Buying multi-platform games was a simple decision for me: I’d almost always get them on the Nintendo Switch because of how easy it is to play games on both TV and portable mode. Steam Deck has thrown a wrench into this decision-making process. A handheld might be heavier, have worse battery life, and don’t come with an easy Switch-like dock to throw my games onto a bigger screen, but I feel like I can keep Steam games available for longer. In the future, I’ll have to make tough choices about whether I’ll buy games from Valve’s storefront instead of Nintendo’s.

One important thing to mention first: I didn’t own a gaming PC until I got the Steam Deck back in April. For a long time, I played video games primarily on Nintendo platforms, and only with the onset of the pandemic began to seriously study the PlayStation and Xbox libraries. (I bought a PS4 just to play Final Fantasy VII Remakeand events grew from there.)

While I’ve bought a lot of Steam games on sale or in Humble Bundles, I’ve actually only played a few of them, and only on my old work laptops or personal MacBook Airs. On the other hand, the Steam Deck is a more capable gaming device than any laptop I’ve ever owned. After installing it, I suddenly had access to about 200 PC games I had previously bought or claimed and could play them on my couch or connect to an external display. I knew this would be the case when I reserved for the Steam Deck last year, but actually seeing the games on my own device was an eye-opener.

With Switch games, there’s no guarantee they’ll work with Nintendo’s next major console. For now, I’ll have to cross my fingers that Nintendo chooses to make this console backward compatible with my Switch purchases. Personally, I don’t believe so — Nintendo loves to find new ways to resell old games.

I would like to bring Mario kart 8 Wii U to Switch, but to be able to play it with my colleagues during a pandemicI had to cough up the full price for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Access to retro games is one of the main benefits of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, but not all of the Virtual Console purchases I made years ago are available on Switch. And Nintendo isn’t afraid close shop windows.

Photo: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

On the other hand, with Steam, I can be fairly confident that almost anything I buy that works on a Steam Deck now will work well on a Steam Deck or gaming-capable PC I buy well into the future. because the game supports the operating system I’m using, of course). I’m making a big assumption that Valve won’t be acquired or suddenly go off the face of the earth — everything be able is happening in the video game industry, so maybe I shouldn’t tempt fate – but it seems at Valve good thing going.

I also have to say that I’ve generally gravitated towards smaller and indie titles on Steam Deck. Hotline Miami, Insideand The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. I doubt these are the types of games I’d personally want to return to at some point in the future, and it’ll be easier to re-download them to PC instead of digging out the Switch once they’ve inevitably lost their function. place on my tv stand.

Despite how much I love Steam Deck and the potential for the Steam platform to allow me easy access to games for years and years to come, I’m still not fully committed to the Valve ecosystem because Steam Deck games are difficult to play on my PC. television. Part of the Switch’s magic is how easily it switches from handheld to TV mode when you dock the device, and while the Steam Deck can connect to external displays, there’s still no option as simple as the Switch experience. .

I was looking forward to it official Steam Deck dock to see if he could come close, but since then he was late, I have to keep waiting. But while I don’t expect the Steam Deck to be as easy as the Switch on the TV, being able to play decades of PC games on the big screen at home might be worth the slight inconvenience. and Knowing that whatever I buy now will probably work on other computers.

Right now, I still choose the Switch for most games. (And, of course, there are great games like Zelda and Metroid they’re only available on Switch.) But what used to be a no-brainer is now something I have to give a lot of thought to, and as Valve continues to improve the Steam Deck, it may become more difficult to choose in the future.

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