Valve's gaming handheld is called the Steam Deck and will ship in December

Valve’s gaming handheld is called the Steam Deck and will ship in December

Science & Technology

Valve just announced the Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like portable gaming device. It will begin shipping in December and reservations open on July 16 at 1PM ET. It starts at $ 399 and you can also buy it in $ 529 and $ 649 models.

The device has an AMD APU that contains a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and 8 AMD RDNA 2 graphics compute units, along with 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different types of storage: 64GB eMMC storage, 256GB NVMe SSD storage, and high-speed 512GB NVME SSD storage, according to Valve. You can also expand the available storage by using the available high-speed microSD card slot.

A rear view of the devices showing their four grip buttons, triggers, bumpers, vents, and Switch-esque design.
Steam Deck has a large number of control options. There are two joysticks, two small trackpads under the thumbsticks, ABXY buttons, a D-pad, and a 7-inch touchscreen. The device also has a gyroscope for motion controls. Like the Switch, it has two shoulder triggers on each side, and there are also four back buttons (two on each side). Here is a legend of all Deck ports and controls:

STEAM DECK EXTERNAL HARDWARE FEATURES.

As for the battery, “The Steam Deck’s built-in 40-watt-hour battery provides several hours of playtime for most games,” says Valve. “For lighter use cases like game streaming, smaller 2D games, or web browsing, you can expect to get the maximum battery life of about 7-8 hours.”

On the software side, the Steam Deck runs what Valve calls “a new version of SteamOS,” which is optimized for the handheld mobile form factor. But the actual operating system is Linux-based and will use Proton as a compatibility layer to allow Windows-based games to run without requiring developers to port them specifically to the Steam Deck.

Ultimately, though, the Steam Deck is still a full-fledged Linux computer, which means more technical users will be able to jump to the regular Linux desktop as well. Valve notes that you will be able to connect a mouse, keyboard, and monitor, and install other game stores, regular PC software, surf the web, and more.

Valve notes that the Steam Deck features are designed to emulate the normal Steam application on the desktop, with chat, notifications, cloud save support, and all of your library, collections, and favorites all in sync. And if you want more power, you can stream games to the Steam Deck directly from your gaming PC using Valve’s Remote Play feature.

When pre-orders for all three versions open on Friday afternoon, they will initially be available only for accounts with Steam purchases before June 2021, in an attempt to keep reseller bots at bay. There is also a refundable booking fee and a booking per person. Your reservation isn’t exactly a pre-order, but it puts you online to pre-order from the system once inventory is available.

In December, the first units will be available in the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, and other areas will follow in 2022. Invitations for pre-orders are supposed to go out before December, and if you miss your window of the invitation, your reservation fee will be refunded to your Steam Wallet.

IGN got an early, exclusive get down to business with the Steam Deck, which you can see below:

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