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Credit: Valve

Valve is officially entering the crowded market of Switch-like portable gaming PCs with the unveiling of the Steam Deck, a system stuffed with impressive features.

Why it matters: Valve's device is the latest effort to tap into an audience who likes the idea of the hybrid Switch but would prefer to play PC games and won’t mind missing Mario.

  • It's set to start shipping this December and will run games from Valve's Steam marketplace while also supporting, Valve says, the ability to run any other PC-based store.

Between the lines: The $399 (and up) Steam Deck appears to be a capable portable PC, running at a beefier spec than the Switch. (Official specs)

  • Like the Switch's upcoming $350 OLED model, it has a 7-inch screen.
  • Its control sticks are touch-sensitive, and it sports two front-facing trackpads designed to allow for mouse-like movement for games not designed to be run with sticks and buttons.
  • The device is also larger and heavier than Nintendo's and won't come with a bundled dock, though it does connect to monitors and TVs.

To ward off scalpers, Valve is requiring anyone who pre-orders the system to put down a deposit.

  • It will also only permit initial pre-orders this Friday to people who have bought something on Steam prior to June. Everyone else has to wait until Sunday.

The bottom line: Valve's hardware track record is shaky, and it's veering the closest it ever has to competing with the most successful company in video game history.

Go deeper

Nintendo dates “Mario” movie for 2022, casts Chris Pratt as Mario

Image: Nintendo

Nintendo interrupted one of its semiannual Nintendo Direct gaming showcases today to tease plans for its upcoming animated Super Mario movie.

Why it matters: Nintendo’s movie hype, just like its recently opened theme park in Tokyo, is part of its expansion beyond gaming.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

A pro-choice activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked three abortion restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 1.

Why it matters: The laws would place new limits on medication-induced abortions and require doctors who perform abortions to attain board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.