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Steam's New Portable Console Has The Internet Divided

After months of rumors concerning a new handheld, Valve has announced its new portable gaming device, the Steam Deck. This revolutionary little device will allow players to play PC games on the go, downloaded directly from a player's Steam library. While this might sound like a dream come true, there are a few details surrounding the console that have some gamers concerned. 


Two of the biggest issues are the device's price and storage capabilities. The lowest end model costs $400, which sounds like a pretty good deal for a portable PC that is capable of playing AAA games. However, that model only comes with 64GB of storage. While all of the available Steam Deck models allow for high speed SD cards to be plugged in for additional storage, if you were to download something like "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order," that would take up 55GB of your initial 64GB. Meanwhile, "Forza Horizon 4" wouldn't be able to fit at all, since it requires 80GB of storage. In other words, the base model barely has enough storage for a single game.

Another big issue people have is that the odd placement of buttons. The D-pad and the face buttons are placed on the top left and top right of the controller respectively, just outside the thumb-sticks. As some people have pointed out on Twitter, it almost looks as though the buttons are trying to escape the Steam Deck. Part of the reason for this design is probably because of two sizable track pads placed on the sides of the screen, which seem like an odd choice for a system that doesn't have a keyboard. 


Of course, there are still a number of advantages to the Steam Deck.

Steam Deck is priced to move

Although there are concerns around the console's design and storage, Steam has also provided customers with plenty of information that may excite them.

Aside from the $400/4GB, there are two more Steam Deck models that seem like a definite upgrade. The next two models — $530 for the 256GB version and $650 for 512 GB — come with NVME SSDs for faster loading. While those last two price points might seem a bit steep for a handheld, the fact remains that users are paying for a high-end PC that they can take on a road trip.


In an interview with IGN, Valve CEO Gabe Newell explained that the base model pricing was something that the company had in mind from the moment they began work on the Steam Deck. He explained, "We knew that the price point was very important, so [...] from the beginning, we designed with that in mind, and we worked very, very hard to achieve the price point that we're at."

According to Newell, the competitive pricing was decided on as a way for the company to immediately establish itself as an important force in the portable gaming market. Rather than worrying about profits, Newell said, Valve's goal was to show consumers that the company is "doing this for the long haul."

So what else does the Steam Deck have to offer, and how do fans feel about it?


Does Steam Deck have staying power?

Fans have been poring over the system's capabilities since it was announced. According to the device's spec page, its battery life is "2-8 hours," which could either be terrible or great, depending which end of this spectrum you actually get. The Steam Deck can also be hooked up to external displays (with a dock that is sold separately) and can go up to 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz, which is pretty impressive for a portable PC with a 1280 x 800 LCD screen. Already, more than a few gamers have expressed their skepticism regarding these specs.


Another interesting point is that the Steam Deck is not a closed system. It comes with Steam installed, but another third-party OS could be installed, meaning you could install the Epic Games Store or stream games via Xbox Game Pass. While other third-party companies have made similar devices, this is the first hand-held PCs made by a prominent company in the space.

Some fans are questioning whether or not this new system can stand up to the Nintendo Switch, while others already prefer this handheld over Nintendo's new OLED Switch. The debate over the quality of the Steam Deck will probably continue until it releases in December, but at least fans already have plenty of information to go on.