Last week, Valve’s Steam Deck set the internet ablaze with gaming hype and memes. A handheld capable of playing full-quality PC games without actually spending thousands of dollars on a gaming PC? And reserving one is as easy as putting down five bucks and waiting a few months? Sign us up!
The pitch seemed almost too good to be true; you’re telling us we can play one of these as soon as December 2021 — as in this year?
Well… it turns out we may have jumped the gun on that part of the deal. The reservation page for Valve’s handheld PC-killer still says consoles will begin shipping in December 2021, but there’s a new “expected order availability date” for each version of the console, too. And they’re not even in 2021.
The Steam Deck landing page now claims the 64GB and 256GB models will be available in Q2 of 2022 — that is, sometime between April and June of next year. The high-tier 512GB model isn’t expected until Q3 of next year, which means it could potentially arrive as late as September 2022. More than a full year from now.
The status quo with a twist — If there’s any one overarching problem in the gaming industry right now, it’s an intense shortage of consoles. The PlayStation 5 has been all-but-impossible to find ever since its release in November of last year, and there’s almost no chance that will change in the near future. The Xbox Series X and Series S have faced similar supply chain issues, though to a lesser extent in most cases.
The hunt for these consoles has frustrated gamers to no end. It seems the Steam Deck may be just as difficult to come by, but the company at least has a novel plan in place to make the search for one less painful. To pre-order a Steam Deck, gamers need simply to put down a $5 reservation fee. Beginning in December the company will begin sending out order invitations to those with reservations. And if you eventually decide it’s not worth the money or the wait, you can get your $5 back.
Worth the wait? — We’ll have to reserve full judgment for the handheld’s actual release, but there’s good reason to get excited about the device based on early specs alone. The Steam Deck gives gamers access to Steam’s massive library of current past-gen games, including huge AAA hits and smaller indie titles, too. Given how difficult it is to build or purchase a gaming PC right now, that access is more pivotal than ever. And in a handheld, no less.
The Steam Deck brought in more than 100,000 reservations in the first hour and a half it was available; it’s no wonder the company had to move back its expected shipment dates to later next year. That’s still likely sooner — and at a much lower cost — than what you’d expect when shopping for a gaming PC this year.