KEY POINTS

  • Valve is reportedly working on a device called SteamPal
  • Apparently, the device has a code name "Neptune"
  • Valve has not yet confirmed it is working on a handheld gaming PC

Several years after launching a line of Linux gaming PCs called Steam Machines, Valve is reportedly working on hardware again. According to a new report, the PC gaming juggernaut is currently working on a handheld gaming computer similar to Nintendo Switch.

Talks about the new handheld gaming machine from Valve started after SteamDB operator Pavel Djundik noticed some changes on the Steam client's code and shared it on Twitter.

Apparently, the recent Steam beta client update added various references to different terms, possibly pointing to a portable console. This includes airplane mode, controller bindings, quick-access menu, wifi, Bluetooth audio, power menu and many others.

Djundik claims that "Valve's "Neptune" controller showed up in latest Steam client beta again." He noted that the controller is "named SteamPal (NeptuneName) and it has a SteamPal Games (GameList_View_NeptuneGames)."

Djundik's claim aligns with a recent report from Ars Technica, which revealed that multiple sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that the said hardware has been in the works for some time.

valve logo A fourth veteran Valve writer has left the studio. Photo: Valve

The site has claimed that Valve's Steampal "is an all-in-one PC with gamepad controls and a touchscreen. In other words, it looks and functions like a Nintendo Switch."

The device would most likely run Linux and other Steam-optimized games. Like the hybrid console from Nintendo, the said handheld gaming device features the ability to dock via USB-C port too. Ars Technica has suggested that SteamPal might arrive by the end of 2021.

Prototypes of the rumored gaming console reportedly show a device much wider than the Nintendo Switch. Apparently, this is to accommodate a wide range of control options.

Moreover, the site has mentioned that the device might house a system on a chip from either AMD or Intel. While details about the rumored handheld gaming console come from a recent code dump, Valve has not yet announced anything related to the device.

However, many fans believe that SteamPal is related to what Valve Co-Founder and President Gabe Newell seemingly hinted at earlier this month.

Newell reportedly "teased either Valve or Steam's games coming to consoles in this calendar year," at a public Q&A held in a public school.