Steam Deck dev kits are on their way to developers. Valve’s most recent blog entry confirms the Steam Decks are on their way with a few photos of the first Decks receiving their last software updates before being packaged up in Valve-branded carrying cases and then being sent in boxes to developers around the world.
"All packaged up and ready for devs!” Valve writes. “This is one of the limited batches of Steam Deck dev-kits heading out today for partners to test their games. These engineering verification test builds allow us to connect developers with units that are functionally identical to what will ship to you."
Valve said soon after the Deck’s surprise reveal in July that it has yet to find a game that the Deck can’t play, but there’s always room for greater optimization. Most games aren’t made to consider the Deck’s 1280x800 resolution, for example, so developers might want to ensure that they have a resolution mode that will fit the Deck’s screen.
Just like with games, beta testing new hardware from lots of different sources is the best way to ensure a successful launch, and Valve knows it. The Decks that it's sending out to developers look to be exactly the same as what Valve showed off a few months ago, so there shouldn't be any surprises.
The only notable thing is the carrying case. This will likely be the same case that ships with the cheapest and middle-tier Decks, while the top-of-the-line, $649 model will receive a larger case with a handle on the top.
The first commercial Steam Deck's should be arriving in the hands of those who've pre-ordered later in December. Valve confirmed that they won't pull a Steam Controller on us with any hidden features that activate soon after launch. Previews have shown us everything that the Deck can do, from its touchpad and motion controls to being able to mount steam libraries through a microSD expansion slot.
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