Valve has a handheld gaming console in the works codenamed 'SteamPal'


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Something to look forward to: Valve's Steam Machines didn't catch on as well as the company would've liked. However, a handheld console for running Steam games might be the hardware it needs to make a mainstream comeback. Hints for the secret device codenamed 'SteamPal' were initially spotted in Steam's beta client, and its existence has now been confirmed by Ars Technica, with a potential release happening as soon as the end of this year.

Earlier this month, Valve boss Gabe Newell told gamers to expect console-related news by the end of this year. It now looks like the company's 'SteamPal' console might be that announcement; a Linux-powered gaming handheld to run Steam games, whose existence has now been confirmed by Ars Technica.

Evidence of the hardware was initially spotted by SteamDB's Pavel Djundik, who noted 'Neptune' and 'SteamPal Games' showing up in code strings for the Steam beta client. The code also includes mentions of CPU cores, VRAM, and connectivity functions like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and power settings.

Other strings like 'Rumble,' 'Haptics,' 'Grip Buttons' and 'Trackpad Input' appear as well, indicating that Valve is working on a proper, full-on gaming handheld to rival the Nintendo Switch. The latter is also poised for a refresh later this year.

Details around Valve's prototype are still pretty much under wraps. However, Ars Technica notes an SoC from either Intel or AMD could power the device, alongside docking capability to larger displays via its USB-C port. It's too early to say what 'SteamPal' will ultimately cost or what other capabilities (like game streaming) it'll have on board, but a potential launch by this year's end could reveal all.

Valve isn't the only one showing gaming handhelds some love. Qualcomm is said to be working on an Android 12-powered portable console that is expected to release early next year.

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Posts: 5,680   +6,465
Buying a handheld designed around STEAM PC gaming sounds great, but I think that money is better invested in a gaming laptop.

That said: I want an ALIENWARE UFO.


Posts: 1,550   +3,054
Last time they tried hardware they botched the release with delays. We know they've got the software chops, Proton for Linux is clear evidence that they absolutely can make things work in Linux (And well, they already work in Windows if they use that)

But they absolutely need to stop wasting so much time with gimmicks: get a D pad, xyab, 2 joysticks and 4 trigger buttons, good enough. If you need keyboard and mouse have USB ports on it. Don't waste time trying to invent some weird haptick touch thing they just need to not waste time reinventing the wheel here: Do your version of the GDP Win device. That's literally all they need to do.

George Keech

Posts: 80   +87
Sounds good if this also supports Xcloud, PS now and GeForce now streaming then I can imagine this being quite big but the first 2 on that list are direct competitors so will wait and see.


Posts: 408   +455
Will either flop or is mere vapor to begin with. Stay in your lane Valve and this ain't it.

That's a harsh way to but it, but you might be right. Valve haven't executed well on the hardware front, and this could easily end up a "me too" effort based on the success of the Switch. With most Steam games not designed for the small screen this could be a very jarring experience.

But let's see how they execute it..


Posts: 1,021   +1,478
Valve haven't executed well on the hardware front
Allegedly the Index is decent VR kit for those who are into VR, and a lot of what they learned, good and bad, from the Steam Controller is making its way into VR controls. It's less that they haven't executed well and more that it isn't a runaway success, which is as much the fault of VR as a whole still not being quite ready for prime time as anything else.

If I could summarize the problems with Valve in one sentence it's that they're just unfocused. They just seem to bounce from project to project with no unifying direction or vision, and while no vision is better than having a nakedly malicious vision (like Epic, Apple, Facebook, or basically any other company in tech today), the malice of their rivals only makes having concrete goals more important.


Posts: 1,008   +818
It will fail due from the Half-Life curse. All we want is a HALF-LIFE 3!

Being serious this is a smart move with consoles still sold out and video cards selling 3X what they're worth people need to find cheaper options to play games.