As we discussed earlier this week, Steam Deck has had one hell of a launch year. It should come as no surprise, then, that Valve is setting its sights on the future of its new handheld, which it has officially classified as a “multi-generation product.” The company has now revealed a bit about what it expects to improve and where it wants to expand in the hardware game.
Wide range interview with The Verge, Steam Deck designers Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais talked about Steam Deck’s ambitions and specific goals. After nearly a year in the wild, the Deck is certainly impressed with its performance and wide selection of games. However, the areas for improvement are clear. the display is serviceable, but it’s a far cry from, say, the new Nintendo Switch OLED model. And the battery not only tends to drain quickly, but also. how iFixit: considered in his reviewit’s one of the least fixable things otherwise repairable device. We now know that these last two points are important to Valve.
Although the company has not revealed most of its plans screen improvementit did share some insight into the battery, its replaceability, and how future iterations of the product will address areas of concern.
With a battery that quickly loses its juice and the nature of such a power source degrades over time, poor interchangeability is a disappointment. Griffis told The Verge thanks to which the possibility of battery expansion“You can’t actually have a hole in the shape of a battery [inside the Deck] be exactly the same size as the battery” and that all the glue holding it in place is to keep it from moving too much.
The flickering battery concern appears to have been a development issue. “In some of our early prototypes,” Griffeys said, “we had [the battery shifting around] and I’ll tell you, it doesn’t feel good at all when you’re just moving around and trying to use your deck.” Yang humorously added: “You don’t want the Steam Deck maraca, and you don’t want the battery touching other critical components and shaking them.”
So the decision to secure the battery so tightly in place was necessary to make the deck playable, shippable and reliably safe. Young revealed that Valve has “changed in geometry [glue that holds the battery]”, which should allow for easier removal and repair in the line.
Valve also revealed, perhaps to the surprise and delight of a select few, that a new Steam Controller is also something the company is working on. It the original Steam Controller was a bit of an odd bird, but its high level of customization certainly attracted the attention of a dedicated, if small, fan base. We select few who fell in love with it already knew it, but the Steam Deck continues to show the need for more flexible and dynamic gaming consoles for computer games.
Read more: Steam Deck’s Funky Controls Prove Gamepads Are Obsolete
But if you’re willing to drop some cash to keep up with Valve’s owl-shaped controller on the screen, I’m sorry to say it might take a while. “Right now we’re focusing on the deck,” Ian said. “[A controller is] definitely something where we’d be excited to work with a third party or explore ourselves.”