Always dreamed of a next-gen PS Vita handheld? Well, it’s beginning to sound like Valve’s super-powered portable PC, the Steam Deck, may actually be that. With Sony’s recent strategy of porting tentpole PlayStation 4 titles to storefronts like Steam, games like Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War are proving interesting benchmarks for the handheld. And the results? Remarkable, really.
Death Stranding, for example, is running with PS4 equivalent settings in 720p at a sturdy 30 frames-per-second. Remove the framerate cap and you can reach highs of 45 frames-per-second, which is impressive to say the least. The same is true of both Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War, in fact the latter actually outperforms the framerate of its console counterpart – albeit at a lower resolution.
While the resolution drops may sound disappointing on the surface, it’s important to remember that the system has a 7-inch screen, so this is much less noticeable than it would be on a large television or monitor. There are drawbacks with CPU, which means that games like Days Gone see their framerate plunge during horde encounters, but the results are still impressive overall.
This analysis comes by way of Digital Foundry, and there is an important caveat: the Steam Deck is not a console, and you’re at the mercy of your own technical expertise in order to get your games running. The system gives you unprecedented freedom to tinker, but if you’re a “plug-and-play” gamer, then this may not be the portable for you. After all, it is, effectively, a PC in your pocket.
"the latter actually outperforms its console counterpart – albeit at a lower resolution."
That's not "outperforming" in any sense, if you have to lower the resolution
I'll admit that it's impressive, though
If this can run both Horizon games and all From Software games well, I'll consider buying it.
Steam deck is quite impressive.
Does make me think a Vita2 would be quite possible as basically a handheld PS4 pro.
Which would be awesome.
I have ordered the 64gb model actually and waiting the delivery. I would love to tinker with it, do Linux stuff, install Windows 11, play some Indies, install Retroarch and Launchbox, try xCloud, Game Pass etc. However, it seems that I should have ordered the 256 model to make dual boot easier. Not that I could afford the more expensive SKU at this point and you can order only the model you chose back in July. Having loved the Vita and being so and so on the Switch this console-pc hybrid seems to have the horse power I would like.
This thing is really cool. Sure it might not be as straight forward as a Vita or a Switch but even if just a fraction of the Steam library works on it, that's still a huge amount of titles available. I definitely plan to pick one up at some point.
@danlk1ng You're right, I've clarified that I'm referring to the framerate there.
@sketchturner Seen people playing Elden Ring on it I think, so... Yeah!
Does look great for the price!
It's a super impressive handheld, but it's also gigantic. Kinda hoping we get a Steam Deck Lite at some point.
Battery life is also a concern. While this thing can push out AAA games at impressive levels of performance, sometimes it barely lasts more than an hour in the process.
So, very much a work in progress. But I do think Valve has something amazing here. I really hope they keep iterating on it over time.
@Korgon tbh even if a huge chunk of Steam titles never end up working on it, it'll still have the biggest handheld library of all time. Steam's library is immense.
The future. Nintendo innovates and everyone replicates and it works out great.
I actually want one these.
Sounds great but it isn't very user friendly (it's still just a PC) and the battery life isn't great. It's a shame that technology advances so fast but battery technology can't keep up to run devices well into double figures, at least for a reasonable price.
About a year ago I suggested that Sony should do a PS4 pro portable, I was told it was impossible to do. Not so impossible now.
Nice... But 12 min after pre-order opened and I still missed out on first shipment email invites 🙄
Oh well, time to wait.
I wish Sony would release a handheld successor just to add some damn competition. The Vita is considered a failure, but it at least made Nintendo's 3DS do a sudden price cut months into its release and invest in strong third party support. Now with no competition the Switch gets away with so much *****.
I'm not interested in steamdeck anymore after watching on youtube how big the device is lol, also the battery is pretty bad (some games can deplete the battery really fast at 1.5 hours from full charge), but I'm interested in the following device, if steam can make it smaller and the battery last longer.
@wiiware @Ralizah I didn't hear people complaining about the OG switch being able to play zelda for only 2 hours. I think it's fine.
Jetpack Interactive did an amazing job with the God of War port. I wonder if Sony is planning on scooping them up, so Jetpack Interactive and Nixxes can both handle the ports. That would essentially double the porting output.
@Ralizah There probably really isn't gonna be much they can do to make it smaller or improve the battery life. We're basically talking about an ultra book spec in a handheld. Valve is already push the biggest battery they can. Making it smaller would possible means giving up performance.
If I can run Spartacus on it I might consider it 🤔
Figures another company supports the idea of the Vita more than sony 🤣🤣🤣
Be interesting to see how it goes with them saying they would be open to work with Microsoft to put game pass on Steam
@belmont If you're comfortable, you can add a compatible M.2 SSD.
The 64gb version hasn't ommitted the slot for it.
I think my old Casio watch could run FromSoftware games.
Hopefully this does well enough that everyone wants to play Sony games on the go and Sony is forced to release a VITA 2.
