Weekend Question: Do you think the Steam Deck will be a success?

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Jul 17, 2021
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Do I fancy one at some point? Yeah. Do I think it will be an unequivocal success? Probably not.
They talked about ‘no forced upgrades every five years’ like new consoles. Does this reader think a Steam Deck will play AAA games well, when it gets to 2026? It won’t. A newer, more powerful version will be needed, just like consoles. Or am I missing something here?
 

Kaamos_Llama

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Jan 31, 2020
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No offense here, but your kinda out of touch with cellphone gamers as i was untill about a year or so ago, maybe 1.5. Call of duty is huge with them. Mine craft is a huge mobile game for younger folks as well games like stardew valley and the list goes on. I know folks that play at the bar all the time, others play on lunch breaks, riding the bus ect.. It's gotten huge over the last few years. I know many that play CoD 3+ hours a day. Racing games are another great one to play on them. It might not be for me, but it's really growing.

for many screen size is not really an issue. I can play on my 55" tv, or my 25" monitor.. I choose my monitor around 99.9% of the time even though my comp is more than capable of the tv. I think FMV stuff is about the only thing i like on the tv and those are more which-way books than games for the most part.

If they market this thing right it will be a huge success. The thing is i've never even seen steam advertise on the news for example, like GMA, or during a sport event or what ever. You need to market to the non hard core PC gamer. A they already know about it, and B, the giant market are the folks that barely know what steam is aka the console market.

IMO steam machine was pretty solid, and another avenue, but they just dropped the ball. Again, they needed to market to the console gamer for a better gaming experience, not the higher end comp gamer. They could of grown newbie comp gamers with it but they really just failed. I wonder if it had anything to do with EPIC, and them deciding to focus more on the steam GUI/experience because they have really stepped it up since epic has come on to the scene.
None taken :)

I dont agree though. Mobile phone gamers are a totally different market.

They are aiming currently for people who already have a Steam library to transfer on to it who maybe use a Switch for gaming on the move, or who would like too.

Apparently there were 85 million Switches shipped worldwide as of May 2021 and 115 million PS4 since 2013. That console market is exactly who they are going for, and that's who the Steam machines were aimed at too, this is their second bite at that cherry from a slightly different angle.

Steam has 120 million active users from 2020, they already know who is mostly likely to buy this machine, they are already customers. If they get a significant number of those people involved it's a foothold. From there they can try to branch out into a wider market, at that point maybe you might see a Steam Deck superbowl advert, or whatever.

If they threw that money at mass marketing straight away no one would care, if they start doing it at a point where more casual people may know someone who already owns one, it might just be be worth it.

Sure, if they could convince large numbers of mobile phone gamers (almost everyone in the world at this point) to buy one they would make more money, but I'm fairly sure the massive majority of those people are never going to be convinced to buy a dedicated gaming machine. I don't believe that part is a marketing problem.
 
Mar 9, 2020
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Probaby? But it's hard for me to also see myself ever getting one. There are very few PC only games that I can imagine wanting to play away from my desktop since most of those types of games already get Switch releases. I'm having deja vu with steam machines, steam link, and steam controller if I'm being honest.

Granted, the touch pad tech Valve designed is the best analog to using a mouse on a controller that I've experienced, but that still doesn't mean I'd like to use one, even if it lets me play, say, an RTS or FPS on the go.
And if I did, I'd be getting a proper laptop for the added functionality a keyboard and mouse provides (and then ironiclly enough, using a Steam Controller for most of the games where finer aiming or extra keybinds aren't necessary) .
 
Jul 18, 2021
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to be honest this is very tricky, because this is a new start playing PC games on portable consoles. but is it worth it to replace the real feeling of playing PC? when viewed from the point of view of this creativity is extraordinary.
 
I just don't think the gap between gaming on a phone and gaming on a laptop is big enough to buy another piece of hardware to fill it.
I think a laptop is a better investment if you do want to have a portable way to play Steam games.
I think the appeal of the Switch came for a large part from the exclusive games, at least for gamers.
I don't think casual gamers who bought a Switch will also want to buy a Steam Deck.

I also wonder if the increase of people who can (continue to) work from home will have a noticeable impact on the amount of people who would want to buy a portable gaming machine.

I'm just not sure what the market for the Steam Deck is. Outside of gamers with a large amount of disposable income I suppose, but that seems like it would not be that big of a market.
 
