Valve have asked Steam Deck owners to stop inhaling the fumes from the Steam Deck’s air vent, after the portable PC’s uniquely moreish smell became an obsession among the community.
Dozens of posts over on the Steam Deck subreddit show players discovering the aroma from their fresh Decks; I’ve seen posts comparing its scent to a new car, US DIY store Lowes and a fresh PlayStation 1 controller, among everything in-between. There are posts calling it “the best smell on Earth”, asking for a Steam Deck-scented air freshener and lamenting as the “new Deck smell” fades over time.
While the praise of the smell isn’t new, with the fixation dating back to around the portable’s release, Reddit user Metapod100 took the extra step of contacting Steam’s customer support to check whether the enchanting aroma is actually safe to inhale. Y’know, coming out of a block of plastic filled with electronics and such.
“It’s somewhat of a meme to enjoy the fumes but I think I kinda… like it?” Metapod100’s message said (thanks, Eurogamer), channelling entire comment threads of Deck users forming the online equivalent of school kids passing around marker pens.
Steam support wrote back, offering a perhaps unsurprising response in saying that, no, you probably shouldn’t get hooked on the fumes of an electronic device.
“As with all electronics, it is generally not recommended you inhale the exhaust fumes on your device,” they wrote.
Steam clarified that “while there are no safety concerns with general usage, directly inhaling the device’s vent fumes should be avoided” – so maybe just enjoy the passive smell it adds to wherever you’re playing it, rather than putting your nostrils right up to the grille.
“We understand that it may be a meme, but please refrain from this behavior for the safety of your health,” they concluded.
Whether that actually stops people from indulging in the smell remains to be seen – “Eh. I’m just going to keep doing it,” Metapod100 admitted. Those picking up the newer OLED Steam Deck might find it easier to tear their nose away, as it hasn’t attracted the same level of obsessive sniffing as the original.