It might not be the first of its kind, especially if you look at the niche market that some Chinese brands created years ago, but the Steam Deck has definitely set expectations about what mobile PC gaming systems should be. Valve, however, isn't a hardware manufacturer, so it's not surprising that it's having trouble keeping up with the high demand that its own hype helped generate. While some early adopters were able to get their hands on the first batch of handheld consoles, most orders are backlogged until October. The same can't be said for the Steam Deck's official dock accessory, which still hasn't launched. The delay may be frustrating for those who already own the console, but the wait may ultimately be worth it.
Handheld gaming devices have been around for decades, but the Nintendo Switch helped revitalize that market, especially because of its multi-functional features. Unlike the PS Vita, which was sadly retired at the height of this handheld renaissance, the Switch isn't just a miniature version of a larger home console; rather, it can function both in handheld and TV modes, assuming you don't have the Lite variant. Sure, Nintendo had to make some compromises in terms of performance to accommodate the small form factor, but the Switch has held up on its own for years.
The Switch's success sparked renewed interest in handhelds in the gaming industry, including the PC market. Beating others like Alienware and Razer to the punch, Valve launched the Steam Deck to bring that same portable gaming lifestyle to PC games. Reviews have been generally positive, albeit with a few complaints here and there, but the full potential of the device still needs to be realized with the arrival of its missing accessory.
As with the Nintendo Switch, it's possible to connect the Steam Deck to peripherals and a larger screen, effectively transforming it into a stationary computer or, better yet, a fully-functional Linux desktop. And, like the Switch, there's also an official Docking Station accessory that has yet to surface. Although the Steam Deck's full features can be utilized with any USB-C dock, Valve's first-party accessory still offers some benefits few other docks can match. Now, it seems the accessory will offer even more than expected.
Valve has quietly updated its tech specs page for the Steam Deck and the Docking Station, according to Review Geek, revealing some upgrades to the accessory in addition to clarifying confusing aspects about it. Instead of sporting one USB 3.1 and two USB 2.0 ports as initially announced, all three of the Steam Deck dock's USB ports will be USB 3.1. It now also clearly states that the Ethernet port supports Gigabit Ethernet, something that has been ambiguous until now.
While there are some USB-C docks that can meet those specs or even surpass them (by offering SD card readers, for example), it's still a different matter when you consider that this Docking Station was specifically designed around the Steam Deck and its unique form factor. More importantly, it's also a test of how well Valve will be able to meet the demand for both the Steam Deck and its accessory, which isn't looking good at the moment. The Steam Deck Docking Station is still on track to launch in late spring.
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