Jun 8, 2021
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Steam's track record with hardware does not inspire confidence. Remember the steambox?
Storage size is a huge issue as well with the base model only offering 64 gbs. While this can be expanded with sd cards, this will only add to the price. Steam will need to find some way to compress file sizes for games for it's steam is. Outside of steam os , gamers are unlikely to find such accomodations. For example, if a player wanted to play Cod then they would be looking at a game with a file size 150gbs+ .
Optimization may also become an issue as well. One advantage Nintendo has over the steam deck is that developers make their games specifically to run on the switch where as the games on the steam deck may not be specifically made to run on the steam deck. Steam deck will need developers to support the platform in order to make sure games are optimized for the platform otherwise how many years can one expect their device to stay relevant without the need to upgrade?
Finally, a possible major issue that could happen is in the breakdown of the hardware itself. This is no more apparent than in Nintendo's dreaded joycon drift. I can imagine something like this could be possible with the steam deck but unlike the joycons, the controller is not detachable from the deck.
Overall I guess we will have to wait and see, but these are some of the reasons I am skeptical about the steam deck.
 
Feb 2, 2020
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Don't you think it is much better to play your games at a PC rather than a handheld gaming console? For me, I think yes it will be a success since it is a portable handy device where you can play your steam games but still I would definitely enjoy playing my games with a keyboard and a mouse.
 
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Jul 21, 2021
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Depends on your definition of success.

Will it sell 150 million units like Switch is going to? Certainly not. It'll likely do 5 million, maybe 10 if it really hits it off. It's a massive cruise ship more than twice as heavy and 2-3X more expensive than a Switch Lite, with less battery life, can't fit in your back pocket, and doesn't have any exclusive must have games that will draw ppl like on Switch.

That said, 5-10m for a variant form factor of an already existing platform is plenty good enough. It's got a massive library out the gate (even if some games won't run via Proton or, if they do, they may have quirks and niggles even with Gold rated compatibility). 80% of my Steam library, even now, is Native, Platinum or Gold, offers Gyro and Steam controller config options for every game.

I think this device appeals to 3 groups: Steam players who want portability. Lapsed Steam players who see it as an easy re-entry point. And Nintendo Switch gamers who have a deep respect and appreciation for the portable gaming experience and will see this as the perfect complement to run those heavier titles Switch doesn't do too well with.

And I don't think it's going to cause some massive rift between Switch and PC fans; on the contrary, it's going to unite them. I reserved a 512 GB Steam Deck, as well as a Switch OLED, because I love portable gaming. I think the biggest boon the Deck has in its favor is Nintendo Switch gamers who will evangelize its merits.

If they manage to release a slim version- change to 16:9 720p and remove bezels, shrink the screen to 6" and redesign as much as possible... if they could manage a slim version around 3" shorter and 200 grams lighter, with size and weight comparable to Switch (forget Switch Lite, that's never happening) I think Steam Deck could blow up.
 

Alm

Jan 17, 2020
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I watched a YouTube video that showed a tweet saying that all of the gameplay from IGN was running off of micro sd. I know this system won't be futureproofed in general but there should be a huge amount of games from last year backwards that will run on it.
 
Jul 21, 2021
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Absolutely. I've been gaming from SD cards for the last decade. 3DS, Vita (proprietary but still), Switch, GPD Win 2, and soon, Steam Deck.

It's never been a problem, and contrary to what some will claim, there's not a single game I can think of that won't run just fine on microSD. Will it have uber-fast load times? No. But they're good enough. Instead of 10 seconds you wait 25.

Anyone who plays portably understands the limitations, concessions and compromises required to retain large scale storage on a handheld device while keeping costs reasonable.
 

Kaamos_Llama

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Jan 31, 2020
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I probably read it somewhere but I also thinks its true: Valve are trying to start a platform here for others to release hardware for. I think they want Alienware or Corsair or MSI etc to be releasing their own models in the same way that others imitated the IBM PC originally.

Steam Deck isn't supposed to get a new model every 5 years like a Switch or Playstation, its supposed to be kick starting an eco-system like PC is for mobile gaming, as a vehicle for Valve to sell more Steam games exclusively.
 
Jul 21, 2021
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They tried that with Steam Machines and it didn’t seem to work. Granted, Steam Machines appealed to neither PC gamers nor console users, while this appeals to both. But still. I think it would be best if they kept it as a single device that got revisions every few years.

By sticking to a single device made by Valve themselves, I think it has a much better chance of success. Console gamers don’t want the confusion of countless devices to choose from. And with only a single hardware configuration, games can target the Deck with a Low Settings mode. Multiple configurations means developers won’t bother because there’s too many.

Thats not to say other companies couldn’t still release Windows based handhelds. And perhaps Valve could let ppl install Steam OS on those other devices if they desire. Or maybe they include Steam OS but aren’t marketed as a Deck. Just as a SteamOS enabled handheld alternative.
 
