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The Steam Deck “launches” in less than a month, but then, that sort of depends on your definition of a launch?

Valve’s Steam Deck, AKA the most promising PC-in-a-Nintendo-Switch-form-factor yet, was announced in summer last year. Information was a little limited, but that didn’t stop people from selling out the (pre-order) store when Valve opened the order book a few days later.

But that pre-order wasn’t a pre-order, so much as a pre-order of a reservation. Or a pre-order of the opportunity to buy a reservation at a later date.

After a few small delays – due in no small part to the chip fabrication shortage that’s impacting everything from next-gen consoles to new cars – Valve has confirmed the “launch” date for the Steam Deck: February 25, 2022. That’s less than a month away!

But when we say the Steam Deck “launches” in less than a month, what we really mean is those people who pre-ordered the opportunity to buy a reservation early will get the chance to finalise their purchases. So if you bought your Steam Deck reservation very early, you can expect to receive your opportunity-to-purchase email from Valve on Feb 25.

As per the announcement from Valve:

  • Invites will go out “shortly after 10:00 am on February 25th, PST”. (That’s 6 pm GMT, thanks.)
  • Emails will be sent “in the same order that reservations were made”.
  • Buyers can “only order the Steam Deck model that you originally reserved”.
  • Your reservation deposit “will be applied to the final price of Steam Deck” – or deducted from it, if you prefer your sentences to make sense – and “shipping costs are included”, which is nice.

If you weren’t in the earliest tranche, your hopes of getting a Steam Deck early aren’t dead in the water just yet. Anybody who doesn’t take up the opportunity to pay for their reservation within three days of receiving their email will forfeit their place in the queue. Their reservation slot will roll down to the next person in the queue, who then gets three days to purchase, and so on.

Given the length of time that’s passed since reservations opened and the volatility of people’s finances during a global pandemic, there will probably be a bit of that, as anticipated as the Steam Deck is.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know where you are in the pre-queue queue, or how long it’s going to take Valve to get through them all, so you’ll just need to be patient/hopeful/delusionally optimistic. (Delete as appropriate. Video games and pre-orders, man. At least Valve’s approach should have deterred some scalpers.)

Once that initial batch has had its 72-hour window to make the final purchase, the first Steam Decks will start shipping, with Valve planning to make more units available “on a weekly cadence”.

And if you have pre-ordered a Steam Deck? We would recommend checking your emails – especially your spam folder – pretty diligently to be sure you don’t miss your window.

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