the steam surface It won’t be the last gaming laptop that Valve makes. Deck’s designer, Greg Coomer, claims that he intends to “continue making hardware in this product line” and that while he hopes people will follow suit, he’s not counting on other manufacturers joining their own versions.
Although this is something Gabe Newell himself said: As one of Steam Deck’s goals, “to establish a product category in which we and other PC manufacturers can participate.” This is a category that he believes “will have long-term benefits for us”.
Comer repeated this during our last conversation with him at Valve HQ.
“We hope this category will become a de facto category as there are multiple options within it,” he says. “We intend to continue making devices in this production line.
“But we also think it makes sense for others to fill that space. So, if we’re right about that, there will be more options within the category, with other manufacturers getting involved, making handheld game consoles, calling them something else.”
So, not all of these third-party devices will be called Steam Decks, just as they weren’t necessarily called Steam Machines back in the day…
“Yeah, I think it’s similar,” Comer says. “Except that we don’t depend on it for the existence of the class, and we solve problems ourselves. We intend to continue to do so.”
with the steam machinesValve was completely dependent on its PC partners making and selling the systems it was promoting as a new type of non-Windows gaming PC that was supposed to use the first version of SteamOS. Unfortunately, SteamOS took longer than expected to ship, and the likes of Alienware ended up shipping their versions of the Steam Machine with Windows instead.
This time around, Valve is encouraging other manufacturers to get involved, but is leading the way itself, developing both its software and hardware side by side to ensure the best possible experience.
Valve certainly learned a lot of lessons from its Steam machines.
“But there are a lot of other ways you can materialize this,” Kummer suggests, “with different features taking precedence, and different calculations of cost versus value advantages.”
It’s more about taking different approaches to gaming laptops than the all-in-one approach that Valve took with Steam Deck. This isn’t the only way designers can go, after all, as other manufacturers who are jumping into the burgeoning category can have very different ideas about what makes the perfect laptop.
“Someone might want, for example, to make a version of this that’s highly tuned for long battery life and game streaming from another computer. It’s an interesting product. And you know, it’s just one version that we don’t plan to do right away, and someone might want to. Another in … lower cost, higher battery, very different architecturally and technically.”
This just highlights the different places gaming laptops can go, but the Steam Deck itself is a one-size-fits-all approach, delivering both local gaming when you’re 30,000 feet in the air, and streaming performance that delivers Marathon play times. We hope it really delivers on all the promises we’ve made so far.