At the end of February it was one year since the debut of the Steam Deck and, despite its youth, many are already wondering when the first major update of Valve’s portable console will arrive. Specifically, the main question among fans is whether Gabe Newell’s men plan to launch a version with an OLED screen. And the company has not evaded the question.
In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Pierre-Loup Griffais, one of the designers of the Steam Deck, made it clear what the company’s position is around a model with an OLED screen. and if well did not completely rule out the possibilityI did make it clear that it would be a more complex change than the vast majority imagine.
The engineer assured that they understand that one of the limitations that the Steam Deck presents today at a technological level is its LCD screen. He also said that they are exploring all the ways to improve that section in the future, but that any possible modification cannot be implemented overnight. Because? Because it is not just about changing one component for another, but about a transition that could even require completely remodel the console.
“I think people see things as an incremental version and assume that it’s easy to do. But in reality, the screen is the core of the device. Everything is anchored to it. Basically, everything is designed around everything when talking about such a small device. I think it would be a greater amount of work than people assume. I don’t think we’re discounting anything. But the idea that you could just swap out the screen for a new one, and voila, would need more than that to be feasible,” Griffais said.
Valve doesn’t close the door on the OLED Steam Deck, but don’t get your hopes up about seeing it soon
The words of one of the people in charge of the Steam Deck make it clear that nobody closes the door to a future OLED version. But they also mark that it may take several years until we see said device become a reality. Everything will depend on a crucial element: planning.
The choice of an LCD screen for the Steam Deck was not on a whim, or because they believed that the bet on OLED was not worth it. The developers worked with it looking for flexibility, not only in the behavior of the panel itself, but in the rest of the components. After all, designing and producing a portable console that’s versatile—and as capable as a PC—and starts at $399 hasn’t been easy.
“Different display technologies, such as LCD or OLED, are not a deciding factor. But how do you design the whole system, and what is between the screen and the chip,” Griffais told PC Gamer.
Valve has already publicly stated its intention to release new versions of the Steam Deck in the future. In August 2022, for example, he addressed the issue after the console’s launch in a handful of Asian markets:
“Steam Deck is the first in a new category of portable gaming PCs for Steam. Going forward, Valve will continue this product with hardware and software enhancements and evolutions, and bring new versions of the Steam Deck to market.”
However, It’s still too early to think about when the next Steam Deck will arrive., or if it will have an OLED screen. Keep in mind that the international availability of the current model is still extremely limited. And Valve’s original model has enjoyed very positive reviews since its release, even despite incorporating an LCD screen.
Furthermore, it is clear that the developers are not feeling pressured to release a revised version of the Steam Deck as soon as possible. After all, to Nintendo it took him 4 years jump to an OLED panel on its revered Switch.