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What do you think is Valve's strategy with Steam Deck?

CitizenZ

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Valve is just Valve. They are basically engineers who have freedom and $$$$ to do what ever the hell they want. As I have said numerous times during one of the largest gaming tournaments(DOTA 2) there is not ONE, not ONE, sign, mention, advertisement, anything for Steam or Valve. That alone tells me everything about who they are as company.
 
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Three

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I assume that a fair proportion of indie stuff is releasing on switch and this is them competing in that handheld market.
 
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Moochi

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Valve basically makes templates for (sometimes) great hardware hoping that adoption of certain features will push the industry forward, but they don't have the ability to produce quantities to meet demand on their own. Valve Index is sort of the model for this.
 

Zannegan

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For consumers, it's a third party Switch Pro with fantastic control options. As is, it's pretty niche, but there seems to be some demand for it. We'll see if it holds up long term. *shrug*

For Valve, I think it's as much a proof of concept for Proton and thus a Trojan horse for SteamOS as anything else. If they succeed, the lion's share of PC games will no longer require Windows. If Microsoft makes moves they don't like or tries (again) to turn Windows into a walled garden, Valve will have a viable alternative waiting in the wings. If they happen to create a profitable little market for portable Steam Machines along the way, even better. I don't think they expect to take a significant slice of that Switch pie (or they'd be producing more), but they'll be open to it if the opportunity arises with Gen 2 or even 3.

As a side note, I'm sure market research showed that hitting that $400 base price was critical, but I would have preferred to pay more upfront for more power. I wonder if they're losing money on the 64GB, breaking even on the second tier, and only really making anything on the 512GB.

And as an even further aside note, if Valve is having this much trouble delivering a powerful portable, I'm not going to get my hopes too high for the Switch 2 unless it launches in 2024 or 2025. Portable XSS is probably the ceiling, not the floor.
 
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odhiex

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This should not be aimed as a mass product like the Nintendo Switch, or even be compared to other consoles like the PlayStation and XBOX.

This aims for the tech enthusiasts, handheld fans, tech nerdy and people who have invested so much in the Steam ecosystem. I think it will do quite well, for what it can do. It would be a nice secondary gadget for PC gamers.

Remember, Tencent will potentially be announcing a similar "PC-like" handheld soon, as rumored. The market is definitely bigger than just for 2-3 major players.
 
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Daymos

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It's weird, you sell consoles at a loss and make money on software... If steam sells this at a loss, it's just a loss. Maybe they just have too much money, they're giving it back to the players. How nice.
 

Fredrik

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It's weird, you sell consoles at a loss and make money on software... If steam sells this at a loss, it's just a loss. Maybe they just have too much money, they're giving it back to the players. How nice.
Valve get a cut from everything you buy on Steam.

Allowing Windows to run on it is a risk though, Valve don’t get a cut from games sold on Windows Store or from people subbing to Gamepass. But since you can install Steam in Windows on Steam Deck they probably assume people will find their way to Steam and give them money anyway. I think Microsoft should throw them a bone though, maybe make Gamepass run on SteamOS so not as many swap OS just for that.
 
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like previous Valve hardware it's basically just an experiment/throwing shit at a wall and see what sticks. if it fails they won't hesitate to drop it real fast. i hope it does well of course but i don't think they really have a strategy. they probably just saw the switch and thought "that's cool, let's try that".

if the Steam Deck is a success and Valve can show that they are willing to support it for more than a couple years then i might get it in the future.
 
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Karonoth

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I'd say the amount of people that will remove Steam and use something else entirely is sufficiently small for Valve to consider it a non-issue.
 
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In the hard drive somewhere
Switch can't even do that.

Switch can't play any ps1, ps2, ps3, or any games from huge steam + game pass libraries. You'll be more than fine at 720p for 30+ fps, maybe 60 fps if nintendo switch games. Think of it like next gen Switch , but not limited to nintendo games. Like I said this thing is infinitely more attractive to 99% of handheld gamers than switch.
The thing is a Pokemon game alone can move the system millions units in the market.
 
