Trying to price Steam Deck just right while keeping its hardware in check was pretty challenging for Valve.
Speaking with IGN in a recent interview, co-founder and president Gabe Newell stated that finding a “suitable price point was secondary and painful.” The primary being “the performance and the experience.”
Valve had to juggle both ends while working on Steam Deck because the handheld device needed to be powerful and yet affordable. Newell added that there was a need to be “very aggressive” in terms of pricing because the price tag often becomes “one of the critical [driving] factors in the mobile space.”
Valve believes that it has found a good balance between the hardware and what players will be paying. Newell pointed out that Valve designed (and priced) Steam Deck for long-term benefits. There is a vested interest here to see a new product category on Steam.
“A lot of people have overpriced things and killed the opportunity, and sort of convinced people that it’s an uninteresting category from the get-go,” said Newell. “So we’re doing this for the long haul.”
Newell also revealed that early feedback from trusted partners has been pretty positive. “[There] is a lot of enthusiasm that this [Steam Deck] is something they’re really going to be happy to see the PC community pushing into this space,” he stated.
Steam Deck is the handheld console project Valve was recently rumored to be working on. The device is designed to be a portable PC which can play games, including modern-day triple-a games, from a Steam library, but in reality can do so much more.
Steam Deck for example allows players to install Windows over its default SteamOS as well as install other software and applications. The device can be used to stream and can be plugged into a monitor or television set. Valve will even allow players to install other game stores such as Epic Games Store.
Steam Deck comes in several editions with the cheapest being $350, the same as the new Nintendo Switch OLED model but far more powerful in comparison. There is also a $550 model which upgrades the NVMe solid-state drive, adds a premium glass, and includes some exclusive goodies like a unique carrying case and a virtual keyboard theme.