Just as we started to get excited about the prospect of a Steam Deck 2, it now looks like players will have to wait much longer for the handheld. According to a recent statement, Valve is not looking to release the new Steam Deck for at least a few years. Will the console be able to remain competitive against its rivals?
Pierre-Loup Griffais, Steam Deck designer and Valve representative, spoke with The Verge and revealed some information about the future of the gaming handheld. Although the company plans to upgrade , she’s playing it safe and doesn’t expect this to happen until at least the end of 2025 – but it could be even longer than that.
“It’s important to us that the Deck provides a fixed performance target for developers and that the message to customers is simple that every Deck can play the same games. As such, changing the performance level is not something we take lightly, and we only want to do so when there is a significant enough increase,” Griffais said.
This type of approach makes sense, but also makes it difficult for the Steam Deck to keep up with some of the more demanding games. It can run these titles for now, but in two years there will be games that it struggles with – this is already true with higher settings in some titles, like Star Field.
However, Valve’s concerns aren’t limited to providing a uniform experience for customers. This is also the cost of adding additional performance.
Griffais told The Verge: “We also don’t want more performance to come at a significant cost in terms of power efficiency and battery life. I don’t foresee such a leap being possible in the next two years, but we are always closely monitoring innovations in architectures and manufacturing processes to see where things are going.
Both of these concerns are legitimate: after all, a handheld must offer enough battery life to justify its handheld status. If you have to recharge all the time, that defeats the purpose of this “unplugged” gaming experience. However, Valve has a growing list of competitors that already offer better performance. For example, the Asus ROG Ally with the Z1 Extreme blows the Steam Deck out of the water. Let’s not talk about the Z1 version, that one doesn’t work very well. Lenovo’s Legion Go comes with the same AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip, so there’s a good chance it will beat Steam Deck’s Zen 2 APU.
While it may take a while for Steam Deck 2 to appear, we could still see a refresh along the lines of the Nintendo Switch OLED version. Valve could increase battery life or equip the console with a better display without having to make major changes. But we now know that gamers will have to wait at least two years before a true follow-up console hits the market.