Valve has announced Steam Deck, a handheld console that will compete with the likes of Nintendo Switch OLED. The announcement came as a surprise today as we didn’t witness any leaks for the device before. The console starts at $399 for the base 64GB storage variant and goes to $649 for the model with maxed-out specs.
And, no, the 64GB variant isn’t great as per 2021 standards, but what’s great is that the console is powered by Arch-based SteamOS 3.0 and KDE Plasma on top.
If you’ve been following the Linux community, Valve released SteamOS in 2013, and the development went silent after 2017. For those who’re unfamiliar, it was a Debian-based distro for gaming and was one of the most popular Linux gaming distros.
With SteamOS 3.0, Valve switched to the Arch-base. The device runs KDE Plasma. This means that SteamOS 3.0 should be out for PCs soon.
Developers might ask if porting games to Windows is needed, and the answer is no. The device uses the Proton compatibility layer, which translates DirectX games to Vulkan on Linux. If you want to read more about the state of Linux gaming, check out our how to choose a Linux distro for Gaming article.
So, does that mean games with built-in anti-cheat mechanisms won’t work? Yes, but Valve says they’re working with BattlEye and EAC to get the support ahead of launch. This is incredible news for the Linux gaming community as this will finally make borked games like PUBG, Apex Legends, Destiny 2, and Fortnite playable on Linux.
Yes, you heard that right. Steam Deck is not restricted to Linux, but you can also install Windows or other OSes. Overall, it should be interesting to see how everything turns out in the end.
If some games on Linux do have unsupported anti-cheat mechanisms, users can install Windows, install Steam, and play games. Steam Deck shipping with Linux and running AAA titles out of the box shows us how better Linux gaming has gotten in the past few years.
What do you think of Steam Deck? Will you buy it? Leave your opinions and thoughts in the comments section below.
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