35 votes

Valve has been secretly building a Switch-like portable PC designed to run a large number of games on the Steam PC platform via Linux

15 comments

  1. [10]
    emnii
    Link
    I'm looking forward to hearing more about this. I know they've made a lot of strides in getting games onto Linux, but it's nowhere near parity with Windows, especially when it comes to big...

    I'm looking forward to hearing more about this. I know they've made a lot of strides in getting games onto Linux, but it's nowhere near parity with Windows, especially when it comes to big publisher titles. Where they can fill the gap in is with Steam Link, which worked well when I played around with it on a spare Android phone, but I can't speak to how it works outside of my own house.

    Still, this could be a cool little platform with a massive built-in library. Even limited to Linux compatible games, it'll still launch with more available titles than any other console.

    7 votes
    1. [9]
      vord
      Link Parent
      They've been pouring a ton of work into Proton, which has been a gamechanger for playing games on Linux. Looking through ProtonDB, once you get outside the top 10, you're looking at 90%+ working...

      They've been pouring a ton of work into Proton, which has been a gamechanger for playing games on Linux. Looking through ProtonDB, once you get outside the top 10, you're looking at 90%+ working fairly well. Numbers of native games are also increasing, and will likely get another boost if their mobile device takes off.

      Being able to leverage my existing game library, on a mobile device, is a killer feature. Doubly so if their hardware design is as good as the steam controller was.

      17 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Proton is so, SO good. I'm continually amazed at how many games simply run flawlessly. It's gotten to the point where I take it for granted, and I'm actually surprised when a game doesn't work.

        Proton is so, SO good. I'm continually amazed at how many games simply run flawlessly. It's gotten to the point where I take it for granted, and I'm actually surprised when a game doesn't work.

        15 votes
      2. [7]
        Pistos
        Link Parent
        I love how much Proton brings to Linux. That said, Linux gaming is still quite crippled in a certain segment: Most multiplayer FPS anti-cheat mechanisms get triggered when games are run under...

        I love how much Proton brings to Linux. That said, Linux gaming is still quite crippled in a certain segment: Most multiplayer FPS anti-cheat mechanisms get triggered when games are run under Linux. This is a problem for Easy Anti Cheat (EAC), for example. A couple games I'm wanting to play under Linux but can't: Rainbow Six Siege and Due Process. The games themselves work fine, but you get booted for "cheating" once you get into a match.

        9 votes
        1. [3]
          vord
          Link Parent
          That is probably the biggest barrier, but EAC is a dev-by-dev thing, if anything that's one of the easier ones to go native. Both 7 days to die and Rust use EAC, and both have native Linux ports.

          That is probably the biggest barrier, but EAC is a dev-by-dev thing, if anything that's one of the easier ones to go native.

          Both 7 days to die and Rust use EAC, and both have native Linux ports.

          7 votes
        2. [3]
          clone1
          Link Parent
          I doubt people would want to play competitive PC fps games on a switch like device, though.

          I doubt people would want to play competitive PC fps games on a switch like device, though.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            moocow1452
            Link Parent
            People play(ed) Fortnite and Pubg on mobile devices, and Splatoon is a thing that people seem to like. Edit: Overwatch has a port on Switch and that did pretty well.

            People play(ed) Fortnite and Pubg on mobile devices, and Splatoon is a thing that people seem to like.

            Edit: Overwatch has a port on Switch and that did pretty well.

            3 votes
            1. clone1
              Link Parent
              Don't you get matched with other people on the same platform for those games, though?

              Don't you get matched with other people on the same platform for those games, though?

              2 votes
  2. [2]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Every few months I feel the urge to buy a GPD as a Steam handheld, and then I talk myself out of it. I've been doing this for years now! There was also a period of time where I was waiting for the...

    Every few months I feel the urge to buy a GPD as a Steam handheld, and then I talk myself out of it. I've been doing this for years now! There was also a period of time where I was waiting for the SmachZ, but it's clear now that's it's never actually happening.

    I even tried doing a budget, DIY Steam handheld with an old phone, a telescopic controller, and the Steam link app, but streaming games didn't work well for me, and the controller was only one step up from terrible.

    If the "SteamPal" actually ends up being released, I'll almost certainly get one. I don't expect it to play my whole library, but I have literally hundreds of games that would work well with such a form factor.

    7 votes
    1. raze2012
      Link Parent
      I have a GPD Win 2, but ultimately it's not small enough to where I feel it can be a "pocketable". But it's also way too small in screen size to where I feel it can be a proper tablet (pretty sure...

      I have a GPD Win 2, but ultimately it's not small enough to where I feel it can be a "pocketable". But it's also way too small in screen size to where I feel it can be a proper tablet (pretty sure my phone screen is slightly larger than the GPD).

      While it's a fine device, it made me realize that I want something with the utility of the switch for my (non-rendering intensive) PC gaming. A way to just be a decent tablet when controls aren't needed, and a "handheld" when I want to lay in bed or on the couch and play (even pre-pandemic, I rarely used my Switch nor GPD win in travel settings). Then a nice bonus to makeshift a controller/tablet combo. As noted in the article, I was also waiting feverishly for the Alienware UFO since it was basically my match made in heaven (I'd be willing to pay a big premium for this form factor and power). But I didn't imagine it getting competition so soon.

      but streaming games didn't work well for me, and the controller was only one step up from terrible.

      Same, I just can't do it. Even my steam link linked to a laptop in the same room playing Cuphead just couldn't do it for me. Ethernet isn't accessible to where I have my steam link, so I don't completely blame the link (I "bought" it on clearance, and just paid $15 shipping. Well worth the experiment). My phone efforts were in similar vain.

      3 votes
  3. [3]
    moocow1452
    Link
    I really enjoy my GPD Win when I need a computer to game, and a dedicated Steam Portable from Steam would kind of be interesting. I figured it would have some secret sauce in it to be able to work...

    I really enjoy my GPD Win when I need a computer to game, and a dedicated Steam Portable from Steam would kind of be interesting. I figured it would have some secret sauce in it to be able to work on ARM since Valve is all about that compatibility layer life, but maybe that's in a version 2 or to be determined.

    Hopefully it ends up a little better supported than the Steam Link and the Steam Controller.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      vord
      Link Parent
      It may well be x86. Intel and AMD both have SBCs, it's within the realm of possibility.

      It may well be x86. Intel and AMD both have SBCs, it's within the realm of possibility.

      3 votes
      1. moocow1452
        Link Parent
        Yeah, it's more likely than not x86, because they would be burying the lead if Steam reliably cracked running PC games on phone hardware.

        Yeah, it's more likely than not x86, because they would be burying the lead if Steam reliably cracked running PC games on phone hardware.

        3 votes