The latest update to Steam’s beta client reveals that Valve may be working on a Steam-based handheld console. The update calls it “SteamPal,” and it contains references to ‘Neptune’-based names. In addition, it mentions console-related features such as controller bindings, UI strings such as a quick access menu, system settings such as WiFi and Bluetooth, and a power menu.
This information was publicized by Pavel Djundik, creator of the Steam database SteamDB.
Valve is possibly working on a handled Steam console called "SteamPal" (codename Neptune).
Beta client update added plenty of references including controller bindings, new UI strings such as quick access menu, system settings (airplane mode, wifi, bluetooth) and a power menu. https://t.co/BwDWjWWb06
— Steam Database (@SteamDB) May 25, 2021
Two weeks ago, Valve CEO Gabe Newell held a talk at Sancta Maria College in Auckland, New Zealand. When a student asked if Steam would have its games on console, Newell answered, “You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year.” He likely referred to SteamPal, but further details such as appearance, hardware, and overall function remain uncertain.
If SteamPal’s a handheld/home console hybrid like Nintendo Switch, Valve could strike gold in a largely untapped market. After all, the Switch has sold at least 84.59 million units so far – making it Nintendo’s 4th best-selling console. If it can’t differentiate itself outside of a massive pool of games, however, it could flop like the Steam Machine and Steam Controller (the latter reaching a meager 500,000 sales after 7 months of release).