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The Steam Deck - What kind of market performance do we expect from Valve's portable gaming PC?

reksveks

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There are clones starting to pop up and even though they may not be priced as low as the base Deck we also know people are spending for the more expensive model to Gabe's relief. What that could mean is Valve's hope this would open up a new segment in the market might be coming closer to reality.

Just like how the App Store lead to Google Play Steam Deck could open things up to other companies better able to pushes the type of volume Deck could only dream of. I'm thinking Alibaba, Amazon or Tencent.
The steamdeck has one of the same issues as steam machines, oems aren't really going to be able to take a reduced profit margin (unless valve does a rev split model) when selling the device so they need to include the profit upfront. I need to double check how the Amazon Prime games works but it seems like an issue for most company's.
 

MysticGon

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There are some limits but that hasn't stopped VR from significantly outselling the Steam Deck. The amount of people buying and using VR headsets is significantly higher than those buying steam decks and it has already well passed what you consider to be an important barrier for the steam deck changing the game industry. A handheld PC that plays all the same games as any other device isn't really changing gaming the industry in the same way VR is, which is built on unique experiences that can't be replicated anywhere else. I don't see any argument for how VR is some permanently niche technology when it is already far bigger than the Steam Deck ever will be and is creating a suite of new experiences instead of just offering a new way to play preexisting games.
Home consoles were a new way to play preexisting games. Normalizing the handheld PC form, building it around a central store, getting consumer and creator buy-in. No small feats.

There will eventually be a generation brought up on more affordable, more accessible VR but there are hard limits imo. Like motion controls and 3D before if it doesn't become the home developer's best efforts it will fall off.

Oculus Quest 2 sold 14.8M units according to estmates from IDC, which puts it over Xbox Series' estimated 14M.

Wii sold 100 million and 3DS sold 75 million. It's hard to see if something will be a flash in the pan or become party of the furniture.

The steamdeck has one of the same issues as steam machines, oems aren't really going to be able to take a reduced profit margin (unless valve does a rev split model) when selling the device so they need to include the profit upfront. I need to double check how the Amazon Prime games works but it seems like an issue for most company's.

Wasn't Valve happy with making SteamOS free? If they build the hardware could they not just have all the sales? Even if not they could make a portable PC based on Linux. Steam doesn't have to be explicitly mentioned.
 
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Home consoles were a new way to play preexisting games. Normalizing the handheld PC form, building it around a central store, getting consumer and creator buy-in. No small feats.

There will eventually be a generation brought up on more affordable, more accessible VR but there are hard limits imo. Like motion controls and 3D before if it doesn't become the home developer's best efforts it will fall off.
You're ignoring that VR has already proven to be far more successful than handheld PCs, which aren't even a new concept. Handheld PCs like GPD Win have been around for years and while the Steam Deck is bigger than those there is no indication it is going to be a major change in the gaming market outside a small bubble of enthusiasts. Every device has limitations. Yes, some people won't be able to use VR, but that is true of any product. The Steam Deck is a Linux gaming pc and costs hundreds of dollars and that alone is going to be a majorly limiting factor for a lot of people, far more than VR if you look at the actual sales figures of these devices. No device can ever be truly universal, but the Quest 2 has already outsold and is going to continue to outsell several major gaming consoles, and that is a market that is just beginning to grow and emerge. There is no way that is niche when compared to a gaming PC that would be lucky to sell a tenth of what a single headset in the VR market will do.
 

reksveks

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Wasn't Valve happy with making SteamOS free? If they build the hardware could they not just have all the sales? Even if not they could make a portable PC based on Linux. Steam doesn't have to be explicitly mentioned.
Who is the they? OEM not Valve?
What is the sales? Software or Hardware?

Just trying to get the comment 100%
 

MysticGon

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You're ignoring that VR has already proven to be far more successful than handheld PCs, which aren't even a new concept. Handheld PCs like GPD Win have been around for years and while the Steam Deck is bigger than those there is no indication it is going to be a major change in the gaming market outside a small bubble of enthusiasts. Every device has limitations. Yes, some people won't be able to use VR, but that is true of any product. The Steam Deck is a Linux gaming pc and costs hundreds of dollars and that alone is going to be a majorly limiting factor for a lot of people, far more than VR if you look at the actual sales figures of these devices. No device can ever be truly universal, but the Quest 2 has already outsold and is going to continue to outsell several major gaming consoles, and that is a market that is just beginning to grow and emerge. There is no way that is niche when compared to a gaming PC that would be lucky to sell a tenth of what a single headset in the VR market will do.

