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Looks Like The Steam Deck Might Get Some Competition

Kotaku logo Kotaku 2/12/2021 Sisi Jiang
An image of the handheld device for the Snapdragon G3x. © Photo: Qualcomm An image of the handheld device for the Snapdragon G3x.

Five months after Valve announced the Steam Deck, a new challenger enters the handheld console market. The chip manufacturer Qualcomm partnered with gaming hardware company Razer to produce the Snapdragon G3x, a streamer-friendly console that can play games across PC, mobile, consoles, and the cloud.

The hardware is still heavily in the development phase, so further details about how the streaming aspect will work haven’t been described.

Taking a look at the specs, the device features a 6.65-inch OLED screen, which puts it just slightly below the size of the Steam Deck but slightly larger than the original Nintendo Switch model. The OLED Switch screen is seven inches. The Snapdragon device will include a camera and two mics, a feature meant to cater to players who want to stream their games. For comparison, the Steam Deck has a mic for multiplayer but not a camera. The Snapdragon can run games at up to 144 FPS, while the Steam Deck runs AAA games at 60 FPS on medium settings.

As first reported by Nintendo Life, the Snapdragon G3x isn’t out for consumers just yet. Though the console is meant to stream games from other devices, the chip manufacturer Qualcomm said it’s looking for developers to create content for the platform. As for what it has to offer developers, senior product director Micah Knapp emphasized that Qualcomm had the expertise to reduce throttling and overheating on handheld devices.

It’s a boast that holds a lot of water since Qualcomm chips are present in almost all major Android phones. And mobile gaming performance is becoming increasingly resource intensive. Overheating is a severe problem for mobile gamers who want to play titles like Call of Duty or Fortnite.

While PC and mobile may feel like an odd mashup, it makes perfect sense in the current gaming landscape. PC games such as PUBG and Minecraft are available on mobile, and mobile games such as Genshin Impact and Among Us have PC ports. These ecosystems have already started to intersect with one another, and the line between “PC games” and “mobile games” is wearing thin.

The Snapdragon G3x announcement is a logical next step for a mobile hardware developer in the world’s most profitable segment of entertainment, especially mobile, which makes up over half of gaming revenue. But they don’t seem to be rushing for a public release in the near future.

“Gamers follow content,” Knapp said. “Once the pipeline is primed, the [manufacturers] can come in and create the gaming hardware for consumers to enjoy.”

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