Valve’s working on a new Steam Deck, but don’t expect a ‘next gen’ model

Valve's working on a new Steam Deck, but don't expect a 'next gen' model

Don’t expect to see a higher-end Steam Deck anytime soon

Over at The Verge, Valve’s Steam Deck designers Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais have discussed their plans for their next Steam Deck system, stating that next-generation Steam Deck systems are planned, but that gamers should not expect a major hardware update anytime soon. 

Valve plans to refresh their Steam Deck system with a new model that will address two of the main criticisms of Valve’s gaming handheld, screen quality and battery life. Below are some comments from Pierre-Loup Griffais.

    Right now the fact that all the Steam Decks can play the same games and that we have one target for users to understand what kind of performance level to expect when you’re playing and for developers to understand what to target… there’s a lot of value in having that one spec,

I think we’ll opt to keep the one performance level for a little bit longer, and only look at changing the performance level when there is a significant gain to be had,

While Valve’s Steam Deck features an IPS screen, it is worth remembering that Nintendo’s Switch OLED system exists, a factor that gives gamers an appetite for a Steam Deck OLED upgrade. While the Steam Deck’s standard screen is a perfectly serviceable screen, it is lacking when compared to the Switch OLED, and Valve wants to address this. 

Battery life is a concern for many Steam Deck users, especially when players are aiming to play new and demanding PC titles. Valve plans to create a refreshed Steam Deck model that aims to offer gamers a longer battery life and the same levels of system performance as today’s Steam Deck models, allowing Steam Deck users to achieve the same performance as before, but for longer periods of time.

Valve's working on a new Steam Deck, but don't expect a 'next gen' model

Why not make a more powerful Steam Deck?

While many Steam Deck fans would love to see Valve create a handheld that has a little more grunt, creating such a system would fragment the Steam Deck’s userbase and incur huge design costs. Beyond that, more powerful silicon is more expensive to produce, and that fact alone would make a more powerful Steam Deck a lot more expensive. 

Valve’s designers want to create a next-generation Steam Deck when the time is right, when larger performance gains could be achieved. For now, Valve wants to give developers a fixed performance level to target, and that means that their next Steam Deck system will be a hardware refresh, and not an all-new gaming system. 

More software updates are coming

Valve’s Steam Deck has been available for less than a year, and already the system has recieved over 90 software updates.  These updates include updates to SteamOS, changes to the company’s Proton compatibility layer, and changes that have increased the efficiency and performance of the device in some instances. 

Right now, Valve is focusing on improving SteamOS and making their system compatible with as many games as possible. In time, Valve wants their Steam Deck gaming system to inspire an ecosystem of competing SteamOS devices, offering gamers more choice and systems that target much higher performance levels. 

Steam Deck fans should not expect Valve to reveal a next-generation handheld anytime soon, but when they do, gamers should expect some huge hardware upgrades. 

You can join the discussion on Valve’s future Steam Deck plans on the OC3D Forums.