It’s only the beginning of the week but we’ve already had some interesting leaks, rumors, and reveals heading into the month of E3 2021. Continuing with this is yet another major rumor that has since been turned into a full exclusive report by Ars Technica. According to the report, Valve is currently developing a “Nintendo Switch-like” portable gaming PC. The report also states that the device could launch by the end of the year depending on the supply chain for chips and other accessories.
I’ve been sitting on this egg for a while, but today, it finally hatches. Here’s my exclusive report on Valve’s plans to make a portable, Switch-like gaming PC, currently code-named “SteamPal.” https://t.co/amD2zfu3cu
— Sam Machkovech ☂ (@samred) May 25, 2021
The initial report for this came from Pavel Djundiuk, who is the moderator for SteamDB. Djundiuk noted that a controller with the name “Neptune” came up in the latest Steam Client Beta. He also mentioned that the Neptune name was attached to another name, “SteamPal” along with a quick access menu and a power menu. The latter names are usually associated with booting up a system, which also applies to home console/handheld set ups.
This update also added a “quick access menu” and a “power menu”
I have a feeling all these strings related to “Neptune”: https://t.co/Ih0K2y4E5A
Is Valve making a handheld Steam console?
— Pavel Djundik (@thexpaw) May 25, 2021
According to the report from Ars Technica, the device does indeed exist, but the currently given name, SteamPal, is apparently not the final one and it could be changed to something else. Ars Technica reports that it will an “all-in-one” system and will run off of Linux. It will also have touch-screen controls as well as gamepad controls similarly to the Nintendo Switch. It is unknown if the device will have a docking detachment just like the Switch.
Ars Technica also calls back on a report from a post on Reddit, one that has since been deleted, where Valve President Gabe Newell was being asked if they would port any Steam titles to the home console market. Newell’s response was “You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year… and it won’t be the answer you expect. You’ll say, ‘Ah-ha! Now I get what he was talking about.” Valve has yet to make an official comment, and most likely won’t anytime soon.
Should the SteamPal be revealed by the company in the near future, then it should be noted that this is not the first time that the company has attempted to create additional hardware for the PC gaming audience. They launched the Steam Machine in 2015, a line of gaming PC’s more akin to home consoles, and the Steam Controller. Unfortunately, both failed to make an impact in the video game market and were quietly de-listed from the Steam page in 2018.