Steam Deck launch: here’s how it works, and how to secure your pre-order

Steam Deck on sparkly background
(Image credit: Future / Valve)

The Steam Deck is finally here, and it is well worth the wait, and by now everyone is clamoring to get their hands on the new console. Fortunately, Valve has explained in detail how the launch process works, and clarified what happens for those who’ve pre-ordered.

So, if you’re in the lucky club of gamers who got their pre-order in early, what can you expect? Valve’s post states that the first emails to buyers – those who got their purchase in right off the bat – will arrive from 10am Pacific Time in the US (6pm UK time).

Note that these are only emails, not the actual units shipping. What happens next is that folks who have received an email must complete their purchase, and stump up their cash via Steam.

After that, your order is secure, and then it will be shipped. Valve doesn’t say how long it’ll take for shipping to happen, but presumably, it’ll be pretty soon after payment.

The catch here is that if you don’t finish off your purchase within 72 hours after the mail has hit your inbox, then your spot will be given away to the next person in the queue of pre-orders.

In effect, you’ll have lost out, and if that happens, your only recourse will be to order again – remembering that reservations are currently scheduled to ship after Q2. So, you won’t get your Steam Deck until July at the earliest and possibly even later.

Watch that inbox ultra-carefully and check your spam folder!

Clearly, you don’t want to miss out on your pre-order opportunity, particularly not if you were one of the very early birds who got in there straightaway. So, be sure to monitor the email inbox tied to your Steam account like a hawk, and if you normally don’t check your messages much, say, over the weekend – break that habit going forward, at least until you get your pre-order confirmation through.

Also worth noting is that if you have since moved on to a different daily-driver email account since ordering, or have an older email address registered with Steam, maybe an account you don’t check much anymore, then it’s obviously worth updating that. You should get regular messages from Steam, for example, about Valve’s big sales events, highlighting the games which are discounted from your wish-list.

Also, something you might want to do ahead of the launch is to check which of the games in your Steam library are already verified as compatible with the Steam Deck, and there’s a very easy way of doing this which we explain here.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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