Valve Steam Deck

Reactions to the newly announced Valve Steam Deck have been mixed, to put it lightly.

Fellow Half-Glass Gamer Angelo M. D’Argenio was none-too-impressed. And although he brought up some very valid concerns, as well as at least one positive reaction, I feel that I am perhaps more of the target audience for this contraption. As such, I have a slightly more optimistic reaction.

In my specific case, I share a PC with my partner. In fact, she built the dang thing. She uses it primarily for work, which means for the better part of the day, the rig is off limits for me. Fair enough. We have this PC hooked up to our living room TV, which is also where my PS5 is. If she’s using the big screen for a client conference, that pretty much takes both my primary (PS5) and secondary (PC) gaming options off the table.

So if I could simply fire up Red Dead Online and chill out in bed — or even out on my deck — that would solve my gaming access problem. Being able to play in bed would also solve the problem of me falling asleep on the living room sofa after a late-night Trader delivery for my boy Cripps.

And although the base model of the Steam Deck has gotten some flack for only having 64 GB of internal storage (a number the Switch itself was just upgraded to with the newer OLED model), I find that to be sufficient when backed up with additional SD options. It’s not perfect, but it’s also not the end of the world.

And since one can stream their games from their PC account, presumably without having to install them, anywhere you are (with a decent internet connection, of course), storage isn’t as big a problem as it could be.

Valve Steam Deck

So, if you just want remote play in your home but away from your main rig, say while sitting on a bench in your foyer, or while using public transport (which is increasingly likely to offer WiFi), or in a hotel, or at a restaurant, or just while at your desk during your lunch break — pretty much anywhere with a reliable WiFi signal — you are theoretically covered for remote gaming. And given that some of the larger titles on the Switch are streamed, like Hitman 3 or Control, this has already proven to be a viable option for playing handheld games. (Though, to be clear, I don’t think the Steam Deck is necessarily a direct competitor for the Switch.)

I also like that the Steam Deck offers cloud saves, which will allow you to play a little of one game on the go, and then pick right back up where you left off on your main rig.

And although the Steam Deck docking station will be sold separately, the device itself has built-in USB-C, DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI 2.0 ports, meaning you can simply plug it into a compatible monitor and not have to worry about a docking station. This USB-C port will also allow for an external controller, which, much like the Switch, would be a nice feature if the main control layout isn’t quite your speed. Sure, it may seem silly or overly complicated or just bad design if a player has to bring along an external controller to make up for what some consider a bad interface. But then again, have you played the Switch using Joy-Cons? I always bring my Pro Controller along with my Switch so I can avoid having to use Joy-Cons.

So I don’t know, maybe this is just me getting excited for a new gaming system. It’s been a while since I’ve bought one of those, after all. (Editor’s note: No, it hasn’t.) There is a good chance that, even though I appear to be the Steam Deck’s target audience, it might end up being completely superfluous once I get my hands on one (I did end up pre-ordering one, since it’s just $5 to hold your place in line once they begin releasing in Q1 of 2022). I mean, the button layout definitely stood out to me as bein peculiar. But like any controller, some people swear they get used to it and like it, while others will swear it is an abomination. You just won’t know for yourself until you give it a go.

Valve Steam Deck

Am I looking forward to the Steam Deck? I am, although cautiously. Do I like the name Steam Deck? Absolutely not. But as an affordable way to play PC games, even on moderate settings, while on the go or just on the toil– err… couch, I am very much intrigued.

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