Valve's Steam Deck Probably Won't Get Exclusive Games

·2 min read
Steam Decks
Steam Decks

Valve has confirmed that for its upcoming handheld device, the Steam Deck, the company won’t be encouraging the release of any kind of exclusive games that you couldn’t also get on a desktop computer or laptop.

This is one of those things that sounds completely obvious when you look at it from one direction, and something that needed direct confirmation about if you came at it from somewhere else. Like, of course it won’t be getting exclusives, it’s just a little computer, so everything running on it can also run on a big computer.

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But then we also live in a dystopian hellscape where it would also have been entirely unsurprising to see developers—or maybe even Valve themselves—start trying to craft Steam Deck “exclusives” that somehow made use of portable features, or didn’t even go that trouble in the first place, just to get us to buy the same game all over again.

As IGN reports, in a new FAQ posted as part of developer documentation, Valve distances themselves from the idea of exclusive games without actually outright banning them from sale:

Would Valve be interested in having any Steam Deck exclusive titles?

No, that doesn’t make much sense to us. It’s a PC and it should just play games like a PC.

The terminology is very cute there, saying “we don’t like it” instead of “we won’t allow it”, but given Valve’s control over their own marketplace, and now as essentially the platform holder of the Steam Deck, you’d hope that still carries a lot of weight. The last thing we need to see is developers and publishers start charging for games we’ve already paid for on desktop.

The Steam Deck, a handheld PC that comes pre-loaded with Valve’s Steam storefront and gaming platform, was originally supposed to release before the end of 2021. Global supply constraints have taken their toll here as they have elsewhere, though, and the Steam Deck’s original December 2021 release has instead been pushed back to February 2022.

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