The Steam Deck was announced last week as a handheld gaming PC that can run all your Steam games on the go. When Valve announced that it would target “30Hz gameplay”, many were disappointed, but Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais has now clarified that comment and has revealed a new feature for the console.
He has clarified that the 30 FPS is more of a minimum bar than anything else and most games have actually exceeded that limit easily. The “30 FPS target” was only referred to as playable in Valve’s performance testing.
Of course, this does not mean that all modern games will run at 60 FPS, so keep your expectations low.
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
He adds that there will be an optional FPS limiter for when you want to save battery life. A 30 FPS mode will be something you can turn on anytime, but it is unclear whether it will be available for all games. Valve has already said that you can play Portal 2 for up to 6 hours with the FPS limiter, instead of the normal 4 hours.
However, as Digital Foundry says, a 30 FPS mode will be fine for demanding games, but it may cause stuttering and other problems once V Sync is active.
A 30fps setting will be fine for demanding games, but with v-sync active please ensure that a new frame is synchronised with every other screen refresh (typical on consoles) to ensure consistency. 30fps capped but delivered unevenly at 16.7ms/33.3ms/50ms is not a great experience
— Digital Foundry (@digitalfoundry) July 25, 2021
Valve is yet to comment on this statement, but we will keep you up to date as soon as there is a development.