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Steam Deck Release Date, Price, And Specs - What We Know So Far

The Nintendo Switch revolutionized the industry by blurring the line between gaming on the go and gaming on your TV screen. Though it perfected the portable console concept, it wasn't the first system to try it; a little over two decades earlier, Sega released a Genesis handheld that didn't exactly set the industry on fire. 

While there's no denying that the Switch was a huge success, that doesn't mean it's perfect. Fans have been dying for Nintendo to upgrade its hardware for a while, and when the new Nintendo Switch was finally announced, many were underwhelmed. Because the next model won't have the updated visuals and specs gamers were hoping for, there's still demand for a portable, dockable system with the power of next-gen graphics. Enter the Steam Deck.

There were rumors that a new Valve handheld console was on its way back in May, and now it's officially happening. Valve is entering the next-gen race, and while its first foray, the Steam Machine, was a complete flop, things might be different this time around.

Could Nintendo be dethroned? Will this push the company to release a Switch Pro? Here's what Valve has revealed about the Steam Deck so far.

What is the Steam Deck release date?

According an IGN article about the upcoming Steam Deck, Valve is targeting the 2021 holiday season, though an exact date has yet to be cast in stone.

Sometimes a product without a solid release date will face delays. In this case, however, Valve executives may have wanted to wait until they were close to production before making the announcement.

The timing of the Steam Deck's unveiling is interesting, to say the least. It happened less than two weeks after Nintendo introduced the Switch OLED, indicating it may have been a strategic move on Valve's part. Perhaps the company was waiting on Nintendo before announcing the Steam Deck as a way to steal the new Switch's thunder?

With a release window not far behind the OLED model, the Steam Deck could give pause to consumers planning to upgrade their Switch. The decision may ultimately come down to price.

How much will the Steam Deck cost?

A price tag can make or break a system, and Valve's President, Gabe Newell, knows this all too well. Newell spoke with IGN about the process of finding that monetary sweet spot. First, he revealed that the 64 GB option will cost $399, the 256 GB will be $529, and the 512 GB model will command a price of $649. He then explained that each model will be identical, aside from storage capacity and storage speed, though the high-end unit will also sport "an anti-glare etched glass screen."

Newell told IGN that they "had to be very aggressive in terms of pricing." For only $50 more than the OLED Switch, you can have a device that offers access to your entire Steam library on the go. While it may not steal everyone away from Nintendo, it could very well leave a few extra new Switch units on store shelves. Perhaps the most important question, though, is what's under the hood? Will this machine be powerful enough to satisfy that craving for high-performance in the palms of your hands?

What are the specs for the Steam Deck?

IGN released a video hosted by Tom Marks breaking down the specs of the Steam Deck. Marks described it as "a full gaming PC" packed into a device that's only a bit larger than the Switch. It comes with "a 1280 by 800 LCD screen, a custom AMD APU, 16 GB of RAM, and is capable of running modern games at incredibly respectable settings." Both the 256 GB and 512 GB models will include an NVME drive to boost loading speeds. Extra storage is offered through a micro-SD slot.

The system will present "a new version of Steam OS," giving users instant access to their full collection of games purchased through the service. Like the Switch, the Steam Deck has a touch screen and docking capabilities, though Valve's new system has a few other neat features Nintendo overlooked. In his article for IGN, Marks wrote that the Steam Deck has touchpad controls to emulate a computer mouse, built-in Bluetooth connectivity, and is mouse/keyboard ready.

The specs make this machine far more powerful than the Switch. If you want the power of a gaming PC in a portable device, the Steam Deck just might steal the OLED model's spot on your holiday shopping list.