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Valve's new SteamPal may be a Switch-like handheld that plays PC games

Valve might be working on its own hardware answer to the Alienware's PC-handheld hybrid made specifically to play Steam games.

Published Tue, May 25 2021 2:14 PM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Jun 21 2021 5:09 PM CDT

UPDATE: The handheld has been confirmed by Ars Technica sources who tell the site that the SteamPal has been in development for "quite some time."

Valve might be making its own handheld-console hybrid similar to the Nintendo Switch or the experimental Alienware Concept UFO.

Valve's new SteamPal may be a Switch-like handheld that plays PC games 23 |

After the ill-fated Steam Machines, Valve might try to make its own hardware again. This time it looks like Valve could make a handheld that plays PC-grade Steam games.

Evidence of mysterious Neptune hardware has shown up in a Steam beta client, complete with multiple code strings that mention SteamPal (the possible handheld). Steam Database, who meticulously tracks Steam client and game updates, noticed many of the strings.

The code specifically mentions power settings like sleep and shutdown, along with CPU logic strings Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, which are functionalities usually found baked into handhelds.

Here's some of the notable strings:

  • NameList_View_NeptuneGames: "SteamPal Games"
  • NeptuneName: "SteamPal"
  • Settings_Internet_Wifi_Enabled: "Enable Wi-Fi",
  • QuickAccess_Tab_Bluetooth_Section_Devices_NonePaired: "No devices paired",
  • Settings_System_CPUFrequency: "CPU Frequency",
  • Settings_System_CPUPhysicalCores: "CPU Physical Cores",
  • Settings_System_CPULogicalCores: "CPU Logical Cores",
  • Settings_System_RAMSize: "RAM Size",
  • Settings_System_VideoCard: "Video Card",
  • Settings_System_VideoDriver: "Video Driver",
  • Settings_System_VRAMSize: "VRAM Size",

So what should we expect?

If Valve is making a SteamPal handheld, it could be a self-contained bit of hardware that plays Steam games. It might even come with a dock.

A bit ago, Valve's Gabe Newell teased that Steam games were coming to consoles but "not in the way you think."

It's also possible the SteamPal will allow remote streaming of Steam games from a higher-end desktop PC.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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