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By today’s standards of the gaming PC market F95Zone, the Steam Deck has a weak hardware platform. Valve’s console in terms of performance is not able to compete not only with the most common video card among Steam users – the GeForce GTX 1060 but also with weaker solutions. However, the chosen hardware solution made it possible to keep prices within reasonable limits, ensure mobility and low power consumption.
Not everything is as bad as it might seem at first glance. AMD APUs are comparable in performance to APUs found on legacy consoles. But 4K, ray tracing, and 60 frames per second with maximum graphics on the Steam Deck can not be dreamed of.
The Steam Deck does not stand up to the competition with powerful gaming stations and laptops. More expensive gaming devices offer better performance, support for high resolutions, and thanks to Windows, also the familiar software environment, the performance of all the games in the Steam collection. Laptops provide portability, although not the same as the Deck.
Competition with consoles of the current generation is also not visible. Even the Xbox Series S, the “weakest” modern game console, is several times more powerful than the Valve product. Therefore, in the next few years, in their main markets, Sony and Microsoft will not fear the Steam Deck.
Will not be able to support sales of the device and regional prices in the main markets – in the USA, Europe, and Japan, prices for games for PC and consoles are the same. PS5 consoles are listed at $ 399 / $ 499 depending on version; prices for Microsoft consoles are also attractive – 299 for Series S and 499 for Series X. Against this background, the Steam Deck is difficult to claim for a place near a TV or monitor – it is more expensive and weaker.
Therefore, gaming publications are not in a hurry to “bury” Sony and Microsoft, but they sing together the funeral Nintendo. On paper, the Steam Deck is indeed preferable. The consoles are similar in concept, but the Switch’s chip is outdated even by the standards of mobile platforms. Valve also has a huge base of games on Steam like Best grenade spots dust 2, and the number of users – 120 million people use the service every month.
The Japanese company has something to answer. Almost 80 million consoles have been sold as of December 2020. Buyers are not confused by the low performance of the device. One of the drivers of Nintendo Switch sales is the games of Nintendo itself – this is evidenced by the top best-selling games on the platform.
It is doubtful that numerous fans of Mario and family entertainment will decide to purchase the Steam Deck just because it is more powerful. Valve will probably win over some of the audience to its side, but this is unlikely to greatly affect Nintendo.
The release of the updated Switch Pro, on the contrary, may negatively affect sales of the Valve console. The new Nintendo device is credited with supporting DLSS technology and resolutions up to 4K. Perhaps there are no real reasons for these rumors, but if Nintendo, together with Nvidia, still releases such a device, then the Steam Deck will be difficult in the US, Europe, and Japan markets.
It turns out that with gaming PCs and modern consoles, the Valve device in mainstream markets can only compete directly if the user requires mobility. If portability is desirable but not required, the need for a Steam Deck is not obvious.
Gabe Newell’s company is aware of this – at the time of the console’s announcement. the cost of the docking station was not announced for games like HuniePop 2. Probably, Valve believes that for many buyers its presence will not be of interest, because the place at the monitor or TV is already taken.
Valve expects to compete for a place as the second gaming device in the family. And there is every chance to win this fight – as the second number Deck has great advantages. The most obvious thing for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox users is portability. For this, you can forgive both the relatively small screen and the deterioration in the quality of graphics, all the same, you cannot see all the beauties on a small screen.
Another advantage is the ability for PS / Xbox owners, thanks to Deck, to play console exclusives of competing platforms. Get access to a huge number of original games from independent developers, play old games, including those that are not available on consoles due to the lack of backward compatibility. Finally, get into the strategy.
In countries where Steam sets regional prices, users can choose between buying a full-price multiplatform game with great graphics. Buying a game for the Steam Deck at regional prices in cases where graphics are less important.
The Steam Deck’s path to market doesn’t seem to be covered in roses. Valve has been burned several times in the production of custom devices. None of the previous projects, such as the VR Valve Index helmet, Steam Controller, Steam Machines, have been successful.
The initial hype about interesting features of the devices quickly subsided, and sales fell. The high prices were not the only deterrent to the players. Without a large user base, devices weren’t supported by independent game developers.
Valve has done a lot of bug work and is hoping for the success of the Steam Deck. There is a possibility of this, but even a reasonable price for the device does not guarantee success. The main obstacle seems to be the use of Steam OS because its have error like [pii_email_aef67573025b785e8ee2]. Valve needs stable operation of popular games running its OS. Until that happens, the chances of success will be low, because it is bought for games.
In Western markets, replacing the OS with Windows among the majority of users, most likely, will not be in demand, since in this case the cost of the finished device increases. This will only be justified if the customer requires mobility and the Steam OS cannot provide the required applications.
It is unlikely that the Steam Deck will gain widespread acceptance as a primary gaming device. In the role of a second console or second home PC, the Steam Deck looks perfect and it seems that this is what Valve was striving for.
In Russia, thanks to regional prices on Steam, Deck can become successful not only as a second device but also as the main one. But this will only happen in the case of sane prices for the console. Otherwise, existing Windows mobile devices will look preferable, despite the appeal of Deck.