During a recent interview with IGN, Valve developers stated that their new handheld PC with 1280 x 800 px (60 Hz) display, the Steam Deck, would target 30 FPS for gameplay. That has led to some disappointment among prospective buyers who are interested in taking their Steam libraries on the go, but Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais has now taken to Twitter to clarify that the 30 FPS target is more of a “floor” rather than a “target.” The implication is that 30 FPS is what Steam Deck owners can expect at minimum for most titles, with performance possibly being greater on average. Griffais also revealed that the Steam Deck would feature an optional, built-in FPS limiter for users who wish to put battery life ahead of game performance. Valve previously said that the Steam Deck can play Portal 2 for up to six hours at 30 FPS.
The "30 FPS target" refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we've tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far. There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) July 25, 2021
Will it be a good 30 fps mode, though? That’s TBD. In the replies, Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter says Valve confirmed to him that the Steam Deck doesn’t have a variable-refresh-rate (VRR) screen, and eludes to the idea that V-sync might wind up creating some nasty frame pacing issues if you try to lock games to 30Hz on the Deck’s screen.