TL;DR: Valve’s Steam Deck has been a success, but the company has struggled to meet demand. The company has resolved kinks in its supply chain and said it could catch up with its backlog by the end of the year, barring a massive influx of new reservations. However, the economic downturn and contraction of the tech sector have undoubtedly contributed to a decrease in demand for the handheld PC gaming gadget.
On Friday, Steam posted good news about Steam Deck production. Valve says that it has alleviated some of its supply chain constraints and has been able to ramp up manufacturing. As a result, it moved most of the Q4 reservation queue to Q3, while the rest of its existing orders will “solidly” receive their Decks by the end of the year.
Most customers expecting to get their order near the end of the year can look for it to arrive between now and the end of September. The 2022 queue still has some room for more orders based on current production projections, so if you want one this year, order soon. Valve says that supplies are still somewhat limited, so the remaining 2022 units could get reserved fast.
Customers can reserve a unit at Valve’s dedicated Steam Store page for a $5 deposit. The 64GB Steam Deck costs $399, 256GB goes for $529, and the 512GB unit is $649. Valve says if the queue overflows for any version, new reserves will move to the first quarter of 2023, and the store page will adjust shipping times accordingly. As of publication, all three models are still slated for Q4 deliveries.
Great news: Everyone who currently has a reservation can get their Steam Deck by the end of this year! We’ve cleared up supply chain issues, a bunch of folks got moved up to Q3, and all other reservations are now in Q4.
— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) July 29, 2022
The Steam Deck’s backlog has been a bumpy ride. Valve began taking reservations in July 2021, and they went fast. Scalpers scooped up many and sold them for up to $1,000. By the end of the month, Valve vaguely estimated new reservations to be delivered some time “after Q2 2022.”
Despite the longer delivery times for new orders, the company still expected to ship the first units in December 2021. However, by November, Valve realized it was not going to meet production goals and delayed the release until February 2022. It barely met that deadline, with the first Decks going out on February 28.
Initial reviews were mostly positive, and less than a week after the first units shipped, Gabe Newell was already talking about a Steam Deck 2. While it’s not unusual for companies to start planning for a follow-up console so close to the release of the current generation, supply constraints were still so tight for the handheld that scalpers were getting up to $3,000 per unit on eBay.
Fortunately, Valve boosted Q2 2022 shipments slightly in April, alleviating some of the strain. This second boost will still not catch up with the backorder pileup, but at least some customers can expect an earlier delivery than originally promised.