A bit of a progress report of sorts for Valve’s Steam Deck

28.02.2023 0 By admin

Steam Deck has been out for a good amount of time now.

Players have been messing with it, opening it up, doing all sorts of things with it, and developers have been supporting it more and more.

What seemed like, for some, a bit of an unexpected move, product launch for Valve, seems to have really turned out to be something being embraced by all of the gaming community.

You’ll love to see it.

Valve’s Steam Deck has been slowly trickling out into the hands of gamers since last winter, and we’ve been using it a bunch.

So, now that the hype dust has kind of cleared, let’s take an updated look.

You know, a bit of a progress report of sorts for Valve’s Steam Deck one year later.

First thing, availability-wise, things are certainly looking up these months later.

For the first time since launch in October, Valve actually fulfilled all reservations.

So now, instead of signing up for a queue or a pre-order before a pre-order type thing, you can just buy one with no BS.

Valve has stated that if they fall behind or if demand ramps back up, they’ll bring back the previous system.

But since October, so far, things have seemed to be going fairly smoothly.

And sales figure-wise, we always look at them for these kinda catch up videos, but we don’t really have a good estimate here.

One thing I’ve seen a lot of people and websites run with is open-source developer, David Edmondson of KDE, stating that they’ve surpassed 1 million units.

This was just like a remark during a talk.

It could be off the cuff.

I couldn’t really find too much more on it.

But, yeah, either way, the availability is key.

They got through seemingly a ton of pre-orders and reservations.

So, yeah, that’s looking up at least.

Usage-wise, on our end, the device has held up great, physically.

I think it’s partly because a lot of it is just regular old plastic.

It’s not super fancy, high-end materials like an iPhone or a Samsung smartphone.

It’s way more workman-like.

I mentioned some of this in videos back when the device actually released, and I guess I was right because now, many months later, you know, getting thrown in a bag and being used all the time and the occasional small drop hasn’t really done much of anything to this little guy.

Ours is used multiple times a week, and wear on buttons and joysticks has been fine, normal, no issues.

One of our biggest concerns was opening up the device a few times and possibly breaking one of those many little plastic tabs like the shell kind of uses to click in.

And after experimenting, making videos with this thing, opening it up like four or five times, don’t ask why, the clips have actually held up, and the thing is not falling apart, and I’m a very careful person.

That being said, I’m also a klutz, and so far so good.

Now in terms of taking advantage of the device and really messing with it and adding Windows or doing mods or running the more complex emulators, the device is so fun for tweaking stuff, but after a while, I will say, it does wear off.

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Maybe “wears off” is the wrong phrase.

I found myself in the beginning doing a lot of stuff to my Steam Deck because it was fun, and not necessarily because I should, but because I could.

Ultimately, now, month later, I end up just kind of sticking with the one or two good, solid emulators as my go-to.

Sure, if you added a bunch of storage, you updated your SSD or added an SD card, you can really just leave whatever on it and multiple operating systems and all this crazy stuff, but after a while and accomplishing pretty much everything I wanted to do or try to do, I ended up just keeping things simple ’cause I like it better that way.

Now the general user experience, if you’ve been following along, has gotten significantly better the longer the device has been out.

I mean, Valve has pretty consistently been releasing new and useful features.

There’s backend improvements and optimizations as well as more settings, options, and user interface stuff on the player side.

What started as a device that a lot of reviewers and publications noted felt kind of like an early adopter day-one type device has really evolved into something with way less quirks and just generally more dependable.

Improvements to the usability of storage and hot swapping, improved offline mode experience that doesn’t make the thing feel half useless when it’s offline.

Another thing that has seen support is the docking situation.

Valve was already pretty good about supporting most standard third-party USB docs, and that has only gotten stronger since launch.

But along with that, support for more options using the thing docked has also been really nice.

What started out as something that you’d plug into a monitor and hope for the best has gotten way smarter.

Resolution and refresh rate selections and display settings, the fact that it automatically avoids problematic resolutions, better frame pacing, aspect ratios, switch better.

It sounds like no-brainer stuff when you’re plugging into a monitor, but it lacked some of that at launch and has gotten better and better.

I think it’s just a good example of like the whole overall thing where Valve seemingly, so far with this device, with the community and with themselves, have been really good at identifying problems quickly and coming up for solves.

And with Valve supporting things, and then the Linux and Steam community continuing to support it, meaning, more control options and just stuff for every game, it sounds corny, but the thing has legit gotten better and better.

And then on the hardware side, since we do usually talk about official accessory updates in these videos, we now have Valve’s official dock.

That is now available.

They’re now finally selling that, and we haven’t gotten our hands on it yet.

You know, we’ve been fine with the cheap third-party alternatives, but it is there if you want it and so far so good.

