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Steam Deck (handheld from Valve)


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9 hours ago, bear said:

Intels NUC compute unit stuff sounds an awful lot like what you want Valve to do. 

 

Except for the small problem of Intel gonna Intel and pricing it at their usual expected profit margin. The Intel NUCs are the equivalent of the small Chinese manufacturer portable PCs that Valve have just rendered obsolete with this announcement.

 

As Valve are for whatever reason way more idealistic, they might be willing to bend over once again for the greater good of PC gaming if they made their own Steam Machine Redux. They now actually have the software support in place to potentially make it much more viable than the initial pitch.

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8 minutes ago, mushashi said:

As Valve are for whatever reason way more idealistic, they might be willing to bend over once again for the greater good of PC gaming

 

I mean, it's not exactly a mystery. IBM sell their hardware for the sake of selling hardware. Valve sell hardware for the sake of locking people into their marketplace. Profit margins on said hardware are therefore of rather different priority; 'idealism' and 'the greater good' has nothing to do with it.

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Explain the Valve Index then? or is that also sold at a loss, despite the premium price?

 

If Valve were locking you into their market place, they wouldn't make their system so open and suggest you can install anything you want on it, even competing market places and OSes controlled by other companies which might not have their best interests in mind, which is the mark of truly open computing. Hell, they might even go the extra mile and release some official tuning tools for the hardware, which is more than AMD have bothered doing so far.

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9 hours ago, mushashi said:

Explain the Valve Index then? or is that also sold at a loss, despite the premium price?

 

If Valve were locking you into their market place, they wouldn't make their system so open and suggest you can install anything you want on it, even competing market places and OSes controlled by other companies which might not have their best interests in mind, which is the mark of truly open computing. Hell, they might even go the extra mile and release some official tuning tools for the hardware, which is more than AMD have bothered doing so far.


I don’t think Valve have a choice about lock in. They could never push for any complete lock in on something like the Deck because much of their more core customer base would simply rebel. A section of the PC gaming audience would be repelled by what is basically a PC that they could do basically what they wanted with.

 

But, in the end they still pretty much own PC gaming so it probably doesn’t matter. Sell a PC based device with gaming in mind and Steam is going to hoover a up a large portion of all game sales on the platform. Yes you can use Epic, or Itch, or whatever but none of them really compare to Steam today.

 

So it’s a balancing act for Valve. Continue to allow other stuff so the audience isn’t turned away from your platform whilst somehow ensuring you stay the dominant force. In some ways SteamOS is part of that I suspect. Yes it saves licensing to Microsoft but it also puts the MS store and Game Pass, as well as other stores with worse Linux support, one extra step (and OS cost*) away.

 

* I mean I know you can get a Windows key for like £2

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For Steam the important thing is making it so convenient to use, that most people won't bother changing OS or pirating games. They can't lock down their environment and take a draconic stance because it would result in loads of bad pr and rebelling customers. So their best option is making Steam itself way more attractive than freely available alternatives. Similar to how Spotify and Netflix are too convenient to bother with pirating music and movies for a significant part of their audience. The Steam Deck might be open and that might be a pr point, but no doubt Valve's aim is to make their OS so attractive and easy to use on the Deck, that most people won't take advantage of the openness and just continue buying games on Steam. Because it's convenient.

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When you make the kind of money Valve does and the way Steam does it - they can definitely afford to allow their consumers more freedom while still encouraging use of their ecosystem. It's a very enviable position in the PC space I'm sure where they can sell odd bits of hardware on the side and even if that hardware doesn't succeed financially or userbase wise - it literally doesn't matter because that isn't the core offer of Steam.

 

It's why they can release a quality piece of hardware and allow you the freedom to do what you want with it because they know most people buying will primarily be using it for Steam because they already primarily use Steam anyway. Even if they install Windows and other game fronts - they will still use Steam primarily for the most part. If it does well great - if not - won't impact their core business one bit and any money sent down the river is peanuts really.

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I wonder if that’s part of the reason for the £350 model. At that price it will be in the reach of the less-enthusiast audience and Valve can afford to cut the margins down to the bone on the assumption that they’ll mostly not get modded.

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I've been watching Aya Neo videos and after seeing what that device is capable of I'm really looking forward to the Steam Deck now. PS2 and GameCube games look great on a 7" screen plus it's amazing how well it can run games.

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On 24/07/2021 at 13:48, Fry Crayola said:

A dock makes it an under the TV version, if not in the form factor you might want.

