Steam Deck, Valve's Answer to the Nintendo Switch, Announced for December Release

neema_t

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I tried my brother's Switch out this weekend, played quite a lot of Burnout Paradise to get an idea of what games (particularly racing games) look and play like at 720p on a ~7" screen - not bad at all, although Burnout Paradise got even harder towards the end because as the cars get faster, you need to be looking further ahead and you really can't when it's all so small. Still very playable, though, and Forza Horizon 4 had adjustable FOV for all of the camera views too so I would hope 5 does as well which should make things easier.

Not too sure about the width and weight of the thing, though, it's as wide as my laptop and considerably heaver than the Switch, although I was usually resting the Switch/my arms on things anyway so the extra weight may not matter in the end? Dunno. Also the reflections were pretty bad, I assume you can get anti-glare screen protectors?

I also spent some time going through my Steam library and separating all my games by their ProtonDB ratings, very few of the games I own are "borked" and they're almost all things I don't have any interest in playing anyway. I haven't finished categorising everything yet but it's looking quite good in terms of compatibility so far.
 

Wolfe

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What I love more than anything else about the Switch's handheld portability is that it apparently floats other people's boats -- to help make it a better platform for all my non-racing-game and non-PC-game needs, to keep providing what it provides that PC gaming and the x86 twins don't. I do not really get the appeal of handheld gaming, so I echo those thoughts here.

For what it's worth, the Steam Deck sure makes a hell of a lot more sense than the crazy fantasies of playing games entirely via the internet, especially with the trouble I've had with latency in Guild Wars 2 lately (it is a crime to expect my character to do something sometime soon after the first time I press a button?). I welcome it to the fold. But (at risk of dating myself) this seems more like a Sega Nomad or handheld-ized Neo Geo than a strong competitor in the market. Too powerful for its own good (energy, heat), without enough to stand apart.

It makes me wonder -- are laptops really so outmoded already? Sure, a low-cutting price point is part of the deal here, but a laptop offers so much more utility over any handheld device, and is nearly as portable...
 

neema_t

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Too powerful for its own good (energy, heat), without enough to stand apart.
That describes basically all gaming laptops too, though. I found one that claims to last 4 hours (with a 1080p screen instead of 4K) and that was $1,700, and I found another that's only double the price of the entry level Deck and that lasts 3 and a half... While browsing, not gaming. It also gets too hot for you to want to put it on your lap (120F, ~50C) which suddenly makes an already less portable device even less portable. You can't play a game on a laptop while standing up, and there are several entire genres of game that you flat out can't play without a mouse or controller... The gap is bigger than you make it sound, IMO.
 

Wolfe

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@neema_t --The bit about laptops was kind of a tangent after the bit you quoted, and you're merely elaborating what "nearly as" means in the previous post. I know it's a handheld device, and the price difference alone is substantial compared to gaming laptops in particular.
 
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Can it run WRC9, Ride4, MotoGP21 at 800p/60 fps with decent graphic settings (hum maybe 60 fps is asking too much... but still)? The digital triggers on the Switch ruin the whole driving experience unfortunately.
 
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Wolfe

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Can it run WRC9, Ride4, MotoGP21 at 800p/60 fps with decent graphic settings (hum maybe 60 fps is asking too much... but still)? The digital triggers on the Switch ruin the whole driving experience unfortunately.
Quick aside for my curiosity -- does WRC do well enough on the Switch apart from the digital triggers (yay, patent sharks), in your opinion?
 
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If you play it on a TV (docked) with the Switch Pro Controller it's passable. The digital triggers really takes out all of the fun because part of it comes from the nuanced controls/handling of the car.
Handheld is even more tricky - the commands (joystick) are way too sensitive, the screen is too small (almost unplayable in cockpit view making the whole experience tiring), the graphics took a big hit due to the Switch specs (the environment almost has no vegetation/bushes, only sparse threes here and there) although the physics are there... Overall considering the price it doesn't worth it for me - this coming from a huge WRC8/9 assumed fan. I bought WRC8 and 9 for Switch but will not buy WRC10 for Switch for sure. I'm terrible playing on it.

