Steam Deck at 30fps is the minimum that Valve will “consider playable”

Now that reservations for the Steam Deck have kicked off, there’s plenty to chat about the power and performance that can be expected from Valve’s handlheld PC. When it was announced, Valve gave all sorts of details on the device’s specs. As for the specs of games running on it, one of Steam Deck’s developers has clarified that 30fps is the minimum that they’re considering playable during performance testing.

Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais explained how Steam Deck performance testing has been going so far during an IGN interview last week.

“Everything that’s been coming out this year has been running without issues—that we’ve tried. I think this is largely a factor of industry trends. If people are still valuing high frame rates and hybrid solutions on different platforms, I think that content will scale down to our 800p 30Hz target really well. If people start heavily favoring image quality, then we might be in a position where we might have some tradeoffs but we haven’t really seen that yet.”

Griffais followed that up over on Twitter over the weekend to explain that 30Hz isn’t the expectation for the Steam Deck, but the minimum.

“The ’30 FPS target’ refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing,” Griffais says. “Games we’ve tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far. There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.”

From what we know of the Steam Deck since its announcement, it will have a 1280×800 resolution display capped at a 60Hz refresh rate and a 2-8 hour battery life. Those extra settings should hopefully help you balance your priorities, whether it’s hitting that top frame rate or playing a full eight hours of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.

In other Steam Deck details since the announcement, Valve say they’re not taking risks on dreaded stick drift. They’re also replacing Big Picture Mode with the new Steam Deck interface.

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