Steam's upcoming handheld console has caused a number of comparisons to the Nintendo Switch, as it is the most popular handheld console outside of people hacking old Vitas into emulation machines. Despite this, Gabe Newell stated in an interview with IGN that he didn’t see the Steam Deck at all as a console competitor because of its different philosophies, as the Steam Deck is entertaining high-end gamers.
"So I think Nintendo does a great job targeting the audience that it does with the content that it has. And that's going to be different. Just like when you pick this up, it feels a lot more like ergonomics." "Someone who's used to playing with an expensive game controller, right? Because it's bigger and bigger than a Switch. And if we're right, that's the right compromise for the audience we're looking for." dir Newell.
It’s a weird comparison to decide if the large volume and volume are equal to a more expensive or more ergonomic kit, but it’s also quite loaded. Directly equating the Steam Deck "high-end" video game audience with people with bigger hands means that people with smaller hands are just "casual" gamers and not part of the Steam Deck audience. , which is a trend that (usually) coincides with the gender line. This bias is already present in the hardware: think about how virtual reality headsets sell the straps you need to comfortably fit the smaller heads separately, but it’s raising your eyebrows to say it out loud.
Newell goes on to directly equate the "device shape" with the "audience type" in the interview: "Let me put it this way. If you're a gamer and grab a Switch and get a , you will know which is best for you, right? And you will know in ten seconds ".
For many, the appeal of the Steam Deck will be playing their favorite "casual" PC games like Stardew Valley on a handheld console, but with modifications. You can also play deeply involved games like The Witcher 3 on Switch. Commenting on ideal audiences already tastes bad, but incorporating it into the hardware itself is risky.
You can read the full interview at IGN.