The Steam Deck is often compared to the Nintendo Switch, which is not surprising since these are the two dominant handhelds on the market right now. The comparisons even go so far that the skin manufacturer Dbrand released a Steam deck skin in the Switch design. Youtuber SpikeHD, however, is going the other direction and turning its Switch into a Steam Deck – or at least trying to. The result is as entertaining as it is bizarre, so we didn’t want to withhold from you the video of his (spoiler alert) fruitless attempt.
Can you turn a Switch into a Steam deck?
In short: no. But it’s very entertaining to watch eccentric modders like SpikeHD try and get a deep dive into the Nintendo Switch’s hardware in the process. Experimenting with installing Steam on his Switch, the Youtuber removed all of the software that makes up the Nintendo Switch and showed us the bare computing facts behind the user-friendly facade. Modders have already managed to get Ubuntu running on the Switch, which theoretically means the Linux version of Steam should also work on the handheld.
Once in the Ubuntu interface, all you had to do was download and install Steam and you’d have a poor man’s Steam deck. In order to do that, you first need a hacked switch, which only works with older handheld models and shouldn’t be that easy. Of course you should NOT hack your Nintendo Switch, hopefully that goes without saying here.
It takes a lot of know-how to get Linux running on the Switch. You have to install Linux on an SD card, interrupt the Switch’s own interface when it loads, and short-circuit your Joy Cons. Quite a lot of work for a stripped down version of the Steam Deck. Even the experienced modder Spike HD quickly reaches the limits of his possibilities and, above all, the limits of the Nintendo console. The widespread disease of the Joy Con Drift causes its mouse cursor to wander constantly and the system of the switch on the Nvidia Tegra chip is not compatible with Steam, which is only compatible with x86 processors.
SpikeHD managed to install Steam, but ultimately failed on games. As a consolation for himself, the Youtuber finally installed Android with a Steam skin on the hacked Switch, which is the best possible alternative for a “Switch Deck”. Of course, this modding odyssey had no practical use, but it’s interesting to see the workings and limitations of a console demonstrated by eccentric modders.
Sources: pcgamer.com, SpikeHD
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