The Valve Steam Deck has been released in the US and we’re ready for true next-gen handheld gaming. There are a few things you need to know to get your hands on one of these units in Australia, so we’ve gathered everything we know about the device in one convenient place. Let’s talk about Steam Deck.
When is the Valve Steam Deck release date?
The Steam Deck is available now in the US, Canada, UK, and EU. Customers are already exploring the handheld’s powerful gaming capabilities.
As for an Australian release, it’s always a waiting game. We don’t know when the console will arrive in Australia, but what we do know is that Valve has already had a relationship with EB Games for its hardware releases, including the recent Valve Index VR unit and the Steam Controller (which he remains in peace). It would be safe to expect it to appear at EB when dealers are announced.
Australia is still not on the list of territories with confirmed trading partners. Previously, these territories were the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Recently though, Valve announced that it would be launching the Steam Deck in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan later this year. This brings the material a little closer to Australia and brings it out of North America, UK and EU territories for the first time. We still watch jealously for access from our APAC neighbors, but, at the very least, it may be about to get a whole lot easier to import a Steam Deck.
How do I pre-order Steam Deck in Australia?
In fact, you can’t. At least not yet. Given their history, EB Games is expected to be Valve’s and console’s preferred retail partner in Australia. But do not worry ! There are still ways to get a Steam Deck unit from US vendors. It just takes a little extra work right now.
Steam Bridge Awards
Valve has yet to announce Australian pricing for the Steam Deck. We do have US prices though, so we can at least draw some conclusions. Here is the US price with a direct Australian conversion:
- $399 for the 64GB version ($555.62)
- 529 USD for the 256 GB version (736.65 AUD)
- $649 for the 512 GB version ($903.76)
Based on US pricing, you could probably expect another hundred dollars on top of the Australian conversion.
Here is what we do know the commercial launch: we know what the box will look like. Yes, Valve is playing this launch very close to the vest right now.
Here is a quick disassembly video of the Steam Deck
Follow Valve’s advice here. If you manage to get hold of a console, don’t do your own disassembly. Let Valve do it for you. This video will give you a quick and clear overview of the parts that make up the unit and how it all fits together.
What are the Steam Deck specs?
If there’s one thing we like to know about a new gaming device, it’s the numbers. Here is the spec sheet:
CPU: AMD Zen 2 (4 cores/8 threads)
CPU clock speed: 2.4-3.5GHz
GPUs: AMD RDNA 2
Memory: 16 GB LPDDR5
Storage: 64 GB eMMC / 256 GB NVMe SSD / 512 GB NVMe SSD
Display: 7-inch LCD touchscreen, 1280 x 800 60Hz
Audio: Stereo speakers, 3.5 mm jack, two microphones, USB Type-C/Bluetooth
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4 support
What conclusions about the specifications of the Steam Deck can we draw from this? Well, for starters, it’s pretty powerful for a handheld. Definitely beefy enough to handle most modern games on at least high settings, but if you’re shooting at 60fps you’ll probably want to dial everything down to medium.
Steam Bridge Features and Design
The console follows a familiar handheld design, with grips on the back and face buttons to the left and right of the screen. The Steam Deck eschews the Nintendo Switch’s staggered controller setup, placing both controllers at the top of the device, close to the screen. The unit has a USB-C port for charging and connectivity, as well as Bluetooth for wireless pairing. It will even offer DisplayPort support if you’re using a Mac display.
The operating system is a Linux-based suite built around the Steam store platform, although that doesn’t stop you from using the device in a similar way to a regular PC. Wide grips on the left and right of the screen provide greater comfort for gamers with larger hands.
Did you know that the Steam Deck is actually super customizable? It’s true! Valve designed the console to be highly moddable, and we’re only beginning to see the benefits of this through case mods and parts resellers.
And if that’s not enough for you, here’s a handy list of tips and tricks we’ve put together for you to get your hands on the console.
Steam deck game
In all likelihood, you’ll be able to play anything you want, as long as it’s on Steam! While there is a list of Steam Deck Verified games that have been optimized to play on the hardware, it should be beefy enough to run just about any title currently on the Steam storefront.
We expect the graphics on the Deck to look really nice. Targeting a 30fps target allows the device to display more faithful visuals without compromising overall performance. 30fps might be hard to swallow for PC gamers accustomed to 60fps by default, but it’s still a hugely impressive result from games that weren’t designed to run on a handheld device. That, naturally, hasn’t stopped modders from getting the Steam Deck to run games far beyond what its specs should be able to handle. In fact, the things you can run smoothly on the Steam Deck have been quite surprising. Valve itself made sure that Ring of Elden would work fine on the handheld. Someone even ran Windows 10 because they decided they didn’t care about Steam OS.
It’s hard to argue with performance and versatility like this in a portable device. With the exception of a few smaller competitors, Valve will have largely cornered this segment of the market.
Steam Deck Accessories
There are many accessories! Valve’s Nintendo Switch-style docking station for the Steam Deck was heavily advertised before its launch in North American territories, but when the launch happened, the docking station never appeared. This is apparently because Valve was busy updating the dock’s specs based on post-launch information. The Dock has gutted its original 1x USB 3.1 port and 2 USB 2.0 ports for a full set of three USB 3.1 ports. It’s a pretty big update when it comes to transfer speeds. The Dock’s Ethernet jack will now also support gigabit transfer speeds. Beyond that, the other Dock connections – DisplayPort 1.4 port, HDMI 2.0 and a USB-C port – all remain the same.
Similar to the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck Dock will allow users to connect the device to external displays, wired networks, USB hubs and devices, and external power. Each unit will also come with a carrying case included in the box.
Can I use Steam Deck for more than Steam Deck games?
You can! While the system’s core Linux-based operating system is indeed tied to the Steam platform, that doesn’t mean that third-party apps and games can’t be installed. Because the Steam Deck works in a similar way to a PC, the door is wide open for a huge range of applications. Even competing platforms like the Epic Games Store and EA Origin could theoretically work fine on the Steam Deck.
A question that we have often seen arise concerns software exclusivity. Could a platform like this have exclusive games? The answer is not a hard no, but that would be quite unlikely. Tied to the Steam storefront, it’s hard to imagine Valve opening the door to exclusives. The whole philosophy behind this machine is that it puts an entire gaming PC in your pocket. If it’s on Steam, it will work on your handheld. Exclusively flies somewhat against this objective.
How does Steam Deck compare to the competition?
Based on its specs, we expect the gameplay on the platform to be quite smooth. Valve says it expects to hit a base target of 30fps, and specs from devkits in the wild seem to support that. Compared to other portable systems, the Steam Deck is quite powerful. The Nintendo Switch, for example, can’t hold a candle to the Steam Deck over a raw grunt. Competing devices like AYA Neo and One X Player feature comparable specs and come from companies much smaller than Valve.
Updated 5/8/22: Now includes new information on the latest console APAC launch news.