When the Steam Deck debuted in February, we called it our new favorite console. The appeal is easy to understand: What if the games in your Steam library could be played on the go, via a portable device with the processing power of a gaming PC? Since then, Valve has pushed over 90 updates to the Steam Deck, fixing bugs and improving the player experience. The real question, now, is what future updates Steam Deck owners can look forward to.
In a recent interview with The Verge, Steam Deck designers Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais detailed the features they are prioritizing, along with what a second-gen Steam Deck might look like, noting that they would focus on updating screen and battery life.
Valve has called Steam Deck a “multi-generational product”, saying that it plans to “build new versions to be even more open and capable than the first version of Steam Deck”. Yang and Griffais told The Verge that improving the display and battery life are priorities in future hardware revisions.
As for potential power upgrades, Griffais noted the benefits of keeping a constant goal for developers, suggesting that at least the next Steam Deck model won’t offer improved performance. “I think we will opt to hold the performance level for a bit longer, and only look to change the performance level when there is a significant gain,” he said.
The Steam Deck updates currently in the works fall into two categories, according to Yang: “things we want to fix and things we still want to do.”
At this time, the Steam Deck battery is difficult to access. In the current layout, it is glued. Valve is already working on “a change in the geometry of the adhesive, making the battery easier to loosen,” Yang said. As batteries tend to wear out more quickly compared to other hardware components, it would be a welcome upgrade to make the battery easier to access and replace.
Additionally, Valve is working on a feature to adjust the audio mix between various apps, which would allow gamers, for example, to turn down the volume of a game to make it easier to hear your friends on Discord. Valve would be interested in adding mobile games to the Deck, but Griffais and Yang noted that it would be important to communicate to players that these games are touchscreen-only experiences.
Now that Valve has had some success on the hardware front, how about a follow-up to the unique, but sadly discontinued Steam Controller? “We want this to happen,” Yang told The Verge, but added that the company’s current focus is on Deck.
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