I feel with diminishing returns the idea of having to wait for a newer version of a game you already own will be rightly questioned. Sony addressed the issue with backwards compatibility. Xbox with Smart Delivery. That said especially after these recent shortages and having to compete with bots to buy hardware it's easy to see the appeal of PC where you upgrade when you please and no matter what you play you it will always have access to the latest version and the same online community.

Someone bringing a console like experience to PC without the need for a subscription? Enormous potential.
Who is the they? OEM not Valve?
What is the sales? Software or Hardware?

Just trying to get the comment 100%
They = Alibaba, Amazon, Tencent.
Sales= Hardware
 

Agent42

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I'm curious what the PSP line provided for you that Switch does not?
Is it the:

- Sony first-party ... which Deck will kiiiinda have

- purpose built Third-party exclusive of the level of those sweet Metal Gear PSP games ... which I don't think are coming back

- Standout Jrpg support ... Which Switch largely has (I say tentatively given recent notable exception)

- focus on media and non-game usability ... Me personally, the Deck capacity as Linux PC is intriguing
Sony games and some indies are not in Nintendo. Playing more Deck than my PC now. First Switch, then Deck, last my PC. Not portable enough, but for a core market is a good proposition.
 

reksveks

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They = Alibaba, Amazon, Tencent.
Sales= Hardware
Cool, don't think it works cause if they do include a good margin, it becomes too expensive in comparison to other products like the Steam Deck. If they don't, they are limited to a miniscule margin.

I think hand-held pc market will be similar to laptops and TV in terms of needing other ways to monetize the device.
 
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There is no way that is niche when compared to a gaming PC that would be lucky to sell a tenth of what a single headset in the VR market will do.
Do you mean any given gaming PC sku in general or the Steam Deck in particular?

Deck *is* PC gaming in an enticing form-factor that does the best job yet of bridging various gaps. Having had one for a bit now as my first gaming PC, and with a nod at PC gaming's (and Steam's) seemingly steady increase in popularity, I think its in the realm of possibility for the Deck in particular to outsell the Quest 2 time-adjusted and assuming supply of components and manufacturing is not an issue. I'd say "outsell" is unlikely tho.
Based on anecdotal experience and perceived positive buzz, I definitely expect the Deck to blow past "a tenth" of Quest 2 sales and probably Quest 3 (or the new Sony VR) as well. Thats assuming what I'm reading about the anticipated specs proves true, i.e. a nice bump in specs but non-revolutionary in terms of the combo of features, low price-point and virally killer-app.

Sony games and some indies are not in Nintendo. Playing more Deck than my PC now. First Switch, then Deck, last my PC. Not portable enough, but for a core market is a good proposition.
I've actually been playing more Deck than Switch for the past month. This is more because this is basically my first gaming PC tho, so its got me really paying attention to that vast Steam library and associated sales, not to mention Rocket League unsurprisingly runs better on that than on switch (where I banked like 400 hrs).

I can see switching back to Switch once I pick up Triangle Strategy or some other big title.
 
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Do you mean any given gaming PC sku in general or the Steam Deck in particular?

Deck *is* PC gaming in an enticing form-factor that does the best job yet of bridging various gaps. Having had one for a bit now as my first gaming PC, and with a nod at PC gaming's (and Steam's) seemingly steady increase in popularity, I think its in the realm of possibility for the Deck in particular to outsell the Quest 2 time-adjusted and assuming supply of components and manufacturing is not an issue. I'd say "outsell" is unlikely tho.
Based on anecdotal experience and perceived positive buzz, I definitely expect the Deck to blow past "a tenth" of Quest 2 sales and probably Quest 3 (or the new Sony VR) as well. Thats assuming what I'm reading about the anticipated specs proves true, i.e. a nice bump in specs but non-revolutionary in terms of the combo of features, low price-point and virally killer-app.
I think you vastly overestimate the appeal of the steam deck. It's a niche device targeted at a small group of consumers. Nothing indicates any sort of mainstream appeal that would be required to come anywhere near the Quest 2 in sales. It's quite difficult for a system to sell those sorts of numbers, especially when the Steam Deck has zero exclusive games, and instead has numerous games that are unable to be run on it natively. I just don't see how this device would have a large enough audience to be able to match devices with far more mainstream appeal.
 
