Valve is reportedly building a portable gaming PC. Not content to be the king of digital store fronts for PC games, the company is seeking to expand into hardware. Though this would hardly be the first time it has done so.
Over the years Valve has released a number of different officially licensed Steam Boxes and Steam Machines. Gaming PCs that were designed and manufactured in partnership with hardware brands like Alienware. They were in a more console-like form factor and were designed mainly for use in the living room. And in conjunction would run games in Steam’s Big Picture Mode.
Valve also released the Steam Controller. A wireless game controller that could be used with PCs and Valve’s Steam Boxes. As well as the Valve Index, a fairly pricey VR headset. This would be Valve’s first venture into something that’s playable on the go however. And considering the popularity of the Nintendo Switch, as well as the rise in popularity of cloud gaming platforms, a portable gaming PC could work pretty well for Valve.
The Valve portable gaming PC has a Switch-like design
According to Ars Technica, who cites multiple sources familiar with Valve’s plans on this, the device will look similar in design to a Nintendo Switch.
It would run on Linux as opposed to Windows, and would allow users to play PC games linked to their Steam account. The device is reportedly being referred to internally as the SteamPal, and would use a mobile-based processor setup that can be found in other devices that sit in the same category. Like the ONEXPLAYER or the GPD Win3.
The device is said to be an all-in-one PC with a touchscreen and gamepad controls. Though the controls would not be removable.
The “SteamPal” will potentially release at the end of this year
It isn’t mentioned how long this device has been in development. But the report does mention that it has a planned release date of “by year’s end.” So Valve could possibly be looking to release this product before 2022. Perhaps in time for holiday shopping.
Though unconfirmed, Valve could end up using chips from bigger industry brands like Intel, NVIDIA, or AMD. As opposed to smaller companies.
The device is also said to have to multiple prototypes. With one of them being wider than a Switch console. Which would likely mean a bigger display than the Switch. It will also have touchpad controls similar to that of the Steam Controller but smaller. No major specifics have been mentioned in regards to specs, release date, or price point. But if this is going to be a fully fledged gaming PC that Valve slaps its name on, there’s the likelihood that it will be powerful. And that would probably mean a higher price point.