PC giant Valve may have something sweet in store for all of us: a portable gaming PC. Potentially dubbed the “SteamPal,” reports suggest this Nintendo Switch-style device may even drop by the end of the year.
This report comes from Ars Technia, which claims to have a range of different sources to back up the existence of this material.
So what do we know about “SteamPal? First, the name comes from a recent change in Steam code:
Valve’s “Neptune” controller reappears in the latest beta of the Steam client.
It’s called “SteamPal” (NeptuneName) and it has a “SteamPal Games” (GameList_View_NeptuneGames)
– Pavel Djundik (@thexpaw) May 25, 2021
Of course, “SteamPal” might just be a working title – there’s nothing to say that won’t change until the announcement. But for now? It’s pretty good.
On top of that, Valve’s “SteamPal” should look a lot like a Nintendo Switch. It will have a touchscreen, two (non-removable) joysticks, a touchpad, triggers and… buttons. It is more likely than not that the “SteamPal” will also work on Linux.
We can also assume that it will make great use of Steam’s bulging game library. I mean, it would be weird if it wasn’t.
This is all extremely exciting, but the question remains how likely it is that the “SteamPal” will ever see the light of day.
Well, a video captured earlier in the year shows Gabe Newell – co-founder and president of Valve – tease some sort of ad about Steam games on a console. This, of course, is oil on the “SteamPal” fire.
Are there any obstacles to launching “SteamPal”?
Technologically, the console is definitely possible. The Aya Neo has proven to be reasonably good at delivering a PC experience in a portable device. The Nintendo Switch has also shown that there is still a strong market for handheld games.
The price of the “SteamPal” is a more difficult thing to guess. While the Switch costs around $ 300, Valve’s console is unlikely to be that low. Although the game company‘s financial strength allows it to purchase components in bulk, it is assumed that the “SteamPal” will likely be more expensive than Nintendo’s, simply because it will require more robust hardware to play games. many Steam games.
For me the technical the existence of the “SteamPal” is quite possible. It’s fine in Valve’s wheelhouse to release the portable gaming PC – although battery life is going to be a huge concern.
The biggest question is whether he succeeded could to be. I think this will be defined by two points: its potential audience and quality control.
Valve’s portable gaming PC is expected to find a niche between Switch owners, mobile gamers, and PC enthusiasts, something much easier said than done. On top of that, the Switch has succeeded at a level due to the amount of high-quality first-party content. If Valve does not put in place a robust system to control titles on the “SteamPal”, it is likely that its use will provide an inconsistent experience.
Since PC titles don’t need to factor in power consumption, they can basically run at the limit of their components. A portable device like this requires a balance between power consumption and performance – and that’s without even mentioning the heating issue. You just have to look at what happened with Cyberpunk 2077 to see what playing a game can lead to on hardware it wasn’t designed for.
I’m a fan of a new console and, at best, the launch of “SteamPal” could shake up the entire industry. And at worst? Well, there are going to be a lot of entertaining dramas.