Valve just announced its new handheld Steam Deck, powered by a custom Linux operating system. The 7-inch device will play the latest AAA games, and because it’s a PC, you’ll even be able to install Windows on it. That means the Steam Deck could be the perfect Xbox portable, given Microsoft’s investment in shipping all of its future Xbox Game Studios titles on PC.
“Steam Deck is a PC so you can install third-party software and operating systems,” says Valve, which means this hardware isn’t locked down in the way we’re used to seeing from tech companies.
The Steam Deck itself will ship with SteamOS, a custom Linux operating system that loads into the familiar Steam interface you’re used to on PC. While Linux support for gaming has been improving in recent years, particularly thanks to Valve’s Proton efforts, less than 15 percent of all games on Steam officially support Linux and SteamOS. That’s 7,586 games out of a possible 54,280 on Steam, compared to only 13 games on Steam that don’t work on Windows.