Steam Deck is Something Valve’s Into for the “Long Haul,” PC Openness is its “Superpower”

Steam Deck

Valve has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to hardware. While they’ve come up with some interesting stuff, from Steam Machines to the Valve Index, they’ve also gained a reputation of not necessarily sticking with things. Will the same be true for their new portable the Steam Deck? Will it be another thing Valve will be clearing out in a year or two? You never know, but in IGN’s recently-posted full interview with Gabe Newell, the Steam overlord indicates Valve sees the Steam Deck as a major new product category for PC gamers and the company is committed to the idea for the “long haul.”

If we're doing this right, we're going to be selling [the Steam Deck] in millions of units, and it's clearly going to be establishing a product category that ourselves and other PC manufacturers are going to be able to participate in. And that's going to have long-term benefits for us. We thing that this makes sense, and we think this makes sense going forward at this price point. We don't have this tying ratio -- we have to sell eight games for each one of these -- our calculus is more, is this the right product?

Nobody has ever said, "Oh we have a huge success, where clearly there's a big demand for this, but our margins are too thin." A lot of people have overprice things and killed the opportunity and convinced people it's an uninteresting category from the get-go. Our view is, we're doing this for the long haul and there's a lot of opportunity.

Another question surrounding the Steam Deck is, how will it end up competing with the Nintendo Switch? Obviously, the two machines are different in a lot of ways, but it’s hard not to compare them. Well, without getting too explicit, Newell hinted the openness of the PC platform may be the big deciding factor…

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Our view is that the openness of the PC ecosystem is the superpower that we all collectively benefit from. So if you want to install the Epic Games Store on here, if you want to, run an Oculus Quest on it, those things are, those are all great. Those are features, right? That's what I want to hear as a gamer. I don't want to hear that somebody's got some Trojan Horse that's going to try to lock me down. I want to hear whatever I want to do. If there's hardware, I want to attach to it. If there's software, I want to install. I can just go and do it. And you know, we think that's great.

The Steam Deck will begin shipping sometime in December. The portable system is already backordered well into 2022.

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