What makes the Steam Deck a non-threat to the Nintendo Switch

Steam Deck

Even though it’s hard to avoid comparing the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch because they are both portable consoles, the Steam Deck is not meant to compete with the Switch. I will tell you why.

This week, Valve’s announcement of the Steam Deck, its first handheld console, turned the video game industry on its head. Even though there had been rumours about it for months, the presentation still caught us all by surprise. Of course, it can’t help but be compared to the Nintendo Switch, a product that they have taken some ideas from. Does this also mean that Valve wants to end Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld market?

Let’s be honest. For what it has and how much it costs, the Steam Deck is a pretty good deal. Since it was portable, it was clear that a lot of people would compare it to the Nintendo Switch. If we look at each of its features, it’s clear that Valve’s idea is better, and by a large amount. Some people have thought that the Japanese console might be in danger because of this, but it is not.

Steam Deck niche

In reality, the Steam Deck is not even trying to catch up to the Nintendo Switch. Even though they’re both in the portable business, their target clientele are distinct. To check the aforementioned, look at the console’s games.

The Steam Deck lets the next person who buys your computer access your entire Steam library. In other words, the catalogue of the biggest online computer game store in the world. Considering that it will be feasible to install Windows—it is a portable PC. We may also add the Xbox Game Pass (for PC), the Epic Games Store, and other third-party apps.

The Steam Deck makes PC, PS4, and Xbox games seem like they’re in your hands. The Switch still exists? It features Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, and other Nintendo-exclusive games.. Its market is so well-defined that the Steam Deck is not a threat.

Because their software is so different, they can both exist and do well without getting in each other’s way. People buy the Switch so they can play the newest Nintendo games, which can’t be found anywhere else. The tests are here.

Nintendo Switch is on its own

Third parties frequently make popular PlayStation and Xbox games like GTA, FIFA, and Call of Duty. On the Switch, however, the most popular games are made by Nintendo itself. Kyoto says that, up until March 31, 2021, the 10 best-selling Switch games were all made by Nintendo:

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (35.39 million).
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a video game (32.63 million).
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate made $23.84 million.
  • Breath of the Wild: The Legend of Zelda ($22.28 million).
  • Sword and Shield, a Pokémon game (21.10 million).
  • The Super Mario Odyssey (20.83 million).
  • Party Super Mario (14.79 million).
  • Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! (13.28 million).
  • Splatoon 2 is a video game (12.21 million).
  • ($10.44 million): New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
Nintendo Switch


Monster Hunter Rise by Capcom is the only third-party game on the list. It comes in at number 15. Only four of the top 40 selling games were not made by Nintendo or published by Nintendo. All of this shows that the Switch is kept alive by its first-party games. People buy this console so they can play franchises that aren’t available on any other platform. At least not officially -hello, emulators-.

Steam Deck targets a PlayStation and Xbox niche

If the Steam Deck is not meant to take people away from Nintendo, then… So, what market does Valve want to take over? One that PlayStation and Xbox have chosen to ignore for one reason or another.

After the PS Vita didn’t do well, PlayStation gave up on the portable market. All of his efforts go toward keeping home consoles at the top, a goal that became more important with the start of a new generation. Sony probably won’t make any more portable hardware now that the PlayStation 5 is doing so well.

Xbox, on the other hand, has never tried to sell games on laptops. However, with the help of Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud), their video game streaming platform, they are trying to catch up with mobile devices. Those led by Phil Spencer are going all out to grow Xbox Game Pass and get it on as many devices as possible. One of them will definitely be the Steam Deck.

So, the door was open for a big name in the industry to put its resources toward making a portable console that could let us play games like GTA V, Call of Duty: Warzone, Destiny 2, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, among others.

All of this, however, does not mean that the Steam Deck has made a new type of video game hardware. In fact, there have been similar portable consoles for the same market for years. The biggest difference is that almost none of them, except for the Nvidia Shield Portable, are backed by a big company like Valve. The latter came out in 2013 with a small selection of games and did not do as well as Nvidia had hoped.

The pricing of the Steam Deck

The Steam Deck’s main advantage over its competitors is, without a doubt, its low price. Gabe Newell, the legendary CEO of Valve, said in an interview with IGN that the Steam Deck was made so that it could be sold at the best price possible. “We knew price was important, so we built it with that in mind from the start and worked very, very hard to get to where we are now,” he said.

It’s likely that Valve loses money on every Steam Deck it sells, which is how things work with PlayStation and Xbox. They are, of course, long-term moves that can only be made by companies with a lot of money.

Valve’s main goal, in addition to dominating a niche market of PC and console gamers, will be to grow that market. If the Steam Deck becomes more appealing to more people, there’s no reason to think that PlayStation and Xbox won’t try to get a foothold in the portable market. We’ll see how it goes in sales.

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