Steam Deck on green background

Valve Steam Deck 2: Features we want to see

By most estimates, Valve should be very happy with the near-universal praise accruing to its first-ever portable console. Sorry, Make This PC Portable: Steam Deck not only puts your Steam library in a tool you can take on the go, it will play titles from other digital stores, emulate the classics and offer a good alternative to a laptop with minimal tinkering. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t improvements to be made, should Steam Deck 2 ever hit shelves.

And why not? Originally in such demand, Valve had to limit supply initially, and only recently removed the queue. Its popularity has seen game developers embrace Linux (the back-end operating system that powers the Steam Deck user interface) like never before, and businesses alike mainstream and boutique debuting their own take on game-friendly mobile devices.

With competition only increasing, Valve will almost certainly want to cement its lead with a follow-up device – when the time is right. Before that happens, we thought of some ways the Steam Deck successor could improve on today’s model.

Possible Steam Deck 2 release date

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First, we know for a fact that Valve is working on at least a Steam Deck 2. Company co-founder Gabe Newell confirmed in an interview with Edge Magazine, saying that the new deck will focus on “the capabilities that mobile gives us, as well as what you might get in a gaming environment.” traditional office or laptop computer. But whenexactly?

Unlike the smartphone world, which is tied to an annual release cycle, the PC market tends to move at a slower pace. Valve likely won’t want to release a Steam Deck successor until a new generation of APU (the processor and integrated graphics chip that does all the heavy lifting when it comes to gaming) is available.

The current Steam Deck uses custom AMD silicon based on the company’s RDNA 2 architecture, which was first announced in 2020 and started appearing in consumer hardware a year later. The PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles were among the first in the line, with more battery-friendly versions to come.

The successor to RDNA 2, ingeniously called RDNA 3, debuted in November 2022 inside AMD’s latest high-end PC graphics cards. Besides the overall uptick in power, improvements include a 50% increase in performance per watt over the previous generation and adaptive power management – making it the obvious choice for any Steam Deck sequel.

That helps narrow the possible timeframe for Steam Deck 2’s arrival. We could be looking at late 2023 at the earliest, as AMD takes time to perfect the manufacturing process and shrink the build to fit battery-powered gadgets like PCs and netbooks.

There are no rumors, whispers, or news pointing to anything more concrete at the moment, but we’ll bring it back to you as soon as we hear it.

Steam Deck 2 price possible

Bargain hunters might not be thrilled to hear that the most popular Steam Deck version is the most expensive — and Gabe Newell suggests the company took this because customers are willing to spend more if a more expensive version is released.

It stands to reason, then, that the entry price of £349 may not remain for the second generation. Alternatively, Valve could move the goalposts, making the current £459 mid-range model the new entry level, and offering a pricier tier up from the current £569 flagship.

Component costs are going up right now, along with the general cost of living, so we’re betting the next-gen Steam Deck will be more expensive either way – but for now the exact amount will be just a guess.

Steam Deck 2 Wishlist

Front steam surface

We awarded Steam Deck four stars in our review, praising its amazing performance, intuitive user interface, and endlessly customizable controls, but felt there was still room for improvement. Look no further than the following suggestions for what we’d like to see in the back to see what would have brought this score to the full five stars.

Longer battery life

We’ll get the obvious improvement out of the way first. Unless you’re using the Steam Deck to play 8-bit classics at the lowest brightness setting and with all the internal hardware down to their lowest setting, it’s not great in terms of battery life. Steam says you should see between two and eight hours of playtime, but that’s a pretty wide margin.

In fact, three or four hours is a fairly common standard, and it’s not uncommon for the Steam Deck to hit around 90 minutes on more demanding titles before throwing in the towel. As the primary bug for Steam Deck gamers, fixing this problem would be a big draw – either with a bigger battery or more power-efficient components.

Give us OLED

For Deck 2.0, Steam should follow in Nintendo’s footsteps and make the switch to an OLED screen. The current Steam Deck’s relatively small screen looks great in isolation, but next to any modern smartphone, the crisp LCD technology lags far behind OLED in terms of color and contrast.

We don’t need a higher resolution, because that would put more strain on the APU and drain the battery faster. The higher refresh rate would be a bonus, but again we can take it or leave it if battery life is going to take a big hit. But an OLED panel can help narrow the contrast between desktop and mobile devices, and make PC games shine just like their console counterparts. Oh, and if he could soften the edges at the same time? That would be a dream.

until arrival

Accessibility in games, though slowly, is improving as more developers aim to make their games fun for everyone. Valve can do its part to help in a number of ways. First, many games have small text and no way to resize it: Introducing a way to change text sizes at the hardware level will make games more legible on the Steam Deck’s small screen.

The Steam Deck is also quite large. At 669 grams, it’s also more than twice as heavy as the standard Nintendo Switch, which comes in at 299 grams. This is an issue for people with mobility impairments, so reducing some of that weight should be a top priority.

To Steam’s credit, they’ve addressed some accessibility issues. Steam Input, a service that allows any console to be linked to a device, works well as a deck and opens up a world of customizable control schemes accessible to many players. Steam can also release updates for some of the issues we raised above as well. But for Steam Deck 2, the greater focus on accessibility will bring it closer to being a perfect portable device Control unit computer.