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To tie people into their ecosystem that MS doesn't control. They see MS exerting more control over hardware with Win 11, and want to get ahead of that more. I bet they will make a stronger push with SteamOS overall with the launch of Steam Deck.
So they are trying to rip PC gaming out of Microsofts hands? To become independent as a Linux based platform? That'd only work if enough consumers decide to use their SteamOS fulltime instead, right? That's a pretty steep hill to climb.
 

BootsLoader

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It pretty much blows out Nintendo Switch. I’m still not buying it but to be honest it’s a great deal and I think it will sell well. That’s Valve’s strategy.
 

SomeGit

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Also I’ve seen people on here saying this is like the surface or pixel where it will be like a example for other OEMs to jump in and make other devices? Why do you think that? Who else in the world of PC gaming would want to eat a loss on hardware to then make $0 from that customer when all they do is buy games on steam and pirate games? What incentive is there? There is absolutely zero reason for any other company to make one of these devices - that’s why no one has done it so far lol. Valve didn’t just invent something here that was needed for a portable PC.

The fact is that Valve are the only ones that could in any way profit from a device like this. No other companies want to make a portable PC and sell it at a loss just to line Valves pockets even more.
Mate, the Surface line was a huge loss when MS started, it famously took a 1 billion dollar writeoff when 1st and 2nd gen Surface weren't selling and were discounted at severe losses. Yet now you have Lenovo Yogas, HP Envys, Dell XPSs, and more going the Hybrid/Ultrabook PC route.
Same with Google with the Nexus line and even 1st gen Pixel.

If the Steam Deck is successful, you can bet your ass more OEMs will step up with Handheld PCs. It's not impossible, you already have the minor players like GPD and even Alienware with the UF, but if the Steam Deck is successful, then prices of the components will drop, allowing more OEMs to get in better or cheaper. Or maybe they go the other round and off premium handhelds with better APUs or go in a completely different direction.
Capacitive touch panels and glass screens used to be prohibitively expensive before the 1st iPhone, now you can get them extremely cheap. Same will happen here.
 
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reksveks

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It's weird, you sell consoles at a loss and make money on software... If steam sells this at a loss, it's just a loss. Maybe they just have too much money, they're giving it back to the players. How nice.
You make money on third party sales and first party sales. There is no difference here. Steam is making their money back on third party sales.
 

MrFunSocks

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Mate, the Surface line was a huge loss when MS started, it famously took a 1 billion dollar writeoff when 1st and 2nd gen Surface weren't selling and were discounted at severe losses. Yet now you have Lenovo Yogas, HP Envys, Dell XPSs, and more going the Hybrid/Ultrabook PC route.
Same with Google with the Nexus line and even 1st gen Pixel.

If the Steam Deck is successful, you can bet your ass more OEMs will step up with Handheld PCs. It's not impossible, you already have the minor players like GPD and even Alienware with the UF, but if the Steam Deck is successful, then prices of the components will drop, allowing more OEMs to get in better or cheaper. Or maybe they go the other round and off premium handhelds with better APUs or go in a completely different direction.
Capacitive touch panels and glass screens used to be prohibitively expensive before the 1st iPhone, now you can get them extremely cheap. Same will happen here.
You're comparing apples to oranges.

Microsoft have incentive to sell surfaces - windows, office, xbox, azure. They could eat the loss. Valve can eat losses on hardware because of steam. No other OEM can eat losses on a portable pc, meaning their prices will never be competitive.
 

SomeGit

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You're comparing apples to oranges.

Microsoft have incentive to sell surfaces - windows, office, xbox, azure. They could eat the loss. Valve can eat losses on hardware because of steam. No other OEM can eat losses on a portable pc, meaning their prices will never be competitive.
By that logic no other PC OEM exist since Microsoft makes the Surface line and can eat costs no other OEM can.
 
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MrFunSocks

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By that logic no other PC OEM exist since Microsoft makes the Surface line and can eat costs no other OEM can.
Other OEMs don’t eat losses on the sale price of their devices like Valve can because it’s a one and done thing, they don’t get 30% of all steam sales.

