Valve is reportedly working on a handheld gaming PC planned to launch later this year

valve logo.JPG

Citing "multiple sources familiar with the matter", Ars Technica reports that Valve is working on an "all-in-one PC with gamepad controls and a touchscreen". Sounds familiar to you? It should as this has been exactly what indie hardware manufacturers (yes it's a thing) have launched like the AYA NEO and GPD Win 3. Though niche, the popularity of such devices has interested bigger players to investigate a handheld gaming PC of their own though concepts (Alienware and Lenovo) or patents (Tencent) recently.

If Ars Technica's report is to be taken seriously (the reporter writes that he "can confirm the device's existence and development"), Valve might be the latest company to jump on this hype train. It's not just this report that points to the company's handheld gaming PC ambitions. Earlier this month during a panel conversation at a New Zealand school, Valve's Gabe Newell had a vague answer when asked by a student about whether Steam be porting any games on consoles. "You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year," Newell said. "... and it won't be the answer you expect. You'll say, 'Ah-ha! Now I get what he was talking about.'"

In another instance, SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik, noticed new changes to Steam's code this week. These pointed to a device named "SteamPal" and its "SteamPal Games", as well as a "quick access menu" and a "power menu". These changes led the developer to wonder whether Valve is making a handheld Steam console.

But Ars Technica's unnamed sources apparently provided more details. This "SteamPal" device has allegedly been in development "for some time" and is still in the prototype phase, where at least one "is quite wide compared to the Nintendo Switch" to accommodate for the controller hardware, joysticks and "at least one thumb-sized touchpad". It will run on Linux, have a touchscreen display, no detachable controllers and no physical keyboard (think AYA NEO); at least that's the state of the prototype version.

The report compares the "SteamPal" to a Nintendo Switch as it will apparently include a dock option via its USB-C port. But unlike the Switch, the device will not use an SoC from Nvidia but instead one from Intel or AMD. There's no indication if Valve will release multiple versions of the device with different specs to attend to different preferences. While Ars Technica doesn't provide an indication of the device's cost, it does mention that Valve plans to launch the handheld by the end of this year, "supply chain willing".

On top of taking these news with a grain of salt, we should keep our expectations in check since Valve is no stranger to pulling the plug on its hardware (or software) projects. That said, would you be interested in a Valve-made handheld gaming PC?

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Hero-Link

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They have given up in pretty much all hardware they created.

Steam link
Steam controller
Steam PCs

I still have my steam link i bought for like... 15 euros already with shipping and i havent even set it up (i have it for... 3 years or so) i don't even know if they even updated it after stopping production.

A Handheld PC will never work in a long run, unlike a console.
 

StrayGuitarist

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I love Valve's previous work, but lately it seems like they've had a pretty disposable mindset. "What, you mean the thing we launched didn't become as big of a hit as our triple-A game releases from forever ago within the span of 2 years? Tch, can it. It was a failure, didn't get enough support." It really frustrates me that not only have they not done anything truly stand-out in years (Minus Half-Life Alyx, but it doesn't really register to me 'cause I can't afford a VR setup) whenever they try something, they don't look at why it failed, simply creating this ultimatum of "A fuckton of people need to buy it fast, or it won't get support, but nobody wants to buy it because the previous things didn't get support long-term" causing this enormous headache that feeds into itself, and FUCK.

But if this did actually stick around, I would be very interested in it, honestly. The concept of playing TF2 or Starbound in bed makes me more giddy than it should.
 
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munnimann

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Personally, I don't understand why there is at all an interest in handheld gaming PCs. I can't see myself in any situation where I might use it. I suppose some people value the possibility to play their AAA games in the train or on the bus. I'd rather read a book, or listen to a podcast, which aren't visual media and don't require my unbroken attention, and play games at home in peace.
 
