Steam recently announced Steam Deck, a portable console. You can find a more thorough explanation here.
I’d like to share with you 11 reasons why Steam Deck could cause an earthquake. It won’t kill consoles. It just has the possibility to, in theory, be a game-changer. In practice, we’ll have to wait for the release in December 2021, at least for Canada, the US, Europe and UK.
1 — Hacking
Consoles were closed systems, Steam Deck just destroys this. You have Linux by default, but you can install Windows. You can also install emulators for Nintendo Switch, Game Boy, PS1, and many others. You’re basically removing the need for old games to be specifically ported to consoles.
2 — Library
You’ll have your entire Library on Steam Deck, but this also means that games that needed to be ported before are now “kinda” automatically ported. Games like Civilization 6, Factorio, Magic Arena, Eve Online, DOTA 2, League of Legends, Valorant, Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft, are now playable on consoles.
3 — Library x Mobility
I had the Nintendo Switch but I sold it because the games were expensive and the game store was too small. The Switch was amazing for the portability, but now the Steam Deck has this AND the library!
4 — Porting for game devs
Indie game devs spend around 15K€ on average per console port. Imagine having a console port with roughly 0€. That’s big.
5 — Game Events
Game devs used to bring laptops, screens, computers to game events and have trucks loaded with furniture. Imagine shrinking this by 2 with the portability of the Steam Deck!
6 — Early Console Testing
We take a lot of time to make games on PC, then porting them to consoles. Now we could just make games directly for Steam Deck and target really easily the console screen size.
7 — Non-Steam on the go
Things like Xbox Gamepass, League of Legends or Magic Arena, which are played outside of Steam, might now be available if the control binding can be done easily. It’s pretty huge for those developers that avoided consoles because of technical issues (often multiplayer).
8 — Linux could go mainstream
If Steam Deck sells like the Switch — it probably won’t — you could have around 80 million more Linux machines in the wild. A bigger adoption size would mean more interest in making it accessible, and more tools coming to Steam Deck.
9 — Steam deck should easily run Unity for 2D games
Making games on the go? Yes, please.
10 — Social apps on the go
Consoles spend a lot of time making social apps like Netflix, Discord, and some are still missing like Spotify. If this console “automatically” has them, it’s a big plus.
11— Servers, remote multiplayer, and more
Most people don’t understand why Steam is the unkillable giant. It has an amazing player base, yes, but it also has tons of developer features you can’t find anywhere else. Easy multiplayer, easy microtransactions, achievements and stats, VAC Ban, remote play, leaderboards, keys, Steam Cloud, inventory system…
Even keys on consoles are crap. You have to pay for your game keys. Achievements are often missing. I’m glad we’re getting rid of those small inconveniences.
Despite all these good points, I don’t think Steam Deck will be that good for the following reasons:
- It’s only Steam 2nd console
- The battery is very important and there’s no guarantee that the 40Wh battery will last
- The price tag matters too: pre-order starts from €419 up to €679 — but iPhones are still selling well, so…
- We love consoles for their exclusive games (The Last of Us, Zelda, etc.)
Thank you for reading!
Check out Neurodeck, my indie roguelite deckbuilder on Steam here!