a purchase for the Nintendo Switch, the same could easily be said for the Steam Deck on its first anniversary. It’s become one of the easiest ways to get into PC gaming, getting you up and running with a brand new Steam account to play on the go or a new home to store your existing library. allows By compromising what it means to play games on a PC, re-contextualizing the perceived barrier to entry you need to overcome to enjoy the space. Streamlining the entire process of installing a game and getting it to play, as well as offering a customizable environment to do more, Steam Deck is an appealing tool for a wide audience that will definitely be around for a while. for will inform the future of PC gaming. .

The products discussed here were independently selected by our editors. GameSpot may receive a share of the revenue if you purchase anything featured on our site.

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