This morning, The Verge posted a new interview they conducted with Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais, two of the more prominent Steam Deck designers at Valve, about the Steam Deck and its future. In it, they touch on a lot including the next iteration of the Deck and the possibility of a 2nd Steam Controller! Here are the highlights from that interview:
Valve is Becoming Update Cautious
One of the things we have all come to know and probably not love about the Deck is the little bugs that keep popping up with certain games or the Steam UI. They have acknowledged that, while they are also adding in some awesome features (like the horizontal performance overlay), they have "shipped some embarrassing bugs even to its Stable ring". Due to this, it seems Valve is taking more care in what it pushes onto the stable Client and OS branches and moving towards a monthly update.
They also mentioned that because there will always be updates as long as people are using the device, it might never be a traditional "stable" experience like you'd see in other consoles.
Valve Making Batteries Easier to Replace
Lawrence Yang admits that the glue holding the battery in place isn't ideal or easy to remove, which can be a problem since Valve's intent is for everything to be easily repairable. This is something Valve is looking into fixing and has even changed the geometry of the adhesive in newer hardware revisions, which makes the battery easier to loosen,
Tape for Delta to Help With Noise
When Valve started shipping out Decks, they swapped between Delta and Huaying fans. Delta fans, unfortunately, exhibited a high-pitched whine when it was spinning fast enough. Valve stopped and used Huaying fans for a time when this was discovered, but now they have started using Delta fans again, but with a "foam solution" to reduce the noise.
Valve Hoping for new Steam Machines
Tests are being conducted to see how SteamOS will work in living room situations, but the focus is primarily on the Deck experience. It is something Valve is interested in, especially since the failed attempt with the original Steam Machines, but with SteamOS 3 being a hit, it seems they are ready to give it another shot. They also seem to prefer working with 3rd parties instead of making it the device themselves though.
Valve Doesn't See AMD 6800U Handhelds as Competition
While Valve admits that the AMD 6800U chip is more powerful when it comes to performance, power efficiency is still lacking compared to the Steam Deck. 6800U devices easily drew up to 40W of total system power compared to the Deck's 29W, making the Deck better for portable play.
Steam Deck Gen 2 is Coming, but No Pro Model
Valve has confirmed multiple times that the Deck is a "multi-generational" product, but when pressed for any details, Yang and Griffais both said that screen and battery life are the focal points. They are opting to keep this performance level the same until there can be a significant gain to be made.
Valve Wants a Steam Controller 2
Lawrence Yang said that they absolutely want to make another controller, but its just a matter of how and when. With the focus being on the Deck, they would need to find the time.
Audio Mixer and Bluetooth Audio Lag
Valve is working on developing an audio mixer to integrate into the Deck so you can adjust volumes of different applications you have open. This will be especially helpful to people who open Discord and another game and use both concurrently.
They are also looking into fixing Bluetooth audio lag by letting you choose a Bluetooth profile and codec while in gaming mode. They are also looking into Bluetooth microphones, but that one is a bit more complicated. They recommend still using wired or the built-in mic.
Sharing Per-Game Power Profiles
A question was raised about being able to share graphical settings profiles per-game, which was suggested in a Famitsu interview, and while it is something they could consider, it isn't one they are looking into seriously right now. Griffais does mention that sharing per-game power profiles, which include framerate caps, refresh rates, TDP limits, and GPU Clock Speed Frequency, is much more possible and more likely to happen.
MicroSD Card Formats as Quick Format
When the Deck was released, some users reported that formatting a MicroSD card on the Deck would actually break it. This seems to have been fixed as now it runs a quick format rather than a full one. They also recommend shutting down the console before swapping SD cards, but hot-swapping is still okay as long as the MicroSD isn't being actively used.
Valve Open to Touchscreen-Only Experiences
Griffais mentioned that Valve is open to bringing over mobile experiences that are touchscreen-only. As long as it is VERY clear to shoppers that it is a touchscreen game, it's something they are happy to consider.
Valve is Pushing on Anti-Cheat
While they are actively working with the biggest anti-cheat providers still, Valve is pushing for more compatibility. Griffais and Yang are still actively working on support as much as possible and mention that Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Fall Guys are two they expect to be eventually playable on the Deck due to these efforts.
This is More Than a Valve Handheld
While Valve spent 2 years designing the Deck, it isn't a traditional in-house project. They are also paying more than 100 open-source developers that are working on the software needed for the Deck to work as well as it does like the Proton compatibility layer, Mesa graphics driver, and Vulkan.
Valve Won't Release Sales Numbers
As a general rule for the company, Valve will not talk about or release sales numbers publicly. While we can confirm it has passed the 1 million mark, thanks to 2 ex-Valve developers that mentioned it, there will be no bigger or more precise discussions regarding it.
And that is it for the highlights! They go over some awesome stuff here, and it is great seeing them discuss the Steam Controller and Per-Game Power Profiles. Hopefully we will get to see these soon!
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SDHQ! We have a wide variety game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for news, tips and tutorials, game settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got you covered!