Enthusiastic fans anticipating a successor to Valve’s popular Steam Deck handheld gaming PC may need to temper expectations, as the company has indicated a follow-up device likely won’t arrive before 2025. While rivals have recently launched enhanced portable gaming PCs, Valve appears content to stick with the original Steam Deck’s specifications to maintain performance standards.
The portable gaming PC landscape looked much different when the Steam Deck debuted last year. New entrants like the premium Asus ROG Ally and Ayaneo 2S now outpace the Deck’s capabilities. Lenovo’s Legion GO is also slated to compete in this space soon.
One might reasonably expect Valve would be developing an upgraded Steam Deck 2 to retake the portable performance crown. However, designer Pierre-Loup Griffais suggests they are taking a more measured approach, citing the “significant” technical leap required as still several years away.
Valve Stressing Reliable Performance Targets Over Frequent Upgrades
Griffais explained providing developers a fixed performance target was crucial, and changing hardware too quickly could disrupt this stability. This indicates Valve is prioritising consistent compatibility over chasing the latest specs.
The Steam Deck’s custom AMD processor already handles most games through optimised settings and tempered expectations. Valve’s Verified program incentivises further compatibility fixes from developers before and after launch. Frequent new additions to the Verified list reflect this program’s success.
Doubling down on this careful curation risks letting rivals overtake the Deck on raw power, but avoids fracturing the experience for owners. Such rapid specification changes would force developers to constantly update performance targets.
In this way, Valve is treating hardware more like a traditional console maker. Sony and Microsoft refresh generations, not models, every few years. This more gradual cadence ensures continuity across a platform’s life cycle. Hit box office title Starfield looks set to hit the Steam Deck soon and more games will follow-suit as the portable handheld grows in popularity.
Letting challengers like Asus and Ayaneo iterate faster may seem counter-intuitive, but Valve trusts this patient strategy to pay off through greater ecosystem stability. Their statement asks customers and portable gaming proponents to share this long view.
Of course, this waiting game depends on the current Steam Deck’s viability keeping pace with new releases. If games outgrow its capabilities too quickly, public perception could shift. But for now, Valve sounds committed to maximising what exists rather than chasing specs.
So aspiring Steam Deck 2 buyers may need to make peace with several more years of status quo, at least publicly. Behind the scenes, Valve is likely still exploring next-gen designs while allowing the market to mature further. When the time finally comes to upgrade, their patience and foresight should pay dividends.
Source – The Verge
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