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What exactly is the Steam Deck? Has this compact new console breathed new life into the handheld gaming scene? Let’s find out.

Has the Steam Deck Breathed New Life into the Handheld Gaming Scene?

Since the dawn of the Gameboy way back in the 1990s, handheld gaming has long been an exciting and lucrative sector in the wider video games industry. In recent times, though, handheld gaming has fallen by the wayside, eclipsed by the power of today’s consoles and PCs.

However, could the Steam Deck be the answer to handheld gamers’ prayers? Let’s take a closer look at what the Steam Deck is, and what it does, and ask whether it has breathed new life into the handheld gaming scene.

What is the Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck is a handheld video game console that was released by game developer and distribution company Valve Corporation in 2022.

The unit’s major selling point is the fact it can immediately connect to the full Steam library of games, a collection of over 50,000 titles. What’s more, the Steam Deck is open platform, which means that non-Steam games and apps are also supported.

As well as offering handheld gaming, the Steam Deck can also be connected to a monitor or a TV to enhance the gaming experience.

Why get a Steam Deck?

The most hardcore of gamers will swear that console or PC gaming is the only way to go. However, the Steam Deck set out to change these deeply entrenched opinions, offering a powerful gaming system in an extremely small package.

Whether you’re playing the latest first-person shooter or simple, three reel online pokies, the capabilities of your system will have an enormous impact on the gaming experience.

The Steam Deck runs on Linux, with a specially designed SteamOS front end that makes the system incredibly simple to use and operate. It packs a lot of processing power into such a small unit, making it perfect for running even the biggest and most complex of games. It’s powered by a quad-core, eight-thread Zen 2 AMD processor and an RDNA 2 GPU.

The seven-inch screen has a 1,280×800 pixel resolution. However, it is not OLED, which many maintain is an oversight on Valve’s behalf.

Has the Steam Deck Breathed New Life into Handheld Gaming?

Handheld gaming fell off the map somewhat in recent years. As standard consoles and PCs grew in power, it seemed like the days of the humble handheld gaming device were over. However, the sector has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence, and we’re even seeing recreations of famous games made for these handheld units.

The Steam Deck has certainly contributed towards the revival of handheld gaming, but it hasn’t done it alone. The Nintendo Switch has been massively successful, selling over 122 million units to date. The resurgence of the handheld gaming industry can’t be attributed to the Steam Deck or the Nintendo Switch alone, but rather it is the result of a combined effort by the two devices.


Just a few years ago, it looked like handheld gaming was on its way out. However, thanks to the success of the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch, handheld gaming is bigger than ever and is enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. 

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