Goto

Collaborating Authors

Valve Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch: Which gaming handheld should you buy?

PCWorld

You'll often hear PC enthusiasts--including yours truly--say that the Nintendo Switch is the perfect companion console for your gaming rig, thanks to its handheld mode for on-the-go gaming, deep indie library, and access to Nintendo-exclusive games. The stickiness of that last benefit will soon be put to the test, as Valve's newly announced Steam Deck handheld PC mimes the Switch form factor but revolves around your existing Steam account...and all the games already in it. In the battle of the Steam Deck vs. the Nintendo Switch, who comes out on top? We'll take it to the tape below, but first let's talk about what matters most: the games, and why the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch might not even be true competitors at all. The $399 Steam Deck and $299 Nintendo Switch have two totally different gaming philosophies.


Why does the Steam Deck run Linux? Blame Windows

PCWorld

Valve's "Steam Deck" handheld PC has caused quite a stir among PC gaming geeks, but the biggest shakeup might not be its Nintendo Switch-like form factor. The software running inside of it is the real surprise. Why does the Steam Deck run Linux? The Steam Deck and the software inside of it are the culmination of a nearly decade-long "hedging strategy" embarked upon by Valve chief Gabe Newell and company many moons ago, when Microsoft tried exerting more control over developers with Windows 8. Windows 10 smoothed over Windows 8's worst sins, so you may not remember how different--or "a catastrophe," to use Newell's words--that operating system was when it launched in 2012. Windows 8's radical new'Start Screen' was...divisive, to say the least.


What is Valve Proton? The Steam Deck's live-or-die Linux software, explained

PCWorld

Looking at the spec sheet alone, the just-revealed $399 Steam Deck gaming handheld should be a winner. Valve's PC-centric Nintendo Switch rival features a big 7-inch touchscreen, plenty of control inputs, an all-AMD chip based on the same hardware inside the Xbox Series S X and PlayStation 5, and the ability to double as a full-fledged Linux PC. While it's impressive indeed, the Steam Deck will sink or swim based on its software, and that means Valve awesome Proton technology is about to be thrust into the spotlight. The Steam Deck will sprint to a larger software library than most gaming handhelds because you'll be able to tap into decades of existing PC games through your Steam account, rather than having to wait for new releases made specifically for the fresh hardware. But most of those games were created for Windows, and the Steam Deck runs on Valve's Linux-based SteamOS operating system instead.


Valve's Steam Deck handheld PC starts at $399 and lands in December

Engadget

The rumors about Valve making a version of the Nintendo Switch for handheld Steam gaming are true. The company has revealed the Steam Deck, which will arrive in December in the US, Canada, the European Union and the UK, with availability expanding to more regions later. The system starts at $399. Although the hardware isn't final, according to IGN, the console currently looks like a mashup of a Switch, a Sega Game Gear and the Steam Controller. It has a seven-inch touchscreen, with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 at a 16:10 aspect ratio, 400 nits of brightness and a 60Hz refresh rate.


Steam Deck is an AMD-powered handheld PC from Valve that runs KDE on Arch Linux

ZDNet

Value has taken the wraps off a portable PC it has called Steam Deck, which is set to begin shipping in the US, Canada, EU, and UK in December. Ostensibly a handheld gaming device that is in the same realm as the Nintendo Switch, under the hood, the Steam Deck runs SteamOS 3.0, a new version based on Arch Linux, with KDE Plasma used for desktop mode. While Valve has said the Linux system will use its Proton compatibility layer to run games designed for Windows, the company said users are free to replace it. "Steam Deck is a PC, and players will be able to install whatever they like, including other OSes," it said. Hardware-wise, Value said it worked with AMD on a custom 4 to 15-watt APU that has a 4-core Zen 2 CPU and 8-core RDNA 2 graphics unit, as well as 16GB of memory.