Recently, Valve announced its first exciting handheld console, Steam Deck, right after Nintendo reported their own upcoming handheld, the Nintendo Switch OLED. With their side-by-side announcement, people can’t help but compare the two (exhibit A).
Thus, e-commerce aggregator iPrice Group determined which console is gaining more interest in Asia. They also found out which among the two is likely to have more cross-console games, and which existing platforms have the most cross-platform games.
It seems that Steam Deck has stolen Nintendo’s thunder as all Asian countries recorded in the study are much more interested in the former. Across the 10 Asian countries observed, Steam Deck has nearly 3x Nintendo Switch OLED’s Google search interests within July 2021.
Steam Deck Takes Malaysia’s Interest
Steam Deck is also causing more excitement in each Asian country. In Malaysia, Steam Deck’s search volume is almost 2x more than Nintendo Switch OLED’s. According to Google searches, we can see in the breakdown of states that Steam Deck is dominating the interest of Malaysians.
For instance, Malacca, Pahang, Kelantan, Perak, Kedah, and East Malaysia had 100% full interest in Steam Deck. Other states such as Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang and Selangor showed a big gap between these two consoles. This might be because some of the gamers may already own a Nintendo Switch console and OLED’s games are still compatible with the older Switch model. Therefore, they have no reason to upgrade to the latest Nintendo Switch OLED unless they want better specs. Hence, they are eager to look for another brand new handheld console like Steam Deck to combat the COVID-induced boredom.
Asians’ Impressions Towards Steam Deck & Nintendo Switch OLED
In Japan, for instance, Steam Deck’s search volume is almost 8x more than Nintendo Switch OLED’s.
Hong Kong and Taiwan are two of the few countries that seem to give an almost equal amount of interest in both consoles, with a 60:40 ratio (60% Steam Deck, 40% Nintendo Switch).
However, Southeast Asian countries anticipate Steam Deck more than Nintendo Switch OLED. The biggest gap of search volumes is experienced in Indonesia where Steam Deck takes 84% of online searches compared to 16% of Nintendo Switch OLED. Meanwhile, the gap of interest in Singapore is narrower, with a 61-39 ratio. As a region, there would be 2.6 more Google searches for Steam Deck than Nintendo Switch OLED.
The First Handheld Gaming Computer by Valve
So, what is it about Steam Deck that makes it more appealing anyway?
According to GameDaily.biz, cross-platform games are becoming the new standard and expectation for gamers. Cross-play games are especially being considered during the pandemic when people play games to connect with one another through multiple platforms. Game developers like Phoenix Labs advocate cross-play games to bring communities together “regardless of geographic location or platform”.
That said, cross-console games may be a big deciding factor for gamers, especially if they are looking for more friends to play with online. And iPrice recorded Steam to have the most number of cross-play games across all platforms. It has 111 more cross-play games than Nintendo Switch does. In fact, out of all gaming devices recorded, Steam has the most cross-play games, recording a total of 172.
PlayStation 4 records to have the second most cross-play games with 147 games, followed by Xbox One with 109 games.
PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X have the least cross-play games with 28 and 33 games respectively. However, PS 5 and Xbox Series S/X were just released recently, so it can mean that more games are still being developed for these consoles.
Aside from Steam’s number of cross-play games, Steam Deck is going to be Valve’s first ever console which contributes to its hype and excitement. Nintendo has come up with numerous consoles before, and so it’s not surprising for a brand-new handheld console to steal its thunder.
Nonetheless, Nintendo Switch OLED still generated quite a buzz, especially with the upcoming The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2. Zelda has always been deemed to be the most exciting flagship game of Nintendo since it hit the screens in 2017. Breath of the Wild 2 will be enjoyed with a wider screen and much better graphics. Steam Deck may out-spec Nintendo Switch OLED with its impressive processing power graphics card, but Nintendo’s games have always been unique and of high-quality, which is how it earned and maintained its huge fanbase in the first place. Overall, both consoles are worth anticipating.