For reference/comparison i also play it at 110% (or 120% not sure) difficulty with the joypad on a Xbox Series X and consistently come in first (depends a bit on the stage) and find it one of the most fun games (literally) to play. Fighting with the road/controlling slides, jumps, doing hairpins just feels fantastic. To really appreciate it however only a PC, PS5 or Xbox Series X at 60fps will do it in my opinion. The Switch as much as i like it, it's not up to the task/able to offer the same granularity of control you have in the other platforms.

Same for MotoGP, approaching turns either full throttle or with no throttle is no fun (on the Switch) - you either slide and crash or lose way to much time waiting until you can go full throttle again at the end of the turn - there's no mid term and tapping the throttle multiple times is weird and imprecise. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on the other side works a bit better due to its arcade nature - you can slide while in full throttle.

I'm aware the screen is still a bit small on the Steam Deck but if the controls/handling and graphics are up to the task (at 30 or 60fps ideally) i may end up buying it.
 
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Wolfe

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@Aegis -- Thanks for the detailed insight. It gives me a better idea of what to expect than just reading NintendoLife's reviews of VR4 and WRC8. 👍
Same for MotoGP, approaching turns either full throttle or with no throttle is no fun (on the Switch) - you either slide and crash or lose way to much time waiting until you can go full throttle again at the end of the turn - there's no mid term and tapping the throttle multiple times is weird and imprecise.
For motorcycle games, I turn on split brakes and use the right stick for the throttle and front brake, and what would be ZR on the Switch for the rear brake. It makes sense to me as a rider -- throttle and front brake on the right, rear brake also on the right, down "below".

On the Switch I go with the right analog stick for anything that benefits from it, like back in the days before analog triggers were standard (although the DS2's pressure sensitivity works pretty well in hindsight). It's a shame that Nintendo is (apparently) only shy about repeating a feature they helped innovate because of a run-in with a patent shark company, as I noted.
 
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Can it run WRC9, Ride4, MotoGP21 at 800p/60 fps with decent graphic settings (hum maybe 60 fps is asking too much... but still)? The digital triggers on the Switch ruin the whole driving experience unfortunately.
About MotoGP/Ride4 this year I tested the MotoGP20 and Ride4 on an old 2GB R9 270x and you can run both games in 1080p and 45/60 frames per second with low settings on both, Deck is similar in performance (probably better because It is a newer architecture and compared to the R9 200 series it will be better optimized for current games), so yes, it is very likely that you can play those games at 800p and 60fps on the Steam Deck
 
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@Aegis -- Thanks for the detailed insight. It gives me a better idea of what to expect than just reading NintendoLife's reviews of VR4 and WRC8. 👍

For motorcycle games, I turn on split brakes and use the right stick for the throttle and front brake, and what would be ZR on the Switch for the rear brake. It makes sense to me as a rider -- throttle and front brake on the right, rear brake also on the right, down "below".

On the Switch I go with the right analog stick for anything that benefits from it, like back in the days before analog triggers were standard (although the DS2's pressure sensitivity works pretty well in hindsight). It's a shame that Nintendo is (apparently) only shy about repeating a feature they helped innovate because of a run-in with a patent shark company, as I noted.
I already read something about this (using the right joystick for the throttle) but never tried it. I'm so used to the triggers due to the years playing with them in other consoles i guess it will be really hard to rewire the brain to use that setup. Guess i have to at least give it a try. Hope i don't mess both configs/muscle memory in my head :)


About MotoGP/Ride4 this year I tested the MotoGP20 and Ride4 on an old 2GB R9 270x and you can run both games in 1080p and 45/60 frames per second with low settings on both, Deck is similar in performance (probably better because It is a newer architecture and compared to the R9 200 series it will be better optimized for current games), so yes, it is very likely that you can play those games at 800p and 60fps on the Steam Deck
That's good to know. Thanks for the info @seco46. Hope we don't have to sacrifice the detail/quality too much though. Playing Ride4 on a portable anywhere would be awesome - i certainly need the training. Still don't play it with manual gears (only car games), but I've got used to the helmet view already...
 
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neema_t

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So, assuming it isn't a flop and you do buy one, what kinds of games do you want play on your Steam Deck?

