With the arrival of the Steam Deck I think the industry needs to redefine the abbreviated definition of “PC”, to “personal convenience”. Because that is what this device provides. “Want something to engage you whilst you’re dropping the kids off at the pool?”. Play the Steam Deck. “Is your daughter watching back-to-back episodes of Bluey?”. Play the Steam Deck. “Partner fallen into a sugar induced coma?”. Play the Steam Deck. And possibly contact emergency services, but that’s at your own discretion. With Steams diverse catalogue of games, a library that now boasts over 4,500 verified or playable titles, the Steam Deck is a practical alternative for those console peasants that covet the resplendent superiority of PC gaming, without the sense of sanctimonious imperialism you’d otherwise contract.
It is worth noting however that as liberating as the Steam Deck is for many people’s sizeable steam library, there is a subtle, yet critical distinction between “Handheld” and “Portability”. With its limited battery capacity and its sluggish heft, the Steam Deck sadly falls into the former category. As comfortable as the ergonomics are, it is a rather bulky device to grip for long periods. Not that such extended jaunts will be a regular endeavour if you’re not permanently tethered to a socket. Tinkering with the resolution and frame rates will halt the rate of depletion, as will a wealth of accessories to prolong the batteries concessions. But fundamentally demonstrates the limitations of this power guzzling unit.
This isn’t a device furnished for transit, but for the rigid manoeuvrability of the home. It’s a device for the busy parent. The guardian with only brief sabbaticals between tending to garden maintenance, household chores and other domestic responsibilities. All while you acquiesce to your child’s coercive demands. Gaming for any prolonged session just isn’t a practical hobby afforded by child rearing. The Steam Deck, even with its demanding power consumption, is a pragmatic solution to satisfy those abiding gaming compulsions, without it becoming a detriment to your own domestic responsibilities. These short, focused bursts permit fewer streamlined experiences that are more effective for cursory engagements. At least that’s what I tell myself.
The ambiguous nature of this machine makes it difficult to define who its intended audience is with any discernible accuracy. Is it for casual new adopters to PC gaming? Or established one’s with aspirations of liberating their games from the shackles of a static gaming rig? Personally it’s both and neither. The Steam Deck is the first multi purpose device, that has no set purpose. It does what you need it too, even if it is compromised by it’s own formidable power. But for my purposes, simple as they may seem, the Steam Deck is just the right device at just the right time.
Do you own a Steam Deck? What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.