The gaming industry is growing at an immense rate, the gaming companies have returned to their former pace on developing games. We can see that many AAA gaming companies have started to announced new games. However, the global chip shortage is affecting the hardware industry as it is hard to keep up with the demand.
But unexpectedly, Valve revealed the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming device that looked impressive on paper and in design. Of course, gamers started to compare it to the Nintendo Switch right away, the current king of handheld devices.
Oh, and if you’re ever looking for a place to get some Nintendo eShop Cards or Steam Wallet Codes for future use, head over to OffGamers right here! Done? Great! Now, let’s compare the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck in more detail, and see which one is the right fit for you.
The Steam Deck is not here to replace PCs, we all know that. Valve is aiming for a portable handheld device that can run AAA games. However, it may not be as portable as you think. Valve has revealed that the Steam Deck weighs about 669g, and while this is not a deal-breaker, it is considerably heavier than the Switch. The Nintendo Switch weighs about 399g with joy-cons, without the controllers it only weighs 299g which is a big difference.
Valve’s Steam Deck has a more ergonomic design with grips on the sides but the controls are not removable. On the other hand, the Switch does not have trackpads on its sides like the Steam Deck. Also, Nintendo was not able to solve the Joy-Con drift problems even to this day.
Portability wise the difference is the weight and mobility of the devices. If you are looking for the most portable device, then the Nintendo Switch is the right choice for you.
Valve’s Steam Deck is extremely powerful for its size, and Switch cannot compete in this area. The Steam Deck has a custom APU, which combines the AMD Zen 2 and the AMD RDNA 2. It also has 16GB of RAM, and storage options up to 512GB. 16GB RAM is still the sweet point for gaming and you will have no issues with the latest games.
Valve has subsequently revealed multiple storage options: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Also, you can use a MicroSD card to increase the storage space.
The Switch comes with 32GB of storage, and some of it is for the OS. However, you can also increase the storage size with a MicroSD card. Most may think the biggest problem is the storage space as the Switch only has 32GB of storage, but it’s not that big of a deal since most games require less storage space on the Switch anyways.
The Nintendo Switch uses an Nvidia Tegra processor which is less powerful than Steam Decks’. In essence, Nintendo Switch was designed as a console and the Steam Deck is designed as a handheld PC.
According to Valve, the Steam Deck is able to run the latest AAA games. RTX will be featured with the Steam Deck as well. However, the Nintendo Switch will have problems keeping up with it, as we all know that games like Control can be unplayable at times on the device.
But of course, like every device more power means more power consumption. Valve has stated that the Steam Deck will have 2-8 hours of battery life. Of course, this will depend on many factors ranging from brightness to the game that you are playing. However, the Nintendo Switch has 4-9 hours of battery life. Even though some users have claimed that the battery life decreases after a certain period of time.
If you are looking for a gaming device with more power, then the Steam Deck is the better choice here. However, the battery life is still an issue when we compare it to the Nintendo Switch.
Valve uses a Linux-based SteamOS operating system with the Steam Deck. The company claims that this is the optimized version of the SteamOS and will have its full features. Since Steam Deck uses SteamOS, you will have access to your game library. Players will be able to message their friends and purchase games as well as view notifications. Most of the Steam features are coming with it.
But there is also a bonus since Valve’s Steam Deck is actually a portable PC, where you can download different OS such as Windows and use it as a PC. This is quite handy for some users. On the other hand, the Nintendo Switch is a locked box, and you cannot modify it. Users only have access to what Nintendo allows, games, notifications, and the Nintendo eShop store.
Even though the SteamOS had some issues, the fact that you can install a different OS is still a nice bonus.
The main difference between the two devices is the games. Nintendo Switch users only have access to Switch available games. However, on the Steam Deck, you can play any game that is available on PC. Since console companies like Xbox and PlayStation have started to port their games to PC, technically you can even play PlayStation games on the Steam Deck, which is quite unique. On top of this, Steam games are usually cheaper.
But even though you will have access to all sorts of PC games, some games might not be suitable for the Steam Deck. Imagine playing strategy games on the Steam Deck’s tiny screen using trackpads. However, on the other hand, most Nintendo Switch games have better optimization for their device.
If you are a Nintendo games fan, the Switch is the obvious choice, but if are a PCMR member the clear winner is the Steam Deck.
Valve is going all-in here since the price point is strategic. The Steam Deck’s price is $399 for its 64GB version however $529 for its 256 GB and $649 for its 512GB version. Gabe Newell stated that pricing the device was hard since they had to undercut most competitors.
Many players will find the mere difference of $50 a good tradeoff for better performance. Even though the Nintendo Switch OLED version is coming soon, Valve’s Steam Deck is still way more powerful.
The final verdict, the Nintendo Switch is more portable than the Steam Deck. However, the Steam Deck is more powerful and it acts as a portable PC. Even so, we do not have any benchmarks on the Steam Deck. We hope that it will not share the same fate as the previously released Steam Machine.
Over the last couple of years, the Nintendo Switch had a fantastic run and it seemed unbeatable. But Valve’s pricing is very close and many players will be drawn to it. We will see more handheld devices in the future for sure and after all, competition is always good for the developers and their customers.
Anyways, we’re definitely keeping our eyes open for any updates on the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch OLED, so stay tuned!
I am a junior content outreach writer for OffGamers. I foster relationships between gaming enthusiasts and gaming developers to create relevant content for gamers worldwide. I also happen to be a passionate writer and a certified night owl.