Last week, Valve decided to shake up the video game market with its Steam Deck. This is a gaming console, but it has a lot of cards up its sleeve. What at first glance may appear to be a Nintendo Switch hides what could be the most versatile gaming device of all time. And Apple needs to watch it carefully.
The future of gaming will go through where Apple is a specialist: in efficiency
I don’t say what I said lightly. The Steam Deck is a complete PC that can be played in our hands like a portable console, it can be connected to a TV and a wireless controller to be a home console and it can be connected to a monitor, keyboard and a mouse be a desktop PC. And if its SteamOS doesn’t suit you, you’re free to install Windows. Stadiums? Xbox game pass? Epic games? Emulators? Everything fits.
It is a recognition of the hybrid concept of the Nintendo Switch, extending it, improving it and liberalizing it. In its guts, a chip created between Valve and AMD that promises to make Nintendo executives blush, who will continue to sell the Switch with a graphics engine from four years ago (their weapon is rather the exclusives they have).
NVIDIA is already working on bringing raytracing to ARM chips, and that’s in itself a sign
To add more data, today we know that NVIDIA is working on adding raytracing and DLSS support to ARM chips, which is making both Intel and AMD nervous. You can spend a lot of money on a massive PC with the most power to enjoy games like never before, but it looks like the industry is starting to prioritize efficiency, laptop, and hybrid as a device. from the future. There are already those who think Sony should rethink the creation of a new PS Vita.
What about Apple? Rumors have been around for a long time about what a gaming Mac could be, or what the company can do with its services to be able to fully enter the market. They have not been idle (Arcade is enriched with new versions of the games that have appeared the most in the App Store since its birth), but it is obvious that Apple Silicon is an architecture that could break the mold with something like a Steam. Platform.
Don’t jump off the chair, let’s hope. The odds of Apple presenting something like a Steam Deck and with the same degree of platform openness tend to be zero. But even with their closed ecosystems, at Apple, they only have to respond to the rumor (I insist, improbable) that there had been a specialized console in May.
Just for the effectiveness they could demonstrate against the Switch or the Steam Deck it would be worth a look. Nintendo and Valve consoles are heavy, thick. Something equivalent but at Apple it might look more like an iPad mini with controls on the sides. Thin, quiet, capable of running AAA games and with much more battery life.
As for the gaming landscape, I don’t think Apple will. But the opportunity is still there, one more market to seize, ranging from the Apple Arcade catalog to something that catches the attention of all developers and gamers around the world. And is that the future, seeing this surprise from Valve, will be on our big screens and our backpacks at the same time.