Will 'Steam Decks' 2022 fare any better than 'Steam Machine' 2015>

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monkeyking1969

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Poll Will 'Steam Decks' 2022 fare any better than 'Steam Machine' 2015> (192 votes)

Yes 83%
No 9%
Results Please 8%

I think the biggest difference between Steam Decks and Steam Machines is that Valve putting its name and backing on the hardware by selling ist themselves. But, these machine won't be out for another 13 to 18 months...so are people reserving 'vapor'? Will anyone 'actually' want these devices in over a year's time when they are available? In a year's time will they still seem like a good choice? It is near impossible to buy a PS 5, Series X, or...even even a mid-level graphics card. So are people are supporting this out of frustration or actual interest?

This seems like a chicken & egg scenario. To know if they should make these devices Valve/Steam had to offer them for preorder. On the other hand if Valve/Steam had made them first, they could not have known if they woudl sell. (Nor would it have been easy to source parts to manufacture ANYTHING in the next few months.)

So, will interest in Steam Decks held with $5 deposits fade into smoke with few actual hard cash sales? Or, is this the right device, at the right time, and using the right hardware?

Steam Machines never made enough 'pressure' to go anywhere...
Steam Machines never made enough 'pressure' to go anywhere...
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topgunmv

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Where do you get 13 months from? Some people are getting their orders in December.

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Shindig

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Not a hard call to make. Steam Machines seemed way more limited in scope than the Steam Deck. There's a lot more under the hood and it offers you something that hasn't quite been covered before.

Sure, you can take a laptop on a flight but this handheld solution is more discreet, a lot easier to move about. Jan said on the podcast it gives him a gateway into PC gaming and it does so by giving you a fair amount of power.

It's way more appealing to a lot more people.

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Lego_My_Eggo

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Steam Machines never really looked like it was a fully formed idea or plan, and customers certainly didn't know what it was. It looked like a half baked plan to get Steam OS off the ground so Valve could potentially have its hands in another market when Android and IOS where getting bigger, while PC manufactures actually made the hardware. As far as i could tell at best they where PC's that had a form factor that made them nicer to put in a living room? And maybe some performance benefit from Steam OS without the baggage of Windows in the background? If Valve just said "Hey make a PC with this form factor and these components in this configuration and we will let you put our stamp on it" then they would have had something of a console like platform but as open as a PC. Instead they gave minimum specs and let manufactures put anything they wanted in there. And i Don't think they ever made any agreements with developers to say there game was optimized and will work on a Steam Machine.

You could tell developers to optimize for this set of hardware and get a % boost to performance knowing that x amount of people own this exact hardware in this configuration. And customers might get a better savings with economies of scale if it actually sold well enough. And you could take the guess work out of people who wanted a pre-built gaming PC saying they would support this hardware for 5 years with developers using that hardware as there base case, then release upgraded hardware after that. And developers/games that worked with that hardware would be marked in Steam showing they where compatible. Making it much more of a console like experience that i think Valve where attempting.

Steam Deck has a much better shot at the console like experience Valve where aiming for with Steam Machines. The form factor alone makes it an appealing piece of hardware and the main selling point, with a set of hardware that is not going to change very much. And it has the power to play all the old games in your Steam library and most anything in recent years, maybe not at max settings but it will play them. And you have a price that is more in line with a console starting at $400, which for what you get is very good. Gabe himself mentioned it would be nice to have a console like hardware standard to aim for when making there games. And Valve are still open to letting any manufacturer make something with a similar form factor and Steam OS, which could muddy the water a bit for that "console like" experience But its still a small market for now, and if Valve come out on top they might be able to push there weight around to make a standard to follow.

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clagnaught

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I think Steam Machines had a use case problem. At the end of the day, it was just a PC. Instead of buying a Windows PC through Alienware, you were buying a Steam Machine through them. That was it. Valve talked about performance boosts since it wasn’t running Windows, but that right before graphics, memory, and other specs just exploded. At least when it comes to performance, I don’t hear about how the problem is Windows. Even then, from what I can recall there wasn’t a performance boost like they talked about.

