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Before Steam Deck Launch, UI Now Prominently Displays Game Size

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

The Steam Deck is expected to start shipping to end users at the end of the month, and Valve is be pushing out quite a number of spit and polish tweaks to the Steam UI and its functionality before the launch. Two Steam UI updates, spotted in a beta release in recent hours, will help Steam Deck users easily manage tight storage limits.

The new Steam UI will highlight game download sizes, in the Library page. Previously, you didn't know the size of a game until you clicked to install it. This is a small but welcome introduction both for pre-download, and for weeding down your Steam Library, when you're running out of space.

Example of old UI (top) vs new UI (bottom) (Image credit: GamingOnLinux)


These UI changes are being seen in betas on the desktop client, so it's not limited to Valve's upcoming hardware.

Still, the base Steam deck comes with only 64GB of eMMC storage, while the middle option has a 256GB SSD and the most expensive comes with a 512GB SSD. Users can expand with an SD card, but they won't have the relatively cheap 1 or 2TB HDDs that some PC gamers are used to.

Another tweak that upcoming Steam Deck owners may appreciate is is the Steam Client UI highlighting Steam Dynamic Cloud Sync status. As we reported last week, this cloud syncing of game data is going to be very important for those switching from PC to the portable and back.

Steam Devs Give Glowing Feedback

While those UI changes show some positive changes to prospective Steam Deck owners,  PC Gamer recently spoke to several developers with early access to the hardware and software, and "they're all impressed" with the offering.

There was some trepidation by devs as they approached this portable, as it runs on a complex software stack – running Linux, with Proton, and then the often-demanding games from the Steam library. However, the likes of Iron Gate programmer and designer, Jonathan Smårs, told PC Gamer that he was "surprised how well games work on it without any changes, and how good it feels to play on it." He did warn users that some game graphics settings will need to be toned down compared to a high-end PC though, the arrival of FSR might help somewhat with that. Smårs went on to comment that in his own development experience, "Valheim worked from day one on Steam Deck without any changes."

(Image credit: Valve)

Last year, Valve asserted that if a game doesn't work properly on the Steam Deck it would basically be seen as a bug-issue. Developers have had plenty of warning regarding the handheld's launch. The issues devs have had  to iron out appear to be mostly to do with bringing things like controller settings and easily adjustable screen/graphics settings to the fore. Meanwhile, Valve is very busy in the background tweaking Proton and other vitals.

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • cryoburner
    Users can expand with an SD card, but they won't have the relatively cheap 1 or 2TB HDDs that some PC gamers are used to.
    It does have a USB-C port, so connecting external drives should be possible. It sounds like a powered USB hub might be required to run drives that use any significant power draw though, so that would be more of an option for accessing an expanded library at home.
    Reply
  • artk2219
    This is good news for lowspec gamers since basically every new steam game may have to be validated for the steam deck, meaning more games should have low end options for weaker hardware. At least thats the hope, we will see how that goes.
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    I'm really hoping they release the OS for PCs.
    Sadly, I really doubt it would work on my system, now that I think of it.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    artk2219 said:
    This is good news for lowspec gamers since basically every new steam game may have to be validated for the steam deck, meaning more games should have low end options for weaker hardware. At least thats the hope, we will see how that goes.
    I have some doubts that it's ever going to make up enough of the market to cause any significant number of AAA developers to go out of their way to make sure their games run well on the system. Steam certainly isn't going to require games to run on the hardware. And a developer designing their game to impress on the new generation of consoles and higher-end gaming PCs isn't going to limit it in any way to support a device that only a fraction of a percent of its potential customer base will have.

    Realistically, I don't see the device selling much more than a few million units, if even that, while the consoles from Sony and Microsoft combined tend to sell in the vicinity of 170 million units each generation. If any gaming hardware encouraged developers to support lower-end hardware, it would be the Nintendo Switch (or its eventual successor), which has moved over 100 million units over the last five years, though there's no guarantee that the PC port of a game will see the same level of optimization. The same goes for the previous generation of consoles, which many games are still designed to support, though that will be less the case as the install-base of new consoles grows. Games built specifically for the new consoles will likely be a lot less friendly to the Steam Deck than the multi-generational titles that make up most of the current market.

    Phones are another potential market that developers may want to target, and there are some examples of good games designed for mobile that also see decent PC ports. Again though, that's a far larger market than the Steam Deck will ever be, so I don't think the Steam Deck itself is likely have that much of an effect on support for lower-end hardware.
    Reply
  • CrEdge
    cryoburner said:
    It does have a USB-C port, so connecting external drives should be possible. It sounds like a powered USB hub might be required to run drives that use any significant power draw though, so that would be more of an option for accessing an expanded library at home.
    Indeed. I'd expect portable SSD options as well if getting something like this.
    Reply
  • Old Molases
    I think playing MOBAS here would be a little difficult.
    Reply
  • artk2219
    mac_angel said:
    I'm really hoping they release the OS for PCs.
    Sadly, I really doubt it would work on my system, now that I think of it.

    They already have, and it should the requirements are pretty generic, you can download it here:

    https://store.steampowered.com/steamos/buildyourown
    Although I do take issue with the non alphabetical listing of GPU vendors, also does this mean that it will work with an Intel i740 or Nvidia NV1, Riva 128, or RIVA TNT, what about the good old Geforce 256?

    a/afVpDovView: https://imgur.com/a/afVpDov

    Let us know how it goes
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    artk2219 said:
    They already have, and it should the requirements are pretty generic, you can download it here:

    https://store.steampowered.com/steamos/buildyourown
    I think that's still a much older version though, from some years back when they were trying to push their "Steam Machine" ecosystem. The opening paragraph describes it as being based on Debian 8, which came out in 2015, while the new SteamOS is based on Arch Linux. Valve announced that the new SteamOS 3.0 will be freely available, but as far as I know, they haven't released it yet. They will probably do that soon though, perhaps shortly after the Steam Deck is released.
    Reply