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Omdia: Steam Deck installed base to surpass three million during 2023

6 April 2023


LONDON, 6 April, 2023 – Steam Deck will surpass 3 million units sold during 2023, according to new research from Omdia. The report, which focuses on the portable gaming PC from Valve Corporation, is the first sizing of the addressable market for the device and estimates that hardware sales during 2022 reached 1.6 million units, growing 14% to 1.9 million units in 2023.

“It is clear Steam Deck remains a niche portion of the PC gaming landscape,” commented James McWhirter, Senior Analyst covering Games at Omdia. “However, this is unlikely to deter Valve, which has plans beyond just selling hardware units.”

Steam Deck annual sales volumes global m

Steam Deck will open the door to a new PC gaming product category in 2023, as Valve is expected to release its SteamOS operating system to the public in 2023. Boutique hardware manufacturers currently making competing handheld PCs are expected to adopt Valve’s gaming-first operating system for their own devices. Traditional gaming PC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have an opportunity to enter this new product category as a point of differentiation, but it will remain a niche category.

“Valve’s end game goes beyond Steam Deck itself, thus its relatively small installed base is unlikely to be an area of concern in the short term,” comments McWhirter. “Valve is focused on utilizing early usage data to refine and improve the SteamOS software powering Steam Deck – software which has already enabled the company to translate a large portion of Steam games from the Windows operating system. Valve aims to increase its addressable market via Steam for Chromebooks and Tesla vehicles, now that it has reduced its dependence on Windows.”

In terms of strengths, Nintendo’s Switch has already done the heavy lifting as a proof of concept for “full fat” console gaming on the go. Steam Deck is replicating this for PC gaming. It is instantly compatible with a growing library of key Steam games, including major recent releases such as Hogwarts Legacy and Elden Ring, and serves an untapped niche as the halo product for a new category of devices capable of playing “AAA” games: The portable gaming PC.

But in terms of weaknesses, the unit has limited retail presence, reaching engaged Steam users only. Key titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and FIFA 23 remain unsupported for reasons beyond Valve’s control, such as bespoke anti-cheat solutions. Steam Deck is less approachable than other bespoke gaming devices in certain regards, too.

Omdia’s inaugural report on Steam Deck offers a full five-year forecast for the device, recommendations for developers, publishers, OEMs, and more. Hardware value and market positioning are also covered, as are new launch territories due to grow distribution opportunities for the device.

Consumer Electronics
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