Steam’s Deck handheld console will feature the SteamOS 3.0 by default, but users won’t be limited to just one OS like the Nintendo Switch. According to Lawrence Yang, the head of user experience design at Valve, players will be able to install both Windows or Linux on the console, pacing the way for a vast library of games via the Xbox Game Pass and the Epic Games Store at relatively affordable prices.
We don’t think people should be locked in a certain direction or a certain set of software that they can install. If you buy a Steam Deck, it’s a PC. You can install whatever you want on it, you can connect the peripherals you want. Perhaps a better way to think about it is that it’s a small PC with a controller connected as opposed to a game console.
Lawrence Yang, Head of User Experience Design at Valve
The use of Windows and Linux will allow users to fine-tune the performance and battery life of the Deck using popular tuning applications. By default, most titles will run at a resolution of 720p 60 FPS, but using upscaling, this can be pushed to 1080p or higher at the cost of performance. Similarly, you can use a lower internal resolution to improve battery life and performance at the cost of visual fidelity.
We think there will be a fairly accessible entry point where you’ll be able to see games that work really well by default and get a pretty fluid gaming experience. If you want to go a step further and use all these options, you can do so. (Tramadol) Customize controls, performance level, battery life, use Steam Workshop or even mods that are outside of Steam Workshop. All these options so dear to PC gamers are fully compatible with the console. As for the combined total power of the APU, it’s about two teraflops which should allow people to play the games they have in their library at a resolution of 720p smoothly.
Pierre-Loup Griffais, Software Developer at Valve.
This flexibility and the already vast library of games will be one of the primary strengths of the Steam Deck.