Just as we started getting excited at the prospect of a Steam Deck 2, it now seems that gamers will have to wait a lot longer for the handheld. According to a recent statement, Valve is not looking to release the new Steam Deck for at least a couple more years. Will the console be able to stay competitive against its rivals?
Pierre-Loup Griffais, the designer of Steam Deck and a rep for Valve, spoke to The Verge and revealed some information about the future of the gaming handheld. While the company has plans to upgrade, it’s playing it safe and doesn’t see that happening until late 2025 at the very least — but it could be even longer than that.
“It’s important to us that the Deck offers a fixed performance target for developers, and that the message to customers is simple, where every Deck can play the same games. As such, changing the performance level is not something we are taking lightly, and we only want to do so when there is a significant enough increase to be had,” said Griffais.
This kind of approach makes sense, but also makes it difficult for the Steam Deck to keep up with some of the most demanding games. It can run these titles for now, but in two years, there will be games that it struggles with — this is already true at higher settings in certain titles, such as Starfield.
However, Valve’s concerns aren’t just centered around providing a uniform experience to the customers. It’s also about the cost of adding extra performance.
Griffais told The Verge: “We also don’t want more performance to come at a significant cost to power efficiency and battery life. I don’t anticipate such a leap to be possible in the next couple of years, but we’re still closely monitoring innovations in architectures and fabrication processes to see where things are going there.”
Both of those concerns are legitimate — after all, a handheld PC needs to provide enough battery life to justify being a handheld. If you have to charge all the time, it kind of defeats the purpose of that “unplugged” gaming experience. However, Valve has a growing list of competitors that already provide better performance. For instance, the Asus ROG Ally with the Z1 Extreme blows Steam Deck out of the water. Let’s not talk about the Z1 version — that one’s not doing so well. Lenovo’s Legion Go comes with the same AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip, so chances are it’ll beat Steam Deck’s Zen 2 APU.
While it might take a while for Steam Deck 2 to appear, we might still see a refresh along the lines of the Nintendo Switch OLED version. Valve could boost battery life or equip the console with a better display without needing to make any major changes. But we now know that gamers will have to wait at least two years for a proper follow-up console to hit the market.
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