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masagrator

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Personally, I don't understand why there is at all an interest in handheld gaming PCs. I can't see myself in any situation where I might use it. I suppose some people value the possibility to play their AAA games in the train or on the bus. I'd rather read a book, or listen to a podcast, which aren't visual media and don't require my unbroken attention, and play games at home in peace.
Like hell I would play AAA games on it. Visual novels will be my top one on this machine. :P
 
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Prans

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But if this did actually stick around, I would be very interested in it, honestly. The concept of playing TF2 or Starbound in bed makes me more giddy than it should.
If it doesn't stick around, there's always the option to get one of the handheld gaming PCs from China if you'd still like to experience PC games on a handheld.
 

stellsnake

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Perhaps I'll buy one if it's good to run resident evil 3 remake. Yes, I will definitely buy it, it will be a good, thoughtful, portable console from Valve themselves, and not a Chinese noname product.
 
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Goku1992A

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In 2021 gaming handhelds are extinct. The only companies can get away with this is Nintendo or Sony because they will have a strong customer base to support the product. Everything else can be streamed from your phone via remote play or gamepass if you want to play AAA games on the go. Almost everyone have wifi or internet

I will support my statements by saying the best handhelds are the PS Vita and the Switch. If Sony was consitant the Vita could have surpassed the switch but Sony abandoned the project. If Sony gave the Vita love as they did the PSP by having 3 standalone GTA games and 2 GOW games on the Vita and other exclusives the Vita would be running mates with the Switch to this very day.
 
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Prans

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Issue is they are pretty expensive.
yup and that's why we need more competition in this space. If Valve does indeed follow through with such a project, the cost of the device could be significantly lower than the $700+ devices currently on the market since Valve can rely on its profits and constant revenue from Steam.
 
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Edgarska

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Cool, I need something to go along with my Steambox.
I hope it comes with a stand so I can use my Steam controller with it.
 

pustal

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They have given up in pretty much all hardware they created.

Steam link
Steam controller
Steam PCs

I still have my steam link i bought for like... 15 euros already with shipping and i havent even set it up (i have it for... 3 years or so) i don't even know if they even updated it after stopping production.

Index is still rocking.

A Handheld PC will never work in a long run, unlike a console.

Why not? The greatest back catalog you can have readily available, most relevant games of the past 10 years support the standard Xbox XInput and a PC is a far more versatile machine than any console. Aside from that, Intel really stepped up the game in power efficient chips for portable x64 devices and AMD seems to want to follow the trend as well.

Personally, I don't understand why there is at all an interest in handheld gaming PCs. I can't see myself in any situation where I might use it. I suppose some people value the possibility to play their AAA games in the train or on the bus. I'd rather read a book, or listen to a podcast, which aren't visual media and don't require my unbroken attention, and play games at home in peace.

Same reason people want a Switch to be portable. I play mine 95% of the time in docked mode and really wish there was a more powerful non-portable Switch, but I can see why people like it portable.
 
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Hero-Link

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Index is still rocking.

Steam link
Release: 2015
Discontinued: 2018

Steam PC
Released: 2015
Discontinued: 2018

Steam controller
Released: 2015
Discontinued: 2019


Give it 2 or 3 more years... It just got released in 2019


Why not? The greatest back catalog you can have readily available, most relevant games of the past 10 years support the standard Xbox XInput and a PC is a far more versatile machine than any console. Aside from that, Intel really stoped up the game in power efficient chips for portable x64 devices and AMD seems to want to follow the trend as well.


You have laptops, which are also portable, with more price ranged, more customizable. Plus PC games arent made to be ran in a small screen. It will have its audience for sure, but it wont be picked up like a console, you have alternatives (and i will bet WAY cheaper)
 

lokomelo

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Personally, I don't understand why there is at all an interest in handheld gaming PCs. I can't see myself in any situation where I might use it. I suppose some people value the possibility to play their AAA games in the train or on the bus. I'd rather read a book, or listen to a podcast, which aren't visual media and don't require my unbroken attention, and play games at home in peace.
Portability is the reason that makes me play much more my switch than my gaming pc despite liking the later much more.

And I don't use on a bus or train, but around the house, and on my mom's house. Sometimes the "anywhere" you need is just 3 meters away from your rig.
 

mehrab2603

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While I don't care about handheld PC gaming, the possibility that a device like this can improve the Linux gaming situation excites me. Hope this succeeds.
 
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