On the other hand, the Steam Deck takes your games on the go (like a Switch, Nvidia Shield, or cloud gaming offering), it (in theory) has all of your games, and the approach to Linux is better this time around. Who knows if it will be a grand success, but the premise is a lot more appealing on paper. Also you can point to things like a Switch or how you could use that Nvidia streaming thing to play your Steam games on other devices. So some people will look at this as a good mobile option, a more powerful Switch, or a better way to use your Steam library. People can find different things that interest them.

That’s not to say this will be the greatest thing ever. There’s some things like seeing how Proton works across thousands of games or how is the battery life that can help make or break the Steam Deck. That said, the pitch seems more interesting than what they’ve done in the past regard hardware.

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Justin258

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I think it's a right device at the right time sort of deal.

The popularity of the Switch has primed people for a larger handheld that can handle more than just JRPGs and five minute pick-me-up games. I don't think there's a shortage of people out there who want this thing.

Steam machines were not very powerful and too expensive for what they did. I recall wondering who they were really for - someone genuinely interested in PC gaming is going to be more interested in spending that money on a good PC, and someone who prefers the ease of console gaming is going to look for a PS4/Xbox One instead. And it didn't seem to have good compatibility either.

The Steam Deck, on the other hand, has a very clear use right out of the box - it's an easy to use, dependable, portable PC made from the ground up for gaming. You can play it anywhere and you can customize it in so many different ways. Mobile computing power has improved so much that, yes, you can even play some things you wouldn't expect to be able to play (though I still wouldn't bank on it playing the heaviest-hitting stuff of today nor the average AAA games of tomorrow). It's a much more powerful, much more versatile machine.

Or at least is promised to be.

I still think its biggest hurdle is that it's, well, a PC. In the thread about the Steam Deck actually existing, there was at least one user posting about how he's all for it if it's an easy-to-access, cheap PC for gaming - but it's not going to be any easier than a decent gaming laptop, and possibly even more difficult if Linux/Proton issues ever pop up for someone. I think that if anything stops the Steam Deck from being super popular, it will be that.

That and the price. For plenty of people, "simple" and "cheaper" win out over "performance", so I could see this thing still lagging so far behind the Switch that it seems like a failure.

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GTxForza

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#6  Edited By GTxForza

I'm pretty sure that Steam Deck will be stronger than Steam Machine, just like how Nintendo Switch is stronger than the Nintendo Wii U.

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Onemanarmyy

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#7  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Wasn't the steam machine Valve's answer to bring your PC games to the livingroom and then around the same timeframe introduced the steam link that lets you play steam games on your TV?

The steam machines were also very expensive for what you got. I get it, small form PC's that have to look sexy and turn a profit on each sale will not be able to sell for the price of a console, but at these pricepoints there were better solutions.

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infantpipoc

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With Switch faring better than Wii U, one would hope so.

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bybeach

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#9  Edited By bybeach

I agree with most of the analysis by the previous posters. What might be also interesting is how much of a product will it be to create it own niche as being desirable, perhaps even outright profitable.

Though I may give up my own reservation, because what I really want down the road from life is a graphics card with ray tracing rather then this expensive machine, I am still drawn to the Steam Deck as a back-up, at least of sorts.

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Humanity

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#10  Edited By Humanity

I do think the conversation will look a lot different when these things finally start shipping and the initial excitement dies down a little. It’s a solid piece of tech that is appealing to own simply for the form factor alone - is it doing anything significantly better than a gaming laptop? Well that remains to be seen. It’s certainly easier to whip out a Steamdeck on a park bench or in a Starbucks than it is a laptop with a gamepad, but much like the Switch I imagine a large majority of people will use this thing in bed or on their couch sitting 5 feet away from their gaming pc. The biggest convenience though comes from the cross-save ability that lets you do some farming before going to bed and then pick up where you left off on your main PC. I know a lot a folks are already talking about different ways they will mod and homebrew it for very specific use cases and niche projects.

