As reported earlier on Tuesday, references to a potential “SteamPal” device in Valve’s latest Steam update led to speculation that the company could be planning to release console-like hardware.
Steam’s latest client beta references both “SteamPal” and “SteamPal Games” in relation to a previously discovered codename, “Neptune”.
Multiple sources told Ars Technica that SteamPal—or whatever the device ends up being called should it come to market—is an all-in-one PC with gamepad controls and a touchscreen.
The hardware, which is said to be in the prototype stage, will reportedly include the option to “dock” to larger monitors via a USB Type-C port, but doesn’t include detachable controllers like Switch.
One prototype is said to have standard gamepad buttons and triggers, a pair of joysticks and a thumb-sized touchpad.
Ars Technica claims SteamPal is expected to include a system on a chip from either Intel or AMD.
Newell, who has been living and working in New Zealand since early 2020, teased the possibility during a visit to Sancta Maria College, where he was a guest speaker for digital studies students.
Asked if Steam would be appearing on consoles in the future, Newell replied: “You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year… and it won’t be the answer you expect.”