the problem isn't with old games but with upcoming games like forspoken. video game companies focus on developing for PS5 and XBSX, both of which have NVMe SSDs and then later make the PC port with the assumption that most PC gamers have at least SATA SSDs. by the time steam deck comes out in 2022 its base model will be obsolete due to its slow and tiny eMMC storage.
>We were playing Oblivion and the like on traditional hard disc drives, are those significantly faster than this EMMC memery?
SATA HDD <= eMMC < SATA SSD < NVMe SSD
>Skyrim and GTA V pretty thoroughly seeing as they're among the most popular games of "recent" years
those games came out in 2011 and 2013, they're not recent. to put it in perspective, someone who was born in 2000 was 11 years old when skyrim came out is 21 today.https://www.gamespot.com/articles/psa-the-cheapest-steam-deck-has-much-slower-storage-than-you-might-expect/1100-6494049/>For context, the maximum theoretical throughput of the eMMC 64GB model is 500MB/s, according to the official PCIe specifications. By comparison, the other two models have a theoretical throughput of 4GB/s, or around eight times faster. For modern games that are being developed with the assumption of faster memory will become common soon (spurred on by the move to new consoles, with both the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 having extremely fast SSDs) the cheapest Steam Deck might be quickly hindered by its storage if you're playing any games that are either large sandboxes or graphically demanding.
of course these "maximum theoretical throughputs" are always bullshit, in reality with the latest highest-quality eMMCs when you look at crystaldiskmark benchmarks they max out at like 150MB/s for reads and half that for writes, ordinary 7200RPM HDDs at like 100MB/s for reads and 4/5 of that for writes, ordinary SATA SSDs at around 500MB/s for reads and 3/4 of that for writes, and NVMes are in the thousands of MB/s for both reads and writes
most importantly, basically any PC game released in the last few years can't fit on the 64GB eMMC