The next Valve Steam Deck is ‘years’ from release — that’s a dilemma for me

Steam Deck on desk
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

A second-generation Valve Steam Deck could be years away, giving on-the-fence buyers a dilemma to chew over. 

In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, conducted by former Tom’s Guide editor James Archer, Valve designer Lawrence Yang said a true next-gen increase in Steam Deck performance “wouldn't be for a few years."

Given the Steam Deck is just over a year old, this nugget of information comes as no surprise; especially as people keep finding more potential in the portable PC. 

But for me, this news nugget is a bit tricky to chew over. 

When I first saw the Steam Deck I was excited: the idea of being able to play proper PC games on the go without awkwardly balancing a heavy and hot gaming laptop literally on my lap, was a tantalizing idea. But then the Steam Deck was faced with long wait items and limited stock, somewhat putting me off the idea of a pre-order. 

And given the Deck is based on AMD hardware that’s arguably far from cutting-edge, I felt it was more likely to have a second-generation model sooner than later. My assumption being that Valve can move fast on things, and PC gaming hardware refreshes happen a lot faster than those in the console world. 

Archer, who’s a friend of mine in the real world, seemed impressed by the Steam Deck when it came out. But chatting to him, I never felt it was a device I should rush out and order, especially as I tend to treat PC gaming as a very desktop-based experience. So I decided I'd wait for a second-gen take on the Stream Deck 

Building up steam

An image of the keyboard being used on the Steam Deck

(Image credit: Future)

But then Archer and others, including Tom’s Guide's own Tony Polanco, started digging into what the Steam Deck could do. Turns out it’s a lot, with all manner of games able to run on the handheld PC. And then Archer let me try out his Deck and I started to get sucked in. 

Sure, Elden Ring wasn’t exactly running at screaming frame rates, but I was playing what became one of our best games of 2022 on a handheld. The Deck also felt good; it’s not the most beautiful or svelte of devices, but the build quality is spot on and my hands easily embraced the machine.

Nevertheless, I managed to tamp down my temptation, telling myself I have a backlog of PS5 and Xbox Series X games to get through first before I look at new hardware or other platforms.

But this was my view of the Nintendo Switch back when it launched in 2017; I never felt it was an essential gaming purchase. Yet seeing more of Breath of the Wild in action and actually trying the Switch, I eventually relented and bought it some six months later.

Now that a Steam Deck 2 seems to be a good few years away, I’m having an awkward conversation with myself about whether I can deny the allure of the Steam Deck for much longer or if I have to bite the bullet and actually get one. It’s hard to deny that it’s got masses of potential and looks like a genuinely interesting machine to dig into.

And maybe to benefit from a second-generation Steam Deck when it actually arrives, I need to use the original Steam Deck… shush, let me use this tenuous excuse to treat myself.

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Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.