Nintendo recently announced the NEW Nintendo Switch ($50 extra model) with most of its new features going toward portable play. Definitely not the Pro model everyone made up and was mad at Nintendo about because it never actually existed. I’m fine still using whatever older secondhand one I have that’s apparently possibly easy to put homebrew on if I so choose. Of course the idea of the Switch is something other companies have been pursuing since it took off like it did.
Even more recently, Valve announced the Steam Deck. While Valve’s hardware track record has been hit or miss as far as actually getting users on it and probably part of why things like the Steam Machine were pretty much forgotten about by everyone to where I had to remember what those were actually called and that they did launch to some degree, this still does look interesting. It’s effectively the idea of the Switch, minus the detachable controls as far as I can tell, but a fully functional gaming PC. It’s a good idea to get console-focused people like those I know into the library available on PC, even if it’s very heavily pointing toward Steam specifically. Of course it’s running SteamOS, which is based in Linux, but it can apparently be reconfigured with any OS including Windows if wanted, plus any software that’ll run on that copy of Linux can just be loaded on in a desktop mode at least, hopefully extendable to portable. For a defined piece of hardware, it has some open options, including being able to existing USB-C dock things as a dock like the Switch does before they figure out what the official dock will be.
This sort of thing is probably beyond whatever people were expecting for a Switch Pro, but it really looks like the idealized Switch Pro that people might make mockups of, except it’s a specialized Linux PC. And it even has analog triggers. Of course it also has touchpads because Valve likes to put those on hardware, and of course they’re also haptic. It’s all the trademark Valve hardware stuff, hopefully with good support and accepted by the community this time. Would also help to have them available in stores other than going direct if possible so more people actually know about it, thus giving more reason to maintain support. The way that I’m still sort of interested in this sort of thing despite having a VR-capable gaming PC and a Switch is something. It also goes on making sure offline mode works for the Steam games for when road trips are a thing. Trying to update a PC game over cell data is probably not a good idea in many regions. At least it has the microSD expansion storage for those who aren’t dumping a bunch of cash into the higher storage models.
Another thing is that games with Switch ports should really get Linux ports if they don’t already, for that advantage. And games without Switch ports that people really want a version on there as well. I would anticipate that this could run Slime Rancher pretty decently for example. Really, more games should run on Linux. The major game engines used today can export in Linux pretty fine most of the time but publishers seem to refuse to want to bother supporting it. The Proton system, another Valve-led thing, fills in the gaps of Windows-specific games that can be made to run on Linux at least. I would really be using Linux more if I could reliably get games to run on there regularly, and I could be close to that, especially with the impending Windows 11 and the eventual end of support for 10 to follow, if I’m deciding to not bother with a forced upgrade like when 10 first came out, if they’ll pull that stunt again. I’ve seen a bit of Windows 11 in preview, it looks a bit too Mac-like for my liking, which is probably customizable somewhere, but not sure what will be locked behind what. Given that Windows 10 apparently needed Pro or better to turn off automatic updates, not sure how much I look forward to more of that. I was just glad to have an old copy of Windows 10 Pro lying around from previous endeavors to put onto whatever my next big gaming PC would be, so I could play more modern games and not worry about the machine suddenly slowing to a halt because right in the middle of a game is the best time to install 17 updates and then restart out of nowhere.