While rumors of an alleged Nintendo Switch Pro with an OLED display continue to make rounds, we might soon get a rival handheld console from Valve, the company behind the Steam. As per a report from ArsTechnica, Valve might launch a handheld gaming console by the end of this year. However, there is a chance that the device might get delayed, or even canceled.
The device, codenamed SteamPal, is actually an all-in-one PC that looks like the Nintendo Switch. It has a touch-sensitive display flanked by gamepad controls on both sides with a standard array of buttons, triggers, a pair of joysticks, and a touchpad as well. However, you likely won’t find a QWERTY keyboard on it.
Valve’s console will reportedly draw power from an Intel or AMD SoC, just like similar handheld PCs from relatively lesser-known Chinese brands such as the GPD Win 3 and AYA Neo. Dell has also showcased its take on the idea with a Windows 10-powered device called the Alienware UFO, but it is yet to become a commercially available product.
However, Valve’s upcoming handheld gaming console will be based on Linux, instead of Windows 10. The latest version of Steam also features some hardware-related code, something that was previously thought to be about a gaming controller instead of a handheld console.
Not much is known about the internal hardware of Valve’s upcoming handheld console. However, the report mentions that it will offer a docking functionality, just like the Nintendo Switch. One of the prototypes is actually said to be wider than Nintendo’s wildly popular console.
There is no information about approximate pricing either. However, selling it as a standalone console and trying to make a profit solely on its hardware will likely put a high asking price on the device, and that might prove to be a deterrent. Instead, Valve can sell its console at a loss, and make a profit by selling games from Steam in the long run. This is not entirely a new concept, as Microsoft is also known to follow a similar approach with its Xbox consoles – selling them at loss and making money from the services.