The Steam brand is very strong. Valve Corporation has turned their third-party market into the first place where millions of people choose to buy their PC games. Earlier this year, the service had more than 25 million concurrent users, a record-breaking number, so no matter what they do, they are clearly making a difference. However, with the sale of all these software, Valve announced a new piece of hardware they call Steam Deck last month.
Use your favorite colloquial words, “Don’t be satisfied with your honor” or “Mamba spirit.” This is not to say that competitors in the field of handheld computers are bragging about ridiculous sales figures. Valve’s core business is selling computer games. So why take the risk of making hardware?
Whenever we tell people that we are creating a new controller, the first thing people often ask (Valve) is, “Why?” There are many good dual analog joystick controllers on the market…Unfortunately, in In the PC field, most games are not designed to use traditional controllers.
Scott Dalton, GDC 2016 presentation
Where does all the steam come from?
Valve’s first commercial attempt in the field of hardware development was in the form of the “Steam Machines” brand. Valve cooperated with mature PC hardware manufacturers in 2013 to create a set of common specifications for gaming PC construction. Specifications are equivalent to good, better, or best. Although there is a major problem with SteamOS, there are three options designed to simplify PC gaming. Valve customized a version of Debian Linux using the same method that Ray did Dream land, “If you build it, (the game) will appear”. they do not. For most of ten years later, PC games receiving Linux ports are still the exception, not the rule.
A few years later, Valve came up with the idea that PC games should be played on TV. This idea takes the physical form of the Steam streaming box and Steam controller. When a tandem device is paired with a suitable gaming PC, it will allow users to remotely play their game library on any TV in the home. If both the PC and Steam Link are hardwired to Ethernet, the experience is usually very good. If you use WiFi alone, it is definitely a worse experience (because everyone’s WiFi is terrible).Although the legacy of this Valve hardware journey is summarized as The day they liquidated their inventory at a price of $5 in 2019. This is why Steam Link is now just an application.
Valve began researching virtual reality technology as early as 2012, but in 2016 chose to cooperate with smartphone manufacturer HTC to develop VR headsets. The remarks surrounding VR at the time were like the word saccharin with extra sugar on it. When people count the number of virtual shooting gallery, their fingers are used up, and the taste of VR will deteriorate. The market is stagnant. The lessons learned there obviously led Valve to create their own product (Valve Index) a few years later, so Valve’s story in VR has not yet been written.However, the most convincing statistics may be Only about a quarter of the VR headsets connected to Steam are theirs.
What should I do if I have steam on my hands?
The concept of portable gaming devices has been proven. The history of Nintendo handheld computers has served more than 5 billion, So it’s no wonder Valve saw an opportunity for their own handheld device. The Steam Deck is a one-foot-long tablet with quad-core AMD Zen 2 APU, 16 GB DDR5 RAM, and a full set of controller buttons on a 7-inch 1280×800 IPS display. The entry price for all of this is $399. What don’t you like?
On the one hand, Steam Deck comes with SteamOS 3.0 based on Arch Linux. In most cases, open source software is worth celebrating, but the reality of playing games on Linux is more of famine than feast. Valve plans to resolve this situation with their compatibility tool Proton. The software acts as a conversion layer between Windows API calls and calls through Wine’s portable operating system interface. This is another tool that many Linux users are very familiar with. This means that Valve no longer waits for developers to introduce local ports to Linux, just like human language translation, some stupidity is to be expected.An independent group Software testers outside of Valve have compiled a database of Proton performance, The results speak for themselves. It is much better than the past way of running games on Linux, but it is still too early.
Valve is refreshing by letting potential customers know that they can install alternative operating systems on the Steam platform. Multiplayer game lovers will definitely want to take advantage. Many anti-cheat services that run in the background of games such as PUBG and Fortnite cannot currently run on SteamOSHowever, Windows installation can solve this problem. Although Hackaday readers are no strangers to creating bootable media, the truth is that most players will stick to the default settings.
According to the author’s estimate, Steam Deck represents Valve’s third major push in designing its own hardware. Previous efforts, such as the Steam controller, are commendable for their bold “reinventing the wheel.” The Index VR headset design is widely regarded as the best in its class. Although not paying attention to the strange relationship between Valve and the number three is an oversight. If you need to convince this phenomenon… Just ask Gordon Freeman.
For more information about Valve Software’s history, check out this article on the company’s VR and AR prototypes.
[Main image source: Steam Deck]