Valve could soon enter the mobile console market. But can the company behind Steam compete with the Nintendo Switch?
On May 25th, SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik noticed a device called “SteamPal” appeared in the latest Steam Client Beta, along with a list of SteamPal games, a quick access menu. and power menu As Technical Technician It then published a special report confirming that Valve is developing a portable gaming PC that works similarly to the Nintendo Switch.
It is not known whether the SteamPal nickname is final or just an internal name for the project. no matter what name Nintendo Switch will go head-to-head with the Nintendo Switch, making Nintendo their first mobile competitor since the PlayStation Vita.
But how much steam can SteamPal make for the Nintendo Switch, which has sold nearly 80 million units in North America and abroad?
Valve vs Nintendo
Valve will have to figure out how to differentiate SteamPal, and one way analysts think this could happen is through its library of games.
There are over 50,000 games on Steam already supported by devices like SteamPal. So it̵7;s not a problem of “lack of games” that is a deterrent for many new platforms like Google Stadia. Kantan Games CEO Dr. Serkan Toto tells Inverse that Steam’s massive library can give the system an edge, even without other big innovations. whatever
“Thousands of games will be instantly available to players on SteamPal.”
“Can Steam really reinvent the wheel and make amazing innovations for hardware? I don’t think so,” he said. It’s all about games, and there’s a lot of Steam that isn’t available on Nintendo Switch.”
The Switch fights with high-end games. It revealed potential niches for SteamPal to fill. Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners, said SteamPal would have the advantage of a console-ready PC game library. without port
“The Nintendo Switch has shown a high demand for AAA games that can be played anytime, anywhere,” he said. inverseThe main difference here is that SteamPal will be able to run any AAA or indie PC game. without the need for developers to customize or port the game to the device. Thousands of games will be available immediately on SteamPal.”
For players with a huge Steam library but not all the time to sit on their PCs and play games, SteamPal certainly seems like a useful addition. It’s similar to the niche that Switch fills with multiplatform games, which said Louise Shorthouse, senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, doesn’t see it as much competition.
“I think it’s completely different: Switch offers a content catalog tailored to a very specific audience: families, kids, fans of Nintendo beauty,” she said. The Switch isn’t primarily driven by graphics quality or competitive gaming cores. Handheld PCs made by Valve will attract more PC gamers. Which is generally a far cry from Switch gamers.”
Nintendo Switch has a fair share of M rated games such as Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. SteamPal can appeal to the hardcore gamer base. By bringing you games you can’t find on the North American Switch.
inverse Contacted Valve but didn’t get a timely response for release.
Outside of North America, SteamPal looks like a device doing well in Japan and China, as Switch and mobile games do well in those regions. But as analysts expected Trends in those regions aren’t very promising. Dr. Serkan Toto emphasizes that PC games in Japan aren’t that huge. So viewers there probably won’t notice SteamPal.
“PC games have a small market share in Japan. It is dominated by mobile devices and a console space that is three times smaller,” he said. “As a result, not many people outside the hardcore gamer community in Japan are familiar with Steam or have used the platform. Before SteamPal might appeal to some local users who have played games on Steam, but it really doesn’t. The major impact upon launch is simply because it is a portable system.”
Speaking of China, SteamPal could complement Steam China, a region-specific storefront that debuted earlier this year. According to Niko Partners, China’s domestic PC game revenue was $13.9 billion in 2020 and has More than 325.4 million PC games played in China. That’s a huge potential market.
Ahmad, however, does not believe it will catch up.
“Gamers in China want more high-end experiences. And gaming smartphone manufacturers are starting to take advantage of this space by creating devices with dedicated gaming features,” Ahmad said. Social gaming features and high-end games A dedicated device like SteamPal can achieve some success. But this will depend on whether it can play Chinese popular PC and mobile games too.”
Valve has a lot of work to do if it wants to leave a specific area and affect regions like China and Japan. Another key factor that can be stifled: its price.
the price is not correct
The price of a mobile will be important to its mass appeal and being too expensive can make it unsuccessful. Other devices that try to do the same thing with SteamPal, such as onexplayer, cost close to $1,000, so they do. Can’t compete with cheaper platforms like Switch
SteamPal can be expensive, like the $749 Valve Index VR headset the company makes. Based on the technology involved, Toto guessed that the device might be in This price range is reasonable compared to oneexplayer, but too expensive to be anything but exclusive.
Shorthouse isn’t speculating on a specific price range, but isn’t optimistic about SteamPal’s affordability.
“I think we can conclude that it is quite expensive compared to the work it is doing: squeezing a powerful PC into a mobile device,” she said. “Given Valve is not primarily a hardware maker. They may have to outsource or partner if they want to achieve any size, and that can affect the price as well.”
Let’s say the Nintendo Switch, or even the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro upgrade, is significantly more powerful than SteamPal. In this case, the device won’t appeal to many casual players. SteamPal may be the first portable system to make the Switch available. real competition It still needs an accessible price point to take advantage of existing demand and take action seriously.
Finally, SteamPal has some major challenges that must be overcome if it doesn’t want to be the next famous video game platform failure.