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What will be Bigger? The Steam Deck or the Nintendo Switch OLED

The two hottest pieces of gaming tech hitting the market – just in time for the holidays this year – are the Nintendo Switch OLED and the Steam Deck. Both offer a portable gaming experience – and are backed by two of the biggest players in the video game industry. So, of the two products, which one will be bigger?

What is the Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck – launching in December 2021 – is a handheld gaming PC with the power to play most of the games available on Steam. It functions similarly to the Switch – with a touch screen, thumbsticks, triggers, and trackpads.


“Steam Deck” by Pierre Lecourt is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The product is designed for more than just gaming. You can watch media on the device, browse the web and read online sportsbook reviews, or use it to connect with friends.

The Steam Dream is launching three different models – with higher storage and faster processes. The multiple options could help it reach a wider audience.

What is the Switch OLED?

The Nintendo Switch OLED is an upgraded version of the highly popular Nintendo Switch. The new model comes with an upgraded seven-inch screen, enhanced audio, and a wired LAN Port in the dock.

The new model should appeal to two demographics. People who play their classic Switch in portable mode and people waiting for a better version of the base model.

Owning multiple Switches in a single household is proving popular, showing a willingness of consumers to pick up a second model.

Why will the Steam Deck be Bigger?

The Steam Deck is new, shiny, and gives people a chance to play games without a high-end gaming computer. PC gaming is expensive, compared to the console market. However, the pricing of the Steam Deck is less than the newest consoles (latest offerings from PlayStation and Xbox) and not too much more than the Nintendo Switch.

The portable console could also appeal to gamers with a high-end PC – but wanting the ability to play some games on the go. Steam is home to thousands of popular indie games that could work perfectly fine on even the lowest end model.

The lower-end model could also appeal to people who missed out on classic games that were released five to ten years ago.

The Biggest Challenge for the Steam Deck

The Steam Deck faces one big challenge – how do you adapt mouse and keyboard games. The genre of the game plays a big factor. While many people may prefer to play first-person shooters with their mouse and keyboard, this genre will play just fine with controllers.

The challenge is more for RTS and games focused on hotkeys. They will still work on the Steam Deck – but will not be as playable as they are on a PC. The overall Steam library is luckily big enough that you can still find plenty to play if these genres do not get ported/adapted for the portable gamer.

Why will the Switch OLED be Bigger?

Nintendo’s brand is in many ways similar to Disney. The names and products associated with the company are amongst the most popular in the world. Nintendo’s success is dependent on it. They do not oversaturate their products either.

How often does a mainline Zelda or Mario game release on a console? Once or twice during its lifespan? It also is key for Nintendo that its biggest brands (Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing) are only available on Nintendo products.


“Nintendo Switch with neon green and pink Joy-Cons (and playing Golf Story)” by bochalla is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

If people have waited to get a Switch, they are treated to a full library of games from their biggest brands if they buy one now. They will look better as well on the new OLED screen.

The Biggest Challenge for the Switch OLED

Are the upgrades worth the extra cost? If you play the Switch in portable mode over docked, you could argue the better picture and battery is a good upgrade.

If you play on your television – say as a family that frequently enjoys game night together – the base model works on par with the OLED edition. It may not be enough of an upgrade to sway as many consumers as Nintendo hopes.


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