Yesterday, IGN was able sit down and publish an interview with Lawrence Yang, Steam Deck UX designer, and Erik Peterson, business development executive, at TGS regarding questions about the Steam Deck. In it, a lot was talked about, so we decided to summarize it! You can view the full interview over at IGN as well!

Steam Deck

Unexpected Usage of the Steam Deck

In the first question asked, both Erik and Lawrence admitted they expected to see more people using the portability aspect of it, but see many more stories of just being home and using it on the couch. Lawrence added that as a dad, he enjoys he can easily game and put down the Deck to go take care of his kids and then come back while they are watching shows. Erik also mentioned that the Deck has allowed him to go back and play games he wouldn't have normally played on a desktop PC and has seen that from others online.

They also mention later on that the usage being more at home and not treating the Deck as much a portable device is acceptable. Erik notes that "people are using the device in a bunch of different ways" and that he thinks it's great people are finding their own ways to use it.

Steam Deck Dock Delays Due to Hitting Supply Chain Issues and More

IGN asked about the official dock and challenges that they have been facing trying to get that out. Lawrence answered, mentioning that the dock is manufactured at a different place that has its own supply issues and constraints that they are overcoming. He did mention that every USB dock is benefiting from the work and optimization they are doing for SteamOS, even if the focus is for their own dock. No announcements yet though.

It was also mentioned later on that the software work has taken up more time as well. Specifically, Lawrence mentioned that a lot of work is going on to cover as many peripherals, displays, and monitors to make it an easy plug-in for a good experience. Though he does mention they have improved that a lot lately too!

Japanese Gamers and Developers are Responding Positively to the Deck

Both Erik and Lawrence note that the gamers coming up to them at TGS have mentioned primarily how light the device is and that it was unexpected to not only it be comfortable in their hands, but run AAA games well too. Japanese developers have been optimistic as well and been very excited to optimize their games for the Deck. Overall, positive feedback from all around.

Valve is Motivated to Continue Providing Updates

Lawrence answered the next question, saying that the team is excited and feeling very motivated to keep shipping out updates to improve the Steam Deck. This answer didn't really provide any new looks into what we can expect from future updates, but mentions that "The Steam Deck that you own six months from now will be even better". I can only assume this means they still have a bunch of ideas to implement!

Dual-Booting Official Support is Coming

When asked about Windows support on the Deck, Lawrence mentioned that there is a lot of work going into the general installer for SteamOS so it can be installed on any arbitrary machine. Once that general installer is out, the ability to dual-boot will come with it.

Valve has been Impressed with the Community Modifications

When asked about community modifications, Lawrence specifically mentions how cool it was to see YouTubers putting full PC heat sinks onto the Deck. He then goes to mention people building plugins, like the incredible vibrancy plugin we covered, and seeing how people use them. Valve is trying to find a way to appeal to both crowds to make sure everyone has a good experience.

Valve Stands By the Verified Program, but Willing to Support Developers

IGN asked a fantastic question about games that are "Unsupported" that work and some that are "Verified" that don't. Lawrence answered the former saying that:

we have a very stringent bar for what we designate as an unsupported title. If a title plays and a cutscene is a black screen, we call it unsupported even if gameplay and everything else is fine just because we don't have a way of knowing if that cutscene is crucial to gameplay and it's not our call to make.

While it does make a point, it still doesn't help that the wording is off. In my opinion, people could be completely put off of a game because it is labeled this way when in reality, it could be something people don't care about. More information and clarity is needed so people can assess if it is worthwhile to buy or not.

The latter is being worked on with a built-in UI prompt to agree if a game deserves that Verified rating. If people don't agree, they look back and retest it, as well as reach out to the developer. Valve is also open to having developers reach out to get help to reach the Verified status.

While this is nice to see, this unfortunately doesn't cover the big criticisms I have regarding clarity and seems to defend the "Great on Deck" experience when it should be focusing on if a game runs, not how well it does.

Battery Life can be Enhanced by the Tools Provided with SteamOS

When asked about the additional steps to improve battery life, Lawrence answers they are always looking for ways to make battery life better. Though he doesn't go into detail about the tools, we at SDHQ use a couple different methods to reach better battery life including framerate caps, TDP limits, upscaling using FSR, and more.

Valve Satisfied with the Cooling Solutions and Fans for the Deck

Lawrence stated that they are pretty happy with how the Deck handles heat since it is designed to only be on the back and come out the top, so no heat should be felt on your hands. He did mention adjusting the fan curve to address noise issues as well and is continually looking at it to make sure it's still working well.

Comparisons to the Switch and Possibility of a Slimmer Steam Deck

IGN asked about comparisons to the Nintendo Switch and how comfort/size comparisons go. Erik and Lawrence defended the Deck's design by talking about the tradeoffs of having a bigger device, as well as a lot of people feeling much better about the Deck once it has been picked up and used. The tradeoff for having a bigger device is a bigger screen and a new class of games having the ability to be played on a portable device.

IGN then asked about a slimmer Steam Deck, but the tradeoff Lawrence mentioned could mean less battery life. Even so, he mentioned it is a possibility.

Valve is Excited to see the Growth of Handheld PCs

Due to the Steam Deck, the handheld PC space has been reinvigorated and looked at as a viable category for people to get and play games. Lawrence mentions that they noticed much more growth after the Deck has been released, but they are excited to bring SteamOS to other manufacturers to put on other handheld PCs. They are also keeping track of the latest advances in tech for when another iteration is made.

Valve Very Satisfied and Continuing Game Development

The last 2 questions were more throwaways. Lawrence answered that the Steam Deck release up until now has been everything they hoped for and that he wishes they could get more Decks into people's hands. Erik answered the latter question saying that Valve is always working on games, but nothing new to announce.

And that is it for the interview! Not a ton of new information, but some insight into the Deck's dock, Valve's feelings on TGS and Japanese gamer's adoption of the Deck, and even the possibility of a slimmer iteration!

Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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