I initially had no interest in this but it is impressive to run these kind of games. That being said I was watching some random YouTube video the other day of someone testing God of War on it and he said it was getting hot and the fans were spinning crazy loud. I didn't even know it had fans.
A little concerning if accurate.
@lolwhatno Well Nintendo usually is easily forgiven for almost anything. People said it is fine then. It sure is in my opinion.
@MaxDiehard Well I have a SSD nvme 512gb somewhere lying around but in valve's video changing the HDD seems harder than your average Windows laptop.
@lolwhatno Zelda can run 2.5 hours on switch v1 which make it annoying since I mostly charging the device rather than playing it (charging for 3 hours vs playing only 2.5 hours). My switch playtime is up after replacing switch v1 with v2.
@thefourfoldroot I think Sony's reaction to everyone wanting to play Sony games on the go would be releasing games day 1 on PC so it's available on Steam Deck day 1 rather than the creation of a new Sony handheld or Sony hybrid.
@wiiware Yep, I know that the v2 "fixed" the problem, what I meant is consider the steam deck as a v1 switch then.
To anyone who might buy this, read the verge review it's very well made explains how awesome the system is but also how buggy it is. The software isn't stable.
I really like the look of this, but I would wait for a hardware revision (or two?), and of course more general availability, before I seriously considered getting one.
Nintendo didn't invent PC handhelds. Sure you are most likely to think of Nintendo when you think of handheld gaming but making handheld gaming pc's is nothing new and was going on long before the Switch was a neuron firing in anyone's brain. Valve are just trying to figure out how to perfect it.
@AstraeaV The Game Gear existed 32 years ago, that's closer to modern handhelds than the original Gameboy.
@AdamNovice SteamOS, the linux variant the Steam Deck is based on, is very steam centric. This is not a normal windows or debian installation. SteamOS was made so that you can play games as soon as possible after truning on the pc.
Not interested in gaming below 60fps, even for a handheld. Wake me up when a handheld can push 60 in AAA titles...
@thebizniznizbiz AAAs made how recently? It you mean "all AAAs made within a year of release", we're probably talking about waiting at least another decade. Low power computing is always going to come at a performance penalty. Mobile computing has to be low power. You're also talking about a performance target that generally requires spending a minimum of £700 to get on desktop (more with current price issues), and for mass market you need a <£500 SKU.
"After all, it is, effectively, a PC in your pocket."
You guy have some really big pockets.
@lolwhatno People absolutely complained about the battery life of the original model for big games. If people had only been able to play BotW for 90 minutes at a time, it would have been a vastly bigger deal, too.
A number of big games are barely lasting over an hour on this thing unless you throttle the framerate. Some games are so demanding they can't even make it to two hours WITH the 30fps cap in place. 2.5 hours for Zelda at full brightness wasn't great, yes, but let's not pretend like the numbers we're seeing for AAA stuff on Steam Deck isn't significantly more dire, in many cases.
@Floki It's not unreasonable to think that changes to power efficiency in future components might allow them to design smaller models with comparable performance to the launch model. The power efficiency of the V2 Switch is why the Lite can run longer on a smaller battery, after all.
@Ralizah Not as many complained than they are complaining for this device. It's especially a stupid argument considering that it runs AAA games with AAA graphics for more than an hour already. BOTW can't compare to HZD in terms of resources needed. I still find these complaints wrong.
Also, I'm not saying the device is flawless, just that the complaints are unfair. The system is apparently extremely buggy.
Who needs a Steam Deck? I love playing ports on my Switch at 15 fps/480p. That's totally underrated!
No, seriously: I think that "mini PC" will replace my Switch during Christmas as my main handheld. Untill then, small issues will be fixed. Hopefully.
Can't wait. Q2 preorder. 256GB should be enough for 3, maybe 4 high quality games or a number of older games or less demanding games. I hear the ssd is removable and upgradable. But at your own risk.
With the battery life below 2 hours in those games it's no Vita 2.
I was interested in this, but have decided to wait for Steam Deck 2 which is rumoured to be in development and being more powerful etc.
The biggest gripe I have with version one is the weak battery life for the more demanding games and when you are on the move, one and a half hours is not enough battery life.
I’m hoping they will address that in the future model along with other improvements (Hopefully size and fan noise) but for now, that why it’s a big no from me.
@GADG3Tx87 Even the Switch gets hot to the touch and the fans spin up crazy in that. This is with the being the Switch being ARM based. It not surprising at all if the APU in the Steam Deck get toasty
@Ralizah The thing is Valve isn't thinking about any revisions of the current Steam Deck. This isn't a console, it a PC. They did what they could with the Steam Deck and now moving on to the Steam Deck 2. This system isn't gonna have the shelf life of a console where it see multiple revisions and components changes... etc
Can't say I've experienced that myself. I've had the Switch since launch day and pretty much use it in handheld exclusively. I've played most of its 'demanding' library including ES:Skyrim and never once heard it make a sound or even get warm let alone hot.
