Steam Deck Pre-Orders: When Do Pre-orders Open for the Handheld PC

The Steam Deck was revealed Thursday by Valve, along with price details and a vague December release date.

What Is the Steam Deck?

While the new handheld might initially draw comparisons to the Nintendo Switch (thanks to its similar visual design and the fact that you can purchase a dock to have it display on a TV), it actually has far more in common with a traditional gaming PC.

Running on a modified version of SteamOS, it will synchronize with your pre-existing Steam library so that you can play any games you already own, with all the usual mods and adjustable settings. You can even use it to browse the web and install third-party applications onto the device, including the Microsoft Store or the Epic Games Store.

As such, it is not limited exclusively to playing games and, in the words of the creators themselves: "It can pretty much run anything that you can run on a PC."

The portable device is also significantly more powerful than the Nintendo Switch thanks to impressive technical specs. It boasts 16GB of RAM, 4 cores of AMD Zen 2 CPU, with 8 logical threads and 8 CUs of RDNA 2 GPU. In simplified terms, this means that it is more than capable of handling games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Doom Eternal and Death Stranding on their "high" graphical settings.

If you are playing in the handheld form, then you will reap the benefits of this as the Steam Deck has a 7-inch, 160hz LCD screen that displays in 1280x800 resolution. As for the controls, it has two thumbsticks, a D-pad, four face buttons and four back buttons, alongside two precision trackpads for mouse functionality.

How Much Is the Steam Deck?

When the Steam Deck launches in December 2021, it will be available in three different versions. The main distinction between these models is that the more expensive ones have additional internal storage. The prices are as follows:

  • The 64GB Steam Deck costs $399
  • The 256GB Steam Deck costs $529
  • The 512GB Steam Deck costs $649

Each version will be shipped with a power adapter and a carry case. It is worth noting that you will not be able to upgrade the internal storage of your Steam Deck, but there is an inbuilt SD card reader.

Introducing Steam Deck: powerful, portable PC gaming starting at $399. Designed by Valve, powered by Steam. Shipping December 2021.

Learn more at https://t.co/ZOTx3KUCVK and reserve yours tomorrow. #SteamDeck pic.twitter.com/jcgbaKfT9c

— Steam (@Steam) July 15, 2021

Where Can I Pre-Order the Steam Deck?

Pre-orders for the handheld PC actually go live on Steam's official website Friday at 1 p.m. ET, or 10 a.m. PT.

According to the FAQ section, these will initially be available to customers in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the U.K. There is also a button on the product page which you can use to set a reminder for yourself at the appropriate time.

Valve has implemented a special pre-order system to prevent scalpers from purchasing multiple units that they can then resell at a later date (as happened with the Xbox Series X and PS5). Essentially, you will need to log in to an existing Steam account if you want to reserve the device and must pay a $5 deposit as well.

There is a restriction meaning that you can only buy one Steam Deck per account and scalpers will be unable to cheat this, as Valve has put an extra deterrent in place. If you want to reserve the hardware, then your Steam account must have made a purchase before June, so you cannot just create several new ones to stockpile units.

If your account is not eligible to pre-order Friday (because you have not made a purchase before June), then you will have to wait until Sunday.

It is currently unknown when the Steam Deck will be available for general purchase, but you can add it to your wishlist so that you will receive a notification when this happens.

In related news, pre-orders for the new Nintendo Switch OLED model went live Thursday at a number of retailers, including Best Buy and GameStop. This updated console is only an incremental upgrade over its predecessor and does not represent a next generation of the hardware.

The Steam Deck
The Steam Deck has all the functionality you would expect from a gaming PC in a more compact device. Pre-orders go live on Valve’s website today. Valve