Microsoft also don’t sell surface devices at a loss, they sell at a premium. They did this to incentivise other OEMs to make devices. Why would anyone else make one if MS undercut them all on price? The surface line is the “halo” device. The Deck is an aggressive price point that literally no one else could hope to match because valve subsidise the price with their steam cut.
 
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SomeGit

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Other OEMs don’t eat losses on the sale price of their devices like Valve can because it’s a one and done thing, they don’t get 30% of all steam sales.

Microsoft also don’t sell surface devices at a loss, they sell at a premium.

At a premium NOW, they sold the first gens at a massive loss, again 1 BILLION dollar writeoff.
This could very well be the same for Steam Deck, eat a loss to build market on the first gen and then let other OEMs enter when component prices are lower and/or target other markets like shipping with Windows, shipping with bundled services like most laptops do, shipping with lower end SoCs or even higher end SoCs. Maybe even exit that market completely and let 3rd parties take over on a race to the bottom like what happens with laptops.

I don't really see how the Steam Deck is any different from Surface in that regard.
 
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MrFunSocks

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At a premium NOW, they sold the first gens at a massive loss, again 1 BILLION dollar writeoff.
This could very well be the same for Steam Deck, eat a loss to build market on the first gen and then let other OEMs enter when component prices are lower and/or target other markets like shipping with Windows, shipping with bundled services like most laptops do, shipping with lower end SoCs or even higher end SoCs. Maybe even exit that market completely and let 3rd parties take over on a race to the bottom like what happens with laptops.

I don't really see how the Steam Deck is any different from Surface in that regard.
You’re misremembering.

They wrote off a billion dollars in unwanted stock. They didn’t sell them at a loss. The billion dollar write off was mainly the Surface that didn’t run x86.
 
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Topher

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At a premium NOW, they sold the first gens at a massive loss, again 1 BILLION dollar writeoff.
This could very well be the same for Steam Deck, eat a loss to build market on the first gen and then let other OEMs enter when component prices are lower and/or target other markets like shipping with Windows, shipping with bundled services like most laptops do, shipping with lower end SoCs or even higher end SoCs. Maybe even exit that market completely and let 3rd parties take over on a race to the bottom like what happens with laptops.

I don't really see how the Steam Deck is any different from Surface in that regard.

Microsoft wrote off $1 billion for Surface RT because it sold extremely poorly. This wasn't done to build market share. They had inventory they could not sell and had to account for it.

https://www.computerworld.com/artic...early--1b-to-account-for-surface-rt-bomb.html

Edit: Or basically......what MrFunSocks MrFunSocks said
 
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SomeGit

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You’re misremembering.

They wrote off a billion dollars in unwanted stock. They didn’t sell them at a loss. The billion dollar write off was mainly the Surface that didn’t run x86.
The writeoff was specifically to discount them, to build marketshare for the Surface line.
If it was from the start it wouldn't be a writeoff, it would just be plain loss.

It also included Surface Pro, Surface Pro only started being on the black after 3rd gen.

Microsoft wrote off $1 billion for Surface RT because it sold extremely poorly. This wasn't done to build market share. They had inventory they could not sell and had to account for it.

https://www.computerworld.com/artic...early--1b-to-account-for-surface-rt-bomb.html

Edit: Or basically......what MrFunSocks MrFunSocks said
It was to build marketshare, MS only gave up on the Surface RT 2 years later after the Surface RT 2 and the cancelled Surface Mini, they wanted to get them to more hands to build that ecosystem.

It failed, but that's besides the point.
 
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Rikkori

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Imo it's to expand their customer base, same as streaming services. Both consoles and PC have had low growth % increases for ages now but if you look at the handheld & mobile markets they have grown and expanded. This is an opportunity for them to get those people (and new ones besides) into playing from Steam. Plus all the other strategic considerations around SteamOS etc and that GabeN thinks it's cool to do.
 

