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Published: August 9, 2021

Written by: Stoyan Todorov

  • According to a new reveal, Steam Deck will not receive a performance boost while in docked mode
  • A docked performance boost was planned but later scrapped as Valve wanted to mainly focus on Steam Deck’s portable mode
  • This may undermine the performance of some demanding games while the device is connected to a bigger screen

In a somewhat worrying announcement, it was confirmed that Steam Deck would not have a performance boost while docked.

Steam Deck Will Not Get a Power-Up When Docked

The Steam Deck is Valve’s attempt to create a high-end portable console that is capable of running all of the contemporary PC games. It will work much like the Nintendo Switch and will have a dock that lets users connect the device to a bigger screen. However, unlike its Nintendo counterpart, the Steam Deck will not get any performance boost when docked.

The worrisome news was revealed by none other than the Steam Deck’s designer Greg Coomer in an interview with PCGamer. According to Coomer, a docked performance boost was considered but was eventually scrapped as Valve decided to prioritize Steam Deck’s portable qualities. 

The designer revealed that the company felt that it was for the best not to create a disparity between the device’s docked and portable mode. He explained that the Steam Deck is primarily designed as a portable alternative to the PC and is, therefore, a bit redundant to focus on its docked form. 

“We didn’t really feel like we should target also going after the docking scenario at higher resolutions. We wanted a simpler design target and to prioritize that,” Coomer explained.

How This Will Impact Steam Deck’s Performance

The native resolution of the Steam Deck is 800p. Without any performance boost, the device may suffer from a quality and performance drop when used in docked mode on a bigger screen as its specs are made with a handheld mode in mind. 

Moreover, Valve’s intentions for the device are for it to steadily maintain at least 30 frames per second. However, in docked mode, it is possible that certain state-of-the-art AAA games may perform worse than that. 

It will be up to the developers to carefully test anything out and to avoid such a scenario. Many fans will be quite disgruntled if the device happens to underperform in docked mode, especially considering the dock will be sold separately as an accessory. 

Valve’s daring task of developing a console is both brave and dangerous as the company will be tapping into a market that is already dominated by some of the biggest tech giants. And while the sentiment behind Steam Deck is great for it would allow the same level of traveling convenience that portable consoles offer, it will be a lot of effort to make everything fail-proof. 

We are yet to see how the device will work. People can already pre-order a device. Steam Decks are expected to ship this December.  

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