Last week, Valve announced that it was delaying the release of the Steam Deck into February 2022. All orders will still be preserved in their position in the queue that they were made in, but orders now won’t start shipping until next year. I have to say that this is a good move on Valve’s part, keeping the order of the Steam Deck orders rather than randomly screwing things up because it didn’t have the console in stock. However, I also think that we should have expected the console to be delayed. There was no way that Valve would be able to produce the number of Steam Decks needed for a Christmas 2021 release when Sony is having to fly consoles to the UK, there are barely any Xbox consoles, and Nintendo is warning that the Switch is about to go out of stock. Why are we surprised?
I think that when the Steam Deck was announced, we were all quietly excited about the upcoming handheld. Everything it represents had us out of our minds, and we forgot about the issues the console industry is facing. There’s a shortage on all parts required to make electronic goods, and that’s hitting the entire world. not just the games industry. Valve should have come up with the ideal release date based on timelines and suppliers, then added a couple of months to be safe. I think we would have ended up with February as our release date a lot sooner, and that would have been fine.
The thing is, the latest consoles are still so fresh that they’re all people care about. There’s no reason to go out of your way to get something new on the market as soon as possible, because the new stuff is still highly desirable. Valve missed the mark with this, and should have done what PlayDate did. When that console launched, even though it was frustrating, it was a fair process with very little expectation in terms of release windows. It’s a get it when you will situation, and we’re all fine with that. I think that Valve should step back and delay the Steam Deck even more, because I still don’t see it getting out and into our hands by February 2022.