- Valve has no immediate plans to release a more powerful version of the Steam Deck, as they prioritize fixed performance targets and simple messaging for consumers.
- They are monitoring advancements in technology, but don't anticipate a significant performance increase in the next couple of years without compromising on power efficiency and battery life.
- A minor refresh of the Steam Deck to upgrade certain components like the display likely isn't out of the question, but any major hardware changes will depend on market traction and competition.
It's fair to say that Valve's Steam Deck has been a success since its launch in 2021. The handheld PC is optimized for lots of popular games, with several thousand titles being Steam Deck-verified. The form factor has become popular to the point that there is competition from various companies looking to cash in on the Steam Deck's popularity, with the benefits for consumers being more innovation in the space as each new entrant tries to capture some of the market share. Although you would expect Valve to capitalize on this consumer interest and release a more powerful version of the Steam Deck soon, it appears that the firm has no such plans.
In separate statements to The Verge and CNBC, one of the architects behind the Steam Deck, Pierre-Loup Griffais, has noted that a faster Steam Deck with more powerful internals is still a couple of years away at the very least. The reasoning for this is as follows:
It’s important to us that the Deck offers a fixed performance target for developers, and that the message to customers is simple, where every Deck can play the same games. As such, changing the performance level is not something we are taking lightly, and we only want to do so when there is a significant enough increase to be had. We also don’t want more performance to come at a significant cost to power efficiency and battery life. I don’t anticipate such a leap to be possible in the next couple of years, but we’re still closely monitoring innovations in architectures and fabrication processes to see where things are going there.
It is important to note that this does not mean that a new version won't come out at all in the next couple of years. Valve might very well decide to do a minor refresh of the Steam Deck to upgrade certain components like the display, while keeping the performance the same, similar to what Nintendo did when it went down the route of the Switch OLED.
That said, these are still just plans for now, and depending upon market traction and the competition, Valve could still end up pivoting its hardware strategy and release a more powerful Steam Deck, capable of running games with better performance targets. However, it's clear that such hardware is off the cards for now, especially since Valve doesn't want to compromise on battery for the sake of better performance.