Steam Deck is changing the way I buy games

Buying cross-platform games was a simple decision for me: I’ve always had them on a Nintendo Switch because of how easy it is to play games both on TV and in portable mode. Steam Deck has thrown a wrench into that decision-making process. My gaming laptop might be heavier, have worse battery life, and don’t come with an easy-to-switch dock to cast my games on a larger screen, but because I feel like I can count on Steam games being available longer in the future, I have to make tough choices. About whether I buy games on Valve’s storefront instead of on Nintendo.

There is one important thing I should mention up front: I didn’t own a gaming PC of any kind until I got Steam Deck in April. For a long time, video games were mainly played on Nintendo platforms, and only began to search the PlayStation and Xbox libraries in earnest with the onset of the pandemic. (I only got a PS4 to play Final Fantasy VII RemakeAnd things escalated from there.)

While I’ve bought a lot of Steam games on sale or in Humble bundles, I’ve actually played quite a few of them and only on my old laptops or MacBook Airs. On the other hand, Steam Deck is a much more capable gaming device than any laptop I have ever owned. Once I set it up, I suddenly had access to nearly 200 PC games I had previously purchased or claimed, and could play them on my couch or hook them up to an external monitor. I knew this was going to be the case when I booked into Steam Deck last year, but actually seeing the games on my own device was really interesting.

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With Switch games, there’s no guarantee that they’ll work with Nintendo’s next major console. For now, I just have to cross my fingers that Nintendo chooses to make this console backwards compatible with my Switch purchases. Personally, I don’t count on that – Nintendo likes to find new ways to resell old games.

I would like to bring Mario Kart 8 From Wii U to Switch, but to be able to play it with my mates during the pandemicI had to cough up the full price for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Accessing old games is one of the primary perks of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, but all the Virtual Console purchases I’ve made years ago aren’t available on my Switch. And don’t be afraid of Nintendo to close the storefronts.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

With Steam, on the other hand, I can be fairly confident that everything I buy that works on Steam Deck now will work fine on any Steam Deck or game-capable computer I buy in the future (as long as the game supports any system Run I use of course). I’m assuming too much that Valve doesn’t get acquired or suddenly falls off the face of the earth – anything Can is happening In the video game industry, so I probably shouldn’t tempt fate – but Valve seems to have The good thing is to go.

I must also say that on my Steam Deck, I’ve generally gravitated toward smaller, independent titles like Hotline MiamiAnd the insideAnd the Stanley Proverb: Ultra Deluxe. I suspect these are the kinds of games I’ll personally want to go back to at some point in the future, and it would be a lot easier to redownload them to my PC than having to hunt around for my switch once it inevitably loses its spot on my TV stand.

While I love Steam Deck and the ability for Steam to easily access games for years and years, I haven’t fully committed to Valve’s ecosystem yet because it’s such a hassle to play Steam Deck games on my account. Television. Part of the Switch’s magic is how easily it switches from mobile mode to TV mode when you place the device in its dock, and while the Steam Deck can connect to external monitors, there’s still an option that’s just as simple as trying the Switch.

I was looking forward to The official Steam Deck platform To see if this can come close, but since then it is lateI’ll have to wait. But while I don’t expect Steam Deck to be as easy to play on a TV as the Switch, it might be worth a bit of a hassle to be able to play decades of PC games on the big screen at home. And the To know that anything I buy now will likely work on other computers.

For now, I still choose the key for many games. (And of course, there are great games like Zelda And the metroid which is only available on Switch.) But what was once a no-brainer is now something I have to think carefully about, and as Valve continues to improve Steam Deck, the choices in the future may be even more challenging.

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