It appears that recent rumors about developer Valve working on a new console may have been true with the discovery of something called SteamPal.
Following a recent Steam client beta update, data miners have been able to unearth newly added files (via MP1st) which point towards a portable (or handheld) hardware of sorts code-named Neptune and called SteamPal.
The files furthermore mention console-related options like quick-access, controller bindings, a power menu; as well as a system settings menu with an airplane mode, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth access points. The data also had references to rumble and haptic feedback for potential console-connected controllers.
Take note that it was only a couple of weeks back when Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe Newell was asked if Steam will be putting any games on consoles in the near future? “You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year,” teased Newell, “and it will not be the answer you expect.”
Whether the two are connected remains to be seen but for the time being, Valve has been pegged to be working on a new SteamPal handheld console.
Before PC enthusiasts become too excited, everything should be taken with a grain of salt for starters. Beyond that lies the limitations which normally accompany handheld hardware and hence, SteamPal or whatever Valve has been building should not be taken as a new competitor of PlayStation, Xbox, or even Nintendo Switch consoles.
Valve has been exploring new options in the hardware sector for years. Back in 2015, Valve released pre-built gaming systems called Steam Machines that were basically PC but designed to operate as a console through SteamOS. Steam Machines were accompanied by a new touchpad-based haptic Steam Controller and a new Steam Link streaming device.