I had an opportunity to interview one of the most popular Steam Deck YouTubers out there: Steam Deck Gaming. With over 30k subscribers and over 600 videos, SDG has pretty much everything covered when it comes to game optimization, accessory reviews, guides, what games have been marked as playable or verified, etc. He also has his own website.

TL;DR

  • SDG is primarily a YouTuber, but also has his own website
  • content creation is currently done on a part-time basis
  • SDG launched in May 2022. The name came about from wanting “to be a laser-focused channel on the Steam Deck”
  • the Steam Deck: “It has truly been the best gaming handheld I’ve ever used”
  • has a little bit of experience with RHEL and Unix
  • top five Deck accessories: Rii i4 wireless K+M, JSAUX kick stand case, Kiwi home dock, Uperfect Ubox 2, tomtoc arccos bag
  • top five games: Cyberpunk 2077, FF VIII, Kill Zone 3, God of War, X3: Reunion
  • the ROG Ally has better performance than the Deck, a better screen, quiter fans, but is more expensive and not as versatile
  • tips for Deck owners: use CryoUtilities, apply UMA frame buffer changes, get Decky Loader
  • the Deck community: “the best we have ever come across”

Explain who you are and what you do.

I’m Martin and I’m the creator for Steam Deck Gaming, also the editor for all social and website articles currently.

Steam Deck Gaming started as a YouTube channel and Twitter account but grew into a brand around the Steam Deck, providing a dedicated site and channel for all things related to the Steam Deck from news, game performance and regular updates on the latest supported games. The dream is to make it a full-time job but at the moment it’s just a part-time hobby. Seeing everyone’s excitement over the Steam Deck and how much it replaced the need for cloud streaming content (what I was doing for) I was really drawn to the device and how much you could do with it game- and desktop-wise.

Chiaki

How long has Steam Deck Gaming been around?

We started in February 2022 with the concept and officially launched the channel in May 2022. I originally worked with another creator who I work with in other channels but he decided to take a break early in the launch and didn’t return so it’s been myself since around June 2022.

How did you come up with the name “Steam Deck Gaming”?

We wanted to be a laser-focussed channel on the Steam Deck and gaming in general so it was only natural to go with the simplest name that should also be a top search term.

How long have you had a Steam Deck, and what are your thoughts on it?

I got my first Steam Deck late March after my friend convinced me to do the channel. Paying for a first wave Steam Deck on eBay was a big risk but it has truly been the best gaming handheld I’ve ever used and it was definitely a worthwhile investment. Even if it has meant rebuying games that I previously owned on other platforms for ease of use and optimisation.

The setup of the Steam Deck with Steam OS makes it extrmemly versatile and mapping for compatibility of games, although the game support for FPS isn’t as great as it could be. The sleep functionality and the custom plugins that are available add to the experience, with the battery life being more than acceptable for a portable PC. Considering how locked down the Switch is and how much hard work Windows is on other handhelds, the Steam Deck is a breath of fresh air.

Cooler

Prior to the Steam Deck, have you used Linux?

Prior to the Steam Deck I tried RHEL when I started in my programming days but didn’t get very far. I also used Unix for Verilog programming as part of my university degree, but didn’t really do much with it apart from running the required programs and command line arguments for circuitry simulations.

Name your top 5 favorite accessories for the Steam Deck.

The Rii i4 wireless/bluetooth keyboard with mouse combo is by far my number one. Still used daily.

The JSAUX kick stand case is still my favourite. It provides great all round coverage and a handy kick stand if you ever want to prop it up to use the Deck as a TV or an external controller.

Dock wise is actually one that you can no longer purchase but I absolutely loved the Kiwi home Steam Deck dock. I never formally reviewed it as they never sent the product page links and it never appeared on their site, but it was a nice metal dock with a power button switch on top. It didn’t block vents and held the Deck nicely in or out of a case. The power button always kept power passthrough but disconnected all the other ports which was great for content creation as I could switch from just the Deck screen and power to power and full dock mode without changing cables.

Uperfect portable monitors have been amazing for playing about with the Deck on desktop mode and playing on docked while other screens are in use. I’ve reviewed a few portable monitors, but the Uperfect UBox 2 is just stunning, a 144hz 1600p display that is just crystal clear and very thin and easy to carry around for portability that also doesn’t break the bank.

Finally the tomtoc arccos bag is a perfect fit for the Steam Deck and all the accessories.

Name your top 5 favorite games of all time.

Cyberpunk 2077. This was the first game that felt truely futuristic and looked fantastic on my RTX 3080 machine, I enjoyed every minute of the game and explored a few endings and tons of side quests to get the most out of the game. Still the best gaming experience I’ve had in the last few years.

Final Fantasy 8. My first completion of a Final Fantasy game on the PlayStation and I still remember all of the story to this day, as weird as it could be, but still one of my most memorable gaming experiences.

Kill Zone 3. This was pretty much the only game I played on the PS3 and I pretty much mastered online regularly coming first in matches and being accused of cheating. I got the game day one and completed it pretty quickly and went straight in online. Probably my greatest ever standing on an FPS game.

Cyberpunk 2077 comparison with and without FSR

God of War. There is so much to love about God of War, I played the original back on the PlayStation as a kid and playing again with the better graphics and also on Steam Deck has been absolutely fantastic, as well as being an extremely well-polished and fun game.

X3: Reunion. I don’t think any game will come close to the number of hours I spent building my universe in X3: Reunion, due to having to use a mod to get past a bugged end stage mission my save game never formally progressed past that point. But when I finally stopped playing I was at over 500 hours game time. I built a completely self-sustaining monstrosity of a station system that earned me billions with trading the excess and built myself a fleet of the biggest capital ships in the game, and still ultimately lost trying to take out the Kha’ak from their unknown sectors but had a blast trying out tons of ships and automation.

Besides the Deck, do you own any other PC handheld?

I have two Nintendo Switches, mostly for the kids, but they haven’t touched them since the Steam Deck appeared as well as the consoles on the house. I do also own the ROG Ally for content comparisons.

Speaking of the ASUS ROG Ally: what are your thoughts? Do you think it truly is a Steam Deck competitor?

The Ally performance is better than the Steam Deck in most cases and it has more performance options. The screen is also better and the speakers much louder and fans much quieter. But the pain of Windows still looms and the price tag is much higher [at least here in the UK]. While the Ally is a great device, it doesn’t touch the Steam Deck in terms of ease of use and flexibility.

JSAUX Omnicase

The price difference is only small in the US - in the UK for example a 512 [GB] Steam Deck is £579 where as the Ally is still £700. The Ally also does not come with a case as standard. In the EU I think the gap is also significant. Steam OS is special because it’s built for the Steam Deck, sure you can put a clone of it on the Ally but it won’t work as well as Windows does, and anyone can use Windows, it can just be a bit fiddly sometimes.

Any tips that you’d like to give to current and future Steam Deck owners?

Be sure to [use] CryoUtilities and UMA fixes and get Decky Loader installed with a few plugins. It really elevates your experience on many levels and makes it more fun to use. Don’t worry about compatibility too much. Use the Steam status as a guide but always check YouTube or ProtonDB for full info.

Where can people find you?

YouTube, Twitter, our website, Instagram, and now Threads.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

The Steam Deck community is still one of the best we have ever come across. The willingness to share information and help each other has been outstanding from the start. It’s truly an honour to be part of it and we can’t wait to see what the next installment for the Steam Deck holds.

All images are credit of SDG.

WARNING: LGC will be shutting down March 7, 2024. See this post for more details.