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Why it matters: If you want another reason not to spend too much time out in the heatwave boiling much of the world, here it is: both Valve and Nintendo have warned owners of their respective handheld consoles not to use them in excessively hot temperatures as it could impact performance, result in an automatic shutdown, or even cause burns to the user.
The current heatwave has seen heat-related alerts and warnings across more than 20 states as the mercury continues to rise. Temperatures over 100 degrees have been recorded in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia—parts of the UK exceeded 100 degrees for the first time on record.
Despite being uncomfortably hot, some people are playing on their handhelds outside, and the companies behind them have warned against this practice. Yesterday, Valve tweeted that the Steam Deck performs at its best in ambient temperatures between 0° and 35° C, or 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Should the temperature get any higher, it may start to throttle performance to protect itself.
A follow-up tweet from the company clarified that the custom Zen 2/RDNA 2 'Aerith' AMD APU in the Steam Deck can handle its temperature reaching up to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). After this point, though, the chip will start to throttle performance, and once it hits 105 degrees Celsius (221 degrees Fahrenheit), the Steam Deck will shut down to protect the components from potential damage.
A bit more detail about this – Steam Deck's APU runs well at temperatures up to 100°C. At 100°C, it will start to throttle performance, and at 105°C it will shut down. Again, this is to protect itself (and you) from damage.— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) July 19, 2022
Valve isn't the only one to issue this sort of warning. Last week, Nintendo tweeted that using the Switch in a hot location could cause the unit's temperature to become high—it recommends using the handheld in areas where the temperature is between 40- and 95-degrees Fahrenheit.
A Nintendo support page notes that the Switch may become hot while charging or while operating, and these temperatures can get even higher in hot environments, potentially causing burns if a user's skin is in contact with it for a long time.
Strangely, Nintendo's warning about the Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED is only on the company's Japanese website; the tweet was also in Japanese. But it obviously applies to devices in all regions.