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Published: December 16, 2021

Written by: David Kent

  • Valve continues to work on its handheld/tabletop console
  • One of the delaying factors was the large operating system
  • Screenshots from patch notes posted online suggest that issue has been fixed

Valve delayed the release of its Steam Deck due to many obstacles, but perhaps one of them – the size of the operating system – has been overcome.

Steam Deck Delayed, Possibly Due to Large Operating System

Valve continues to work on their Steam Deck as the deadline for shipping in February is drawing closer. The Steam Deck is the much-anticipated handheld/tabletop console by the creators of Steam. It is supposed to be the Nintendo Switch’s main competitor, however, Valve’s product has been delayed from being released on the market. The Steam Deck was initially supposed to be launched in 2021, just in time for the holiday season, but that date has been moved to February 2022.

One of the reasons for this might be the overwhelming size of the Linux-based SteamOS 3 operating system. The problem is, the operating system would have taken up way too much space from the already quite limited memory of the console. The basic version of the console is supposed to ship with 64Gb of memory, however, until recently the SteamOS operating system took about up about 27Gb, which is more than a third of the console’s total memory.

Fortunately, a recent update suggests that the developers have managed to shrink down the OS to around 10Gb, making it more plausible the console will not get delayed again.

What Is SteamOS and What Did Valve Do to Shrink It

Valve wants to make a more open-source operating system for the Steam Deck. As stated on the official page, they’ve built the OS based on Debian 8, code named Debian Jessie. The problem was that it took way too much space from the limited 64Gb internal storage of the console.

However, according to the 20211120.2 patch notes, the size of the OS has been shrunk to around 10Gb. For comparison, a 64-bit version of Windows 10 requires around 20Gb of your PC’s storage. With its 10Gb size, the new SteamOS version will take around 15% of the console’s storage space, which is better than the Xbox Series, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch consoles, which each reserve around 20% of internal storage for their respective operating systems.

Nevertheless, this improvement doesn’t seem all that great, considering the default 64Gb storage space is still quite small. Many triple-A games have sizes of tens of gigabytes, with some even exceeding the Steam Deck’s whole storage potential. Perhaps this is an intentional design, as there will be a 256Gb and even a 512Gb premium version of the console available for purchase.

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