Valve has made clear that it is looking to target a frame rate of 30fps for most games that are playable on its upcoming Steam Deck platform. The forthcoming handheld PC, which is set to begin releasing later this year, won't be locked to this frame rate for all games, however, as Valve has now clarified. Instead, this target has been set in the pursuit of saving battery life.
According to Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais, the Steam Deck is merely targeting 30fps as the "floor" for what the studio considers playable. As such, this doesn't mean that all titles that come to the Steam Deck will be locked at 30fps. Griffais notes that many games have shown that they can go well above this threshold based on testing that has been done internally. That being said, the Steam Deck itself will have a "built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune [performance] vs. battery life."
The "30 FPS target" refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we've tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far. There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) July 25, 2021
So what exactly does this mean? Well, if you want your own games to run at a higher performance level than that of 30fps, you'll just have to go to the options menu and turn off the FPS limiter that Valve will be including with the platform. It's a pretty simple option, but it's also one that makes sense on Valve's behalf to include.
It's also worth stressing that many games on Steam Deck will likely be able to perform at varying levels depending on how you might opt to use it. Since the Steam Deck is technically a PC after all, you'll be able to use many mods and other features that are common with games on PC just as you would with your home computer. Basically, many features of the Steam Deck, especially when it comes to performance, are going to be left in the user's hands to decide how they want their games to run.
What do you think of the Steam Deck as a whole? And have you already pre-ordered one for yourself? Let me know your thoughts either down in the comments or hit me up on Twitter at @MooreMan12.