I've never even heard the fan, ever.
@GADG3Tx87 I have 4 Switches and a Switch lite. I've feel all them get hot with fan ramping up, and it very prominent on my Switch oled due to metal backing being a massive heat sink
I've only got my launch day one and as I said I've personally never experienced that. I'm on the move a lot and have played BotW, Skyrim, SM:Odyssey, PKMN Sword, SSB, Splatoon and many more in handheld and for a long time I thought it didn't even have a fan.
I only realised when I opened up my friends Switch to solder on a new USB:C port.
Not sure why but it's always been silent and barely even warm for me, slight warmth only if I place my hand on the vent but never from the chassis. And I usually carry a power bank because I deplete the battery a lot.
@GADG3Tx87 Yeah... I'm gonna call bullcrap on that. There have been multiple report, articles, forums, reddit post about either the Switch getting hot or the fan getting loud. There also been hundreds of multiple teardown videos, so there would have been no way you could have gone a long time without knowing about the fan.
So tells me you don't actually pay attention or don't actual use your switch a lot.
No need to be aggressive dude, that's just my experience, and yeah I use mine a lot, maybe I'm just not sensitive to it but I literally never hear a peep out of it or ever feel it hot. I've never known any of my friends to complain either and they are sensitive to that sort of thing, they moan about their PS4's all the time.
Don't know why your sudden aggressive post came into it. What's the big deal? So my experience is different to yours? So what.
I can check out some videos but I've literally never heard anyone else complain either.
Edit. Just looked up some videos searching for overheating or loud fans, the only results I can see suggest defective units and 'fixes'.
I just turned mine on with BotW and had to listen really hard with it against my ear to hear anything and even then it was barely a whisper. Sorry, but that's just me.
@lolwhatno Yup, I'm really interested in steam deck 2 or steam deck lite that shrunk the machine down and have better battery. Or maybe if valve just make straight up steam console, the price of steam games are way cheaper in my country than psn/xbox price.
It is just a Hope rather than expectation but, theoretically, a PC version being available both on PC and portable systems for the same price might mean fewer console versions sold; maybe it could even hit sales of PS5 consoles in the longer term (this presuming day one PC release as others are suggesting Sony should do).
Also the fact that Sony are likely to get more money on games in their ecosystem, rather than PC. Especially with micro transactions.
But yes, more a desperate Hope than anything else.
Yeah I don't know what that other guy is talking about. He seems adamant that the Switch gets loud and hot, I started to question myself that I must just be very lucky to have a quiet and cool one since he supposedly has 5 of them that get hot and loud.
I've never seen any of these videos or Reddit posts he speaks of with well documented reports of it that I had to check and found nothing.
I love my Switch too and think it's a perfect companion to the other main platforms.
I agree with you that the Deck looks a bit on the large side. If I get one I might wait for a smaller one in a revised model. I have a steam account with games but I rarely ever play there to be honest. With several other platforms and games I can't find the time. I'll have to evaluate if it's for me so I'm not going to rush out to buy one. I'm just about to start Mass Effect 3 from the trilogy I've been playing so I'm behind starting Horizon and Elden Ring on my PS5.
With the Deck I don't think Xbox will ever need a handheld since they release their games day one on Steam so this is the answer for them and I think that also means there'll never be a Vita2 since Sony are slowly releasing games on Steam too.
Steam did have a console once called the Steam Box. It went largely unnoticed and faded away after about 18 months. Some manufacturers were making their variants like Asus and such but I'm not surprised you never heard of it.
I would personally wait for a smaller Deck since this one looks a bit uncomfortable to hold to me. Steam games in my country are mostly about the same price as console games and I play mostly on console anyway.
@theheadofabroom I understand all the technical babble and why it's not likely to be possible in the near future to play recent AAA's portably. It was more of a rhetorical statement.
@GADG3Tx87 The problem with steam box is that valve isn't the one doing it, since they already have 30% cut from games software they can make steam box cheaply with small profit, in the other hand asus and others have to sells the box for profit so in the end, console still have better price to performance ratio.
I'm glad valve is more serious about hardware now, steam deck price is way cheaper compared to other similar devices by other manufacturers.
I have a Q2 preorder for the 512gb model and excited for it. Been saving a little a month since the preorders opened last July.
It's "too big for a handheld" is a nonsense argument. Handhelds are now essentially tablets with physical controllers added. Gone are the days of clamshell designs you can slip in your back pocket. Even my Switch has a case that goes in my backpack when I am travelling.
@thebizniznizbiz technical babble? I was trying to keep things simple 😅
Apologies if I caused any offence, it very much read as an earnest statement, so it felt worthwhile pointing out the logical errors it seemed to elude to. I guess what I could have pointed out is that it'll run AAA games from a decade ago (that aren't crysis) at 60+ FPS easily, and a fair few which are more recent. Unfortunately having to figure out what games will run on your hardware as an acceptable experience is the reality of gaming on PC if you don't have an unlimited budget.
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