Ars Technica reports Valve is developing a Nintendo Switch-like portable PC and, if the world’s risky semiconductor provide chain cooperates, might launch it by yr’s finish.

The report follows the invention on Tuesday of a change to the Steam consumer’s code that talked about a new system known as “SteamPal.” Pavel Djundiuk, the operator of SteamDB, first spotted the change earlier this morning, noting it was tied to a prototype controller code-named “Neptune.”

Polygon has reached out to Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi for remark. Given the corporate’s historical past of secrecy, and the character of this rumor, a response is unlikely. Ars Technica stated the corporate didn’t instantly reply to its request for remark.

According to Ars’ sources, the “SteamPal” — its remaining title is not confirmed — is an all-in-one, Linux-based PC with a contact display screen and gamepad controls, akin to the Nintendo Switch Lite. It has the potential to hyperlink to bigger displays by way of USB Type-C connection, however whether or not there will likely be a devoted dock, such because the Switch Lite and Switch have, is unknown, Ars Technica says.

In New Zealand earlier this month, Valve founder Gabe Newell spoke to a highschool viewers and was requested if Steam would “be porting any games on consoles, or will it just stay on PC.” A Reddit consumer posted Newell’s recorded reply in a post since deleted (however reported on at the time by Ars). Newell stated, “You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year … and it won’t be the answer you expect.”

Valve, although, has an uneven historical past with regards to {hardware} tasks and committing to them. Steam Machines, for instance, had been a line of console-like gaming PCs Valve launched in 2015 after which quietly de-listed in 2018.

Steam Machines’ effort to console-ize the Steam expertise appeared to be cannibalized by the capabilities of the cheaper Steam Link system, which allowed customers to stream video games to their TV from their gaming PC. But Valve stopped manufacturing the Steam Link hub in 2018 as nicely.

Valve additionally developed the $999 Valve Index digital actuality headset, launching it in the summertime of 2019, and developed Half-Life: Alyx for it, launching that recreation in March 2020. Despite a optimistic crucial reception for each the system and the sport, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the system’s widespread availability and attachment.