Gaming giant Valve, which runs the Steam store, has announced a portable console that will play PC games.

The Steam Deck has been likened to the Nintendo Switch console in appearance but Valve says it will have the components of a high-end gaming laptop.

The built-in display is limited to high-definition 720p graphics but the console can also be connected to an external display.

One analyst said the device could start an era of handheld PC gaming.

Valve reveals handheld Steam Deck PC games console: “Valve has managed to deliver a product at an attractive price point for the specs and is sacrificing hardware profitability to kickstart what it hopes will be a new category of gaming PC devices,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, research director for games at Ampere Analysis.

“I expect this to appeal most to existing Steam users that are interested in having a companion device for playing games away from their main gaming PC.”

Like the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck has a touch screen and two thumb sticks. However, Valve has added two track pads to give players mouse-like controls for their PC games.

It is twice as heavy as Nintendo’s device, weighing 669g.

The console will run SteamOS and is built on Linux, which means owners will be able to use the device as a Linux-based PC to browse the web and even install rival games stores.

Software known as Proton will let Windows PC games run on the system without developers having to produce a new version of their titles. However, not every game will be compatible.

“Valve is probably hopeful that people spending more time on Steam using Steam Deck will buy more content through its store front to help offset the hardware costs for the company. In this sense, it’s a bit of an experiment,” said Mr Harding-Rolls.

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