Are No Exclusives a Good Idea?
Valve recently held a Q&A at their Steamworks Steam Deck event to discuss the upcoming Steam Deck. The Steam Deck is a handheld console developed by Valve meant to play any and all games available for PC on the go. The console isn’t meant to function the same way as the Nintendo Switch, nor does Valve intend to compete with it. It’s meant to be a portable extension of PC gaming that is significantly more convenient than using a laptop.
During the press conference, potential customers asked various questions about the software and hardware capabilities of the device. Most of the questions were geared towards how developers will use the Steam Deck to develop games. Naturally, the questions progressed to the topic of exclusive titles. Valves explained that since this is an extension of a PC, it will have access to the same library available to traditional PC users.
This isn’t Valve’s first attempt at entering the console market. The Steam Machine was a console meant to give a PC-like experience. Valve released it in late 2015, and the console was dropped by most developers by the end of 2016. Valve has since discontinued production on the Steam Machine and has seemingly completely moved on to the Steam Deck. Hopefully, their second attempt at a console goes much better.
The choice to not include any exclusive titles is an interesting one for sure. The console market is very lucrative as Valve has already learned the hard way, and exclusives are a good way to gain some stability. It’s how Sony was able to compete with the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo during the peak of the console wars.
The Steam Deck does have some good things going for it based on other topics discussed in the Q&A. The device will support local multiplayer and have touch screen capabilities. The processing power seems pretty solid too. Will this be enough to make the device stand out amongst other consoles? The console is set to launch in February 2022, so we’ll have to wait until then to find out.