We already know what the new Steam console is like, the Steam Deck OLED. This is a revision of the handheld that brings improvements in screen, battery, and connections. Here is all the information about it, in case you missed the announcement.
But there are many people who were not expecting this revision. Because while the OLED screen is a very interesting addition, some wanted more power and better hardware. For all of them, those at Gabe Newell’s Valve have something to tell them.
Don’t expect a Steam Deck 2.0 in the short term, Valve has said, as the technology to launch a portable console with a suitable power increase does not yet exist.
Now let’s see what Valve’s engineers have said about the current changes. And also about the possible Steam Deck 2.0 that many were asking for. Reading their statements helps us understand the current situation of the console and what their next steps are.
Response to an interesting review
In statements to Eurogamer before today’s announcement of the Steam Deck OLED, Valve engineers discussed the features they are adding to their new and shiny model of the handheld console, which were not possible to offer when the original Steam Deck debuted.
The company also mentioned that they were currently working on game projects that were still targeted at the current hardware performance levels of the Steam Deck (which remain unchanged in the OLED version).
“Both the screen and the battery were pretty obvious things that we would have liked to do from the beginning,” explained Greg Coomer, a Valve veteran and product designer for the Steam Deck, discussing what the company most wanted to improve with the launch of the Steam Deck OLED.
“But the screen, I think, is the biggest example of something we would have launched in the first-generation model, but we couldn’t because OLED screens with these features in this size simply did not exist.”
“At that time, we couldn’t agree with a screen manufacturer to do exactly what we wanted because they didn’t really understand the product category, who would buy the screen, or why it would be important. Now that landscape has changed, and we can do custom work.”
There is no technology to improve the Steam Deck without increasing power consumption
But what is it that Valve couldn’t include? Or at least, not include yet? Yazan Aldehayyat, Valve’s hardware engineer, said that the answer was “even more performance,” and this is where we enter the territory of what Valve would consider a complete Steam Deck 2.0.
“Obviously, we’d love to get even more performance with the same power, but that technology doesn’t exist yet,” said Aldehayyat. “That’s what I think we would call a Steam Deck 2.0.”
“The first Steam Deck was the first moment when we felt there was enough GPU performance in a portable form factor that allows you to play all your Steam games. We would love for the performance-per-watt trend to progress rapidly to achieve this, but it hasn’t happened yet.
On the bright side, this means that Steam developers still have a single performance point to target when ensuring their games run well on the Steam Deck platform, whether it’s the original model or the new OLED.
In this way, Valve is waiting for AMD to release a new Ryzen architecture that improves in nanometers and power consumption (likely with Zen 4 and RDNA 3) enough and without raising the price too much, to launch that Steam Deck 2.0.”