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Valve warns users not to sniff their Steam Deck

Yes, apparently such a warning was needed as Steam Deck users have been delighting in taking a huff from their gaming handhelds.

an image of a nose smelling a steam deck with a large red stop warning over it

Steam Deck users have apparently been indulging in sniffing the exhausts ports of their gaming handhelds, causing Valve to issue a warning that while not harmful, it probably isn’t the best idea.

The Steam Deck aroma appreciation was first mentioned on a Reddit thread a year ago, where one user asked fellow Redditors “does anyone else sniff their deck’s fan/exhaust?”. A year later that thread has 233 comments, and dozens of other threads have also popped up discussing the idea. This novel nasal notion finally led one Redditor to go direct to the source and ask Valve whether it was a safe practice. This was the most considered of replies:

“As with all electronics, it is generally not recommended you inhale the exhaust fumes from your device. While there are no safety concerns with general usage, directly inhaling the device’s vent fumes should be avoided. We understand that it may be a meme, but please refrain from this behavior for the safety of your health.”

Most of the appeal of the practice seems to center around the new plasticky, electronic smell that accompanies many new products. The ‘new car smell’ has been talked about for decades and you can get a similar effect with many electronics. However, we’ve seldom seen this level of in-depth appreciation. Moreover, one user describes the smell as being like the “foot scratch and sniff from Burger King”, which definitely doesn’t sound appealing to us.

Apparently, the new Steam Deck OLED doesn’t smell quite as good as the original Steam Deck LCD, with one Redditor describing the smell as sweeter but cheaper.

Suffice to say, exhaust vent perfume hasn’t been part of our standard test procedure up to this point, but perhaps we’re missing a fundamental aspect of laptop, gaming PC, and gaming handheld enjoyment. Is the ROG Ally aroma truly alluring and does the Legion Go smell like a centurion’s jock strap? These are all important things to know.

Have you ever taken time to sniff your new tech purchases? If so, what has been your favorite so far? Let us know your thoughts on the PCGamesN Facebook page, via X/Twitter, or on the Custom PC Facebook group.