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Steam Deck moves one step closer to replacing your console

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  • 3 min read

Valve has been consistently rolling out updates to its handheld console, the Steam Deck, to bridge the gap between PC and console gaming. Thanks to its Linux-powered OS, SteamOS, Valve has been consistently rolling out updates to its handheld console. In its latest preview update, version 3.6.0, SteamOS now supports some HDMI CEC features, including remote input, wake, and input switching for TVs. The update includes a firmware update for the Steam Deck’s dock, which adds compatibility fixes for high refresh rate VRR (variable refresh rate) displays.

This means that you should be able to wake your TV up remotely and hop into SteamOS with a paired controller. Bluetooth has also seen an improvement, with faster connection speeds for some Bluetooth devices as well as support for Bluetooth A2DP and BAP profiles. To top things off, the graphics driver has been updated to Mesa 24.1, which Valve claims brings “many performance and correctness improvements”. Those running the latest update will also notice increased responsiveness in the SteamOS user interface.

The only catch here is that these improvements and other enhancements aren’t shipping to the main update channel yet. Valve is currently testing the update in the Steam Deck Preview channel, meaning we could see them axed or further delayed until they reach the wider Steam Deck user base.

The new updates makes the Steam Deck docking experience much better. | Source: Steam

With the gaming handheld market on the rise, we’re seeing major PC manufacturers such as Asus, MSI, and Lenovo all follow in Valve’s footsteps and introduce their handhelds. Since they already encompass the PC gaming atmosphere in a handheld, the next destination for all these handhelds is a docking station, and Steam seems to be winning that race as of now.

One advantage of handheld computers is that they can share docks, meaning any USB-C dock with the ports you like will fit the bill. That said, compatibility, especially with monitors with VRR, remains a problem, device performance aside.

Valve’s latest update looks like an attempt to solve these problems and bring the Steam Deck closer to providing an overall console-like experience when docked. Should Valve succeed, it’ll not only give the Steam Deck an edge over the arguably better-performing handhelds from the competition but also more traditional console-like devices like the Nintendo Switch, and it might just bring the fight to Microsoft and Sony.

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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