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Valve reveals the first info on the console

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Valve is having some success with the Steam Deck and is already thinking about a sequel. In an interview, the brand talks about its portable console and the improvements to come.

Launched at the start of the year, the Steam Deck received a rather favorable reception despite a complicated launch. The ambitious device shakes up the codes with its hybrid approach, halfway between PC and portable game console. Often compared to the Nintendo Switch because of this format, Valve’s machine is however very different and much more powerful. The firm behind the Steam platform has already released numerous updates to improve the experience. However, the youth of the product is sometimes accompanied by some unpleasant bugs.

For Valve, these successful beginnings make us forget the firm’s previous attempts in terms of hardware (Steam Machines, Valve Index, etc.). Behind the success of the Steam Deck, Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais gave an interview to The Verge site to discuss the console and its future.

Updates will continue

Let buyers be reassured, Valve believes in its console and will continue to offer many updates. Unlike some home consoles, the Steam Deck sometimes feels like a real “beta” with frequent updates. A strategy assumed by the firm which always seeks to improve the user experience. “I think we will always roll out updates, as long as there are people playing”, says Pierre-Loup Griffais. Valve will continue to focus on fixing bugs and bringing new features.

The Steam Deck is coming to more and more players and the list of bugs is “growing”. Same observation for the wish list concerning the functionalities. “I find it hard to see a time when we would consider it over”adds Pierre-Loup Griffais.

Hailed as a relatively simple console to repair, the Steam Deck is part of this new trend. It aims to make self-repair more accessible, but not everything is perfect yet and Valve knows it. Replacing the L-shaped battery is the “Achilles’ heel of the Steam Deck” according to iFixit specialists ; because it is the only complicated part to repair. A bad surprise, since it is one of the elements that can show signs of wear the fastest.

Valve uses a lot of glue, which the firm justifies by a desire to have a very well fixed battery. “It would be a very bad experience to have a battery loosely attached inside”, indicates the company which encountered this problem with “some” of its first prototypes. The designers nevertheless seek to improve this point and admit that the glue is not ideal. Modifications have already been made and Lawrence Yang specifies that “the team is already making things easier with the new hardware revisions”. On these machines, the battery is easier to detach.

Yes to a 2nd Gen Steam Deck, no to a “Pro” version

Thanks to its many updates, the Steam Deck wants to position itself as a “multigenerational product”. Machine reviews confirm this trend, but that doesn’t stop Valve from thinking about a second-gen Steam Deck. Like Nintendo with its Switch, the idea would not be to offer a more powerful “Pro” version; even if it is technically possible. The engineers would rather seek to improve two essential points: the screen and the autonomy.

These two elements are regularly cited as areas for improvement for the manufacturer. On a technical level, remember that the Steam Deck has a custom APU based on AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures. The processor offers 4 cores (8 threads) with variable clock frequency between 2.4 and 3.5 GHz; while the graphics part is based on 8 RDNA 2 graphics calculation units clocked between 1 and 1.6 GHz. A solution close to the latest generation consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S) and sufficient according to Valve. Some competitors, however, choose to switch to the Ryzen 7 6800U to offer more power. This APU is however more energy-intensive.

Valve welcomes the existence of a single configuration to allow all models to play the same games. The next Steam Deck will therefore not be more efficient than the current one, but it could have a more efficient screen. For the time being, there is an IPS LCD panel displaying 1280 x 800 pixels at 60 Hz which has raised some criticism. Its colorimetry is particularly pointed out.

Finally, Valve still wants a Steam Controller 2. “It’s just a matter of how and when”says a firm that has made the Steam Deck a priority.

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