Buying multiplatform games was a easy choice for me: I’d nearly all the time get them on the Nintendo Switch due to how simple it is to play games each on a TV or in transportable mode. The Steam Deck has thrown a wrench in that decision-making course of. The handheld gaming PC could be heavier, have worse battery life, and doesn’t include a simple Switch-like dock to throw my games onto a much bigger display, however as a result of I really feel like I can financial institution on Steam games being obtainable for much longer into the longer term, I’m having to make powerful selections about whether or not I buy games on Valve’s storefront as a substitute of Nintendo’s.
There’s one necessary factor I ought to state up entrance: I hadn’t owned a gaming PC of any form till I bought the Steam Deck in April. For an extended whereas, I primarily performed video games on Nintendo platforms, and I solely actually started to dig into the PlayStation and Xbox libraries in earnest with the start of the pandemic. (I bought a PS4 simply to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, and issues escalated from there.)
While I’ve purchased numerous Steam games on sale or in Humble Bundles, I’ve solely truly performed a handful of them and solely on previous work laptops or my private MacBook Airs. The Steam Deck, alternatively, is a way more succesful gaming system than any laptop computer I’ve ever owned. Once I bought it arrange, I out of the blue had entry to almost 200 PC games that I had beforehand purchased or claimed, and I may play them on my sofa or linked to an exterior show. I knew that might be the case when I put in my reservation for the Steam Deck final yr, however truly seeing the games on my very personal system was eye-opening.
With Switch games, although, there’s no assure that they’ll work with Nintendo’s subsequent main console. Right now, I simply must cross my fingers that Nintendo opts to make that console backward-compatible with my Switch purchases. Personally, I’m not relying on it — Nintendo loves to search out new methods to resell previous games.
I would have preferred to have introduced over Mario Kart 8 from my Wii U to the Switch, however to have the ability to play it with my colleagues through the pandemic, I needed to cough up the complete value for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Access to retro games is one of many major perks of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription, however the entire Virtual Console purchases I made years in the past aren’t obtainable on my Switch. And Nintendo isn’t afraid to close down storefronts.
With Steam, alternatively, I might be pretty assured that virtually every little thing I buy that works on the Steam Deck now will work simply positive on any potential subsequent Steam Deck or gaming-capable laptop I buy effectively into the longer term (so long as the sport helps no matter working system I’m on, in fact). I’m making an enormous assumption that Valve doesn’t get acquired or out of the blue fall off the face of the earth — something can occur within the online game trade, so possibly I shouldn’t tempt destiny — however Valve appears to have a superb factor going.
I also needs to say that on my Steam Deck, I’ve typically gravitated towards smaller and indie titles like Hotline Miami, Inside, and The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. I suspect these are the sorts of games I personally am going to need to return to in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later, and it will likely be lots simpler to simply redownload them on PC as a substitute of getting to dig up my Switch as soon as it inevitably loses its spot on my TV stand.
Despite how a lot I love the Steam Deck and the potential that the Steam platform will let me simply entry games years and years down the road, I haven’t totally dedicated to Valve’s ecosystem simply but as a result of it’s a trouble to play Steam Deck games on my TV. Part of the magic of the Switch is how effortlessly it switches from handheld to TV mode if you plop the system into its dock, and though the Steam Deck can connect with exterior shows, there’s nonetheless not an possibility that’s fairly so simple as the Switch expertise.
I had been trying ahead to the official Steam Deck dock to see if that might come shut, however because it was delayed, I’m going to must maintain ready. But whereas I don’t count on the Steam Deck will ever be as simple to play on a TV as a Switch, it could be value a little bit of inconvenience to have the ability to play a long time of PC games on the massive display at dwelling and to know that something I buy now will most likely work on different PCs down the road.
Right now, I’m nonetheless selecting the Switch for lots of games. (And, in fact, there are the massive games like Zelda and Metroid which are solely obtainable on the Switch.) But what was a no brainer is now one thing that I must suppose arduous about, and as Valve retains enhancing the Steam Deck, selections sooner or later could be even more durable.