As we discussed earlier this week, the Steam Deck has had one hell of a launch year. It should come as no surprise, then, that Valve has its sights set on the future of its new handheld, which it has officially classified as a “multigenerational product.” The company has now revealed a bit of what it hopes to improve and where it’s looking to expand in gaming hardware.
In a big breath interview with The limit, Steam Deck designers Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais spoke about concrete ambitions and goals for Steam Deck. After nearly a year in the wild, the Deck has certainly impressed with its performance and large selection of games. However, the areas for improvement are clear: the screen is repairable, but it is far from that of, for example, the new OLED model for the Nintendo Switch. And the battery not only tends to run out quickly but, how iFixit noted in his reviewis one of the least fixable things in an otherwise serviceable device. We now know that those last two points are tops for Valve.
Though the company hasn’t disclosed much of its plans for the improvement of the screenshared some insight into the battery, its replaceability, and how future iterations of the product are addressing problem areas.
With a battery that loses its charge rapidly and the nature of such a power source degrades over time, poor replaceability is a disappointment. Griffais said The limit that because of the possibility of battery expansion“You can’t really have the hole shaped like a battery [inside the Deck] be exactly the same size as the battery” and that all the glue holding it in place is to keep it from moving around too much.
The concern about a rattle battery was apparently an issue under development. “In some of our early prototypes,” Griffais said, “we had [the battery shifting around] and I’ll tell you, it doesn’t feel good at all when you’re moving around and trying to use your deck. Yang comically added, “You don’t want a Steam Deck maraca, and you don’t want a drum kit touching other major components and pushing them around.”
So the decision to fix the battery in place so rigidly was necessary to get the Deck into a reliably playable, shippable, and secure state. Yang revealed that Valve has “changed the geometry of the [glue that holds the battery]which should allow for easier removal and repair down the line.
Valve also revealed, perhaps to the surprise and delight of a select few, that a new Steam Controller is also something the company aspires to make. The original steam controller was a little strange, but its high level of customization has certainly caught the attention of a dedicated, albeit small, fan base. We select few who fell in love with it already knew this, but Steam Deck just kept proving it the need for more malleable and dynamic gamepads for PC games.
Read more: Steam Deck’s funky controls prove that gamepads are obsolete
But if you’re ready to throw cash at the screen for a sequel to Valve’s owl controller, I’m sorry to say it might take a while. “Right now, we are focusing on the bridge,” Yang said. “[A controller is] definitely something we’d be excited about working with a third party or exploring ourselves.