On Thursday, July 15, video game publisher Valve Corp introduced a new handheld console called the Steam Deck. Closely resembling the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck will have the capabilities of a gaming PC and allow users to play high end computer games wherever and whenever.
Priced at $399, the Steam Deck will be available in December just in time for Christmas. Looking at its overall design, there’s no denying the fact that it looks a lot like the Switch (see picture below); joysticks, ABXY buttons, D-pad, and the works. It’ll include two mouse pads on either side which I’m assuming will let players scroll or move camera angles. The company promises that users will run the highest end games, being partnered with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Together they produced a custom chip that is capable of running “the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope”. While the Switch does have nice visuals on some games, it’s still very low powered both battery wise and visual.
Since the Nintendo Switch OLED was announced, a lot of questions arose from consumers regarding its design. It does look like the original version of the Switch, only difference being a somewhat larger screen, but it’s graphics are supposedly much better and improved. So that begs two frequently asked questions: what is the life span of the battery and will it have drift issues? Regarding the drift problem, that would mean Nintendo actually having to address the issue, which has plagued gamers since launch and still does to this day. With the only noticeable improvements to the OLED being better graphics, a new kickstand, better audio and a stylish new dock/LAN port, it’s difficult to say whether or not the drift has been fixed and will no longer be a problem.
The Steam Deck seems to be very promising. While I’m not a fan of the design (the joycons in particular with the mouse pads below them looks like a cramp waiting to happen), I do love the concept of being able to play PC games wherever you are. Most likely that some of them will require an internet connection but for the games that don’t, it’ll be nice to be able to relax in bed or hang out at a park and just game comfortably. If you feel like bringing over your game to a PC or laptop, you can easily hook it up using a USB cord and continue your game on there. It was also said that gamers can purchase and play games from both the Steam store and the Epic Games store so players will have more variety to choose from.
I’ve been a loyal fan of a Nintendo since I was a young child (my first console being a Super Nintendo which I still own to this day). When the Switch was released in 2017, I knew I had to have one. It wasn’t until 2018 that I finally purchased it and things were going fantastic; I was playing Let’s Go Pikachu and Breath of the Wild……until the dreaded joycon drift. I did have it sent away and fixed but lo and behold, a couple of months later the drift came back……on a completely new joycon that was sent to me. While I do love the Switch it just seems to me that there have been problems from the beginning that should’ve been addressed and fixed so that they didn’t happen again (mainly talking about the joycon drift). It’s just incredibly sad that my 20+ year old Super Nintendo runs more smoothly than a top of the line modern day platform. They definitely don’t make them like they used to that’s for sure.
Will I be purchasing either? It’s hard to say as of right now. My Switch works fine at the moment. It’s inevitable that in the near future, gamers will more than likely have to buy the OLED if they want the newest games or Nintendo stops producing games with old Switch specs, which is probably when I’ll upgrade. As much as I would love a Steam Deck, I’ll have to wait and see what others say about it before considering getting one since I’m still on the fence about it. Other than that, the Steam Deck has potential and will hopefully knock Nintendo down a peg and finally force them to listen to their consumers.