The internet reacts to the Steam Deck

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Valve announced a new thing, and as always that meant the internet lit up like a switchboard, only with opinions instead of electricity. First we got the obvious out of the way: praising Valve for doing what Nintendidn't, dubbing the Steam Deck the Switch Pro. As Hard Drive (opens in new tab) wrote, "At press time, a full technical spec sheet for the Switch Pro also revealed that it would include a long-awaited Switch feature of functional analog sticks." Oof.

Sony copped it as well. Mark Doherty (opens in new tab), who runs the ex-Sony CEO Kaz Hirai parody account (opens in new tab), decided to post this take under his own name instead: "With Horizon and Day's Gone now on Steam, Sony has already given more support to Steam Deck than the PS Vita". YouTuber and Kindafunny co-founder Greg Miller is also still mad about the Vita (opens in new tab).

Those who weren't renaming the Steam Deck the Switch Pro were arguing over whether Gabe Boy (opens in new tab) or Gabe Gear (opens in new tab) was a funnier alternate name (the answer is Gabe Gear, obviously). The memes came thick and fast, with Fighting Games Daily turning the Russian anti-alcohol HET! poster (opens in new tab) into anti-Switch propaganda (opens in new tab), while Classic Mac collector Dana Sibera, who normally tweets about retro hardware (opens in new tab), mocked up an image of a version of the Steam Deck with an Atari 2600 aesthetic that actually I would quite like to be real.

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The professional videogame industry pundits weighed in with their Serious Commentary, Daniel Ahmad (opens in new tab) praising the Steam Deck because the "price point is aggressive" and it's "a fairly open device that has desktop / dock capabilities and the ability to install third party software and storefronts". Jason Schreier (opens in new tab) took doubters to task, pointing out that, "Steam Deck skeptics might be undervaluing the huge audience of people who play most games portably (dad of toddler here!). For years every indie game announcement has been met with "When is it coming to Switch?" If this thing feels great (big if), nobody needs to ask that anymore".

Mat Piscatella (opens in new tab) said, "The Discourse comparing Steam Deck and Switch as though the two devices will somehow directly compete with each other is top tier misguided, to put it nicely." Jeff Grubb (opens in new tab) explained why 720p resolution for a screen you're holding in front of your face is fine actually, and Lawrence Sonntag simply pointed out, "it'll be the cheapest point of entry to PC gaming in general."

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Umurangi Generation developer Tali Faulkner (opens in new tab) provided a voice of skepticism, noting that activities like "modding, hardware building, chatting with mates on Discord while you play, watching Youtube on the side" are central to PC gaming, and "I don’t see anyone doing that on a bus." Chris Kramer (opens in new tab), who works in videogame PR, was another naysayer: "The only way I'd purchase a Steam Deck is if Valve gave me a $100 refund for the absolute garbage Steam Controller I purchased. Worst piece of plastic I've burned money on since the 3DO."

Meanwhile, The Behemoth, the studio behind Castle Crashers, gave everyone an exclusive first look (opens in new tab) at its game running on Valve's new hardware, and Radiator developer Robert Yang (opens in new tab) joked "the only positive thing about this is that valve's haptics will usher in a new era of teledildonics".

More helpfully, modder, DSFix creator, and PC Gamer contributor Durante broke down Steam Deck specs in a straightforward way by making some console comparisons, explaining that "The GPU is about as fast in raw performance as a base PS4, but it's a much newer and more efficient architecture" and the "really neat" 16GB of RAM is four times what the Switch has.

(Image credit: Durante)

IGN's Simon Cardy (opens in new tab) had an angle that was presumably inappropriate for the work account, saying, "[I'd] be worried about the weight of that Steam Deck hurting my wrists if I hadn't just spent 18 months locked inside my house." Finally, Gamasutra's Alissa McAloon used an Elgato Stream Deck, two joycons, and some masking tape to make the Steam Deck we've got at home.

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Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.