When Valve announced Steam Deck, a new handheld gaming PC to rival the Switch, curiosity instantly had many question how much of a PC is the device. Valve has confirmed Steam Deck could be used for Xbox Game Pass, emulation, and more.
In a first hands-on with the device (via IGN), Valve confirmed you could wipe the device and install whatever OS you wanted. Installing a fresh copy of Windows 10 onto the handheld would theoretically let you play Xbox Game Pass games on it, and even games bought from their competitors like Epic Games and GOG.
The on-board operating system for Steam Deck is Valve’s SteamOS, which itself is based on Linux. Just like the Switch, the Steam Deck will let you instantly suspend games but won’t let you suspend multiple games like the Xbox Series X|S.
Unlike the Nintendo Switch though, the Steam Deck operating system will let you do more than just play games on the hardware. You can use a mouse and keyboard, browse the web on a web browser, watch movies, and even load third party applications right within the Linux-based OS.
Currently, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers have access to stream their games to both iOS and Android devices via the cloud. If you threw a copy of Windows natively on the Steam Deck, however, you could play native Xbox Game Pass PC games, without streaming them or worrying about WiFi speeds or data usage.
Valve’s Steam Deck is now available for pre-order in three flavors: $399 (64GB), $529 (256GB), and $649 (512GB), over on the Steam store. To pre-order now you have to had purchased a game prior to June 2021, an effort to help block scalpers and bots.