For me, really don't think it'd be AAA games of any kind (at least not recent ones) it'd be more like simple games that are easy to pick up and games I've already finished and want to replay. Fortunately I've already seen how Disco Elysium looks on it (great!), I just finished it and want to play it again, but I think Jedi: Fallen Order and Control are maybe too much; they won't run that well and they're definitely best enjoyed on a big screen at high resolution. Brigador, on the other hand, I bet would be great on a handheld (particularly one that can pretend to have a mouse connected, but we'll see), as would Outer Wilds (expansion coming soon, perfect reason to revisit!) as it's visually quite simple, a slow-paced game and the whole time loop thing means it's fairly low stakes. Into The Breach and FTL would also play great on a touchscreen device. There are just so many games like these out there.

I don't know if anyone else does this, but I've decided to accept that my Steam library is full of games I'll never actually play and I've picked out all the games I do actually want to get around to and made a category for them. The thing is, whenever I'm looking to play something I just go straight for that category and pick something new, which means I never replay things I've already finished. To try to help that I've made a new category for games I know I either want to keep playing because I didn't 100% them or others I just want to start again, and I think the Deck might be how I finally revisit those as I won't necessarily need to give the games my full attention and I might not get as strongly engrossed in them as I did the first time, so a handheld would be great for those.

Also: Point & click games. My Deck could easily be a Full Throttle/Blade Runner/Myst/etc. machine.
 

Wolfe

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Outer Wilds (expansion coming soon, perfect reason to revisit!)
:eek:

I'm kicking myself for the number of things I almost miss lately. Maybe I should pick up the game on PC for this instead of going back in on PS4. Personally -- absolutely a big-screen game, not like that isn't true of everything for me. Someone could glue my Switch to the dock and it would take several months for me to notice.
 
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So, assuming it isn't a flop and you do buy one, what kinds of games do you want play on your Ste
Assuming I get one, I'm going top-end. Mainly would be for Paradox strategy fare, FF X and 12, and also totally not a PS1/possibly PS2 emulator thing.
 

Terronium-12

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So, assuming it isn't a flop and you do buy one, what kinds of games do you want play on your Steam Deck?
Totally didn't think about this until now. Definitely going to throw all of the Guilty Gear games and Dragonball FighterZ and spend majority of my time playing those whenever and getting in practice. Aside from that, I'll have some PS1 games and will maybe try Forza Horizon on it.

There's more but I'd be here all night. :lol:
 

neema_t

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Oh yeah, emulators too, PS1/2 and Dreamcast games are another thing I never usually want to play while sat at my PC. I'm really keen to see how it does with emulators, I imagine most people are. Although I must admit I don't really know what I'd play on those emulators; Front Mission 3, Armoured Core, I guess GT2 or 4 (if it runs PS2 games well enough), I suppose I could embarrass myself with Ridge Racer Type 4 some more.

@Darla Starch Apart from FF X being rated silver you're probably going to have good results with those... Not sure I'd want to do that much reading on such a small screen though, CK3 is full of pretty small text! Playing Escape Velocity: Nova on a Deck would be great but when you're not in your ship the very text-driven UI looks like this:

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I have a feeling it won't be very readable at 800p on a 7" screen. Obviously I will still try, though, as it's one of my all-time favourite games. Endless Sky (a free open source game heavily inspired by EV:N) might even be modded to work better with the Deck so I guess that's something to keep an eye on.

@Terronium-12 I mentioned before that I'm really keen to see if it can do Forza Horizon games, the only thing is FH4 is rated silver and even the positive reports still say there are issues with graphics, sound, control, networking, DLC and performance - basically everything. Hopefully Valve's statements about there being a lot of unreleased progress with Proton are, you know, true and FH4 (and hopefully therefore 5) will be fixed by the time the Deck starts shipping. Alternatively I guess you could just install Windows, but I'm really keen to not do that. Then again it was Forza that motivated me to update from Windows 7 to 10 all those years ago, so I am evidently quite weak.
 
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Gaben has confirmed "its just a pc". There's no bootloaders or uefi rom thing that stops it from booting windows or linux or anything x86... it runs steam os but I would bet win10 and 11 will be the next dominant os on it.

I find it be a great curio but its larger heavier than a switch and I find the switch already to be an onerous handheld device.

I love the tech, have no use for it.