While a creative idea, it’s safe to say that the Valve-made Steam Deck will never be anyone’s favourite console, at least in my humble opinion.
With the release of the long-awaited Steam Deck and the ability to pre–order the console coming very soon, it seems that people are a little torn on what to think.
The console is for all intents and purposes a PC, with the ability to play PC games with impressive speed and, depending on the version you buy, a fair amount of storage.
However, despite the hype surrounding the console, it seems undeniable that the Steam Deck will never actually replace PC gaming, and I would argue that any real PC gamers out there, including myself, wouldn’t want to play games with such a downgraded experience.
For starters, despite the impressive hardware and claim that this runs just like a PC, no one’s going to actually use it like one. The ability to plug it into a computer or TV and install apps is a nice addition, though I don’t see any scenario where you would pick up your Steam Deck to plug into your TV, rather than just using your TV.
In the same vein, anyone who played PC games would already have the setup to play games on their PC, so the ability to connect your Steam Deck up with a mouse and keyboard comes off as fairly useless. Honestly, anyone who wanted to do that would already be able to.
This also doesn’t even mention the fact that the Steam Deck dock, used to connect the device to external displays, is being sold separately.
And for people that aren’t PC gamers, and prefer console gaming, I don’t see why you would ever think to purchase a device that could turn out more expensive than the newest PS5 or Xbox Series X.
The Steam Deck has three configurations, with the cheapest being £349/$399, and the most expensive coming to £569/$529.
That makes the third version of the Deck more expensive than the latest console releases and the Nintendo Switch, further prompting me to ask who this is console is actually for.
And when you consider it, the cheapest version of the console sits with only 64GB onboard storage, meaning you could struggle to fit more than one modern AAA game on the device.
As it’s been pointed out, the Steam Deck seems to borrow heavily from the Switch in design, which made me question if anyone who liked their Switch would want to trade it out, especially when you consider the price difference.
When you compare the two consoles, it starts to look like the Deck is barely as portable as the Switch, as the power it needs to run like a PC can mean it has a battery life of 2 to 8 hours, far less impressive than the Switch’s 4.5 to 9 hours.
It’s also a hefty device, sitting at a lofty 669g compared to the Nintendo Switch’s 297g, further questioning which you would rather throw in your bag for a day out.
As a PC gamer myself, I know that I would prefer to play the newest releases on a monitor, and not on a 7-inch touchscreen. The highest optimised specs for the Deck sit at 720p, which is not unimpressive, but it is nowhere near as powerful as a modern desktop gaming PC, which I would rather use.
Valve’s Deck also takes away what I consider to be the core of PC gaming; the keyboard and the mouse. While some people prefer controllers over the wasd method, I feel that one of the benefits of a PC is the almost endless and specific controls given by the keyboard and the smoothness that comes from playing with a mouse.
While the Deck has solutions for this, with two trackpads that will simulate a mouse, it will never run as smooth, and the loss of the tactile and ergonomic feel of a keyboard cannot be recreated.
The console itself sits with me as eerily similar to the PSP and the Wii U in terms of its style. Neither of which is really the comparisons you want to be making.
While I think that on the surface this is an impressive move for Valve, I don’t see anyone buying this other than to say they own one.
For most people who already with PC setups, or those that already prefer console gaming, I don’t see it catching anyone’s attention, and just like the PSP and Wii U. The Steam Deck will never be anyone’s favourite console as a result.
Some people here at Trusted Reviews, however, don’t share the same opinion on the Steam Deck. If you want to see a shining review of the console, check out Ryan’s opinion on Valve’s newest release tomorrow as part of our weekly Ctrl-Alt-Delete column.