One of Steam Deck's early prototypes was nicknamed the Ugly Baby, leaving those waiting for the new handheld to ponder on how much worse it could have looked.

With the PS5 and Series X enjoying record sales since launch, and what feels like everyone in the world wanting a Switch, only the bravest of companies would release a completely new console right now. Enter the Steam Deck. In Valve's defense, the Steam Deck isn't your typical new console. It's effectively a handheld device that will allow you to play Steam games on the go.

The Steam Deck has been in high demand from the second pre-orders went live with some hoping to land one either being told they hadn't been on Steam for long enough, or that they will have to wait until the middle of next year. Despite that high demand, some have criticized the way the Steam Deck looks. It isn't exactly the prettiest handheld console ever created.

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big picture mode steam deck
via Valve

However, judging by an interview with Valve's Gabe Newell and Pierre-Loup Griffais, it could have looked a lot worse. Griffais explained to IGN that early on in the Steam Deck's creation process, the team created some “terrifying prototypes”. He even let slip that one of the console's early prototypes was nicknamed Ugly Baby, something Newell seemed unaware of judging by his reaction.


Prototypes of other Steam hardware have surfaced online before, and if they are anything to go by then there's a room somewhere in Valve HQ that is reminiscent of Sid's bedroom in Toy Story. Just a bunch of consoles and controllers that have been chopped apart and crudely stuck back together. A PS3 with a Wiimote strapped to its back and a Nintendo 3DS screen superglued to the top of a PSP.

Newell divulges a couple of other things the Steam Deck was called before its reveal. The Steam Buddy and the SteamPal also made the shortlist. Steam Deck was what Valve went for though, of course, and it's hard to imagine it being called anything else at this point. If you have ordered one and if you're keen to find out if it will feel better in your hands than it looks, check out this YouTuber who has 3D-printed on to get a feel for it ahead of time.

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