MrFunSocks

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The writeoff was specifically to discount them, to build marketshare for the Surface line.
If it was from the start it wouldn't be a writeoff, it would just be plain loss.

It also included Surface Pro, Surface Pro only started being on the black after 3rd gen.


It was to build marketshare, MS only gave up on the Surface RT 2 years later after the Surface RT 2 and the cancelled Surface Mini, they wanted to get them to more hands to build that ecosystem.

It failed, but that's besides the point.
Again, misunderstanding what they’re saying. They couldn’t sell the stock so they wrote off a billion bucks just to get rid of them. They still didn’t sell them all.

That’s not even remotely similar to launching a product that is subsidised to sell at a loss from day 1. Worlds apart.
 
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SomeGit

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Again, misunderstanding what they’re saying. They couldn’t sell the stock so they wrote off a billion bucks just to get rid of them. They still didn’t sell them all.

That’s not even remotely similar to launching a product that is subsidised to sell at a loss from day 1. Worlds apart.
If they just wanted to JUST get rid of them, they wouldn't ship the Surface RT 2, the same tablet with a better processor at the same price as the discounted Surface RT, 6 months later.
I don't see the difference of subsidising them from day 1 or 3 months later, it's a late decision but it's the same in the end, they were eating the cost of the tablet to build marketshare.
 
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yurinka

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I think they want to appeal:
-People who liked to play indies on a portable (Vita/Switch until now), now they will perform way better and have way more on their device
-People who liked to play AAA games (Vita/Switch until now) on a portable, now they will perform way better and have way more on their device
-Users with a big PC/Steam library interested on playing their games on a portable
-Overall people interested on having a next gen console experience on a portable console
-Potential future game streaming fans who want to have PS Now/Xbox Cloud/Stadia/Luna/GeForce Now in a single device portable or connected to the tv
-Emulator fans who want to play all of them on a tv on an easy way
-The entire userbase of the non super cheap chinese handhelds

I think first they will try to appeal tech savvy early adopters with a premium product, and after some time once they can apply a price cut to put it on a decent Switch-like price level (the price for Europe is a dissaster as of now) then they'll go to compete against Switch (you'll even able to play recent Nintendo games here using emulators).

Does this machine allow other launchers/games/software to run things beside Steam?

If no is the answer then you have the answers of what Valve wants to achieve with this.
The answer is that as of now SteamOS/Proton supports around 75-80% of the games, but seems that they will highly increase this % in the new version they will release for the device. In case they aren't supported natively on SteamOS, which seams likely, you'll be able to install Windows on it and run there all your Windows stuff.

They better learn how to make Nintendo games then, Deck is not substitutable with Switch people don't buy Nintendo hw for specs they buy them to play Nintendo games. Your common or garden Switch purchaser doesn't expect their Nintendo console to play PC games.

I wonder if Valve has a killer game up its sleeve to release alongside this, makes more sense if Deck comes bundled with something like Portal 3 / HL3. Otherwise the whole "subsidise hw at launch to keep the price down and make the money back over the gen" is a tough tough model to make work without serious first party publishing game.
A killer game? How about all PC indies and AAA games running, without having to buy them again if you have them in PC and (for the small portion of them available on Switch) with a better performance than in Switch?

And using emulators, how about even the Switch games (or the entire library of all previous Nintendo devices?) running at better performance and resolution than in Switch? Even at 4K on the tv!

Think, this Holidays it will have games Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, FIFA 22, CoD 2021, Uncharted 4 and so on at launch.
 
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Shmunter

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Same as it was before. Breaking steam into the console space.

They failed trying the living room. Now they are trying the portable.
 
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eyesabitdull

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Gabe just woke up one day and looked around his pile of cash and just wondered what he could do with it.

That's really it.

Look at Valve Index, look at Steam Deck.

These are two things that have very strong gaming ties to these products, and what does Valve have an advantage on?

Network of games and developers and a ton of cash they'll likely never lose out on as long as they stick to their current business ordeals during this venture.

