Valve is currently developing a handheld console "SteamPal"

Pavel Djundik, a developer and Steam data miner, shared the new code on GitHub, which includes a probable codename of "Neptune" and a console name of "SteamPal." An Airplane Mode setting, low battery notifications, Bluetooth, and grip buttons are all mentioned in the code, implying that the prospective console will be a mobile or portable device.

According to a story that backs up facts from a recent leak, Valve is working on a portable system comparable to the Nintendo Switch and hopes to have it in shops by the end of 2021.

The fresh information comes from Ars Technica, who published a story only hours after we reported on a new Steam portable console dubbed SteamPal. The console has been under development for years, according to Ars Technica, and might be released this year provided the supply chain holds up.

Valve may be working on a new console, according to newly mined data from the most recent Steam update. SteamPal devices—which isn't an official name yet—will apparently work on Linux as well, which calls to mind Valve's failed Steam Machines attempt. However, this is aimed at a totally different type of market, one that currently lacks a wide range of alternatives for consumers: There are a lot of gaming laptops out there (here's our list of the best), but they're often costly and have a lot more technology than you need if all you want to do is play Super Meat Boy in the back of your Uber.

According to Ars, the device will be similar to a Nintendo Switch-style PC, featuring a touchscreen, gamepad controls, and Intel or AMD-designed "system on a chip" architecture. According to the source, the item is still in the prototype stage, so certain features may alter in the future, but at least one prototype gadget is broader than a Switch to accommodate a big number of control possibilities (although apparently not a wee tiny built-in QWERTY keyboard).

This possible disclosure comes only a week after Valve president Gabe Newell responded to a query about Steam titles coming to consoles with a cryptic response.

“You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year… and it won’t be the answer you would expect,” he said.

There isn't an official Steam event on the horizon that may give further details, but Steam Next Fest, which highlights new games and creators, starts on June 16.

If SteamPal is formally launched later this year, it will be the company's second effort at entering the console gaming market. After years of development, Valve introduced the Steam Machine series in November 2015. Steam Machine was a brand of pre-built gaming PCs with console functionality developed by a number of companies (Alienware, Digital Storm, and Zotac). The Steam Machine series experienced a bad financial and critical reception due to troubles with SteamOS and communication issues between Valve, developers, and manufacturers. Valve only sold about half a million copies, and the game is no longer available on the Steam store.