 

True, but you would end up paying for stuff you don't need (battery and LCD mainly). The system being geared towards 720p output is also a bit of a downside if connecting to a TV or monitor—where you might also want HDMI 2.1 or Displayport connectivity (which could be added via a dock, but I also doubt the USB-C port has the bandwidth to carry those connections without compromises). They would also be able to beef up the cooling a bit, and power draw would obviously be less of a concern.

 

Actually that raises an interesting point—Valve haven't really discussed the potential for different performance profiles (like the Switch) when "docked" have they? I guess if the system is just Linux, the community may come up with something in that regard anyway. Run a little daemon that detects if you're plugged in, and adjusts the clock speeds and fan profile if so.

 

6 hours ago, thesnwmn said:

I don’t think Valve have a choice about lock in. They could never push for any complete lock in on something like the Deck because much of their more core customer base would simply rebel.

 

True, but I also think it's about the Proton stuff being relatively untested (at least among mainstream audience, it's already a pretty known quantity among hobbyists / enthusiasts), so they have to provide an "escape hatch". If Proton absolutely does not work well enough for the games you want to play, your money won't be completely wasted.

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25 minutes ago, Rorschach said:

True, but I also think it's about the Proton stuff being relatively untested (at least among mainstream audience, it's already a pretty known quantity among hobbyists / enthusiasts), so they have to provide an "escape hatch". If Proton absolutely does not work well enough for the games you want to play, your money won't be completely wasted.

 

Agreed on Proton. From that DB website it looks like a pretty mixed bag. Which is fine for me and those who understand that going in (probably most preorders). And I'm sure it will get better.

 

Wonder if Valve would try to flex their muscle and get more developers to make sure it does work, or build Linux versions. But that's not gone stunningly so far (better than before). Maybe too much of a risk to devs just moving from the platform (although leaving the biggest marketplace is risky too).

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Valve have said the version of Proton currently available is not the version that will ship with the Deck. 

 

They have an in-house version they claim has been tested with a lot more games. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Rorschach said:

 

True, but you would end up paying for stuff you don't need (battery and LCD mainly). The system being geared towards 720p output is also a bit of a downside if connecting to a TV or monitor—where you might also want HDMI 2.1 or Displayport connectivity (which could be added via a dock, but I also doubt the USB-C port has the bandwidth to carry those connections without compromises). They would also be able to beef up the cooling a bit, and power draw would obviously be less of a concern.

 

Actually that raises an interesting point—Valve haven't really discussed the potential for different performance profiles (like the Switch) when "docked" have they? I guess if the system is just Linux, the community may come up with something in that regard anyway. Run a little daemon that detects if you're plugged in, and adjusts the clock speeds and fan profile if so.

 

 

True, but I also think it's about the Proton stuff being relatively untested (at least among mainstream audience, it's already a pretty known quantity among hobbyists / enthusiasts), so they have to provide an "escape hatch". If Proton absolutely does not work well enough for the games you want to play, your money won't be completely wasted.

 

Has the dock got a thunderbolt connection? If it does, then the idea of using an externally housed GPU would be a fairly cool option.

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2 hours ago, thesnwmn said:

Agreed on Proton. From that DB website it looks like a pretty mixed bag. Which is fine for me and those who understand that going in (probably most preorders). And I'm sure it will get better.

 

Remember that Proton at the moment is for all flavours of Linux on a vast range of hardware, whereas a Steam Deck is one OS on one platform. That'll make a massive difference if Valve choose to focus mainly on Deck compatibility.

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12 minutes ago, JoeK said:

 

Has the dock got a thunderbolt connection? If it does, then the idea of using an externally housed GPU would be a fairly cool option.

I don't think so. The spec for the Deck just lists USB C. 

 

Quote

USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2

 

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I could probably find out, but does anyone know if games on Steam just work on this or do developers have to do anything to get them on here? I'm asking because Shudder would be grand on a handheld but I'm not sure if I have to anything first. 

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8 hours ago, Alex W. said:

I wonder if that’s part of the reason for the £350 model. At that price it will be in the reach of the less-enthusiast audience and Valve can afford to cut the margins down to the bone on the assumption that they’ll mostly not get modded.

 

Considering how much Intel charge for the chips used in the latest GPD models, the probability is Valve are losing money on the base model. The Intel i7 chip alone costs as much as what Valve are charging for an entire system! which partly explains why GPD have to charge so much, along with their complete lack of relative economies of scale.

 

The base model exists because for this to take off, they need to hit a mass market price point and $400 for a portable gaming PC is pretty much as good as you could hope for and it blows away any competition at that price point, with only gaming laptops costing ~$600-700 being a noticeable jump beyond it and those are equally cut to the bone in terms of hardware specs.

