Do you play games portably or are you a desktop gamer only?

Lauren Morton

Staff member

Hey PC Gamers, this week Mollie and I brought on our Associate Editor and Steam Deck OLED review writer Tyler Colp to talk to us about the Deck lifestyle. Mollie and I both wound up buying ourselves Steam Decks over the holiday and we're already finding our own ways to incorporate them into our gaming habits.

Do you play games portably or are you committed to the desktop life?

Portable gaming has long felt like an extension of the console market between Nintendo handhelds throughout the years and the PlayStation Portable. But now handheld gaming is finally feeling more mainstream as an arm of the PC gaming community. The Steam Deck isn't even our only option: there's the ROG Ally and the OneXPlayer OneXFly, oh and also the Ayaneo Air. Honestly our hardware team has reviewed more of these things in the past two years than I even knew existed. Thanks hardware team! So have you tried any of them, Steam Deck or otherwise? Are you staunchly a desk gamer with no interest in portable gaming? Does playing on a smaller screen just not appeal to you or do you play games that just don't fly with a gamepad?

This feels like a pretty big change in PC gaming that we're watching happen in real time!
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Not any PC handhelds, but I do have a Switch. The only reason I bought the Switch was because I wanted to play the new Zelda game. Maybe in the future, I could dabble in the Steam Deck and such, but as long as I have a desktop, I don't see much point in it.

Thinking a little more about it, I also think I try to avoid too many handheld devices because I don't want to bring with me the gaming (my Switch is planted on my desk). This is the same reason why I rarely play games on my mobile phone. I want to play games in a more stationary area so that when I leave that station, I'll go on with different tasks.
Are you staunchly a desk gamer with no interest in portable gaming?

Yep, that's me. For a couple of reasons:

Does playing on a smaller screen just not appeal to you

^ That's one reason, and part of why I use TVs as monitors—much larger screen size for a given $ value, plus better visibility for eyes in the ancient realm.

don't want to bring with me the gaming

And that's the other main reason. If there was a free Deck on the car seat, I'd probably leave it there after a quick hardware appraisal. I just do different stuff when I'm away from my desktop.

Besides, driving distracts from gaming at times, don't you find?
I’d like to have a Steam Deck to play games in bed. I don’t want to lug my PC to the bedroom TV and we don’t have a living room TV, so a handheld would be perfect for my circumstance. However, that comfort doesn’t seem worth paying the price to get my hands on one, at least for now. Plus the problems listed above my reply don’t make it seem that appealing, specifically the 720p display.

I have a good feeling the handheld PC industry is going to really take off in the future which means we will get better machines, so perhaps the Steam Deck 2 is the one I should keep an eye out for.


Community Contributor
If I'm out, I'm out for a reason - and it isn't to play games! I suppose I could play one while waiting at a doctor's office or something, but I would rather just read or... and this is going to sound completely crazy to some of you... I won't do anything at all. Nothing! No book, no game, no TV, no music, no social media, no emails, not even any meditation techniques.

So no, I haven't done mobile gaming much - at least since the days of those little LED football games.
I'm firmly a desktop gamer, love my desktop set-up. I have hooked it up my TV as well, so I can already play my favourite PC games on the sofa (also have a lapboard if I'm really stubborn and still want to use keyboard and mouse whilst on the sofa 😂).

But all that being said, I recently got a Steam Deck OLED (slight impulse purchase) and been having a great time with it. I've turned it into a small emulation machine mostly (EmuDeck is such a great tool) and have loved playing a bit of Super Mario Sunshine or some PS1 Rayman before bed, or kicking back on the sofa for 15 minutes before I need to run out the door - it's just a bit more convenient than booting up the PC in some scenarios. Realistically it's never going to compete with a desktop, I still prefer 90% of games with keyboard and mouse, but it's just given me another way to play games which isn't a bad thing.

I also took it into my office with a dock and a handful of controllers to play some group games, so a great alternative to the Switch for that kind of thing.
Always been desktop. I don't even see point in laptops because of lack of surround sound and screens too small.
I think last hand held I used was:
or maybe a similar one from later years.

I am showing my age...

I remember these as a kid. My Uncle had a couple he gave me, one was a football game, one was where youre a fire fighter and you had to catch people jumping out of the windows.
that was the main one I remember having
We also had
  • Parachute
  • seems Octopus actually called "Mysteries of the Deep"
  • Fire Attack
might have had more, not sure we ever had a 2 screen one. Its a long time ago.
Other people we knew had others so memory not reliable.
pictures helped remember:
they had a pinball? I can hardly imagine how to play that on 2 screens...
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I have a Switch I bought for when I'm away from home. Now it mostly gets used docked or by my kid.

If Steam Deck had been around in 2017 I'd have got one instead. With the price of graphics card these days, its hard for me to justify spending 500 or so on another gaming machine for the odd times I'd use it, when I could get a better GPU instead.
It's very rare that I go anywhere. If I had a daily train commute, I'd probably get one. The main problem, however, is that most of the games I play require me to read small text, and I'm not sure how that would work out. Plus, the main game I'd like to take with me, for instance on vacation, is Total War Warhammer 3, which isn't compatible with the Deck.

Like practically all cool gadgets, I'd like to have one. I'm just not sure when I'd use it or what I'd play on it. I do like racing games, though, and those seem to be perfect for the Deck.

OsaX Nymloth

Community Contributor
Definitely a desktop/homebody aka desk potato and has been since the 90's, even since the times of having my first very own PC and no money at all. Now I could afford Steamdeck or something else and I've used Switch due to work for a while, but.... why change big multimonitor screen setup for small single screen?

If I am on the move, I prefer to either just have music on or read books on my ebook reader.
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