Valve has delayed the release of its Steam Deck handheld by several months, it announced in a statement today. The anticipated handheld will now start rolling out in February 2022, pushed back from an initial December release.
“We’re sorry about this—we did our best to work around the global supply chain issues, but due to material shortages, components aren’t reaching our manufacturing facilities in time for us to meet our initial launch dates,” Valve wrote. “Based on our updated build estimates, Steam Deck will start shipping to customers February 2022. This will be the new start date of the reservation queue—all reservation holders keep their place in line but dates will shift back accordingly.”
First announced in July, the Steam Deck—which is shaped much like a Nintendo Switch and allows players to play games from their Steam libraries on the fly—is available in three models. The base edition, which costs $400, sports 64GB of internal storage for games. The two pricier models come with solid-state drives, priced at $529 (for 256GB) and $649 (for 512GB). You’ll be able to connect any model to an external display via a separately sold dock, but Valve has yet to reveal pricing info for that accessory. (Valve says a USB-C hub will essentially do the same thing.)
All models apparently function just fine as a replacement gaming PC. According to one Valve developer, every game the company tested on the device is able to hit a framerate of 30 frames per second. Last month, Valve unveiled a rating system called Deck Verified that indicates how well (or not well) games will run. For those who’ve demurred on getting into PC games, a proprietary easy-access handheld from the biggest digital storefront on the web lowers the barrier immensely. No need to figure out specs or source hard-to-find parts. You could just pick up the thing and play.
But no item, let alone a hotly anticipated gaming device, can escape the supply chain issues that have embroiled every industry on the planet. Say nothing about Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. Even Nintendo—which in October released a new handheld of its own, the Nintendo Switch - OLED Model—reduced its forecast hardware output by 20 percent for the holiday season.