Valve has more than enough money to make a console. So it’s not surprising that the Steam owner is trying to do for PC gaming what Nintendo did for handhelds with the Switch. In an exclusive piece breaking down information from insider sources, Ars Technica has reported that Valve is doing just that. The device is said to be running games on Linux. Code having to do with new hardware has been discovered in Steam itself, seemingly pointing to changes being made to support the upcoming portable unit. This code is even tied to a name, which is “SteamPal.”
For starters, let’s all hope that they don’t actually name this thing SteamPal, because that name is terrible. The SteamPal will supposedly be, just as the previous paragraph suggests, completely Switch-like, with gamepads built on the sides of a touchscreen. Not that the thing will be exactly comparable. According to insiders, one prototype is much wider than the Switch, meaning that it could be a heftier device. It’ll also be able to dock to monitors or TVs, making it very much the same kind of on-the-go console as Nintendo’s “weaker than a PlayStation 4 somehow” offering.
You’re not my friend, pal
Not much concrete information is known, but the SteamPal (I really need to stop calling it that,) might even be ready by the holiday season. Of course, even beyond this, the way is not all that clear. Valve doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record when it comes to hardware, much less a console. The Steam Link and Steam Controller were attempts to corner the market and, well, we both know what happened to those. They bombed horribly, and the remaining units were sold at bargain basement prices to get rid of stock.
But, hey, that means that we might all be able to afford the handheld. Or, perhaps Valve can actually succeed this time. Just maybe not if it call it a SteamPal.