Valve's 'SteamPal' handheld console specifications, launch window and estimated price emerge
According to Ars Technica, Valve is developing a handheld games console to rival the Nintendo Switch. While details on the upcoming device remain limited, Pavel Djundik, the creator of SteamDB, has noticed a few references for it in Steam's code.
In September 2020, Valve added the term 'Neptune' to Steam code and the string 'Neptune Optimized Games'. Initially, 'Neptune' was believed to be the codename for a new controller. However, Valve has now linked 'Neptune' to 'SteamPal', a name that Ars Technica asserts is the codename for Valve's console.
Apparently, the SteamPal will utilise the Switch's form factor, albeit a much wider version of it. Hence, the SteamPal, not its final name, could resemble the ONEXPLAYER that One-netbook brought to Indiegogo this month. The SteamPal will have a 'thumb-sized touchpad' though, along with two joysticks, unlike any Windows-based handhelds. It will also have a USB Type-C port that can output to an external monitor, a given for handheld consoles these days.
Ars Technica has ruled out Valve using NVIDIA hardware in the SteamPal, insisting instead that the company will source an SoC from AMD or Intel. The website stresses that Valve built the SteamPal with 'Linux as a likely target', presumably using its Proton compatibility layer.
Rumour has it that Valve will use a Van Gogh APU, although AMD is alleged to have cancelled this series. If this is the case, then the SteamPal will feature Zen 2 cores, a Navi 2-based integrated GPU and LPDDR5 RAM support. The same rumour asserts that Valve will release the SteamPal with a 7/8-inch display in Q4 2021 for US$399. Unsurprisingly, Valve will market the SteamPal as being capable of running Steam Libraries.