Valve’s recently announced handheld PC, the Switch-like Steam Deck, isn’t out yet. But folks can preregister for an opportunity to buy it at a later date and some scalpers are already trying to flip these registrations for hundreds of dollars.
The Steam Deck was revealed on July 15 and yesterday, Valve opened up the store allowing folks to plop down five bucks to register for the opportunity to buy one. The device will allow people to play many of their already-owned Steam games on the go via the powerful hardware inside the device. The base model starts at $400.
For the first hour or so on July 16, after Valve began accepting these pre-registrations, things collapsed and folks ran into error messages and crashing servers. But eventually, things calmed down and it became easy to pre-register for a Steam Deck.
Even as things calmed down and with that $5 registration fee, none of this has stopped resellers, who in the last 24 hours or so have flooded eBay with offers to buy Steam Decks for large prices, including some asking for as high as $2,500.
Many of these listings claim to be confirmed pre-sales or pre-orders, saying things like “CONFIRMED ORDER* PRESALE Preorder Ships In December.” Others promise that the Steam Deck will be shipping in December and that the order is locked in. However, to be clear, according to Valve none of this is true.
If we visit Valve’s FAQ page for the Steam Deck, you’ll see a bunch of useful answers about the Steam Deck hardware, release, purchase process, and more. The most important answer can be found about halfway down the page:
When will I be able to order?
We are aiming to start sending order invitations by December 2021. We will make every effort to convert all reservations to orders but we are not able to guarantee availability.
That answer explains that these handheld PCs won’t begin shipping in December 2021. Instead, Valve is aiming to send out purchase invitations that month to folks who pre-registered. And while Valve claims it will do everything to “convert all reservations to orders” it does not “guarantee availability” of Steam Decks. So to be clear, even if you put down $5 the moment pre-registrations went live on July 16, Valve can’t 100% guarantee you’ll get your device by the end of the year or even if you’ll get it at all.
Compare that information with the vast majority of eBay resellers who claim otherwise. It’s odd that all of these are still up on the site as it would seem these are listings with potentially fraudulent claims.
Kotaku has reached out to eBay about these Steam Deck listings and if they will remain on the site.
Update, 07/17/2021 2:49 p.m. ET: eBay told Kotaku via email that these listings will be removed as they violate the website’s “Presale Policy.” This policy states that all pre-sale items must ship within 30 days, which is not the case with Valve’s Steam Deck. (It won’t start shipping until Dec. 2021 at the earliest.)
While I understand that many of you out there might be feeling FOMO after not getting in on the pre-registration madness yesterday, I’d hold off buying any of these eBay listings and supporting these resellers. Instead, go to Valve’s site and place your own order. While it might be a long wait before you get one, it’s a better use of your time and money.