PC gaming software developer and distributor, Valve Corp, will deliver its first handheld games console in February 2021.
Valve’s Steam Deck could disrupt the gaming industry
After decades of dominance from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, the Steam Deck, a full-featured handheld gaming PC by Valve Corp, could make a dent in the global games console market. The console has already outperformed expectations, selling out soon after reservations for the consoles were made available to consumers.
The devise combines features from the latest generation of games consoles by having the capabilities of delivering high-performance AAA games titles on a hybrid console, which can be portable and docked similarly to the Nintendo Switch. The Steam Deck allows users to access their Steam library, while also doubling up as a PC and is, therefore, expected to be popular among PC gaming enthusiasts.
Valve Corporation won’t repeat history
The Steam Deck is not the first time Valve has challenged the games console market. In 2014, Valve launched Steam Machine, its dedicated PC gaming console. However, the device was a massive disappointment and failed to meet market expectations.
Only a fraction of games could operate on the Steam Machine because its operating system (SteamOS) wasn’t supported by games developers. However, The Steam Deck incorporates Valve’s Proton software allowing unsupported Windows games to run on the device. This will allow the console to support a much wider range of PC games.
The Steam Deck is also more competitively priced, with its lowest model costing $399 and the most advanced model priced at $649. This puts the console within a similar price range as the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which were originally priced at $499. In comparison, the Steam Machine ranged between $400 – $6,000 when it launched in 2014 far exceeding the price of competitors.
Supply chain issues weaken Steam Deck availability
Valve Corporation has already had to postpone the distribution of its handheld PC by two months, with deliveries scheduled to take place during February 2022. The delay means the company will miss a crucial festive period, which would usually drive sales under regular production.
Only customers in key markets including the US, Canada, European Union, and the UK can reserve a Steam Deck. However, consumers aren’t expected to be able to reserve the console until Q2 2022, with Valve focused on the delivery of its initial order.
The reasons behind the delayed release include the global shortage of semiconductors, an essential electronic component for electronic products. Missing components have delayed production and limited the availability of the Steam Deck.
However, leading games consoles including the PS5 and Xbox Series X have also experienced similar supply chain issues. Sony recently lowered its PS5 production forecast down from 16 million units to 15 million units because of logistical issues and component shortages.