Reviewing our predictions for 2022: Eki


There’s only a few more hours left in 2022 so it’s a good time to come back and check how our individual predictions for 2022 fared!

For reference, my predictions as shared back in end of January 2022 were as follows:

My 2022 Predictions

  1. The Steam Deck’s demand will exceed its supply in 2022 and there will be still be a significant delay (2 months or more) between order and shipment even at the end of 2022.
  2. We will see a marked increase of native titles after the launch of the Steam Deck (at least 3% increase in ratio, year on year).
  3. We will see the Steam client fully work on ARM devices for the first time thanks to projects like Box68/64
  4. The Steam Deck release will be met with numerous hit pieces from the gaming press and youtube influencers
  5. While a lot of outlets will recommend installing Windows on the Steam Deck, a majority (>50%) of Steam Deck users will be fine with the default SteamOS experience and keep it.

So, let’s look at facts!

Steam Deck Supply Constraint ?

This is a problem that actually went away much faster than anticipated, even though Valve has been talking about increased demand at the same time. The supply chain issues that endured for the past few years as the COVID crisis unfolded have largely been resolved by now and most industries have found ways to deal with them. Valve has mentioned several times that they expected to increase their production capacity through their partners in China, and they did. So well that now there is virtually no wait time anymore between ordering and receiving a Steam Deck, which is excellent news. This makes my prediction wrong, of course!

Marked Increase in Native titles ?

Loyal followers of Boiling Steam are aware that we are tracking on a weekly basis the newest titles released with native clients for Linux. We can use that data to check if there was an increase during 2022, potentially after the release of the Steam Deck, in terms of native support. The idea was that… developers try the Steam Deck out, are excited by its capabilities, and decided to provide native versions of their software where they did not before. And here’s the chart that will give us the answer!

Absolutely no difference! Once you think a little more about it, it makes a lot of sense. Proton has been heavily advertised as the solution to make most games run flawlessly on the Steam Deck - if developers are interested to support the Steam Deck, at most they will make sure that they game works fine with Proton - they have virtually no incentive to go the extra step and make a native port. Proton is going to be good enough for most use cases.

Full Steam Client Support on ARM with Box86 / Box64 ?

I went the extra mile to confirm the latest state of the project on ARM by meeting with my good friend PtitSeb a few days ago - he is the developer of Box 86 and Box 64, and while he’s making great progress, the Steam client is still not completely working yet on ARM (because of Chromium related issues). I’d venture that this may be fixed in 2023, but as of now, this prediction was wrong.

Steam Deck Met with Hit Pieces from Influencers ?

This is probably the most wrong I have been in all of my predictions, since the actual opposite came true here. I expected most influencers to be working/paid by big companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, and potentially biased towards the Steam Deck at release. It turns out that most reviews of the Steam Deck were very enthusiastic and positive. Not 100%, but maybe 80 to 90% sounds quite accurate. In effect, the coverage was pretty fair: the typical issues were properly identified by most outlets, and the fact that the gaming experience on the Deck was pretty much glorious also shared in most places. This has restored a bit of faith about what you can see online: influencers may be paid by numerous corporations, but are unlikely to give a negative review for a very well designed product.

SteamOS remains the main OS for the Steam Deck?

I don’t have hard data for this, but my hunch is that this prediction proved accurate, because of two factors:

  • Windows driver support for the Steam Deck was late to the game and somewhat incomplete
  • The SteamOS experience out of the box was great

We all know that SteamOS faces compatibility issues, since not all games will run and anti-cheat driven titles are not always properly supported by their developers. But there’s still a huge library of games to enjoy and the overall, out of the box experience with SteamOS and Proton is so good that most people are still using it after the launch. A massive difference compared to what happened with the Alienware Steam Machine back in the days when it shipped with SteamOS and most end users reverted back to Windows.

My score

Not great! ⅕ turned out to match my expectations! I did pretty bad, but in turn this means that the Steam Deck and the Linux gaming situation ended up being much better than I anticipated, So this is were being wrong is actually a good thing.

In the next few days we will share with you the evaluations of all the other individual seers from Early 2022. Surely there will be some that fared much better.