What to look forward to: A few months ago, Valve confirmed that more versions of the Steam Deck would eventually arrive, but did not provide details on how they would differ from the company’s newcomer model. We now have more information on how Valve plans to improve their hardware in future iterations.
In an interview with The Verge Valve shed some light on his next steps for Steam Deck, SteamOS and other projects. The company even mentioned recent competing laptop PCs and its ill-fated Steam Engines project.
Users shouldn’t expect a significantly more powerful “Steam Deck 2” anytime soon. Instead, the next version of Valve’s handheld could be a light upgrade similar to the Nintendo Switch’s OLED model. Steam Deck designers Lawrence Young and Pierre-Loup Griffet said they would like the new model to have a better screen and longer battery life.
Valve would have preferred the Steam Deck hardware profile to be consistent to make life easier for users and developers. Griffeis said tying the platform to one consistent level of performance will help users manage expectations and help developers optimize hardware.
Griffith believes that the current Steam Deck configuration will likely be the best a portable system can achieve for a while. Other companies have recently introduced portable gaming PCs, some of which are slightly more powerful than Valve’s, but believe their 8-12W TDP is currently the best balance between performance and battery life.
The company also wants to allow other laptop makers to use or develop the Steam Deck operating system. In July, GPD said that Valve had contacted it about integrating SteamOS into GPD Win Max 2. This policy could turn into Steam Machines’ second handheld-focused effort.
Valve has previously attempted to introduce a range of pre-built PCs from different vendors for living rooms, accompanied by a Steam controller and an early version of SteamOS. However, the attempt was not successful. Valve can help other companies come up with alternative approaches to this idea now that Steam Deck has succeeded where Steam Machines failed.
These alternatives don’t have to be portable either. While Valve doesn’t have long-term plans for a new Steam Machine, it’s experimenting with TV-focused options. The company has no objection to other vendors applying the work they’ve done on the Steam Deck user interface to set-top boxes.
Other improvements that Valve is looking at for future decks include making it easier to replace the battery, fixing Bluetooth audio lag, getting anti-cheat games running on the Steam deck, and more. The company also plans to offer an audio mixer so that users can better control game audio, chat audio, and music.
It may also eventually come with the ability to share power profiles, which allow users to set the GPU clock speed, refresh rate, and power for each game. Unfortunately, there probably won’t be an option to share in-game graphics settings.
Valve also plans to make a sequel to the Steam Controller, which was discontinued in 2019. The company is currently too busy working on the Steam Deck, but is looking to get back to the Steam Controller.