Haven’t seen too many negative reviews on it.

Now, one thing I will stand by on and with no real scientific numbers or anything other than just gut feeling to back it up is the battery life.

Now, I know it’s not great, but some people act like it’s the worst thing in the world and it invalidates the device.

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I’ve actually been pretty happy with how it has been.

It lasts as long as one of my longest commutes and usually ends up near a power outlet at some point.

Granted, I know, for a handheld device, it should technically, in theory, just have better battery life, but I’m just being realistic considering knowing what the thing is capable of.

Despite the battery life technically not being super great, I haven’t felt it much.

But of course, that’s gonna depend on the individual.

What types of games do you play on this thing? Are you just blasting Witcher 3 at high frame rates all the time and expecting to get more out of that? Or maybe you’re just playing some low key indies and you like knocking the refresh rate down to save battery life.

Everybody’s different.

Everybody’s Steam library is different.

So, yeah.

But I gotta say, I think battery life doesn’t feel as bad as it is because of the amount of options the deck gives you.

Like I was saying before, just the amount of work they’ve put in here.

The amount of control you have to squeeze whatever you can out of your battery is nice.

Now over the course of these months, Valve has given us the option to adjust refresh rate and do 40-40 if we want.

So with on the fly, system side graphic settings, limiting frame rate, refresh rate, and resolution rates, they are actually easy to mess with, thanks to this design.

And literally, maybe it’s a mental thing, but it’ll make you feel better about your battery life, like you have more control over what’s happening.

And then of course, the games.

The support for those games is where shit really ramped up.

As of the beginning of February, according to SteamDB, almost 8,000 are marked as Steam Deck verified or playable, which is huge.

I mean, almost 8,000 is of course a drop in the bucket compared to the actual number of games on Steam, but it’s a lot of worthwhile games.

Like there’s not a lot of Steam Deck supported stuff that’s just crap or bloatware.

And even games that aren’t officially marked can sometimes be tweaked and get up and running if you’re a bit more of an in-depth, enthusiast PC person.

But generally, like what started out as like looking at your game library on this device and thinking, “Okay,” is now leaning more towards, “Oh, great.

” Of course, it’s gonna depend on the type of games you play, what your library is, again.

So if you don’t have one, definitely look into what is supported, especially if you’re a multi-player player, but you know, it is a noticeable improvement overall.

The library and the support and the growth is not half-assed.

And if you were worried about like the newest generation of games starting to get crazier and the Steam Deck maybe struggling to keep up with big AAA games and stuff more and more, seems like so far so good.

I mean, take the most recent examples.

Hi-Fi Rush from Bethesda, pretty fast-paced, colorful action game.

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I’ve been able to get like 60 frames per second.

And of course, the biggest game, Hogwarts Legacy right now is deck verified and is playable.

Definitely, more demanding.

You’re gonna have to knock some settings down mostly to the low, but it’s still a pretty good experience.

And then to reiterate more of the fun stuff on the community side, like I said, being able to embrace some mods, some tweaks to the system itself to the boot up screen, changing from Valve’s regular boot up screen to something a little bit more creative and funny or custom with your own visuals and music has been really fun.

People have still been experimenting with this thing top to bottom, like we had said from the start, and you’ll love to see it.

But along with that, thanks to, I guess, word of mouth and the numbers, more and more developers are supporting it.

More often, we see games release, or like when it’s close to release and the developers announce the system requirements for PC hardware, they also state that it is Steam Deck playable.

That’s really big.

The more games on this platform, the better, the more it’s gonna thrive.

That’s really it.

And it seems like it’s thanks to everybody just really working together.

Look, if you can’t tell, and this isn’t news, we liked it from the beginning, and we just really liked the Steam Deck.

We’re curious to see where it could go.

We’re curious to see what they could eventually do with a revised, updated version.

How much more powerful can they get this thing while keeping it affordable in the near future, who knows? But the current device we have right now, we’re very satisfied with it.

Everybody’s different though, so we wanna hear what you guys think in the comments.

If you’ve been using Steam Deck for the eight or nine months now or so since it’s dropped or just a couple of months, let us know what you’re thinking.

Is it your first experience with PC gaming? Is it something that you just use additionally alongside your PC? Do you travel a lot? It definitely has been a game changer for certain people who travel for work.

We talk to truck drivers, all kinds of folks that have just found a really good specific use for this device.

So if you’re one of those, we’d love to hear from ya.

Let’s hear what you have to say about anything Steam Deck and Valve down in the comments.

And if you like this fun little quick video, this little catch up, clicking the like button’s all you gotta do, we would genuinely appreciate that.

But either way, thank you always for watching.

We’re always here for you, and we’ll see you guys next time.