Developers are getting their Steam Decks and giving their initial verdicts | VGCValve has been sending out dev units to studios so they can test their existing games
Developers around the world are starting to receive Steam Deck development kits, and are taking to Twitter to share their initial thoughts.
A blog post by Valve last week stated that the company was preparing to send out limited batches of dev kits to studios so they could test their games on the hardware and make sure they work.
Although these are development kits, Valve says they’re “units that are functionally identical to what will ship to [the customer]”.
Early feedback has been positive, with a number of developers showing their game running on the hardware, and others reporting that they perform well.
Mike Rose of publisher No More Robots reported that downhill cycling game Descenders “works flawlessly”, stating that with the graphics set to their full Ultra settings he was getting around 50-60 frames per second.
He also added that games which can only be played with a mouse and keyboard only can still work on the Steam Deck thanks to its touchscreen, but that developers would have to add their own controller support to these games if they wanted it.
Cliff Harris, founder of Positech Games, also reported that his studio’s game Democracy 4 performed well with the handheld’s trackpad controls.
“First impressions are that this is really really cool,” he tweeted, “and Democracy 4 seems to run okay on it out of the box, although the Steam paddle-finger doodads work 1000x better than the thumbsticks for my game. The sound is REALLY good. Framerate is perfect.”
Meanwhile, the official Twitter account of flight simulator software X-Plane showed a photo of the game being played on a beach, then later confirmed that the hardware supports flight sticks.
The $399+ device was announced in July, described as “a powerful all-in-one portable PC” capable of running the latest AAA games.
Steam Deck runs the latest version of Valve’s SteamOS software – which is based on Linux – allowing players to easily access their Steam games library and all of the platform’s features.
However, Valve insists that Steam Deck is also an open PC with the ability to install any software or connect with any hardware. That means players could be able to access other company’s game stores such as The Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed last month that he’s been playtesting the Steam Deck, and said that Xbox games such as Halo “feel good” and “work well”.
“After having mine most of the week I can say it’s a really nice device,” Spencer said. “Games with me on the go, screen size, controls all great. Playing Halo and Age feels good, xCloud works well. Congrats SD team.”
Steam Deck will feature a “powerful, custom APU” developed with AMD, a 7-inch touch screen, full-sized controls with gyro and trackpads, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microSD expansion slot and a USB-C port.
It will begin shipping in December with prices starting at $399 (64GB eMMC). Increased storage options will also be available for $529 (256GB NVMe SSD) and $649 (512GB NVMe SSD).