The Steam Deck Is One Of The Most Exciting Things To Have Happened In Video Games In Years

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Nintendo dominate the hand-held market. While they technically do fight Microsoft and Sony, and battle against mobile gaming, they’re currently the only option for a proper hand-held console. That reign of power, though, is finally being challenged, not by Microsoft or a returning Sony but rather by Valve, the dominant force in PC gaming. A company with plenty of resources to throw at any project it fancies, stepping into the market and trying to expand PC gaming in a whole new way. Valve are aiming to do something dramatic, something big and something very exciting. Can it succeed?

Starting at £349 for the 64GB version the badly named Steam Deck is going to launch in December of this year and is packing some serious hardware for the cost. A 7″ touchscreen, Bluetooth support, two analogue sticks, a D-pad, face buttons, two touch pads, shoulder buttons and four rear buttons make up this hefty 669g beast, roughly twice the weight of a Nintendo Switch. It’s not small, either, measuring in at 298mm x 117mm x 49mm. It’s big, and with that size comes a slight loss in portability. But the flip-side is a machine that can run stuff like DOOM Eternal at high settings.

There’s no magic trick behind the performance, rather it’s the 7″ screen’s 720p resolution that helps the Deck run so well. While the truth of the technical specifications are far more complex (I’d recommend checking out Digital Foundry’s breakdown,) the simplest and most straightforward comparison to make is that the Deck’s hardware puts it roughly on par with an Xbox One S . Normally that would mean 30FPS or so, but because of the low resolution a small screen can get away with it means the Deck can play something like Jedi: Fallen Order without a hitch, at least according to IGN who have gotten proper hands-on time with the new machine.