It makes absolute sense of them, as a company with game development and game curation experience, to make this jump.

They're in a safe enough position compared to Amazon or Apple to make this kind of jump because of their strong ties to the community.

So their strategy is to capitalize on the reality of the results of their hardworking and goodwill amongst the community, push out hardware thats currently seems above what is out in the mainstream market (VR/Handheld) to slowly make a safe transition to gaming hardware with a comfortable network of game devs and gamer goodwill behind them.

It makes all the sense in the world to me.
 
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midasmulligan

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Play triple A pc games on the go while being able to pause and resume on either device + no console ecosystem restrictions + Bluetooth headphones + no competitive device in sight = sell ton more games through steam and profit….more
 
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Corndog

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Gabe Newell in an interview to IGN said that "Hitting Steam Deck Price Was 'Painful' but 'Critical'". That means they might be eating some of the costs to release their PC/console at 399, but at the same time, it's completely open and people can even install other stores on it.

Something seems wrong. If they're investing in a long term plan to increase the adoption of Steam, why would they make their platform open and allow people to replace the OS and install their competitor's stores?

Just for some context, in article Gabe also says “We’re doing this for the long haul. And there’s a lot of opportunity.”, so this is clearly a long term plan and they've been working on this for a long time.

What do you think is their master plan?
To sell more games.
 

MrFunSocks

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If they just wanted to JUST get rid of them, they wouldn't ship the Surface RT 2, the same tablet with a better processor at the same price as the discounted Surface RT, 6 months later.
I don't see the difference of subsidising them from day 1 or 3 months later, it's a late decision but it's the same in the end, they were eating the cost of the tablet to build marketshare.
Sorry but if you can’t see the difference between releasing a device at a heavily subsidised price that only you can afford vs chucking a product that didn’t sell in to the bargain bin to try and get rid of leftover stock then I don’t know how we can continue with this conversation.
 

Fitzchiv

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To tie people into their ecosystem that MS doesn't control. They see MS exerting more control over hardware with Win 11, and want to get ahead of that more. I bet they will make a stronger push with SteamOS overall with the launch of Steam Deck.
Win 11 was sneak-announced what, three or four weeks ago? The Steam Deck will have been in development already for years.
 

ZehDon

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The same kind of thinking can be applied to laptop, tablet, and some smart phone manufacturers, who ship variations of android OS and everything is then purchased through Google's store. What's their strategy? The strategy is: make money selling hardware. Not every hardware industry has to be the console industry, where you loss lead to build an install base and make the money back on a cut of third party sales on your platform. Valve have cut down the hardware quite significantly in their handheld, and are using a lot pretty standard tech, which keeps the manufacturing costs low. They'll likely not be making hundreds per unit, but enough for it to be a profitable enterprise, without question.

As for the other comments, what percentage of gamers are we actually expecting to buy the Steam Deck, and then never buy or play games from Steam on it? I'd argue it's close enough to zero for Valve to not really care. As far as PC is concerned, Steam pretty much is PC gaming.
 
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Marlenus

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The switch isn't just a portable PC though, it's a dedicated portable machine with games made specifically for it. It has all of Nintendo's franchises on it. It has Pokemon, Mario, Zelda, etc.

This thing is powerful enough to emulate the switch so this can play those games too.
 

KAL2006

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It would have been nice if Valve announced the number of reservations for this. Obviously it's not a exact number of sales as people can cancel but it would give a nice ballpark of how powerful this is.
 

Topher

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The writeoff was specifically to discount them, to build marketshare for the Surface line.
If it was from the start it wouldn't be a writeoff, it would just be plain loss.

It also included Surface Pro, Surface Pro only started being on the black after 3rd gen.


It was to build marketshare, MS only gave up on the Surface RT 2 years later after the Surface RT 2 and the cancelled Surface Mini, they wanted to get them to more hands to build that ecosystem.

It failed, but that's besides the point.

