Steam Deck launch delayed by two months

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Valve is delaying the launch of the Steam Deck, its handheld gaming PC, by two months. The Steam Deck had been set to launch in December, but Valve now estimates that the first orders will start shipping in February 2022.

“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 said in a blog post.

One editor at The Verge is now seeing a Q1 2022 estimated ship date for a Steam Deck reservation that was originally slated for the December launch window. Another is seeing a Q2 2022 estimated ship date for an order that was initially going to arrive in Q1. (Both placed their reservation on the very first day that Valve opened preorders.)

Valve is still showing “After Q2 2022” for new orders, the same as it showed yesterday, but the initial shipments have been bumped.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister/The Verge

The global supply chain shortage has had a massive impact on the technology industry. Next-gen consoles and Nvidia 30-series graphics cards have been famously difficult to buy for going on a year, BMW said last week that some new cars won’t have touchscreens because of chip shortages, and even Apple has felt the sting, saying that it lost $6 billion to supply chain constraints in its most recent quarter.

“While we did our best to account for the global supply chain issues (by which we mean we factored in extra time to account for these risks and worked with multiple component vendors), our manufacturing plans were still impacted,” Valve said in the Steam Deck FAQ. “Material shortages and delays meant that components weren’t making it to our manufacturing facilities on time. Missing parts along with logistical challenges means delayed Steam Decks, so we needed to push out shipping by two months to February.”

Chip shortages aren’t the only thing Valve is squaring away before the Steam Deck’s launch — it’s also trying to ensure developers flip any necessary switches and make any necessary modifications to ensure their Windows games run on the Linux handheld. A Proton compatibility layer does most of the heavy lifting, but online multiplayer games sometimes come with anti-cheat software that historically didn’t work well with Proton, and games may want to embrace the Deck’s touchscreen, joysticks, and buttons as well.

Valve introduced a “Verified” program last month for games that work well on Deck and has worked with top anti-cheat platforms Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) and BattlEye to enable support. EAC owner Epic Games says flipping on support takes just a few clicks on the developer end; Valve says BattlEye is as easy as sending an email. Despite that, some top Steam game developers haven’t yet been willing to voice support.

Valve is holding a virtual developer event on Friday for the Steam Deck, sharing best practices and answering developer questions. The company already sent out early Steam Deck units to developers months ago.

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