Valve launches Steam Deck, a $400 PC gaming portable

A new challenger has emerged in the gaming hardware category. Game distribution giant Valve today announced the launch of Steam Deck, a $399 gaming portable designed to take PC games on the go.

The handheld (which has echoes of several portable gaming rigs of years past) features a seven-inch screen and runs on a quad-core Zen 2 CPU, coupled with AMD RDNA 2 graphics and 16GB of RAM. Storage runs 64GB to 512GB, the latter of which bumps the price up to $649. The built-in storage can be augmented via microSD.

Image Credits: Valve

Naturally, the thing is custom built for Valve’s wildly popular Steam platform (it’s right there in the name, after all). Users log into their Steam account and their library — and friends list — are right there, ready to go. There’s even a dedicated Steam button.

The system has been rumored for some time now, but it enters the world during a rapidly evolving era for gaming. Essentially the company is hoping to outperform the admitted graphical limitations of Nintendo’s Switch (OLED or no), while filling in the gap as cloud-based gaming from companies like Microsoft are still working on a foothold as they deal with latency and other technical limitations. There’s also the Nvidia Shield Portable — though we’ve not heard much from that project, of late.

Image Credits: Valve

Flanking the 1280 x 800 touchscreen are a pair of trackpads and thumb sticks. A built-in gyroscope also uses movement to control the gaming experience. There’s a single USB-C port for charging, peripherals and connecting to a big screen, while a 40Wh battery promises between 7-8 hours of gameplay, by Valve’s numbers.

Image Credits: Valve

The system is up for preorder now and starts shipping this December, in time for the holidays.

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