The Steam Deck will have the same performance when docked because Valve wanted to “prioritize” it for handheld mode

Your performance can take a hit when playing on the bigger screen.

Image via Valve

The Steam Deck won’t get a performance increase when docked, Steam Deck designer Greg Coomer confirmed to PCGamer in an interview today. The company considered adding a function that would boost the device’s performance when docked but ultimately “didn’t choose to make it a really high priority design target.”

“We felt that it was actually better all things considered to not modify based on docked status or mobile status,” Coomer said. Valve wanted to prioritize using the Steam Deck in “the highest use case,” which is handheld mode. “We didn’t really feel like we should target also going after the dock scenario at higher resolutions. We wanted a simpler design target and to prioritize that,” he said.

Users who try to dock their device can face performance issues since the Steam Deck is optimized to run games at its native 800p resolution, smaller than that on TVs or monitors. Valve advertises the handheld “has more than enough performance to run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope,” but that pitch refers to the handheld’s native resolution. Plugging into a screen or monitor means players may have to tone down some settings to make up for the increased resolutions.

Valve sees 30fps as “the floor of what we consider playable” on the Steam Deck, according to Valve coder Pierre-Loup Griffais, but that goal also applies to the native 800p resolution. Though, according to Griffais, “games we’ve tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far.”

Plugging the Steam Deck will require a dock that’s sold separately, though Valve hasn’t specified more about the accessory. More information is “coming soon,” according to the official Steam Deck page.