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Monday, December 19, 2022

Valve Answers Burning Steam Deck Questions, Including a Possible Steam Controller 2

The Steam Deck has quickly become a popular gadget among gamers, thanks in large part to the over 90 updates that Valve has released since its debut. However, the constant updates and reliance on Linux can make it a volatile platform. In an effort to learn more about Valve's intentions for the future of the Steam Deck, designers Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais granted a wide-ranging interview, revealing that they plan to update the software indefinitely and are still experimenting with hardware as well.

A photograph of the Steam Deck with the back panel removed, revealing the internal components including the fan and battery

One of the most exciting aspects of owning a Steam Deck is the opportunity to try out new features, such as the horizontal performance overlay that allows users to monitor frame rate, temperature, battery life, and more. However, Valve has also experienced some embarrassing bugs, leading the team to adopt a monthly cadence for stable updates and to be more cautious about what is pushed out. Griffais also mentioned that updates will likely improve as more Steam Decks are released, as "it's only a subset of users that opt into these more advanced update channels."

One issue that has been raised with the Steam Deck is the difficulty in replacing the battery. iFixit called battery replacements "the Steam Deck's Achilles heel," as it is the only part of the handheld computer that is not easy to remove. When asked about the use of glue to secure the battery, Griffais explained that it is necessary to allow for potential expansion of the battery. However, the team is currently working on making the battery easier to replace in the future.

In terms of hardware updates, Yang and Griffais stated that they are constantly experimenting and looking for ways to improve the Steam Deck. This includes potentially updating the controller, as they are "always looking at ways to evolve the controller and make it better." When asked about the possibility of a Steam Controller 2, Griffais responded, "We’re always looking at ways to evolve the controller and make it better... it’s a very interesting and dynamic space."

While the Steam Deck may never be "stable" like a traditional console, with the team constantly working on updates and improvements, it is clear that Valve is committed to providing the best experience for their users. The company's focus on constantly improving the software and hardware of the Steam Deck, as well as making updates as seamless as possible, ensures that it will continue to be a valuable gadget for gamers.

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