At the end of the day I still think this thing will not be a gateway for newcomers, but rather an interesting novelty for existing enthusiasts.

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FacelessVixen

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General tech nerd me says: It'll have a better chance than Steam Machines; most likely by a notable percentage.

PC hardware nerd me says: It depends on what this thing can actually do.

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prolurker

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It really depends on Steam OS and Proton support. I can see a lot of people buying a Steam Deck and being let down when they can't run games with anti-cheat, ubisoft launcher, etc. on this device. Maybe they try to install Windows and realize Windows support isn't great either. It could be the complete opposite too, just only time will tell.

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mellotronrules

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i think the niche audience it wants to serve will be stoked on it.

but the device itself doesn't feel like a game-changer. if anything it's a sweet proof-of-concept for the internal guts- just goes to show how well hardware with decent graphical/computational muscle has been miniaturized and made more power-efficient.

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brian_

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The more I think about this thing, the more I wonder why I would need this thing. I have a Switch. I have a laptop, that isn't great, but will run most indie stuff. I the have current gen consoles where I can play the stuff that won't run on my laptop. I just don't see a whole lot of reason to drop $500 on this thing, other than it seems to be a pretty good device for the price.

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monkeyking1969

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@topgunmv said:

Where do you get 13 months from? Some people are getting their orders in December.

No Caption Provided

Expected after 2nd Q 2022 - That's June if we are being realistic. While you could say ist April to June, I think most hardware hist the last possible month in most cases. And, there will likely be slips if not slips on the launch date there will be slips on availability. So, if you snapped a unit up for pre-orders expect June, if you didn't there might again be only a trickle of hardware.

The above is what Steam is saying, but if we believe PCGamer.com . The high end model is now Q3, which is July-Sept range. (https://www.pcgamer.com/steam-deck-reservation-went-wrong/)

Listen - I think Steam Decks will actually do better than Steam Machines did. But those did not do well, teh hype to actual sales were polar opposistes. And, as I states above I think the timing factor was not helpful; sustained momentum matters. On the other hand, I'm not sure a long Switch style device is actually the best fit for PC/Linux "Steam" gaming. I'm just not yet convinced that design is better than a clam-shell

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monkeyking1969

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I think it's a right device at the right time sort of deal.

The popularity of the Switch has primed people for a larger handheld that can handle more than just JRPGs and five minute pick-me-up games. I don't think there's a shortage of people out there who want this thing.


That is a good argument for this right time and right shape. The Switch has show usability or ergonomics of a 'plank-style' gaming device.

What I do worry about is the sizing. People said they wanted bigger Apple tablets too, but the most popular size outside of workplaces is still the rather modest original size. Weight and size are really a feel thing and I wonder if something bigger than a switch will be as popular in the "feel". Time will tell with this.

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TurtleFish

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Remember this is after several weeks of reservations. The first promised delivery dates were in December 2021, and it's been moving out since then. I ordered shortly after reservations opened, and my reservation slot is Q1, 2022.

Of course, given that all supply chains are on fire, who knows what availability will be like, or how fast delivery will be after you place your actual order?

@topgunmv said:

Where do you get 13 months from? Some people are getting their orders in December.

No Caption Provided

Expected after 2nd Q 2022 - That's June if we are being realistic. While you could say ist April to June, I think most hardware hist the last possible month in most cases. And, there will likely be slips if not slips on the launch date there will be slips on availability. So, if you snapped a unit up for pre-orders expect June, if you didn't there might again be only a trickle of hardware.

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bobafettjm

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My pre-order still says December 2021, which is the $649 model.

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Onemanarmyy

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#19  Edited By Onemanarmyy
@monkeyking1969 said:

Listen - I think Steam Decks will actually do better than Steam Machines did. But those did not do well, teh hype to actual sales were polar opposistes.

There certainly was hype and interest in the idea of Steam Machines. But i feel like it died down across the board once they showcased the various models on a steampage, and people had to come to terms with the specs you get for the price when you buy a sexy small form PC. They were selling a $600 machine that relied on integrated intel graphics! This time around it seems like the actual hardware of the steamdeck and the price you can buy it for hasn't killed off the interest.

