The Steam Deck isn’t the first time Valve has taken a stab at Steam-centric hardware, with the infamous Steam Machines arriving and then quickly disappearing back in 2015. Speaking with IGN, Valve indicates that the Steam Machine rollout was an important learning process that paved the way for the Steam Deck.
“We didn’t really want to bring this device to customers until we felt it was ready and that all those boxes were checked essentially,” says designer Greg Coomer, adding “I don’t think we would’ve made as much progress on Steam Deck if we hadn’t had that experience.”
Designer Scott Dalton adds that Valve’s experience with trying to make a gaming PC that ran on Linux eventually led to Proton, the compatibility layer allowing the Steam Deck to run Windows games, at least in theory. Valve also explains that designing Steam Controller also provided valuable insight into the eventual design of the Steam Deck.
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