The Steam Deck was released in 2022, and a year later in 2023, I would still recommend it to anyone who is interested in it. Valve has made significant progress in the last year with over 100 updates. They have shown that an early access game console can be worth the investment.
Valve has also proven skeptics wrong about the capabilities of Linux, as the Steam Deck has been at the top of the Steam bestseller list for 35 weeks and has garnered support from major players in the industry such as Sony and Microsoft. In my opinion, this is a major achievement and the Steam Deck will have a lasting impact on the gaming industry in the years to come.
The Steam Deck may not be a Nintendo Switch or PlayStation Vita – and may never be. But it serves a different purpose. It may not be guaranteed that all games will work and continue to work, but for those who were disappointed by the missed potential of the Vita, wish the Switch was more powerful, or simply want to play through their backlog of PC games, the Steam Deck offers unbeatable value. It is one of the most powerful gaming PCs available at a price point of USD$400, with roughly the same power as a PS4 in its 7-inch screen.
The possibilities are endless. These include alternative game stores, emulators and streaming games from PS5 to the handheld, and being able to customise the device by installing a better fan and larger SSD.
Valve has delivered so many fixes that, for the most part, players have a good gaming experience. Valve has adjusted the fan curve, added an “engineered foam solution to reduce fan noise,” and shipped replacement fans to iFixit that you can easily buy and install to reduce whine.
The big exception is multiplayer games with anti-cheat software, including the biggest titles like Fortnite, PUBG, CoD: Warzone, Rust, Destiny 2, Rainbow Six Siege and DayZ are still not supported – just to name a few.
Additionally, Microsoft has made sure that Xbox Cloud Gaming is compatible with the Steam Deck, providing access to a wide range of Xbox Game Pass titles for Ultimate subscribers. They are also working with Valve to optimize games such as Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection for the Steam Deck. Valve has stated that multiplayer for Halo MCC may take a bit longer, so my fingers are crossed.
No other company has yet to offer a similar combination of portability, performance, and affordability like the Steam Deck. However, I am keeping an eye out for potential competitors as technology continues to advance. Valve has also shown a willingness to share their knowledge and it is speculated that they may release a successor to the Steam Deck in the future, with improved battery life and screen resolution. Or who knows, even hit our Singaporean shores with local support sooner than later. We’re waiting for your move, Valve.