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TDot

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So here's why I think the Steamdeck works as opposed to the Steam Machine. It has a solution to a problem where the steam machine didn't solve anything. If people wanted a console experience...they would get a console.

The steamdeck actually gives people something they didn't have. Portable gaming. Unless you wanted nintendo's offering of limited games, or mobile games which are a different beast, there was no solution to playing most pc and console games on the go.

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OurSin_360

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#21  Edited By OurSin_360

They will do way better. For one they have set hardware that will be manufactured in house(or through one manufacturer at least) unlike the steam machines that relied on third parties or even users to make their own machines etc. The price point is also more reasonable and it's still pretty hackable and there are also so many smaller game on steam now that can be played on a game pad and also don't really need high fps(even if they do the FSR stuff is actually pretty good and will probably get better). The hype is already way bigger for this than when the steam machines were announced, that was really a confusing mess all around though.

Also, there aren't very many handhelds out there besides the switch and a few other portable pc's, so the market is ripe for competition and steam can pretty much offer a lot more games than nintendo.

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monkeyking1969

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So, how are those who are waiting for their Steam Decks doing? Excited or a bit miffed? Did you get confirmation emails or expected ship dates for your pre-order?

Its will be interesting to see the newer "reviews of the equipment" for the shipped hardware will be like? With all these shortages, I wonder if the lack of parts will be an issue? I see some computer parts where most peopel would not expected chnages seeing ccomponente chnages when people open them up. So, I wonder if sourcing issues will mean that there are 'variances' in parts?

This seeems like a challeneging era for building anything due to supply chain issues...

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I'm still excited, but not sure if I'll go through with buying it (after Q2). I recently made a pros/cons lists of owning an xbox vs. a steam deck, and there's a lot of cons for the steam deck. Like, I'm still not even sure if you can mod non-steam games, and that would be kind of a deal breaker for me.

Plus, I still have gamepass for another 2 years, and the only way to use that would be to dual boot. I highly doubt windows on this device will be a painless experience.

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Lego_My_Eggo

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I'm still not even sure if you can mod non-steam games, and that would be kind of a deal breaker for me.

Valves answer to any question has basically been, "yes, its a PC". You might end up with more compatibility problems because its Linux based, same with even the steam library of games. But otherwise it looks like steamOS has a desktop mode and you are free to do as you please. And windows is always an option, but that is probably a last resort option im assuming for most people.

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prolurker

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@lego_my_eggo: Ah yeah, I've heard that phrase before lol. Good to know you can probably mod non-steam games, I guess I'm just unfamiliar with linux gaming as a whole then. But I'm glad I'm after Q2 because then I can learn a bit more before actually using it.

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infantpipoc

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As one proud owner of 2 Windows gaming tablets, I sure hope so. Deck seems to be the Switch to Machine's Wii U and I sure hope on-the-go gaming become more of a thing.

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#27  Edited By apewins

It'll do better just because it's an incredibly low bar. I think once the early adopters have gotten theirs, it'll be mostly forgotten, and even if it becomes a moderate success, Valve won't support it beyond the launch, nor will they ever release a follow-up with better specs.

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cikame

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I mean Steam Machines were just an alternative to buying a PC, which for me as a PC user isn't really an option, i need a fully functional PC that's without question i'm not looking to console-ify my PC gaming, but some people might. Conversely if i was away from home and wanted to play my PC games i might get a Steam Deck, but if i'm away from home i'm usually not playing video games so it's also not for me, but that one possibility already puts the Deck ahead of the Machine, especially as the gaming tablet is already proven to be a massive success with the Switch, now it's all down to how it performs, early impressions were very positive but what will it be like in a few years time.

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constantk

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The Switch being crazy popular and the ability to use an existing library of PC games (not everyone has them, I know) makes me think the Steam Deck will do much better. Also, PC gamers seem more willing to compromise performance if portability is the tradeoff. Admittedly, not having Nintendo's library will hurt it's mass appeal, but among gamers I think it will do well.