Want a Steam Deck right now? You won’t with these ridiculous eBay prices…

Photo of Steam Deck handheld console playing God of War
(Image credit: Future)

Steam Decks are now selling on eBay from scalpers who got in quick with a pre-order and already have their device, promising a shortcut to the front of the very long queue for Valve’s handheld gaming PC – but at a predictably eye-watering cost.

PC Mag has been trawling eBay and found Steam Deck listings promising that the device is ‘in hand’ (as opposed to sellers who are flogging their spot in the pre-order queue), but some of those scalpers are charging $1,600 or $1,700 over in the US (for the top-end model, or even the 256GB version in some cases).

The tech site observes that ‘buy it now’ pricing can be as high as $2,500 or even more, though bidding is pitched more around the $1,300 to $1,600 mark. Whatever the case, these are sky-high demands compared to the actual retail price of the Steam Deck which starts from $399 / £349 for the base model (the high-end version of the handheld is $649 / £569).

Looking at eBay now, we can see a couple of Steam Decks pitched at $1,800 in the US, and in the UK, there’s a flagship model with a ‘buy it now’ price of £2,000, and one listed at £3,700 (eek – and don’t forget the £15.99 for shipping, as no, you don’t even get free postage for stumping up that kind of cash). For a base model, there’s a listing that asks for £850 (which is a little more reasonable, dare we use the word – at least relative to that high-end listing).

There are still scalpers who are selling their place in the queue, such as a ‘confirmed pre-order for Q2’, which is basically a promise to ship the handheld as soon as it’s sent to the seller (complete with a scheduled date). Obviously, anyone who’s tempted to go this route needs to be even more cautious, and sometimes the prices aren’t all that different to ‘in hand’ models anyway.

Analysis: Desperation around getting on board the Deck

As PC Mag points out, these units are actually selling to gamers desperate enough to want the Steam Deck right now, and the report observes that in excess of a dozen Decks are being sold daily on eBay, with an average price of around $1,500 in the US.

So, there is demand, even with this massive level of price gouging going on, and of course that’s what scalpers rely on, sadly. While folks are prepared to pay an exorbitant premium for hard-to-get devices, opportunists will inevitably move in and try to make a quick buck (or two thousand).

The obvious problem with the Steam Deck is that supply really doesn’t meet demand for the popular handheld, and if you order a device from Valve now, it won’t ship until after Q3 at the earliest – so October, over six months away, is your best-case scenario. Some people just won’t wait that long (as we can clearly see from how many units are selling on eBay).

Really, though, if you’re going to plonk down a grand and a half, or maybe even more, you may as well look at buying one of the best gaming laptops, as you’ll get an impressively powerful portable for that kind of cash (just not a handheld gaming device). Or just put your name down with Valve now and wait it out for some months, at which point the Steam Deck will doubtless be a more honed device (with many more supported games, to boot).

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).