Valve has confirmed that a Steam Deck 2 is in the works, with improvements to the display and battery life being two key features.
In an interview with The Verge, Steam Deck designers Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais covered a lot of topics relating to the future of this portable system, and Valve’s potential future in console gaming as a whole. Simply put, the company has big plans.
Don’t expect it anytime soon
In the past, Valve has made its long-term Steam Deck plans clear. This is a system that will be updated on a generational basis, and work has already begun on a second iteration. When it comes to console production, that’s a totally normal timeframe, as you’ve always got to look ahead.
When asked what pain points Valve aimed to address with the Steam Deck 2, the response was unanimous: a better screen and longer battery life. To speculate, one strong step forward is a move to OLED, which I think is very likely for the next-gen Deck.
“Right now the fact that all the Steam Decks can play the same games and that we have one target for users to understand what kind of performance level to expect when you’re playing and for developers to understand what to target... there’s a lot of value in having that one spec,” says Griffais.
Simply put, much like the archaic hardware in the Switch, consistency matters, so game developers know what specs to work around — rather than try to hit a PC-esque hardware update schedule.
Valve wants to make a Steam Controller 2
The original Steam Controller became a bit of a cult classic before it was canned in 2019, and in this interview, it became clear that Valve hasn’t given up its controller ambitions. Yang confirmed that the company really wants to make a second-generation controller.
“Right now, we’re focusing on the Deck, so it’s a little bit of the same thing as the microconsole question: it’s definitely something where we’d be excited to work with a third party or explore ourselves,” he says.
Updates to Steam Deck 1 are also in the works
I love my Steam Deck, but there are some small annoyances in the hardware and software, which Valve is aware of and hard at work fixing. These include:
- Making it easier to replace the battery: Currently, it’s stuck down with a lot of glue, so Valve is working on changing the geometry of the adhesive, which will make it easier to loosen.
- Adding a small sponge to quieten the whiny fan: Some Steam Decks shipped with a Delta fan, which has a notable whining sound when compared to the alternative manufacturer, Huaying. The situation was concerning enough that Valve chose to stop shipping Delta fan-packed units for a while, so it is surprising to see it back. However, the team is confident that it fixed the issue through a “foam solution” that reduces the noise, and a software update that changes the fan curve.
- An audio mixer across game, music, and chat: Currently, volume control is pretty basic — you just alter the sound level across everything. However, a comprehensive mixer is on the way to adjust the volume of individual elements of what is playing.
- A fix for Bluetooth audio lag: If you have wired earbuds (I recommend a pair on our best Steam Deck accessories page), this isn’t a problem. But I’d love nothing more than to use my Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 with my Steam Deck, which is an impossibility because of the significant audio lag. Valve will let you choose a Bluetooth profile and codec to select a lower latency option rather than the high-quality one that is on by default right now.
- An anti-cheat workaround is on the cards: The biggest issue hurting game compatibility right now is anti-cheat software. Valve has worked hard with the biggest software providers in this category, and while that has made some progress, a lot of the biggest titles are still unavailable. That may change in the future, however, as the team expects Epic’s own Easy Anti-Cheat software to work on Steam Deck “eventually,” which opens the door to the likes of Fall Guys and more.
There are other interesting revelations from the interview, too, such as Valve hoping the Steam Deck inspires third-party hardware companies to make home-based Steam Box consoles (count me as very interested in that). But all of this is showing a company that is looking far beyond its PC aspirations.
If Valve plays its cards right, it could very well start to compete with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo with big moves in the console space. Not only that, but the PC gaming side of its business directly feeds into a huge gaming library, where it’s possible to play Forza Horizon 5 and Marvel’s Spider-Man all on the same system.
Whether the company is able to pull it off is going to be down to a lot of factors: continuous software development/improvement, what hardware Valve chooses to build/launch, and how much buy-in from developers it can continue to keep a hold of. But based on the current track record, I’m very confident.