The Steam Deck changed PC gaming

The resounding success of the Nintendo Switch might suggest that anything similar in form factor and price would do just as well. But since its launch in 2017, nothing has garnered the attention quite like Nintendo’s hybrid console. Valve, makers of standout devices like the Valve Index as well as equally unsuccessful products like the Steam Controller and various Steam Machines (if you can even remember those), was a surprising new competitor in the industry when it announced the Steam Deck. A handheld PC that could take your Steam library anywhere sounded far too good to be true, but since its launch in February this year, it’s a device that never fails to surprise.

There were a few things standing in the way of the Steam Deck’s success at first. At its launch, Valve announced just over 100 games that had been verified as compatible with the Steam Deck, with only 60 of them achieving the highest compatibility level. The Linux-based OS and Proton – which the translation layer games would make use of – seemed capable of ruining any chances for the Steam Deck before it really took off. But that didn’t stop the early stocks from pre-ordering faster than most could react, setting the Steam deck up for a big and meaningful launch.