Last year, Valve surprised the gaming industry by announcing the unfortunately named Steam Deck after Gabe Newell teased the company's entrance into consoles. The device is a portable gaming computer designed to compete with the Nintendo Switch, while also allowing gamers to interact with their full Steam catalog. After a short delay, the console has launched to much acclaim. But, with most new products these days, there was a Day 1 issue, though Value has a patch to fix it.
The Steam Deck is an impressively designed piece of hardware. The console is a sleek rectangle that's slightly larger than the Nintendo Switch, but much thicker. It's been designed for gamers who want the mobility of a handheld console with the power of a desktop PC.
Its real benefit is the ability to bring your Steam library with you. With Steam, you can purchase and download games, without ever having to leave your home. The Steam Deck gives you that experience on the go.
Another positive is the ability to fully customize the control layout. This is because the console is essentially just a gaming PC that has been forced into a handheld form factor. So, you get the ability to decide how you want to play a game. Switch analog sticks, invert the controls - however you want to play, the Steam Deck gives you the ability.
One fairly shocking move is the ability to repair the device. We've become so used to the gaming world being a very locked ecosystem that the ability to fix the Steam Deck is new and weird. But, since everything is molded into t a single body, as opposed to the Switch that allows you to swap out Joy-Cons if one breaks, you would almost require the ability to repair the device. This leads us to...
As reported initially by Reddit user Stijnnl, the Steam Deck was experiencing controller drift. This is a p[phenomenon that has gotten worse in recent years and has become part of the gaming conversation because of the Nintendo Switch. The company's Joy-Cons have been famous for drift. Of course, all modern gaming controllers have seen some drift over time as the design has changed to add more fidelity in recent generations. However, this was the first example of a brand new device experiencing drift.
The good news is that Valve has already responded to the issue an acknowledged that a mistake they made in the firmware was responsible for the error. Lawrence Yang, a designer for Valve, said in a tweet,
Hi all, a quick note about Steam Deck thumbsticks. The team has looked into the reported issues and it turns out it was a deadzone regression from a recent firmware update. We just shipped a fix to address the bug, so make sure you're up to date.
In fact, the tweet along with the fix came out the same day the issue went public. It seems like this was at least a semi-known issue ahead of time. Or, as the tweet said, was a direct result of code pushed at the last minute. Either way, it's good that the company responded quickly. Stijnnl has reported that the firmware update did fix the drift issue, but reports that it has added a new issue. The firmware update appears to have made it more difficult to do granular controls.
However, the fix does not seem to be universal. Reddit user A_C_G_0_2 has posted about their experience, saying that the firmware update did not fix their issue. The user did not provide any video evidence, unlike Stijnnl.