Peripherals manufacturer Jsaux has announced it is delaying and redesigning its planned RGB Steam Deck dock, as reported by Gaming on Linux (opens in new tab). Jsaux alleges that its manufacturing partner leaked its design to a rival company, and that this rival company co-opting its design led to the decision to pull the product.
Valve has its in-house Steam Deck dock (opens in new tab) available for purchase, but with the long delay before it was released and a $90 price tag, it's a bit of a tall order. Meanwhile, any old USB-C hub will work for connecting a Deck to external peripherals, and manufacturers like Jsaux have stepped in to offer cheaper alternatives to Valve's docking station. We're fans of the company's standard Deck dock (opens in new tab), though we recommend shelling out the extra $10 for its HB0603 (opens in new tab) model.
Jsaux had already sent out preview samples of its next Steam Deck product, a variation on the HB0603 with an RGB ring around the base and further cosmetic, gaming laptop-y flourishes on the sides, when it announced the product's redesign and delay.
In the post from Jsaux (opens in new tab), the company shares a screenshotted tweet with the account name blacked out, allegedly from its competitor. The tweet includes video footage of a hardware peripheral with RGB lighting and tags a number of Steam Deck-focused influencers with the caption, "Newest Steam deck dock with flash lights. Coming soon!!"
Jsaux then shares a series of screenshots from its CAD software showing design drafts of its RGB dock, dating the designs to July. The company states it filed a patent on the design in August.
Jsaux alleges that its competitor acquired this design through its partner manufacturer, and stated that it will be using a different factory to produce its products in the future.
At this time it's unclear who Jsaux's unnamed competitor is. I can't find any trace of the tweet via Twitter search or the tagged influencers' activity history. I also cannot find the knockoff dock on sale on Amazon or AliExpress, though there are certainly other outlets it could be sold through. Steam Deck HQ (opens in new tab), one of the outlets tagged in the tweet, stated that they know the identity of the rival company through this connection, but are keeping that information confidential in line with what seem to be Jsaux's wishes on the matter.
It's certainly a tangled little yarn of gaming peripheral corporate espionage, like a super low stakes version of a William Gibson story. It's unclear to me why Jsaux is pulling its product when it seems to be the wounded party, one with a patent on the design. Jsaux is based in China and I would presume that its manufacturing partner and rival are as well, potentially eliding the difficulties of an international copyright dispute, but I'm hardly an expert on Chinese copyright law.
Whatever the case, Jsaux intends to go back to the drawing board and return with a new design for an RGB deck, predicting that it will have something to bring to market after a few months' delay.