We’re Years Away From A Better Steam Deck

Steam Deck designer Pierre-Loup Griffais told CNBC at the Tokyo Game Show that the portable PC won’t get a meaningful hardware refresh for at least “a couple years.”

Distributor Valve thinks the Deck is in a “pretty sweet spot,” Griffais said, “in terms of being able to play all the experiences from this new generation [of games], and, you know, so far, the new releases are […] great experiences on Steam Deck.” Resource-heavy Starfield kind of crushes its spine, though.

To The Verge, Griffais clarified that a Steam Deck successor wouldn’t release until at least 2025, putting a Steam Deck 2 more or less on the same timeline as something like the elusive Switch 2, which likely wouldn’t release until 2024 or later. Kotaku reached out to Valve for comment.

“Changing the performance level is not something we are taking lightly, and we only want to do so when there is a significant enough increase to be had,” Griffais said to The Verge.

And, anyway, Griffais feels that the current Deck—an impressive machine by all counts—is holding itself gracefully amid competition like the Switch or Android-based Ayn Odin.

Read More: The Steam Deck Had A Phenomenal First Year
Buy The Steam Deck: GameStop

Sales have been steady even after covid’s (relative) decline, and Valve is routinely releasing software updates. “We’ve done a lot of work on Steam[‘s operating system, which powers the Deck],” Griffais said to CNBC. He’s also happy to recognize that “the power and strength of PC is that there’s a diversity of options. […] I think it’s great that all these other manufacturers are also participating [in creating portable consoles] […]. If they succeed, we succeed.”

While the specifics of a Steam Deck 2 are unknown even to its manufacturer, Griffais more or less confirms that trendy attention on VR, like that which Mark Zuckerberg is beaming into the Meta Quest 2, probably won’t ever pair with Steam Deck.

“We don’t really have a VR story to [the Deck],” Griffais said to CNBC, “but [VR is] definitely something we want to explore more in the future.”

 

THPS 1+2 Gets Offline Mode, But Only On Steam Deck

Good news skater punks: The recently released Steam version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is now playable offline. But in totally wack and weird news: This offline mode is only for Steam Deck users.

First released in 2020, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a very good remake of the first two games in the iconic skateboarding franchise. It initially launched on consoles and PC via the Epic Games Store. And for three years, the only way for PC players to buy and enjoy THPS 1+2 was through Epic’s storefront. Last month, that changed, when Activision finally remembered to bring the game to Steam. Sadly, this version of THPS 1+2 still came saddled with an always-online requirement on PC, just like the Epic Games Store edition. As you can imagine, this frustrated many players. However, a new update added offline support, but in a confusing and somewhat unprecedented move, this feature is only available on the Steam Deck, Valve’s hugely popular portable PC.

On October 18, a few weeks after it finally leaped to Steam, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 received a small 1.1 patch. There were only two notes in the update’s tiny changelog: A keyboard overlay error that occurred on Steam Deck was fixed, and offline mode was added to that same platform.

Fans still trying to get around the weird requirement

Of course, fans assumed that they could dupe the game and Steam into thinking they were playing THPS 1+2 on Steam Deck even when playing on their desktop computer or laptop, and thus enjoy offline play without using Valve’s handheld. But so far, people are struggling to find a workaround.

PlayStation / Activision

On Reddit, users are sharing different ideas for console commands that could trick the game, but nothing seems to be working yet. That means, at least for now, that the only way to play the game without an internet connection is on a Steam Deck. And even if (or more likely when) players and modders figure out how to properly trick the game and Steam into letting them play offline on a desktop, it’s bizarre that any of this is happening at all.

Kotaku has contacted Activision about the offline mode’s Steam Deck requirement.

I’ve not seen a publisher do something like this on Steam Deck before. Plenty of games don’t support the portable PC, and just as many have been updated to add graphical options or tweaks designed to make the game run better on it. But I’ve never seen a game completely lock out features or options when played on a desktop. Even Aperture Desk Job, Valve’s small Steam Deck game meant to show off the handheld device’s features, is fully playable on desktop.

Yet, not so with THPS 1+2, which seems to be holding a much-requested offline mode hostage and only letting Steam Deck users enjoy it. Sure, it makes sense that Activision would want the game to be playable offline on Steam Deck, as it makes it easier to play the game anywhere and that leads to more people buying it before road trips and the like. But to completely lock that mode away from everyone else on Steam is quite bizarre, and frankly pretty shitty.

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