When Valve and IGN Last Thursday that the new Steam Deck handheld will target 30Hz gameplay, not everyone was impressed by that low bar — but Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais has taken to Twitter to clarify his original comment and introduce a new feature of the handheld. reveal console.
First, he says 30fps is more of a minimum bar than anything else:
“The ’30 FPS target’ refers to the bottom of what we consider playable in our performance tests; games we’ve tested and showcased have consistently met and exceeded that bar thus far,” he writes.
In other words, when Griffais said in that IGN video interview that “We haven’t really found anything that we can throw at this device that can’t handle it”, you shouldn’t think that every modern game runs at 60 fps. Expect less.
Intriguingly, a 30fps mode is something you can proactively enable to get longer battery life too. “There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune performance and battery life,” he writes. The company already said you can play Portal 2 up to six hours at 30 fps, compared to four hours normally.
Will it be one good 30 fps mode, though? That is not known yet. In the comments, Digital Foundries Richard Leadbetter says Valve confirmed to him that the Steam Deck will not have a variable refresh rate (VRR) screen, and dodge the idea that V-sync can lead to annoying frame pacing issues if you try to lock games down to 30 Hz on the deck’s screen. (Digital Foundry would know; are handled the problem often on PC and console. dark souls and Axe developer Of Software is notorious for inconsistent frame pacing, for instance.)
A setting of 30 fps is fine for demanding games, but if v-sync is active, make sure a new frame is synced with every other screen refresh (typical on consoles) to ensure consistency. 30 fps capped but unevenly delivered at 16.7 ms/33.3 ms/50 ms is not a great experience
— Digital Foundry (@digitalfoundry) July 25, 2021
Griffais has not yet responded. We will see!