 

 

43 minutes ago, squirtle said:

I could probably find out, but does anyone know if games on Steam just work on this or do developers have to do anything to get them on here? I'm asking because Shudder would be grand on a handheld but I'm not sure if I have to anything first. 

 

That's Valve's claim about compatibility. Everything they've thrown at it works and I assume they mean when run via SteamOS and not via Microsoft Windows. The primary sticking point for some high profile online Windows games is the anti-cheat technology not being supported, but they claim they are going to fix that too, though playing those types of games isn't exactly the sort of thing I think a portable handheld PC is best suited for myself.

 

 

Quote

“This is the first time we’ve achieved the level of performance that is required to really run the latest generation of games without problem. All the games that we wanted to be playable is – really, the entire Steam library. We haven’t really found something that we could throw at this device that it couldn’t handle.”

 

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2 minutes ago, mushashi said:

 

Considering how much Intel charge for the chips used in the latest GPD models, the probability is Valve are losing money on the base model. The Intel i7 chip alone costs as much as what Valve are charging for an entire system! which partly explains why GPD have to charge so much, along with their complete lack of relative economies of scale.

 

The base model exists because for this to take off, they need to hit a mass market price point and $400 for a portable gaming PC is pretty much as good as you could hope for and it blows away any competition at that price point, with only gaming laptops costing ~$600-700 being a noticeable jump beyond it and those are equally cut to the bone in terms of hardware specs.

 

 

 

That's Valve's claim about compatibility. Everything they've thrown at it works and I assume they mean when run via SteamOS and not via Microsoft Windows. The primary sticking point for some high profile online Windows games is the anti-cheat technology not being supported, but they claim they are going to fix that too, though playing those types of games isn't exactly the sort of thing I think a portable handheld PC is best suited for myself.

 

 

 

Thanks. I did a bit of digging and seems that games just work. For those wanting Shudder on a handheld... Here you go. 

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Sticks plus gyro for aiming is next level, but as only Nintendo do it, it’s ignored. Hopefully getting PC nerds backing it will bring it to Xbox and Sony. 
 

it makes Zelda and splatoon effortless.

 

doesn’ t work if you invert y though. I had to switch. 

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Xbox controllers don’t have motion sensors so it’s not coming to that platform any time soon.

 

I think a decent number of PS4 games have it, but as you say multiplatform games tend to cater to the lowest common denominator. (It was strangely more common Vita than PS4.)

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1 hour ago, LaveDisco said:

Sticks plus gyro for aiming is next level, but as only Nintendo do it, it’s ignored. Hopefully getting PC nerds backing it will bring it to Xbox and Sony. 
 

it makes Zelda and splatoon effortless.

 

doesn’ t work if you invert y though. I had to switch. 

I first used it in Twilight Princess HD years ago and I can't fathom why the option isn't standard on all consoles by now. It really is, at least to me, superior to stick alone.

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3 hours ago, LaveDisco said:

Sticks plus gyro for aiming is next level, but as only Nintendo do it, it’s ignored. Hopefully getting PC nerds backing it will bring it to Xbox and Sony. 
 

it makes Zelda and splatoon effortless.

 

doesn’ t work if you invert y though. I had to switch. 

 

Splatoon 1/2 are the best examples of gyro controls on WiiU and Switch.  Just magnificent to play with and I generally fucking hate gyro/waggle.  🙂

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3 hours ago, LaveDisco said:

Sticks plus gyro for aiming is next level, but as only Nintendo do it, it’s ignored. Hopefully getting PC nerds backing it will bring it to Xbox and Sony. 
 

it makes Zelda and splatoon effortless.

 

doesn’ t work if you invert y though. I had to switch. 

Well the Steam controller didn't make any difference so I don't see why this would be the catalyst to developers deciding to support the concept en masse, especially with so few 'big' PC exclusives relative to the console market.

 

Plus Sony have had the ability to use it since the PS3 and never really done much in that area, there must be a reason why (and given the fact none of the big third party games have tended to have it as a PlayStation 'perk' suggests it's not trivial to implement.)

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On 25/07/2021 at 14:01, Rorschach said:

where you might also want HDMI 2.1 or Displayport connectivity (which could be added via a dock, but I also doubt the USB-C port has the bandwidth to carry those connections without compromises).


USB-C can do 4K HDMI or 8K DisplayPort at the same time as gigabit Ethernet and disk I/O.

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It's a nice looking device but I don't like that D-pad placement. It's fine if you're just using the D-pad as a way to switch weapons in an FPS but I can't imagine using it to actually play a game.

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