Microsoft did not write off $1 billion to "build marketshare". They wrote off $1 billion of inventory. Physical units. That is inventory they could not sell. That has nothing to do with the remaining units that were discounted. They basically put the remaining units still in the retail pipeline on clearance. The fact that they tried again with different variations of Surface RT is entirely irrelevant to why they wrote off RT's inventory.

Link from article you linked:
At the end of the day, though, it looks like Microsoft just made too many Surface RT tablets — we heard late last year that Microsoft was building three to five million Surface RT tablets in the fourth quarter, and we also heard that Microsoft had only sold about one million of those tablets in March.
https://www.theverge.com/2013/7/18/4535976/microsoft-lost-900-million-on-surface-rt

Regardless, none of this is reflective in Valve or Steam Deck at all.
 
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brian0057

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Whatever I may think about the device itself, the biggest red flag against it is the fact that VAVLe is 0-4 on the hardware department.
They're the videogame version of Google (or Sony with its handhelds) when it comes to sustaining a new piece of hardware that's failing.
 
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rofif

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I'd believe they have a strategy if Valve announced it with a new game.
Half-Life 3 exclusive to steam deck
sexo face sitting GIF
 

Thirty7ven

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It's super obvious, they want to expand the PC gaming market. The play here is to convince third parties to develop their own PC handlhelds.
 

Kokoloko85

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Its a great idea.
I think both XBox and Playstation can do the same with there library and downgrade it for a portable.

People thinking it will reduce Switch success or sales dont understand those people buy a Switch to play Nintendo games. Steam doesnt have Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Pokemon, Smash, Zelda, Mario etc, well legally anyway.
 

SomeGit

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Sorry but if you can’t see the difference between releasing a device at a heavily subsidised price that only you can afford vs chucking a product that didn’t sell in to the bargain bin to try and get rid of leftover stock then I don’t know how we can continue with this conversation.
First of, nothing indicates heavily subsidised, for all we know they might be losing 1$ per unit or 100 all we have is a vague quote. Nothing even indicates that they are for sure taking a loss per unit, the same quote could just apply to the design of the unit itself, which given the low 64GB of eMMC could be a hint to that.
But regardless it amounts to the same goal, take a loss to grow marketshare. If they gave up on the RT line, then I'd agree they were just getting rid of unwanted stock like the HP TouchPad.
But they built more and subsquent generations of them as well at the same discounted price, if you can't connect the dots that isn't my problem.

Microsoft did not write off $1 billion to "build marketshare". They wrote off $1 billion of inventory. Physical units. That is inventory they could not sell. That has nothing to do with the remaining units that were discounted. They basically put the remaining units still in the retail pipeline on clearance. The fact that they tried again with different variations of Surface RT is entirely irrelevant to why they wrote off RT's inventory.
That write off was to discount their currently unsold inverntory, it's in the article, building more variations of the same item isn't irrelevant it shows the future intention isn't just to dump the product to get rid of it.
 
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Fredrik

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Its a great idea.
I think both XBox and Playstation can do the same with there library and downgrade it for a portable.
Is it even needed now? Steam Deck will quite easily work as a portable Xbox since all Microsoft’s games are on PC now. I guess the issue is the BC and differences in the Gamepass library and some games without a PC release. Not sure I’d buy a specific Xbox portable just for that.
 
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Kokoloko85

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Is it even needed now? Steam Deck will quite easily work as a portable Xbox since all Microsoft’s games are on PC now. I guess the issue is the BC and differences in the Gamepass library and some games without a PC release. Not sure I’d buy a specific Xbox portable just for that.

Maybe not needed as much but if there wasnt a Steam Deck thats how they could of gone into the portable business.

Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox don’t need to make dedicated portable games as the tech is good enough to play downgraded versions of the console library. Just like Steam Deck

Id buy a PSP3 to play my PS4/PS5 library. And Ill probably get a Steam Deck next year
 
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TAS

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My initial thought was to mop up all the cash Nintendo leaves laying around lol
Sad but true lol. I bet a good percentage of hardcore Nintendo fans will purchase this after being hugely disappointed with the OLED Switch. Myself included. :pie_wfwt: