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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Veho

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Not sure how far this will get (as others have said, Valve is notorious for dropping their hardware concepts prematurely), but maybe just the threat of such a big name getting in the pool might drive prices of such devices down. Competition is always good.
 
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Not sure how far this will get (as others have said, Valve is notorious for dropping their hardware concepts prematurely), but maybe just the threat of such a big name getting in the pool might drive prices of such devices down. Competition is always good.
steam machines were overpriced in an oversaturated market, one of the main reasons they failed
 

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steam machines were overpriced in an oversaturated market, one of the main reasons they failed
Steam machines weren't even by Valve, Valve abandoned their concept and sold the license/certification/whatever to other manufacturers.
 
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Steam machines weren't even by Valve, Valve abandoned their concept and sold the license/certification/whatever to other manufacturers.
exactly, they were only oversaturating things and there wasn't even a base level of hardware, so their attempt at making a console pc flopped hard, since it was overpriced and still too complicated
 

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Hmm...I'm in two minds on this.
On one hand, it's a logical step. They have the technology of their controller, they have a great platform, and proton is...actually pretty decent for quite some. Of course it's not like every game runs flawless, but that doesn't mean the total list isn't impressive. Like...it dwarfs nintendo's switch lineup. I'm not saying that's BETTER (yeah, I know: nintendo quality puts it in a category on its own), but valve certainly has good cards to make it work. And the market for handheld gaming computers is...erm...okay, I'll say it: it's booming. It's booming in a niche corner, yes. But booming nonetheless.

But on the other hand: their credibility on this field simply isn't good. GDP almost poops out a new model every season for all around critical acclaim and that AYA neo is storming the market as well. Why exactly would you trust valve on this? The steam machines weren't theirs but was a total fiasco, and their other hardware looked good but got outclassed as well.
I'll see what comes out of this, but I certainly won't be first in line to buy their stuff.

Like hell I would play AAA games on it. Visual novels will be my top one on this machine. :P
You've heard of these things called "tablets", right? That'd be a much more convenient way to read those (heck...I used to read those almost on a daily basis on my commute), and for a fraction of the cost.

valve pays royalty to microsoft? how does the revenue model work?
@Latiodile 's only partially wrong, and not wrong at all when it comes to a project like this.

Part of the price of current windows-based handheld laptops goes to microsoft because the device ships with their operating system. So it's not like valve directly pays microsoft, but if we take linux out of the picture, valve indirectly forces everyone to buy(1) a copy of windows.
In the situation of a handheld computer, valve actually would directly pay royalties to microsoft if they would ship with windows. Or otherwise said: by shipping a handheld laptop with linux, they could undercut the cost of their competitors somewhat.

(1): yeah...or pirate. But that's another discussion
 
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Part of the price of current windows-based handheld laptops goes to microsoft because the device ships with their operating system.
Comparing the prices of devices that come with optional Windows (laptops, x86 tablets, Windows PC sticks, etc.) versus their Linux-running versions, the Windows license adds $100 to the price.
 

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I'm sure it'll be too pricey in the beginning as most handheld PCs are, but I am interested in seeing how the design turns out and what the layout looks like. Whenever Valve develops hardware it's always a side project meant to appeal to a niche audience, but I appreciate the fact that they try to break the mold.
 

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You've heard of these things called "tablets", right? That'd be a much more convenient way to read those (heck...I used to read those almost on a daily basis on my commute), and for a fraction of the cost.
If you like to have smeared display, your choice. I don't like using touch panel for VNs, especially when games are not supporting them and roundabouts were not always that great. And Windows tablets sucks.
 
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Other companies saw how well received the Switch is so they follow suit, so I wouldn't be surprised if this rumour turns out to be true. Depending on the games though, I would much prefer the standard desktop.
 

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I am sure this will be discontinued once it comes out, after a year at most. I am still very excited for it however, I am sure it will be a Linux box like the Steam Link is. I bet it will have those cool touch-pads to match the more PC style controls a lot of games will have.
 

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I just need the following...

* A GPU that's slightly more powerful than a RX 550

* 6-8 GB of VRAM (I will gladly take 4 if it keeps the price down)

* 8GB of System RAM that can be upgraded

* Thunderbolt USB-C for docking on the bottom with the ability to use an external GPU

* USB-C port on the top

* Full Size SD Card Reader (So I can make my own Game Cards

* 256GB of Internal Storage (But will take 128 for a lower price)

* UNDER 400 USD!!!
 
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