SteamDeck — Unsolicited Thoughts
No big news this week, but I did get a SteamDeck. I’m a big believer in the gaming market for startups, so here’s my unsolicited thoughts on the main questions around this new device.
Is it any good? Worth the money?
For a v1 device, I was impressed. I’m a fairly avid gamer, and this got me playing hardcore PC-only games on a handheld device. Of course, this is already possible with services like Shadow and Stadia, but the full controller layout and dedicated UI made the experience closer to the desktop than anything I’ve previously tried. Like competing services, the library is limited, and obviously plenty of bug reports around; but Apex Legends and Days Gone run well for me, with no issues at all.
Is it a threat to the Switch or other mobile gaming?
No. This is a hardcore gaming device. When I used the device or gave it to other gamers, they loved it, mainly because the access to certain games was so exciting. However, more casual gamers immediately struggled with the huge variety of buttons and interface options. I’ve installed 5 games since purchase, which involved installing an additional SD card, as well as multiple uninstalls and reinstalls to fit everything on the device. Most casual gamers will be very happy with Zelda on Switch.
What does it mean for indie developers and startups?
Steam has done incredible things for the indie gaming community, and many hoped the SteamDeck would trigger another wave of opportunity, as iPhone gaming did in the past. Alas, the SteamDeck is a well-made device for a small audience with needs that probably don’t match up with a mainstream audience. I don’t think it will create a big influx of new users onto the Steam platform and so it probably doesn’t make sense (yet) for developers to build for it.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!