I’m about to roll the odometer over to 40 in a couple months, and thought about asking for one of these as a big splurge sort of gift. I like Steam but rarely have a computer capable of playing proper games. My current laptop is anything but, since I got it off Woot in 2016 and it’s hanging on by a thread and a taped-in replacement battery. But this is a lot of money for me and mine, so I guess I want to see if the Deck both plays a sufficient number of worthwhile titles, and if it’s easy to use. Also, do you think they would improve significantly or drop a lot in price if I waited a year or so?
I think the Steam Deck is absolutely worth it–I’ve used mine a ton since I got it last summer. Definitely my preferred way to play PC games, since my previous gaming computer was a Mac and I try really hard not to install too much stuff on my work machine.
Valve just released an OLED model, so I don’t know if any major upgrades are in the pipeline. I seem to recall reading it’ll be a while until we see “Steam Deck 2”.
As for whether it plays worthwhile titles … depends on what you want to play. Anything that doesn’t map nicely to a controller is a little clunky–you can use the touch pad for mouse control, but I don’t find it as responsive as even the mouse pad on my laptop, which I hate. I’d recommend looking at the Steam store–they have a whole section dedicated to games that are “Great on Deck”, and every game’s store page tells you how well it plays on the Deck unless it’s a new, usually indie title that hasn’t been tested. Most games I have are “verified”–they play very well–and most of the ones that aren’t are “playable”.
I’m very interested to read responses to this topic as well (thanks @Hustlertwo!), and I’m especially curious about how the screen size feels for most games, especially rpgs. Does it feel cramped? Can you pinch-zoom? Do you need to do that a lot usually? Thx!
The deck plays a ton of stuff (some things better than others, of course). It really depends on what kind of things you like to play. If you like less graphically intense games that play well with a controller (action roguelikes, say, or hell even some traditional ones that have good controller support) the deck is good. I personally find it a little awkward to use the track pads for extended sessions (although they are much better than “thumb stick mouse”), so if you mainly play strategy games it will work, but…well, it can also use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, which works well.
For more recent, graphically demanding games the battery life if quite a bit shorter, maybe an hour or so if you don’t like to fully charge/discharge your battery, as I do not.
For emulation it is totally unparalleled. I have actually been playing the Wii-U version of Breath of the Wild on mine.
Here’s a good bookmark for verified games:
Thanks for the replies, y’all. And yeah, probably a lot of older games or less advanced ones on it, probably RPGs and the like. Some emulation would be great too. Maybe I’ll finally play Mother 3.
Huh. My son’s been wondering whether he should consider a gaming PC, but I don’t think he wants the burden of managing it. I had initially rejected getting a steam deck when I first heard about them, because I didn’t want one for myself. But it might be perfect for him.
I do wish he could get Minecraft on Steam, but apparently it is possible to put it on the deck with a bit of rigmarole, and plays well on it, so that might be just fine. Thanks for bringing this to mind!
Holy Shit. The aforementioned “a bit of rigmarole” turned into a festival of Christmas Day aggravation. I thought I was good–opened it up ahead of time, made sure it was fully charged, applied updates, made my son a Steam account and bought Minecraft from Microsoft under his account there, got the launcher, and installed it and a Minecraft instance.
Then, for some reason, it would only boot into desktop mode, despite having chosen gamepad input. Okay, fine, I’ll delete and reinstall–maybe something got borked somewhere in there. Second time around, the button to open the web page to link the device to your Minecraft license wouldn’t work. So, fine, I can just copy down the code and go to the page manually. Except, while attempting to type it in, a button (software or hardware is unclear), and now the right arrow is repeating indefinitely. Restart, try again, got it linked. But the control still isn’t working. So I install a mod that allows such things, and finally go to boot, only to discover that the community control setups I thought I had been choosing are actually in an entirely separate tab, and for some reason that was what I needed, not to choose gamepad input from the options in the list it shows in the main input tab.
A lot of this was the result of simply choosing the wrong fix, which led to further problems, but Jesus, that sucked, and I think my son is very wary of the device now because it seems so hard to manage and unfamiliar to him. I’m hopeful that he’ll have some good experiences which will overwhelm the first impression, and that the mod-friendliness of Minecraft will give him incentive to explore tweaking things to his liking, which will give him reason enough and confidence enough to be willing to explore managing a complicated device like this, rather than the iOS and console-style devices he’s used to. But that was a bad first impression.
PC gaming. I see it carries some of its onus onto this device as well. This is the kind of stuff that always made me a console gamer as a lad. And an adult.
It is so easy to use sometimes that you forget it is a full blown PC (and is not Windows based).
I haven’t delved into all the emulation options (which all sound positively exhilarating if the internet™ is to believed). Trying to get my gog.com (non-Steam) games run on it (which also sounds „easy-peasy“ if internet™ is to believed) has cured me of that.
Yeah no to all that. I am dumb and know that I am dumb, also lazy. Let’s just go for the standard steam stuff and be grateful that I can do that from my beloved couch as well as my beloved console stuff all the years before.
Just going hunchback for the big ones (Guild Wars 2), gog.com and battlenet (Diablo 4 and StarCraft 2) on my desktop pc is enough for me.