If you were hoping to get your hands on a Steam Deck 2 like the concept illustration above, we've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that it isn't coming any time soon. The good news is that at least you've got plenty of time to save up for it.
Although Valve has said several times that it intends to make a second generation Steam Deck, it has also said that it wasn't in any hurry. And in a interviews with The Verge and CNBC, Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais has suggested a timescale: 2025 at a push, but possibly 2026.
The issue is performance versus battery life: Valve wants to deliver more of the former without less of the latter. And according to Griffais in an email interview with The Verge, "I don't anticipate such a leap to be possible in the next couple of years."
Why can't we have a Steam Deck 2?
According to Griffais, the key issue is that every Steam Deck should be able to play the same games. "As such, changing the performance level is not something we are taking lightly, and we only want to do so when there is a significant enough increase in to be had." For now, upping the performance means too much of a hit to battery life which, if like me you sit on your Steam Deck a lot, isn't exactly brilliant now.
The news isn't exactly a surprise, but it's still a bit disappointing: as The Verge rightly points out, while the Steam Deck can technically play the latest PC games it's starting to struggle with "demanding / poorly optimized games like The Last of Us Part 1, Redfall and Starfield."
Writing last week on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, James Archer says that "one SteamOS patch and a reinstall later" Starfield was technically playable - but "its punishing technical requirements are making the Deck’s usually-plucky hardware look like a pile of Old Earth scrap." It's actually better to stream the game to your Steam Deck than run it natively.
As much as I love my Steam Deck, I wouldn't even think of trying to run Starfield on it – but then I'm playing it on the Xbox Series X. Not everybody has or can afford to have multiple games consoles, and it does look like the next wave of PC games are going to see the existing Steam Deck struggle.