Valve Says Steam Deck Ships in February, We’ll See…

The Steam Deck could be a real “game changer.” Yeah, pun intended. I went there. But how can the latest most-awesome portable gaming device change anything if no one has one?

It can’t. And Valve, the developer of Steam Deck, understands this challenge more than anyone. With previous Steam Deck delays lowering gamer confidence, Valve is looking production shortage monsters squarely in their eyes and saying, ‘we got this.’

They didn’t really say, ‘we got this,’ we are paraphrasing. So don’t call us fake news (at least, yet).

But Valve is spreading the confidence that they’ll be able to ship out Steam Decks in a timely manner, as early as next February.

“We do feel like we’re on track for that,” Valve designer Greg Coomer said in an interview with PC Gamer on Thursday. “We’re still bummed that we had to move from end of this year to beginning of next. But yeah, all the signs are pointing to us being able to ship in February.”

The issue of hardware delays are hardly exclusively symptomatic of Valve, it’s happening all over the technical world. PS5’s and new XBOX’s are suffering as well. But it remains, Steam Deck is one of the most highly anticipated gamer devices in years. But if you can’t get the parts to build the device, you can’t build the device (man, that was deep). One line of parts that’s making Valve’s distribution of Steam Deck rigorous is microchip type ICs. Without processing, there is no gaming. But beyond that, Steam Deck claims upwards of 50 necessary parts are difficult to locate.

“It’s a real product launch, so many thousands of people right away are going to receive Decks as soon as we’re able to ship them,” Coomer said. “But even talking about thousands would be quite low compared to the volumes we’re shooting for in the first few months.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that ‘everybody’ will get a shiny new Steam Deck that wants one. It is more likely that those folks on wait lists will be the initial recipients.

“We’re going to have a launch that looks like a significant number of users right out of the gate, and then build that over time, rather than having the biggest splash on day one and then generally declining after that,” he said. “If you extend the timeline out through 2022 and all the way to 2023, we expect to be building on our numbers constantly throughout that whole time, to the point where there’s many millions of customers if things go the way we think they will, who are using Steam Deck by the end of that year or so, through 2023.”

So for those excited for the Steam Deck launch, this is decent news, but certainly not great news. In gaming in general, it seems at least now, the days of just buying what you want are gone. Remember when we used to worry about how much a new gaming device costs? Now, you worry you can’t get one at all.