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Steam: Valve will be preparing a portable console competing with Nintendo Switch

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The latest beta of Valve’s Steam client pointed to the possibility of a future hardware release, with suggestions that it will be a portable console. SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik tweeted about another apparition of a project codenamed Neptune. The name made its first appearance in September, but this update brought it together with references to “SteamPal” and “SteamPal Games”.

Djundik also pointed out references to a quick access menu and an advanced menu. There are also strings related to low battery notification, Bluetooth and airplane alternators and options for restarting, shutting down and suspending… something. Djundik says he calculates that all strings found in the update are related to Neptune, coming to the conclusion that Valve could be making a portable Steam console.

It is also not a far-fetched suggestion, especially considering that a reasonable amount of strings is related to things you usually find on a portable device.

It all lines up perfectly with Gabe Newell’s weird half-naked chat at a New Zealand high school earlier this month, too.

Steam Valve will be preparing a portable console competing with

When a student at Sancta Maria College asked Newell if Steam games would come to the console, he replied “you will have a better idea of ​​this by the end of this year, and it will not be the answer you would expect.”

New information

Several hours after SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik tweeted about a possible Steam portable console, Ars Technica he quoted several sources as saying that Valve is actually working on a portable gaming device and has actually been around for some time – and that it may even be released before the end of 2021.

According to Ars, the unit will be a Nintendo Switch-style version for the PC, with a touch screen, gamepad controls and “system on a chip” architecture designed by Intel or AMD.

The unit is still at the prototype stage according to the report, so some features may finally change, but at least one prototype device is wider than a switch to accommodate a large number of control options. SteamPal devices will also run on Linux, which brings to mind memories of the failure of Valve’s Steam Machines initiative.

1622110764 874 Steam Valve will be preparing a portable console competing with

But this is aimed at a very different type of market, which currently does not offer many options to consumers: there are many gaming laptops available. But they are usually too expensive and a lot more hardware than you usually need.

There is not enough information at this point to make any predictions about how the SteamPal effort will end up working: what kind of hardware it will be built on, how it will handle streaming and, of course, the main thing, what it will cost.

There is also no guarantee that any of these uses will hit the market, although the launch of the Valve Index VR headset demonstrates that Valve has the ability to make these things happen when it really wants to.

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