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Valve making a Nintendo Switch-like gaming PC

Multiple Reports


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Video game and hardware studio Valve has been secretly building a Switch-like portable PC designed to run a large number of games on the Steam PC platform via Linux—and it could launch, supply chain willing, by year's end.

Multiple sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that the hardware has been in development for some time, and this week, Valve itself pointed to the device by slipping new hardware-related code into the latest version of Steam, the company's popular PC gaming storefront and ecosystem.

On Tuesday, SteamDB operator Pavel Djundik spotted the change in Steam's code, which pointed to a new device named "SteamPal." The name is a derivative of a previously discovered code term, "Neptune," which began appearing in September of last year and came with a "Neptune Optimized Games" string. At the time, curious code crawlers thought this discovery referred to some type of controller.

Technically, that's true. The "SteamPal," whose name we're putting in scare quotes because we do not have confirmation of the device's final name, is an all-in-one PC with gamepad controls and a touchscreen. In other words, it looks and functions like a Nintendo Switch (albeit without removable "Joy-Con" controller functionality).



FURTHER READING
Valve’s Gabe Newell hints at vague console plans coming “this year”
This device is very likely the subject of an announcement Valve co-founder Gabe Newell hinted to in a panel conversation at a New Zealand school earlier this month. There, he dodged a question about Valve's plans for future console video games with an indirect answer: "You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year... and it won't be the answer you expect. You'll say, 'Ah-ha! Now I get what he was talking about.'"Width for the sake of touch
In recent years, the "Switch-like PC" category has exploded. In early 2020, Alienware revealed its first Switch-like gaming PC, but the "concept" device has not yet turned into a commercial product. If you want to buy a similar device today, you're largely looking at products from Chinese OEMs like GPD, One-Netbook, and Aya, who have slapped ultramobile PC processors and parts into a Switch-like chassis.

The SteamPal will go a similar route, with a system on a chip likely coming from either Intel or AMD, not Nvidia. (The aforementioned Switch-like PC manufacturers have leaned on both AMD and Intel for their products.) It's unclear whether Valve will release multiple SKUs to offer customers a choice of power level, battery life, and other specs, as other Switch-like PCs have offered over the past year.

At least one SteamPal prototype version is quite wide compared to the Nintendo Switch. This extra width accommodates a slew of control options. No, Valve is likely not slapping an entire QWERTY keyboard onto its system, but the company has packed in a standard array of gamepad buttons and triggers, along with a pair of joysticks and at least one thumb-sized touchpad (in addition to the device's touch-sensitive screen). The SteamPal's touchpad is likely smaller than the pair of touchpads that came standard on every Steam Controller.



FURTHER READING
Valve’s “Steam Play” uses Vulkan to bring more Windows games to Linux
The SteamPal is still in the prototype stage, and its features are subject to change, as we've seen with prototype hardware for other Valve initiatives like SteamVR and the Steam Controller. In other words, while I'm pretty confident that the SteamPal will include a d-pad, I can't say for sure. This also means I don't have details on crucial hardware aspects like battery size, screen size, pixel resolution, memory, and storage capacity.
The SteamPal's Switch-like properties will include the option to "dock" to larger monitors via its USB Type-C port, but I don't have firm details on exactly how that connection will work or whether Valve has any plans for an eventual SteamPal dock.

Lastly, the SteamPal was built with Linux as a likely target, an idea that aligns with Valve's continued push to make its entire catalog compatible with the open source OS, particularly through Steam Proton. That in no way means Valve's increasingly cozy relationship with Microsoft couldn't result in a deal to get Windows onto the SteamPal, though it would not be surprising to see Valve skip the per-device Windows license and tell users that the SteamPal is open enough for them to customize like any other PC.

A completely different proposition than Steam Machines
I have no idea how much this device will cost. Valve may very well be in a position to take a loss on every SteamPal sold in order to drive revenue through selling software on Steam, but it's unclear whether the turbulence of chip and other supply shortages could stop Valve from getting anywhere near the Nintendo Switch's $299 MSRP.

While Valve has had its share of rocky hardware launches (particularly with its Steam Machine partnerships with other OEMs), the Valve Index saw the company streamline its manufacturing process with something resembling significant quality control. And taking the lead on its own VR hardware meant not getting into bed with other OEMs, which is arguably one reason that Steam Machines didn't work out as a platform. But where Steam Machines tried to sell desktop systems in a marketplace already saturated with them, Switch-like PCs are still an entirely new sector—and one where Valve might very well succeed based on getting in earlier than other major Western manufacturers.



FURTHER READING
Valve secrets spill over—including Half-Life 3—in new Steam documentary app
I can confirm the device's existence and development, and I can point to Newell's very loud hints that something console-related will be announced later this year, but Valve is still in a position to change gears (pun intended) at a moment's notice. The company could either delay or outright cancel this portable gaming PC project for any number of reasons. As we learned from a massive 2020 report on the development of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve loves to create, incubate, and then cancel things.
Valve did not immediately respond to Ars Technica's requests for comment.

