Valve’s Steam Deck is wiping out the Nintendo Switch cast. It’s already clear that Nintendo will have to dress warmly going forward.
Hamburg – When the Nintendo Switch hit the market, I was more than excited. The console’s big promise was, “Just take the great triple-A games and play wherever you want.” I even bought my favorite games a second time for the Switch, just so I could play them wherever I happened to be. But in 2022, Valve will release its own portable console, and my Nintendo Switch has been gathering dust ever since. The irony is: Nintendo is itself responsible for this situation.
|Console name||Steam Deck|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR5 RAM|
|Storage medium||nvme, ssd|
|Version||February 25, 2022|
The Steam Deck is killing the Switch and Nintendo is aware of it
This is the Steam Deck: The Steam Deck is a Linux PC that is used as a console. She looks like a Nintendo Switch on steroids. The idea is: Take your entire Steam library, PC games are freed from your desktop. The gaming PC for the backpack, smaller than any laptop, with the computing power of a PS4. It is also possible to install Chrome, Discord, Spotify and Linux programs. I could even work with it in the office.
My Steam account has been around since 2008, with 148 games that I can now play everywhere. You can also plug the Steam Deck into a TV via a dock, just like the Switch. It is a declaration of war. Since the Nintendo Switch, no hardware has gotten me more excited than the Steam Deck.
Nintendo is afraid of the Steam Deck: When the Steam Deck appeared, gamers pushed the limits of the device: They installed classic games (from Nintendo) on the Steam Deck via an emulator. Including games for the Switch. The videos quickly spread. Then Nintendo cracked: the group had the videos deleted from YouTube. These are the same images that can be seen in thousands of videos on YouTube that have not been deleted.
Nintendo knows what the Steam Deck can do. It can also emulate Switch games. Sometimes even with significantly more FPS than the Switch. The Steam Deck is the killer of the Nintendo Switch. But Nintendo doesn’t want you to know that. With Valve, a new adversary suddenly lays claim to the handheld game console market segment and now there are various areas where Nintendo has been more than overwhelmed.
The 3 areas in which Valve is making fun of Nintendo
Accessibility: The Steam Deck allows me to configure my controller assignment via Steam Input. Each key can be reassigned. Old PC games that I needed a mouse and keyboard for are now playable anywhere thanks to mouse-like trackpads.
If I don’t feel like assigning individual keys – no problem: the community allows me to choose for each game from countless layouts that someone has pre-established. Thanks to the Steam Deck’s gyro sensor, I can even retrofit 20-year-old games with motion controls, if I so choose. If I want to play online with friends, it’s free. Microphones are built into the Steam Deck, voice chat is still possible.
On the other hand, if I want to play online on the Switch, it costs a fee, although Nintendo’s server infrastructure is a joke compared to the competition. If I want to send messages or voice chat with my friends via the Switch, I have to download a separate app on my smartphone (!). As if Nintendo had never heard of Discord.
Durability : Whether it’s PS4, Xbox, or the old WiiU controller, my Steam Deck lets me use the technology I’ve accumulated over the years. Everything is easily done via Bluetooth. It is also possible to mix controllers from different systems. I don’t need to buy another controller that won’t be compatible with another system in a few years. I use my Xbox 360 controller or the PS4 DualShock, even the once useless trackpad is recognized as a mouse.
I can play with the controller I want, however I want. Additionally, Valve sells turntable replacement parts with iFixit. There are official repair instructions. Almost everything is replaceable and repairable. This is how eco-friendly hardware design works in 2022.
In the Nintendo ecosystem, only current controllers work. Legacy hardware is not supported. That too was different with the Wii and the GameCube. The Wii played all GameCube titles, the Wii U all Wii titles. In fact, the Wii U could even play GameCube titles, but Nintendo removed that feature. Nobody knows why.
Customer service : “The easiest way to stop software piracy is not to use copy protection technology. But rather by giving people better service than they get from hackers.” This quote is from Gabe Newell, the boss of Valve. To simplify, this means: make the best possible offer to the customer. This concept has become something of a Valve philosophy, and can be found in many areas of Steam. Valve is also actively interested in feedback from its customers. Every week there are updates for the Steam Deck with noticeable improvements.
What does customer service look like at Nintendo? An example: After the release of the Switch, it turned out that the Switch controllers had a high risk of error. However, Nintendo did not react to the “Joy-Con drift” for a long time. It took class action in the United States for Nintendo to admit the problems and offer a special repair service. This service does not exist for Germany. Because no collective consumer action is possible in this country. Even fans laugh at “Big N”‘s hostility to customers with memes.
Valve does what Nintendon does not
The Steam Deck takes me and the media seriously. While Nintendo infantilizes gamers and customers, Valve lets me choose. These two opposing business philosophies are the reason why I now prefer to turn to the Steam Deck. It’s not the superior computing power of the Steam Deck that’s in question. But it’s so much more fun to be able to decide for myself how I want to play my games and to have freedoms.
I could find twenty more examples where Nintendo leaves me on my hunger. At some point, I wonder why, as a customer and gamer, I should continue to be bullied when other companies are already so much further along. Some of the best game designers in the industry work for Nintendo. But at some point, the great games, retrograde hardware, narrow-mindedness of the band, and hostility towards customers will no longer justify any purchase decision. If you look on the Nintendo forums, you will increasingly read testimonials from frustrated gamers, who are just as annoyed as I am. It has to change. Nintendo needs to start living with the times, so I don’t live with mine.