The Steam Deck is set to launch on February 25, 2022, Valve announced today, bringing the PC gaming handheld one step closer to the eager hands of a mass of waitlisted gamers.
"On February 25th, we will be sending out the first batch of order emails to reservation holders," the company said in a blog post (opens in new tab) published Wednesday afternoon. "Customers will have 3 days (72 hours) from receipt of their order email to make their purchase, before their reservation is released to the next person in the queue."
As for the actual shipping dates, Valve said the first units will be on their way before February is out.
"The first units will be on their way to customers starting the 28th, and we plan to release new order email batches on a weekly cadence."
So if you've already reserved your Steam Deck, be on the lookout for an email from Valve beginning the 25th. If you haven't reserved a Steam Deck yet ... well, good luck. It could be June before you're able to get your hands on the console given the demand -- and the inevitable stock and supply-chain issues that are bound to arise.
Analysis: how Valve can succeed where Nvidia, AMD, and Sony stumbled
The tight supply of the best graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, along with the never-ending PS5 restock drama, has left gamers everywhere rather bitter.
Finding an RTX 30-series graphics card at MSRP right now is like stumbling upon a saddled unicorn that's ready to ride right into your kid's sixth birthday party. PS5 consoles, and Xbox Series X|S consoles to a lesser extent, are equally ephemeral, more the hint of a promise than a product anyone can actually buy.
That's largely because retailers including the manufacturers themselves have left their eCommerce portals wide open to bots and scalpers who will buy up everything in sight and then resell the products on eBay or StockX at obscene markups.
Hopefully, Valve's reservation system has mechanisms in place to ensure that its system isn't being similarly gamed by the profiteers that have ruined gamers' hopes for more than a year now.
If Valve can ensure that gamers who got their reservations in early get their Steam Decks on time (or within a reasonable amount of time at least), Valve's Steam Deck could be a real bright spot in an otherwise bleak year for gaming hardware.
And who knows? If Valve is successful, maybe other manufacturers will learn that lesson before they release their next-generation hardware starting later this year.
- Check out the best Steam games while you wait for your Steam Deck