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Valve further explains the Steam Deck UI and operating system

Steam Deck
Steam Deck (Image credit: Valve)

What you need to know

  • The Steam Deck is Valve's recently announced entry into handheld gaming.
  • Valve explained more about how the system works on a technical level to IGN.
  • The Steam Deck involves learning from past Valve projects, with a UI that's been designed specifically for use with a controller.

Valve's upcoming Steam Deck promises portable PC gaming and the system has been designed to allow not just a smooth gaming experience but also more. Speaking with IGN, Valve explained more about how the Steam Deck uses the SteamOS operating system and how the UI has been tweaked to feel more natural to use with a controller.

The UI for the operating system is completely new and according to IGN, feels quite natural for navigating across to select different games. Valve also explained that the software improvements made to the Steam Deck might come over to the main Steam PC client, allowing Valve to improve both separate pieces of software by drawing on what works. Another highlight is a major feature of the Steam Deck: the ability to suspend and resume games. Valve describes this feature as being part of the core experience and one that took a lot of work to get functioning correctly.

Games won't require driver downloads, with Valve opting instead for software updates in the background that can be pushed as needed. Despite the Steam Deck being a gaming device, it's also essentially a Linux computer and Valve confirms that players can download and run things on the system like they would on a regular Linux computer.

The Steam Deck specs list indicates that it'll be great for portable gaming, as long as players don't expect the highest refresh rates or visual detail. The first Steam Deck reservations are expected to start shipping in December 2021, though some orders could end up arriving later into the first quarter or so of 2022.

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.