Valve making portable gaming PC: ‘SteamPal’ has Steam engine running on Linux with Nintendo Switch-like game controllers and touchscreen

Valve SteamPal
Valve making handheld gaming consoles for Steam games? Pic credit: Long Zheng/Flickr

The console wars are far from over. After the weird but powerful KFConsole, comes yet another surprise in the form of SteamPal, a handheld gaming console to rival Nintendo Switch.

According to an Ars Technica exclusive, video game studio and virtual storefront Valve is reportedly developing a “Switch-like portable PC” tentatively called SteamPal.

Valve Steam handheld gaming console specifications and features:

The world of powerful handheld gaming consoles is heating up. There were very few competitors to the Sony PSP, but today, Nintendo has some tough competition.

Chinese OEMs like GPDOne-Netbook, and Aya, are some of the notable mentions in the handheld gaming consoles. These are essentially ultra-portable computers.

All the aforementioned devices exist today, but not all are available easily. Nonetheless, these have powerful CPUs with integrated graphics, ample RAM, a large touchscreen, and game controllers.

The Valve SteamPal could adopt a similar form factor and design aesthetics. It would have a mobile processor from AMD or Intel. A battery to keep the device powered, and integrated gaming controllers.

Reports indicate Valve is not keen on adding a QWERTY keyboard. A standard array of gamepad buttons and triggers, along with a pair of joysticks and at least one thumb-sized touchpad would serve as inputs along with the touchscreen of course.

Gamers could attach the Valve SteamPal to an external monitor for gaming?

The SteamPal could also have the option to “dock” to larger monitors via its USB Type-C port. Multiple USB ports onboard could serve as I/O for wireless gamepads.

A few premium smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, and even Xiaomi have the ability to offer a desktop-like user experience. A few of the Android devices also function as desktop PC when connected to a monitor and keyboard/mouse combo.

Valve has experimented with dedicated hardware for gaming. The Steam Machine from 2014 and its more recent Valve VR headset are good examples.

The Valve SteamPal could be able to run Windows 10 as Microsoft is tweaking the OS for multiple CPUs. This could also open up the opportunity for xCloud on Valve SteamPal. However, reports indicate Valve would stick to Linux.

There’s no clear indication about the launch and price of Valve SteamPal. The ongoing chip shortage might even jinx the project. However, if Valve does go ahead with SteamPal, the price would certainly be quite higher than Nintendo Switch’s MSRP of $299.

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