Valve developers detail how legacy hardware inspired the Steam Deck

"Steam Deck feels like the culmination of a lot of earlier work"

Several key Steam Deck developers have discussed how Steam’s past hardware helped shape the upcoming handheld PC gaming device.

The developers spoke about the Steam Deck in an interview with IGN at the beginning of the weekend (July 30). IGN spoke with Valve designers Greg Coomer, Lawrence Yang, and Scott Dalton about the console, and how Valve’s previous hardware informed the development of the Steam Deck.

Coomer spoke about two of Valve’s previous hardware releases: “Steam Deck feels like the culmination of a lot of that earlier work. Steam Link has proven really valuable in establishing what it means to stream games from PCs.”

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“The Steam Controller was really valuable, it taught us a lot about what’s necessary and valuable to a customer. So all those earlier products really feel like they’ve informed this one,” added Coomer.

The Steam Machine was Valve’s attempt at creating a smaller machine that could run Steam games. It allowed users to play games on a TV in a shared space, without having to move bulky PC setups around. However, the Steam Machine failed to capture consumer interest and was quietly discontinued by Steam.

Steam Deck
Steam Deck. Credit: Valve

Coomer comments on Valve’s experience developing and releasing the Steam Deck, and how the company learned from it: “I don’t think we would have made as much progress on Steam Deck if we hadn’t had that experience.”

“When we say culmination, we really mean it’s not only the combination of the hardware that we built, but also the experience that our team members gained while making hardware products,” stated Yang.

Valve had even previously considered ideas similar to the Steam Deck, as the team initially designed the Steam Controller to include a programmable screen. The screen could have been used in conjunction with Steam Link, a streaming device which allows players to access their PC games over an internet connection.

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Dalton described the idea: “At the time we were like, we could just take Steam Link hardware, put it in a Steam Controller, and make the screen show the link thing.”

The Steam Deck, which Valve announced last month, will arrive sometime in 2022 and will allow users to play their Steam library while on the move.

In other gaming news, a Resetera forum user is digitising and translating Sega Mega Drive video game information and manuals on a website called CGComplete. The project is entirely self-funded, and will move on to other consoles once the Mega Drive era is complete.

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