It seems like almost everyone is excited about Valve’s Steam Deck, the small laptop with big PC gaming aspirations. Just outside the door, just getting a position to pay for one was a hot commodity in online markets like eBay. It looks like this won’t slow down either. Excited gamers are already dreaming of the possibilities of the small Steam engine that could do just that.
The company’s explosive sales prove it, as right now the Steam Deck listing says it’s available to pre-order from $ 399, but it won’t be in customers ’hands until “after 2Q 2022”. Meanwhile, Valve’s ad train hasn’t stopped, as some select points had a chance to check out the powerful laptop in a supervised hands-on session. From the discussions that followed those sessions came a lot of interesting news, but what strikes us most is to use the system to drive a virtual reality headset.
Apparently, Valve’s plans on Steam Deck are capable enough to fuel virtual reality experiences. The Verge asked Valve product designer Greg Coomer about the possibility and seemed pretty overwhelmed by the idea, though he still couldn’t confirm anything. He told the publication: “We are not prepared to say anything about it, but it would work well in this environment, with the necessary TDP … it is very relevant to us and to our plans for the future.”
While future plans are still nebulous for those who don’t belong to Valve HQ, the fact that Coomer is able to say the company was already thinking about VR is promising. The Steam Deck APU is designed to run at a minimum of 30 fps across the entire Steam library, but virtual reality has been with us for quite some time and many rendering techniques like Variable Rate Shading have made it easier to load of representing virtual scenes. Using Steam Deck to drive a virtual reality experience would be exciting and could help you adopt, according to our estimate.
Coomer had a lot more to say about Steam Deck, including how the company plans to improve performance. For any game running the Vulkan graphics API, Valve intends to distribute precompiled shaders, for example, that are optimized for the AMD-powered chip within the unit. Also, it looks like Valve has no plans to make exclusive games for the device. Contrast with Half Life: Alyx, Valve’s latest great VR experience, which had to be hacked to run without glasses.
It will be a while before people who have not yet lined up can get into the hands of the Steam Deck. However, it looks like Valve is doing its best to make sure those who can grab one can enjoy a plethora of features. The company also puts its efforts into engineering to make it resistant to joystick drift and fun to play for years to come.