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Both AMD's 5000G series Cezanne CPUs and Intel's 11th Gen Tiger Lake have very capable iGPUs. With IRIS Xe, Intel finally became competitive with AMD's iGPUs and Cezanne is already looking very good with 7nm Zen3 & Vega 8 graphics. Linus did a review of Aya Neo with AMD 4500U and the One Xplayer with Intel 1165G7, looks promising, can't wait for Valve's attempt.


 
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  • L lelouch4705:
    You can change region with Nayapay/Sadapay it's very easy
    Link
  • shayan010 shayan010:
    Steam patched region changing more or less from what i know, only way u can successfully change now is by using a debit card from the country u wanna change too. There might be some prepaid cards from turkey on the internet that u could use. Otherwise the best bet is using a good vpn to make a new account in the region u want and then use use gift cards to buy games.
    Link
  • XPremiuM XPremiuM:
    Some of the most popular options include NordVPN & ExpressVPN. But you can search for some other cheaper option if you prefer.
    Link
  • XPremiuM XPremiuM:
    Use a VPN. You can pay for it with various online payment options.
    Link
  • M mimlasic:
    Hi, can anyone pls guide me how steam region can be converted to turkey or argentina?? Saw some posts but most of them require one to have an atm card from turkey or setting up an entirely new account
    Link
  • EternalBlizzard EternalBlizzard:
    CerebralTiger said:
    Imagine thinking the Steam Deck would be able to emulate Switch 2 games :ROFLMAO:
    Here's hoping the switch 2 doesn't follow it's predecessor which is choking itself when it's supposed to be in it's "middle phase" :ROFLMAO:
    • Like
    • Haha
    Reactions: Necrokiller and Shary Bhallu TC
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  • Necrokiller Necrokiller:
    EternalBlizzard said:
    Splatoon 3 isn't the only game on switch my boy :ROFLMAO:
    online mode hai, samjha karo. Jo btw wo khud bhi nahi khelta. Sab gol maal hai bhae 😅
    • Haha
    Reactions: EternalBlizzard
    Link
  • EternalBlizzard EternalBlizzard:
    CerebralTiger said:
    "Baaki yuzu"...the 8+ million Splatoon 3 owners would like a word with you :ROFLMAO:
    Splatoon 3 isn't the only game on switch my boy :ROFLMAO:
    Link
  • Necrokiller Necrokiller:
    CerebralTiger said:
    "Baaki yuzu"...the 8+ million Splatoon 3 owners would like a word with you :ROFLMAO:
    I'd like to have a word with them too... as to why the game is so DEAD arleady :ROFLMAO:
    Link
  • CerebralTiger CerebralTiger:
    EternalBlizzard said:
    Yuzu 2 ke aane tk :ROFLMAO:
    Imagine thinking the Steam Deck would be able to emulate Switch 2 games :ROFLMAO:
    Link
  • CerebralTiger CerebralTiger:
    "Baaki yuzu"...the 8+ million Splatoon 3 owners would like a word with you :ROFLMAO:
    Link
  • Necrokiller Necrokiller:
    EternalBlizzard said:
    Yuzu 2 ke aane tk :ROFLMAO:
    aag lagi hui hai bhae. Multiplats ke liye wese hi useless hai Switch ab... Baaki yuzu 🤣
    Link
  • iampasha iampasha:
    DevOps engineer Kon hai Yaha?
    Link
  • EternalBlizzard EternalBlizzard:
    CerebralTiger said:
    Ajaye ga naya Switch bhi. Steam Deck tou phir bhi irrelevant hi rahay hai 🤷‍♂️:LOL:
    Yuzu 2 ke aane tk :ROFLMAO:
    • Haha
    Reactions: CerebralTiger and Necrokiller
    Link
  • Necrokiller Necrokiller:
    The fact that some people can't help but mention Steam Deck when talking about the Switch is proof enough how jealous they are of it's existence 🤷‍♂️🤣
    Link
  • CerebralTiger CerebralTiger:
    Ajaye ga naya Switch bhi. Steam Deck tou phir bhi irrelevant hi rahay hai 🤷‍♂️ :LOL:
    Link
  • Major Aly Major Aly:
    iampasha said:
    kobsa gme?
    MWII
    Link
  • EternalBlizzard EternalBlizzard:
    iampasha said:
    Naya switch ane Wala hai 🤫
    Bohot zoor se
    • Haha
    Reactions: Necrokiller
    Link
  • Chandoo Chandoo:
    4 saal se aane wala hai, ab aa bhi jaa
    Link
  • iampasha iampasha:
    Naya switch ane Wala hai 🤫
    Link
  • Necrokiller Necrokiller:
    CerebralTiger said:
    What other gaming hardware was released in 2022? :ROFLMAO:
    See, that's how irrelevant Steam Deck made everything 🤷‍♂️🤣
    Link
  • NaNoW NaNoW:
    yeah, there is some backend issyue
    Link
  • Thugnificent Thugnificent:
    It does that but the thread still gets posted.
    Link
  • B Beelali:
    why its showing me error while creating thread in marketplace?
    Link
  • CerebralTiger CerebralTiger:
    Necrokiller said:
    What other gaming hardware was released in 2022? :ROFLMAO:
    • Haha
    Reactions: Major Aly
    Link
    L lelouch4705: You can change region with Nayapay/Sadapay it's very easy