Steam's parent company, Valve is branching into the handheld console business.

The company just announced their new Steam Deck handheld gaming console, which is slated to ship out in December, writes The Verge. The Steam Deck will be working as a PC-based handheld and not something like a Nintendo Switch from the looks of it. Price starts at $399 and goes up to $649 depending on storage options.

A quick look at its specs makes it very apparent that it won't be a direct competitor to the Switch. Instead, it's going to be up against other PC-based handhelds like the Aya Neo. It features an AMD Zen 2 APU (processor with integrated graphics), 16GB of memory, and up to 512GB of super-fast NVMe SSD storage.

The Steam Deck also comes with a native 720p 7-inch screen to round up the specs and runs the newest version of SteamOS. It's also Wi-Fi only, which could put it behind the recently announced Nintendo Switch OLED, considering it can also be docked. The dock accessory, however, is still in production and will be sold separately.

Valve seems to be pretty confident with what the Steam Deck can do, too. In a report by IGN, they claim that the handheld can run "basically anything you can run on a PC." That likely means both indie and even AAA games, which is really big news.

Read alsoApple is Allegedly Making a Gaming Console: Rumors

Steam Deck: What Kind of Value Can Players Expect?

For now, it looks like the Steam Deck handheld could be the best "replacement" to the Switch Pro that gamers will get.

One of the biggest things about this handheld gaming console is its main chip: a Zen 2-based APU featuring RDNA2 graphics. While integrated graphics still fall behind a little bit compared to their desktop counterparts, this one is based on the same architecture as AMD's RX 6000 series. That's amazing in itself.

Amd radeon gpu
(Photo : Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Detail of the AMD Radeon RX 5700 GPU and AMD Wraith Prism cooler inside a custom-built video-editing PC, taken on August 6, 2019.

This could mean that the Steam Deck's APU theoretically is powerful enough to run anything you can run on a PC. It might also be fair to expect that the handheld will get support for AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), which could bump frame rates up even more.

Steam Deck: Not the Switch Pro, But A Welcome Sight

The presence of the Switch Pro never graced the gaming world. But perhaps the Steam Deck could be the handheld console to have.

It has, in fact, been rumored to exist back in May, though Valve didn't reveal much about it back then. Some of the alleged specs were accurate, though. For one, it does have an AMD Zen 2 chip which is the better choice compared to the NVIDIA Tegra that is on the Switch. Considering that the Switch OLED didn't exactly impress upon its announcement, maybe the Steam Deck would fare better.

When December rolls in, buyers in the US, Canada, EU, and the United Kingdom will be the first to get their hands on the console. Early on, they'll only be available to people who already have Steam accounts, so sign up now.

Related: Valve Working on Possible AMD Gaming Chromebook? Here's Why Experts Think So

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Written by RJ Pierce

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