Exclusive: Valve is making a Switch-like portable gaming PC

A combination of two corporate logos.

Enlarge / Some Nintendo Switch clip art, plus a Steam logo, equals the Valve “SteamPal”? The math equation isn’t as simple as this listing image might lead you to believe. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Video game and hardware studio Valve has been secretly building a Switch-like portable PC, designed to run a large number of games on the Steam PC platform via Linux—and it could launch, supply chain willing, by year’s end.

Multiple sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that the hardware has been in development for some time, and this week, Valve itself pointed to the device by slipping new hardware-related code into the latest version of Steam, the company’s popular PC gaming storefront and ecosystem.

On Tuesday, SteamDB operator Pavel Djundik spotted the change in Steam’s code, which pointed to a new device named “SteamPal.” The name is a derivative of a previously discovered code term, “Neptune,” which began appearing in September of last year and came with a “Neptune Optimized Games” string. At the time, curious code crawlers thought this discovery referred to some type of controller.

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