Jun 5, 2021
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I think it will be a success just because there are no alternatives for pc gamers that want to play Steam games on the go on a handheld device. I have no interest as I just bought a laptop last year with a 2080 card which has 144 hz monitor and great power just for when I'm traveling and away from home. The handheld is interesting but even the top model isn't worth the price to me for such little storage space, 30 fps rather than my 144, a weak battery that last 2 hours etc. Again, I see it being a success, but for those like me that already have a powerful laptop and desktop, it's not worth the price. Perhaps down the road on sale years from now I would think about it, especially if superior versions with better power and overall specs release, but as of now, I have no interest.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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Depends on your definition of success.

Will it sell 150 million units like Switch is going to? Certainly not. It'll likely do 5 million, maybe 10 if it really hits it off.
I agree with this sentiment. I think it "won't fail," but I don't think it will succeed on a level they may hope for. Not even sure it'll do 5 million, actually. I think it will do better than VR headsets, but that's a relatively low bar, since VR is still a bit niche. (Sorry to even drag VR into this, but it's the only other relevant PC-related hardware argument I could think of.)

But really, I've no idea what to expect. I thought Steam Machines were going to fare better than they did, and we saw how that went.
 

Kaamos_Llama

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Jan 31, 2020
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They tried that with Steam Machines and it didn’t seem to work. Granted, Steam Machines appealed to neither PC gamers nor console users, while this appeals to both. But still. I think it would be best if they kept it as a single device that got revisions every few years.

By sticking to a single device made by Valve themselves, I think it has a much better chance of success. Console gamers don’t want the confusion of countless devices to choose from. And with only a single hardware configuration, games can target the Deck with a Low Settings mode. Multiple configurations means developers won’t bother because there’s too many.

Thats not to say other companies couldn’t still release Windows based handhelds. And perhaps Valve could let ppl install Steam OS on those other devices if they desire. Or maybe they include Steam OS but aren’t marketed as a Deck. Just as a SteamOS enabled handheld alternative.
They did, and obviously it failed. I think mostly because you couldn't play a lot of games on them due to using Steam OS. You could put Windows on a Steam Machine, but then you were just buying a PC. They're trying to fix that by using Proton with the Steam Deck, I just feel like they have the same plan as before.

I agree that console gamers mostly don't want the confusion of specs and so on, but people have managed with the PS4/Pro and Xbox One X Series S/X series Xtra Spesh. If they set their version of the Deck as the lowest spec for Steam OS I dont see why it couldnt be as simple as everything else must be faster then that minimum. There were also about 50 (maybe) versions of the DS and Nintendo people still managed.

If they had a whole ecosystem revolving exclusively around their store in a market big enough for developers not to want to miss out on theres a lot of money there. It would be a kick in the face for Epic and Microsoft, who've been on the rise lately. Gamepass is such amazing value I bet theyre losing a lot of custom from that alone.

Who knows really, but interesting to think about the possibilities. :)
 
Sep 21, 2020
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The big Q is, will it give a better portable shooter experience than the mobile CoD on a phone. Tons of the really popular games i think would be great to play on if it runs them. I dunno if a first gen will run a game like no man's sky or star citizen, but if they can it would be a huge game changer, especially if you can plug it into a larger screen. Not dragging around a big laptop for travelers, or kids in the car.

I do think gabe is right about one thing, this sill is a portable high end gaming system which I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. I also l think it needs to be able to make a phone call though. :)

Edit being able to make a call opens up gaming when out of wifi with out having to bring yet another device.) I honestly think this part is huge. The amount of space that takes up now is tiny, just look at the smallest flip phones, we are talking near postage stamp size tech, There has to be room someplace for it. Unless of course this thing already has that capaiblity, but i have not seen anything that says it does. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.
 
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Jan 14, 2020
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I think it will be a success just because there are no alternatives for pc gamers that want to play Steam games on the go on a handheld device....[snip]... but for those like me that already have a powerful laptop and desktop, it's not worth the price.
This is where I'm at on it as well. It seems like something I'd be willing to buy at a discount or refurbished. But with the low-end starting at $399, I can think of a lot of other things I'd rather spend four hundred bucks on.
 
Jul 30, 2021
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: Do you think the Steam Deck will be a success?

Valve has announced its own handheld device, the Steam Deck, which is a very William Gibson thing to call it. Have you been tempted to slap a $5 deposit down? What do you think the odds are of it doing well? Maybe there are enough people out there with kids who hog their Switch, or who want to play indie games on the go without paying the Nintendo mark-up, or need more ways to chip through their backlog of PC games. Or maybe this will be another abandoned Valve experiment, like the Steam Machine or Gordon Freeman.
The goal of the Steam Deck is none other than to give streamers quick access to the various functions and features they often use during live streaming sessions. So, I Think It'll be a huge success...

Even though it is portable, this Steam Deck is able to function like a normal PC or laptop. Valve said users can browse the internet and install other software on their devices.
I think some gamers will switch to using The Steam Deck
 

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