Instead of posting multiple short articles about Steam Deck, I decided to make an article containing my thoughts about different aspects of it. I watched many videos over the week, making my observations along the way. There will be links to some of them.
#1: Steam Deck is NOT a Switch Killer!
There are multiple reasons why I think so.
I believe that Nintendo plays on its own league. People don't buy Nintendo systems for being handheld devices, but because of the games and exclusives. If you want to play Zelda, Mario or Metroid your only (legal) option is to get a Nintendo console.
The price is also an important point: The base model is $399 which only $50 more expensive than the new Switch OLED, but it has only 64GB of Ram. Some popular AAA titles won't even fit in this storage space.
So comparing the $399 version to Nintendo Switch isn't really what you should do, because if you want to be comfortable with it, you'll either have to buy an SD card or the 256GB version with extra cost.
Another point where Switch succeeds is the Physical Gaming niche. You could argue, that Nintendo Switch is the only Physical gaming machine in this generation, because PS5 and XBox Series X are doing their best to make users switch to digital gaming.
I think that no PC Handheld will affect the Nintendo Switch generally, but it may affect two demographics who only had Switch as a handheld option lately: Indie gamers and PC gamers who want a powerful handheld.
#2: SD Cards are Fine
All the week I've been searching about info on SD Cards. Not only to know more about Steam Deck, but also because I think SD Cards are convenient type of storage. Maybe even for a Laptop because the ease of switching.
SD Cards are slower than SSD of course. But some of them load games almost as fast as an SSD these days. All games tested in the footage for IGN video were run off a SD card. (As said by Valve's Lawrence Yang.)
Even an older SD Card is fast enough for comfortable gaming, as demonstrated by this video. People who care about speed are not the kind of people who'll go for the $399 version of Steam anyway. They probably have a Desktop with larger storage too.
#3: Dockable PCs Will Replace Gaming Laptops?
I watched a video that argues Steam Deck (or dockable PC-handheld in general,) will eventually replace Laptops. NihongoGamer provides many arguments that I agree with. He also stresses that he doesn't expect this to happen soon. That's fair of him.
- Dockable PC Handhelds are more suitable to the use-cases for gaming Laptops than the actual Laptop. Especially since you can make the Dock a desktop replacement.
- They don't have the power to replace higher-end gaming Laptops currently, and Steam-deck (the cheapest) is still to expensive to replace an actual gaming Laptop in the price, but it'll get there.
- Not only they can be docked as good or better than a Laptop, they're also easier to hold in a relaxed position in more situations.
The comparison to Tablets replacing casual Laptops for most use cases in the recent years drives this fact home.
On an unrelated note: NihongoGamer explains how to keep a PC/Phone Battery healthy. (Must exercised once-per-while, else they'll break-down faster.) He says that most people prefer keeping their Laptops on charger the whole time rather than be patient at keeping their battery in top shape.
#4 - Prediction: As Long Steam OS Releases, Steam Have Already Won!
While writing this, it occurred to me how big of revolution Steam OS is. I don't mean in its current state, but the updates they promise for the Steam Deck.
It should offer features that aren't available in any PC Handheld right now, including a better UI for handhelds and the ability to Push mid-game and resume from then on. (Something Consoles are already doing but not PCs.) Valve also promised to increase Proton's compatibility list, which might make it possible to play every Windows game on Steam OS and by extension, all Linux machines.
As long as they have the latter in the software, many PC Handheld users including AYA NEO & GPD Win 3 users will find Steam OS more attractive than Windows. Not to mention that Windows is "huge" storage sink, while normal Linux distros need a lot of tinkering to be able to run what Steam OS can run out of the box.
If Steam wanted to compete with Epic, doing this is probably their best bet.
What do you think?
To recap: I don't think Nintendo will be dethroned by Steam Deck's release. I believe SD Cards are a fine type of storage which makes the cheapest models more attractive than gamers say. That this type of handhelds might replace gaming laptops. Finally, I believe Steam OS with the updates Valve are promising will revolutionize
If you're interested in more of my thoughts about Steam Deck, here's my first article on it with my initial posts. I also wrote a list of posts about the device by different authors around the Hive blockchain.
- All images are taken from Google.
- This article is crossposted here on Hive and Readcash. (Slight differences.)