2nd December 2023 5:35 pm
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The new Steam Deck is a bit more loadshedding proof

  • Valve has announced an upgraded version of the Steam Deck that features a longer battery life.
  • The new device is also be lighter, quieter, and has a longer charging cable.
  • There will be no performance improvements, but gamers will be able to take advantage of OLED visuals via an improved display.

Amid a new wave in handheld gaming, the Steam Deck, arguably the device that set off a host of lookalikes, is set to get a major upgrade. Valve has announced an improved version of the device that features better visuals, better battery life and other smaller quality-of-life changes sourced from the company’s community of customers.

The new Steam Deck will feature an OLED screen for better visual fidelity. It will also be slightly larger, have a longer charging cable, its cooling system has been improved, it will run quieter, and it will feature longer battery life – often the worst aspect of these handheld machines.

For example, a battery life breakdown from Rock, Paper, Shotgun shows that certain performance-intensive games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Dead Island 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 only manage less than two hours of gameplay on just the battery.

Citing an announcement from Valve, Bloomberg details how the new Steam Deck will start shipping on 16th November 2023 just in time for the holiday season with prices ranging from $549 for the 512GB storage configuration up to $679 for a limited edition version with more memory and a special carrying case.

Importantly, no improvements will be made to the internal performance hardware of the new Steam Deck so players shouldn’t expect more frames or smoother gameplay, just better-looking gameplay and the ability to play longer without it being on charge.

In terms of the older, original Steam Deck launched in 2022, Valve says it will reduce machine prices now that a better, upgraded version is available. According to Steam Deck product designer Lawrence Yang, the Steam Deck has already sold “multiple millions” of models, with additional revenue being generated by owners purchasing games directly from the Steam platform built into the device. Yang confirmed that Valve is starting development on the Steam Deck 2, with no more information specified.

Unfortunately for South African gamers, the Steam Deck has no official vendors in the country, nor does it have any company support in terms of hardware or warranties. The most “official” source of the devices in the country is currently tech retailer Incredible which is selling all three versions of the machines.

However, like the ROG Ally from ASUS, which actually does have local support, the Steam Deck’s functionality is hampered by constant loadshedding due to South Africa’s ongoing energy crisis. Some say the asking price for these handheld gaming machines is not worth it for an hour or two of gaming before putting the devices back on charge.

An upgraded battery life may be the salve for this issue, depending on exactly how much more hours you can squeeze out of your Steam Deck before needing to charge it again.

We’re interested to see just how much more battery will be included, and also if there is a chance that Valve will start shipping to South Africa. Currently, it doesn’t look likely.

[Image – Photo by Edgar Almeida on Unsplash]

Luis Monzon

Luis Monzon

Journalist. Covering education, AAA gaming and consumer tech. Reach me at Luis@htxt.co.za.

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