Review: Steam Deck is Valve’s answer to the Nintendo Switch

Jason Ryer, Staff Writer

For decades gamers have seen Valve as a game developer and as a publisher with the content platform Steam. Recently Valve got into the game console market with the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck functions as a portable handheld tablet in that the user can play games from their Steam account as well as use software from the account, such as Google Chrome.

The pricing for a Steam Deck depends on how much the consumer wants to spend on a SSD drive before a SD card is factored into the purchase. This does change the build of the device and the overall features that it can do. This review covers a 512 GB Steam Deck, which is $700 USD with taxes.


Games and playability on the go is a big draw on a Steam Deck as well as a Nintendo Switch with the Steam Deck having a slight upper hand in performance to an original generations Switch.

The Steam Deck can handle newer games better than the Switch with limited exclusives beyond the two consoles that end up being at a pricing point the Nintendo Switch is cheap- er long term but it shows this as the console ages.

An older Nintendo Switch model will have a humming fan playing games like “Various Daylife” as well as “Bravely Default II.” These games run well on Steam Deck too. “Fallout 4” is a great game to test out on the console as well. Most of the games in the Steam store can on Steam Deck without it becoming overheated long term. The battery life is a good 12 hours, which is similar to the Switch.

The Steam Deck has a desktop model that can be entered by holding down the power button. In desktop mode you can add pre- installed apps, some of which could be used for emulation. In desktop mode you can use Firefox and Google Chrome to watch You- Tube and Twitch or check emails through the browser. Blender and a Doom editor have been added as well so the user can do mods and 3D art in desktop mode for the entertainment.

Valve has found a market for Steam Deck that goes beyond what Nintendo has done with its console. By making a device that caters to the need to play Steam games on the go then the console sells its value overall. The is- sue comes around as of writing this that some of the games on Steam Deck are not useable, which could damage the system itself.

An example I saw was playing a game like “Trails in the Sky.” A PSP game nearly crashed the system versus “Tales of Arise” because it was not set up to run on the console. This is one of the strong suits of a Switch, but the Steam Deck allows for a much broader appeal to gamers with the ability to play a vastly different set of games.

Steam Deck has a value of adding the user’s preregistered games to be played on the go. Gamers should invest in the console because eventually most if not all games will work for the device. Desktop mode is a powerful feature that expands the usage of the deck beyond the basic features of the Nintendo Switch. There is still plenty of room for the Steam Deck to grow into its own but out of the door the features do justify the price point.

Grade: B