I think you vastly overestimate the appeal of the steam deck. It's a niche device targeted at a small group of consumers. Nothing indicates any sort of mainstream appeal that would be required to come anywhere near the Quest 2 in sales. It's quite difficult for a system to sell those sorts of numbers, especially when the Steam Deck has zero exclusive games, and instead has numerous games that are unable to be run on it natively. I just don't see how this device would have a large enough audience to be able to match devices with far more mainstream appeal.

I was admittedly being a bit pedantic on the "selling a tenth [of Quest sales]" bit in particular (i.e. 1.5 million units)!
As a mostly happy new Deck owner, I now think it will prove popular enough fosho to sell in the multi-millions given a couple years and adequate component availability. Before getting hands-on with one, I wasn't sure how well Valve could execute on their concept. It turns out, pretty well! The Deck is fiddly, and I am not much for PC fiddlyness, but overall the experience is smooth enough even at this early stage to be a very compelling (if expensive) gaming device.

But to your main point, I agree. To even reach like 5 million unit sales in the year would be a hugely impressive milestone and the point on exclusives/platform-specific killer-app is a compelling one. "Portable Steam" probably does not serve that role.
 

enpleinjour

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Steam Deck is limited by two major reasons:
  • It's not following the console model afaik, something that Facebook realised they needed to do to get faster adoption: subsidise hardware costs from software sales.
  • Valve simply does not have the global manufacturing footprint
 

MysticGon

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Steam Deck is limited by two major reasons:
  • It's not following the console model afaik, something that Facebook realised they needed to do to get faster adoption: subsidise hardware costs from software sales.
  • Valve simply does not have the global manufacturing footprint

That's still too early to say since it hasn't even seen it's first anniversary but from the earliest interviews Gabe threw out 4 phrases. "Future" "permanent" "wider market" and "millions of units". Their ambitions are big.


 

ILikeFeet

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this article kinda lays it out to me: Valve is attempting the Steam Box again, with putting out "reference" hardware and then passing the baton to others. the hardware is much better, so it feels like Steam Box was just too early

 

cw_sasuke

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I mean that only makes sense, otherwise they would dismiss one of the biggest advantages of the open PC hardware platform.

Especially with the limited SD shipments.
 

MysticGon

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Valve is doing interviews with Asian outlets in preparation for launch in the region.


  • Japan was on their list to ship the Steam Deck to from day 1 but they had to work out the distribution.
  • They think the Steam Deck will be a multi-generational product, they expect there to be future iterations and they're finding the right balance to give developers a stable product to target but they wish to follow the PC model of constant improvement. No time span yet.
 

ILikeFeet

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IMO, we're already seeing the limits of Van Gogh. unless/until devs start throwing in more specific low settings modes for the APU, I think it's gonna struggle a bit.

aiming to be more console-like in its updates make sense given it's already expensive for both them and customers, so they'll need to push devs to be more considerate of the system when making pc versions. there's no Van Gogh successor on the horizon (and no, I don't consider MLID a valid source), but if there is one, it's not gonna be for a while unless some other vendor wants it. maybe Aya, Win GPD, and others can band together to get one made
 

cw_sasuke

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IMO, we're already seeing the limits of Van Gogh. unless/until devs start throwing in more specific low settings modes for the APU, I think it's gonna struggle a bit.

aiming to be more console-like in its updates make sense given it's already expensive for both them and customers, so they'll need to push devs to be more considerate of the system when making pc versions. there's no Van Gogh successor on the horizon (and no, I don't consider MLID a valid source), but if there is one, it's not gonna be for a while unless some other vendor wants it. maybe Aya, Win GPD, and others can band together to get one made
It doesnt help that recent system updates keep changing and having negative impact on performance of games that used to run fine previously. Really gonna be interesting to see how things look once we actually start seeing more current gen content.
 

MysticGon

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Seems like we have finally some numbers ballpark for the Deck as Valve has shipped 1m units.



That's not good news at all. The article may as well be called "Crows go extinct overnight." /s

Great as that milestone would be I'm going to take that with a grain of salt for now.
 
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