Rumours are about that a new handheld gaming device is in town, and not the Switch Pro or a new Vita / PSP. But rather Valves very own steam machine.
We have had a Steam Machine before of course. Consisting of a fairly cool haptic touchpad-based controller and a PC link device, which you would plug into your TV and could use the native OS to stream your games right from your computer.
A Pretty good idea for those with mighty PCs but who prefer to couch game like myself, however, my experience with it was subpar. Turning my high-end gaming laptops high hundred FPS and 4K showing of Valheim into a barely playable pixilated mess. The laptop was connected on Wi-Fi, in its defence, but very good Wi-Fi, and I can’t see a cable improving too much from the dog turd it was.
But it looks like now Valve are ready for another toe dip into the console marketplace, saturated as it might be, they at least have the customer base prebaked in.
Few details are known about this ‘SteamPal’, a functional albeit uninteresting name, if it will be a game machine in its own right or rely on streaming from a more powerful machine like their previous device.
I would like to think that if this is to stream from a PC, it’s as a secondary function. While network speeds are decent and even cloud streaming seems to be working well enough for XCloud. I’d quite like a small handheld console that isn’t affected by outside circumstances, like how the Nintendo switch isn’t. You download the games to the device itself, or plug in a SD card, and your good to go.
This would have actual appeal to me. I own a switch, who doesn’t, but I don’t play on it. It’s more the domain of my partners occasional Pokémon adventures. For me, and I’m sure I’ll take a blue shell to the head for this one, Nintendo games don’t interest me that much. I’m sure if I invested myself fully in the Switch ecosystem, I’d be more than happy playing indy games, and the off low-res port. But when I have an Xbox and Gaming laptop which has access to my Steam library, why bother.
I don’t commute anywhere by public transport, so there isn’t much need for a portable device for me anyway. But I also don’t particularly enjoy gaming on my laptop. I’ve hoped Xbox might deal with Steam and put a player on their box for it. Yet if this dream isn’t to become reality, one good way to get me to bash through the ever-growing backlog of games purchased in Steam sales would be to give me a way to play them while on the couch.
I’m not even interested in playing the high-end PC games on it, just the moderate ones. Most the Steam library I’ve build can be played on a potato. I still have the laptop or Xbox to play the real power-hungry games but had I method to be near horizontal while playing Star Wars: Republic Commando from my steam library, I wouldn’t recently have bought it again on Xbox.
There’s a lot of potential here. The Stadia is a bit of a miss as it required buying into a whole new ecosystem. Getting the controller and then purchasing a subscription and the games on top of that.
XCloud is good, being that the games are included and can be played just about on anything. But it’s more of an ‘as well as’ method of gaming.
A handheld console that makes use of the Steam library I’ve already got. Now that’s something I would like to get my hands on.
Want a high end handheld gaming PC now, check out the SMACH Z.
Or check this alternate to the Steam Link out, nVidia Shield.
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