Gaming platform Steam launches the Deck, its long-rumoured handheld

Users will have access to their entire Steam library on the new device.
Users will have access to their entire Steam library on the new device. Photo credit: Supplied

Gamers will soon have a new option for playing on the move as games platform Steam has announced it's releasing a handheld PC.

The long-rumoured portable, entitled Steam Deck, is going to be launched in the US, Canada and Europe in December, with more regions added in 2022.

When it will be released in New Zealand has not yet been announced.

The reveal comes a week after Nintendo announced an OLED upgrade to its popular Switch gaming console.

Steam Deck will be powered by an AMD processor with 16GB of RAM and have a 1280x800px, seven-inch touchscreen display with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 40 watt-hour battery.

That should give enough juice to allow two hours of gameplay for higher-end games with seven to eight hours for streaming, web browsing or playing smaller 2D games. 

"You can play Portal 2 for four hours on this thing. If you limit it to 30 FPS, you're going to be playing for 5-6 hours," a spokesperson for Valve, the company that owns Steam, told gaming site IGN.

Valve says customers will be able to access their entire Steam library by logging in to the device, despite it using its own operating system. That will be a new version of SteamOS with a compatibility layer called Proton to run existing games without the requirement for developers to do any porting work.

Gamers will also be able to quick suspend and resume games as well as plug the device into external monitors and televisions for larger screen playing.

Standard Steam functionality like Steam chat, remote play and the store will all be available on the handheld, and cloud saves will mean users can start playing on a PC and pick up where they left off on the Deck or vice versa.

The handheld will come with a variety of control options, with dual thumbsticks, two small square trackpads, an analog direction pad, face buttons, triggers, grip buttons and gyroscope controls.

It'll offer three different configurations, with the only difference between them being the amount and speed of the storage space, with graphical quality and framerate capability the same.