Reports Say Valve Is Working on a Handheld Gaming Device, Codenamed SteamPal

Reports Say Valve Is Working on a Handheld Gaming Device, Codenamed SteamPal

Written by on | OpenCritic

Valve is reportedly working on a handheld gaming device meant to play PC games via Steam. The report says it could launch by the end of the year. Ars Technica broke the story after doing some digging into the latest version of Steam which includes some hardware-related code on the backend and references a device named SteamPal, likely a working title for whatever the project is. 

Anonymous sources speaking with Ars Technica confirm the device is a Switch-like gaming handheld developed inside Valve with intentions to run PC games on the go via Linux. It is said to even include a docking station that would plug into a monitor using a USB-C port. 

According to sources, the device is still being prototyped but will likely use an AMD or Intel chip, while the face will feature traditional face buttons, two joysticks, and overall sounds a lot like a Switch, right down to its touchscreen, which sources say is "quite wide" compared to the base model Switch.

Pricing and release dates weren't shared and likely are still in flux anyway, though Ars Technica did point to a recent Gabe Newell quote which seems to align with the idea that this handheld "SteamPal" will be at least revealed before the end of the year. During a panel at a New Zealand school, Newell was asked about Steam's involvement with the console space. "You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year," Newell replied, "and it won't be the answer you expect." Of course, like all game manufacturers right now, timelines are at the mercy of chip shortages in the pandemic.

While Sony seems totally uninterested in producing another handheld and Microsoft's Xbox Cloud gaming turns any smartphone into a portable Game Pass machine, it's quite fascinating to see Steam considering taking on Nintendo more directly than any other major platform, despite never having done anything like this before.

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