But “clearly a critical aspect”.
Valve boss Gabe Newell has described hitting the Steam Deck PC’s basic price point of £349/$399 as “painful” but “critical”.
The Steam Deck was announced by Valve last night, with pricier options set to cost £459/$529 for a 250GB SSD and £569/$649 for a 512GB SSD.
In an interview with IGN, Newell said Valve had set out to be “very aggressive” with its pricing – the basic model is just $50 more than Nintendo’s significantly less powerful Switch OLED – but that it had been tough to achieve.
“I want to pick this up and say, oh, it all works. It’s all fast…” Newell said. “And then price point was secondary and painful. But that was pretty clearly a critical aspect to it.”
Valve hardware director Shreya Liu said Steam Deck was “designed with that [the price] in mind, and we worked very, very hard to achieve the price point that we’re at”.
Yesterday, Valve compared the Steam Deck’s technical capabilities to those of a gaming laptop capable of running the current crop of AAA games. Reveal videos for the handheld showed it running Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Control.
Introducing Steam Deck: powerful, portable PC gaming starting at 9. Designed by Valve, powered by Steam. Shipping December 2021.
— Steam (@Steam) July 15, 2021
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Newell did not detail the profit Valve will see from the sale of a Steam Deck at £349/$399 – or what features it might have been able to include at a more premium price point.
Still, Newell mentioned Steam Deck was a long-term initiative for the company – suggesting Valve was looking to a more traditional console model which becomes far more profitable via the ongoing sale of games over time.
“A lot of people have overpriced things and killed the opportunity, and sort of convinced people that it’s an uninteresting category from the get-go,” Newell concluded. “We’re doing this for the long haul.”