If you follow the gaming industry, you understand how the upcoming weeks are important for game publishers and developers. As E3 and other summer events approach, many are getting ready to showcase their newest titles and products. This time around, the season of early news and rumors also included interesting rumors about Valve’s future.
Those rumors about Valve, if proven true, could mean big changes for the company. Many have already addressed possible outcomes but what about the developer’s esports titles?
Leaked by SteamDB and later corroborated by ArsTechnica, SteamPal seems to be Valve’s latest piece of tech. According to both sources, it’s a portable PC aimed at gaming.
Competing with the likes of GPD Win 3 and Alienware’s Project UFO, the SteamPal would be the first time since a major gaming publisher decide to invest in the handheld PC market.
Moreover, depending on its price tag, the SteamPal could very well compete with the Nintendo Switch in the gaming console market too.
The information around the machine is unconfirmed, of course, but there’s backing to them. If proven true, the SteamPal would definitely be an interesting device – hopefully considerably more than Valve’s Steam Machines.
While we’re still wondering about which games will be working on Valve’s handheld, it’d be strange if the company didn’t use its main esports titles to boost the device’s game catalog.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DoTA 2 are obviously the titles that come to mind. If Valve manages to properly adapt those games to a handheld device, nothing is stopping them from gathering a new, console-only player population.
Furthermore, game developers have managed to bring many PC-only titles to consoles in the last few years. Cities Skylines, for example, is a game set in a genre completely unexplored in console space that was a success on Xbox and PlayStation platforms.
As the platform-exclusive genres come to an end, Valve have a golden opportunity here. This opportunity, of course, would expand to all esports developers out there, too.
Many publications regarding the SteamPal are labelling it as a “gaming machine”. Much like the GPD Win 3, the current idea around the SteamPal is that it’s a device that pushes boundaries – a device that will be able to play premium, AAA releases.
However, there’s also a possibility that the SteamPal is actually a budget handheld. The aforementioned GPD Win 3 currently costs $799 in its cheapest version. Valve could be going in another route – a more accessible one. Some sources, not as credible, unfortunately, have pointed that Valve is targeting a $399 price point.
Of course, on paper, a cheaper device means less power. However, a budget, esports-oriented consoled still is a very interesting proposal with an unexplored market.
If Valve shows adapted versions of their esports games, as well as other popular titles such as Apex Legends, Rainbow Six: Siege and FIFA running on their device, then selling it at a cheaper-than-most MSRP, the SteamPal suddenly becomes a device with potential to break through mainstream.
The idea of a budget-oriented handheld PC is definitely interesting. For esports games and dedicated players, especially, it could reach an almost “must-have” status. It could work both as a companion device, as well as an viable option for players looking to get into esports gaming.
According to the leaked strings related to the SteamPal, the console would have a set of officially supported titles. These games would ideally have their controls tested and adapted for the handheld format. Matchmaking-related changes are possible, too.
If done properly, this means that a new crowd of players could get into CSGO and DoTA. Console-only players used to controllers would finally be able to get into Valve esports titles while using a gamepad. Of course, following the leaks, the user would be also able to dock their SteamPal and connect it to a TV or monitor. This opens up the possibility of connecting a keyboard and mouse to the device, allowing players to use the gamepad during casual matches, and a keyboard and mouse setup if they want to get the most precise controls for ranked games.
This also opens the possibility of moving between your PC and handheld seamless during matches. As one would be logged in your Steam account for both devices, they could simply swap devices during a pause if needed.
The idea here is that, again, the potential of a considerably affordable handheld is big for Valve’s titles. These games are already free-to-play and easy to run. Bringing them to a whole new audience with the SteamPal is completely feasible.
While DoTA has always been a PC-only series, Counter-Strike has a different story. The game first got to consoles back in the 2000s, with a port of the original game to Microsoft’s XBOX.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive reportedly started as a port of Counter-Strike: Source to consoles. As development progressed, Valve took the reins from Hidden Path and finished the game themselves, releasing it in 2012 on Steam, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The game never did well on consoles, but there’s clearly reasons for its failure on consoles. Valve never updated the game on Microsoft and Sony platforms, plus, 2012’s CSGO is a very different beast than the hit we have today.
There’s no reason to believe that history would repeat itself with Global Offensive. Valve gathered plenty of data with the Steam Controller after all. This, along with their experience in the esports market, they have everything needed to make CSGO, DoTA 2 and even Team Fortress 2, in case they remember it, a valuable asset to SteamPal success.
Gabe Newell, the man in charge of Valve, has teased some console-related Steam announcement for later this year. While initially believed to be something related to the company’s VR efforts, it seems now that he was talking about SteamPal.
In this case, and following the rumors, Valve plans to show the device later on this year. While it might become a 2022 reveal due to the current shortages and other unplanned events, it seems that Valve definitely has their eyes on the console space, and we’ll be seeing what’s this means sooner than later.
We definitely can’t wait to see how the SteamPal looks like, and what it will bring to Valve esports titles. If you’re just as eager as us to know more, make sure to follow our news page!