I own a Switch. My favorite games on it are all first party or exclusives. I bought it solely for Monster Hunter but have found it does a great job for other games too. The simplicity of Nintendo just works here, though I will be the first to point out the price points of everything after the console to be a bit absurd.
I own a PC and I have hundred of games. I’d argue that about 50% of my catalogue is best played with a controller. I’ve used Steam Link from my tablet to access games with no issue.
What both of these have in common is that they are fundamentally moved forward by quality games. XBOX sold like garbage for years because they only had exclusive FPS and racing games. Give me something like God of War and that’ll move units. Google Stadia had a really rough go to start because it lacked games, there’s some progress there I guess. But it’s still limited to network speed, which is a real pain in the butt. Mobile gaming needs some local footprint to reduce the network demands (e.g. gaming on the bus).
Steam Deck is not the first handheld PC, but it’s likely the one with the largest amount of backing. It’s directly competing with the Switch in terms of game quality, regardless of what anyone says. Bluetooth support alone (BTLE) is astounding that it’s not present in the Switch. It’s outside the Nintendo ecosystem… no question. But the sheer amount of games and peripherals available here are just mind blowing. That you can potentially play any game that’s on PC is a game changer (pun intended).
There’s the natural caveat that this could be another pipe dream from Valve, where the concept falls apart in the execution. Aside from Steam itself, Valve is notoriously bad at support post-launch. They have the best VR on the market, but it’s $1000 to start, which is beyond dumb.
I am not a person who lines up upon release to get something new. I’ll let all those lucky folks play with release 1.0 and wait for the next version. Not for the price drop, but the amount of patches that’ll be required to stabilize the darn thing.
As an aside, this to me really re-enforces the ultra niche appeal of customized PC rigs. Aside from the astounding costs of a high-end rig, the lack of mobility and need of major desk space to accommodate is the big hurdle. Gaming laptops give you the flexibility of some mobility and desk space, but they still cost a fair chunk. Getting a mobile PC rig for less than $500 that can play almost anything… that’s half the price of a smartphone.
I’m cautiously optimistic about this thing. We probably won’t see the true impacts until next summer (supply chain questions abound), and an ironed out system in time for the 2022 holiday season. Going to be a real interesting thing to watch.