The Steam Deck Is Costing Me So Much Money

By Ben Sledge | Published 1 day ago

I’m trying to love my Steam Deck. The bulky handheld is a fantastic idea, but with only middling execution. Games, especially more graphically intensive affairs, need lots of tweaking before they run well, and the top-end triple-A types sometimes need serious work before they run at all. My biggest gripe has always been with the battery life. Mine lasts for four or five hours after an overnight charge, which is hardly enough to be considered portable. Sure, it’s enough for your daily commute – it might even get you to work and back two days in a row before it needs a charge – but I don’t have a commute. It’ll last for most of an evening in front of the telly but won’t manage a long journey. My Switch OLED lasts longer, and that’s saying something.

This isn’t solely a Steam Deck problem. The ROG Ally, its closest competitor, and a handheld PC that I slightly prefer due to its more user-friendly nature and non-Steam compatibility also has major battery issues. Still, it’s a good concept, and I love playing my Steam games on the move, if only for a little while. But I’ve recently encountered a new problem: the Steam Deck is actively costing me money.

I’m not talking about passive money here. I know it costs me a couple of quid in electricity bills every time I charge it, and some ‘rise and grind’ types would argue that any time spent playing games into the night is losing potential income because you’re not rising early and grinding some side hustle that’s nearly always exploitative. No, every month I just spend money on my Steam Deck.

The issue comes from the fact that it’s a right hassle to play non-Steam games on Valve’s console. So I end up buying lots of games twice.

I already have access to the complete Dragon Age and Mass Effect series via Game Pass. But the road to your backlog is paved with good intentions and all that. I feel similarly about the Mass Effect series. I love science fiction, I’m reading a lot of it at the moment, I love RPGs, and I love BioWare’s other games from this era.

So, when I saw that a BioWare bundle was heavily discounted on Steam, I jumped at the chance to buy it. 20 quid for six quality games and Andromeda is a steal, after all. But I already own them in a way. At least, I have access to them while I keep up my Game Pass subscription. So why did I buy them again? Ease.

It’s more comfortable to play these games on my Steam Deck if I own them on Steam. And, in my mind, I’m more likely to play them if I have access to them on a portable console. I can play them in the evenings, while my fiancé watches TV. I can play them on journeys (to an extent). So I’m more likely to play them, right? The problem is, it’s become a pattern. It started with indies and classics. Then it moved to AA games. Now we’re into triple-A territory. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think, without a Deck, I would play these games on my PC eventually, but the Deck has sped up that process considerably. That’s a good thing. I like playing games, and the Deck has allowed me to play some great games. But it’s also costing me money at an increasing rate.

None of these games are expensive – I’m not buying Cyberpunk 2077s every week – but it all adds up. Just add a native Game Pass app please, Gaben. Is that too much to ask?

About The Author: Ben Sledge (615 Articles Published) Ben is a Features Editor at TheGamer. You can read his work in Eurogamer, The Guardian, IGN, Kotaku, The Loadout, NME, VICE, or on Twitter @BenSledge.


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