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Putin orders Russia to develop its own Steam Deck ecosystem

Vladimir Putin has ordered the creation of a Steam-like ecosystem, as well as stationary and portable game consoles, in an attempt to become less dependent on the West and move towards a self-sufficient Russia.

A Steam handheld gaming device displaying a screen with a black silhouette of a person's profile against a background with horizontal stripes in beige, blue, and red. The device is set against a purple background with a small 'K' in the bottom right corner.
Image: KnowTechie

With the Steam Deck being so successful, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a ton of Steam Deck alternatives being announced or released this year.

But what is surprising is Vladimir Putin’s ordering the creation of a Steam-like ecosystem, as well as stationary and portable game consoles.

What’s the story?

The news broke when PCGamer‘s Joshua Wolens found the Russian government had published a document listing nine instructions from the Kremlin following a socioeconomic development meeting in late January.

Consider the issue of organizing the production of stationary and portable game consoles and game consoles, as well as the creation of an operating system and a cloud system for delivering games and programs to users.

Only last month steamcommunity.com and other community-focused parts of Steam were added to the Unified Register of prohibited websites by the Russian Interior Ministry.

This move is another sign that Putin is pushing Russia to become less dependent on the West and move towards a self-sufficient Russia. I’m just not sure anyone expected gaming to be a priority part of that plan.

Putin Deck

Just like Putin’s “special military operation,” creating a new gaming ecosystem, including a stationary and portable console, while sanctions are in place, might not be as easily achievable as he thinks. With AMD and Intel out of the picture, the new ‘Putin Deck’ would need to look to China for chips.

Hardware isn’t the only challenge here, either. Many Western companies have tried to replicate the Steam Deck using Western hardware and operating systems and still failed, which makes the task of re-creating the entire Valve ecosystem for Russian consumers that much more challenging.

While most people will report that the move is a clear sign of Putin’s ambitions to put Russia at the centre of global economics and become self-sufficient despite heavy Western sanctions, I’m more convinced that he wants the means to play Command & Conquer without needing to download Steam.

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Kegan is an avid gamer and tech enthusiast that has been gaming and building custom gaming rigs from a young age. He started out on his Amiga back in the 90s and hasn't stopped geeking out since.

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