Steam Deck 2 - News and what we'd love to see

An image of a Steam Deck at a 3/4 angle overlaid on a red-blue gradient background.

An image of a Steam Deck at a 3/4 angle overlaid on a red-blue gradient background.

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First released in February 2022, the Steam Deck is Valve’s handheld gaming PC. It allows gamers to run any verified Steam release on a portable device instead of being stuck at the computer, effectively bringing PC gaming with you anywhere you want to go.

Since its release, the Steam Deck’s software has been updated continuously, with over 90 software updates released so far. Even though it's early days for the product, Valve has also confirmed that the Steam Deck will be a “multigenerational product”. With this in mind, while the Steam Deck 2 hasn’t been officially announced yet, we can probably expect to see a new Steam Deck at some point in the future.

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Steam Deck 2 news

In an interview with The Verge, Steam Deck designers Lawrence Yang and Pierre-Loup Griffais outlined the direction the Steam Deck 2 could take. The need for hardware changes to the Deck was emphasised, particularly in terms of both the battery and screen.

Change is already underway in the build of the Steam Deck’s battery component. Currently, the Steam Deck battery is notoriously difficult to remove, due to the adhesive that holds it in place. Yang stated that the shape of the adhesive is changing to make it easier to remove. However, it’s not clear whether this change is happening between generations of Steam Deck, or just as an ongoing improvement.

One thing that’s been established about the Steam Deck 2 is that it probably won’t be released as a “pro model”. Although the technology is available, Valve seems keen to keep the Decks relatively consistent from model to model instead. Griffais stressed the importance of users being able to expect a particular level of performance from the Steam Deck, until there’s any significant technological reason to change that standard.

The release of both the Switch OLED and the upcoming release of the Ayaneo Air has raised the question of whether the Steam Deck 2 would also have an OLED screen. At present, the Steam Deck only has an LCD screen. No confirmation has been given either way, but considering Yang and Griffais’ hopes to improve the screen, it seems like it could feasibly be the next step for the Deck.

There’s also been discussion around whether the Steam Deck will be released in any other colours. Currently, the handheld is only available in black, but there might be a colourful future in store for the Steam Deck 2. In an interview with PC Gamer, Tucker Spofford and Greg Coomer suggested that colour exploration may still be on the cards, but that it was too complicated to handle multiple colours at release without good reason.

What we'd like to see in Steam Deck 2

Battery improvements

Considering Valve’s priorities around changing the adhesive situation for the Deck's battery, this doesn’t seem too far outside the realms of possibility. Even adhesive improvements aside, the Steam Deck’s battery life could benefit from an upgrade.

The battery currently offers two to eight hours of use, depending on exactly what you’re doing at the time. Not only is this a wide range, it’s also a relatively short life at the lower end of the spectrum. This is especially an issue if you like playing games with high performance needs, which drain the battery faster.

Different colour exteriors

Why should Switch users get all the fun? It would be nice to be able to show some personality through the device without needing to reach for unofficial skins, wraps, or decals (even if they are cute).

With Valve stating via PCGamer that there’s room for “fun exploration” with the device's aesthetics, the Steam Deck 2 could end up having quite the range of colours. Transparent technology resurgence, anyone?

OLED screen

While the exact scope for improvement was left oblique, Valve appear to want to improve the Deck’s screen in some way. With Valve's competitors turning to the OLED, it would seem like a missed opportunity for the Steam Deck 2 to not also have an OLED.

Valve did state that it was unlikely that any significant hardware changes would be made without a justified technological reason. That said, it seems that taking the leap from LCD to OLED screens would be reason enough for the change - particularly if it meant keeping up with their competitors.

Mobile data support

Sure, the Steam Deck is completely portable, but you can only access online gaming while connected to Wi-Fi. If it was possible to use mobile data, like 4G or 5G connectivity, then online play could happen anywhere on the go.

As it stands, the issue can be circumvented by using your phone as a mobile hotspot while on the move. However, it would be better if the middle-man could be cut out completely with mobile data compatibility. This could be done by adding a SIM port that users could slot a card into, in a similar way to how this functionality was added to later generations of the iPad.

Space to install more SSDs

If you’re going to be using your Steam Deck all the time, you’re going to want enough storage for your games and save files. It is possible to install a different SSD into the current Steam Deck, but it’s ill-advised, so it would be great to see the Steam Deck 2 make it easier to add more storage for all our gaming needs.

Considering many other PC gaming setups allow for the easy installation of other hardware, it seems reasonable that the Steam Deck would eventually allow for this feature too.

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