The Valve Steam Deck has been around for just over a year at this point and has clearly redefined portable gaming as a medium. However, if you’re one of those folks holding out for a Steam Deck 2, you’re probably going to be waiting for a very long time.
In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Lawrence Yang, a designer at Valve, briefly spoke on the development of the Steam Deck 2. Yang says that “a true next-gen Deck with a significant bump in horsepower wouldn’t be for a few years.” Note, that Yang refers to such a device as a “true next-gen Deck”, and not by the assumed designation that the masses usually confer to the successor of a popular product.
Yang’s statement makes sense, and right now, playing the waiting game with the Steam Deck 2 is probably the most beneficial thing that Valve can do. While a huge success, the processor of the current Steam Deck was actually custom designed and made by AMD. Specs-wise, the CPU, codenamed Aerith after the Final Fantasy VII character, Aerith Gainsborough, features a 4-core, 8-thread and 8-core GPU combo, and flanked by 16GB LPDDR5 RAM in quad-channel memory.
All that power translates into a portable machine, capable of running PC game titles, directly from the Steam library on a 7-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800, albeit at much lower graphics presets. That isn’t to say that the Steam Deck is without flaws: battery life, for starters, isn’t as great, and its joysticks have been known to suffer stick drift.
The good news, depending on how you view this though, is that Valve has virtually left the Steam Deck at the mercy of the modding community, with the company having said that it would “love to see what sort of ideas” the community will come up with, at least within the lifespan of the console anyway.
On another note, Valve also may not want to release the Steam Deck 2 too early, lest the next-generation console actually suffer the same fate as the Nintendo Wii U. On that note, if a next-gen Deck were to be made in the spirit of a custom SoC again, Valve may just engage with AMD again, in order to create a new SoC that will probably be made using the latter’s more up-to-date technology, such as RDNA3 and Zen4 cores. On that, here’s to hoping.
(Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
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