Valve’s Steam Deck, the company’s first handheld gaming device will start shipping on February 28 for customers who pre-ordered it. The company will start sending order emails to the first reservation holders on February 25, and early enthusiasts will then have 3 days to complete their purchase if they don’t want to lose their reservation to the next person in the queue.
There’s was definitely a lot of excitement when Valve opened pre-orders for the Steam Deck back in July, and the company said that Order emails will be sent in the same order that reservations were made. For enthusiasts who don’t receive an order email on February 25, Valve said that it will release new order email batches on a weekly cadence.
If the Steam Deck has often been compared to the Nintendo Switch, the handheld device uses a PC architecture with a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU coupled with an RDNA2 GPU, which are the same architectures used in current-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles. The Steam Deck will ship with Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS, which supports most Windows games thanks to the Proton compatibility layer.
Valve warned yesterday that reviews for the Steam Deck will go live on February 25, the same day the company will start sending order emails. This isn't exactly reassuring, though the first review units will be sent to journalists very shortly and there will be first impressions online before February 25. "In the meantime we're working to tie up the last few loose ends and polish some rough edges,” the company said yesterday.
Valve owns the leading digital PC game distribution platform with Steam, and the Steam Deck aims to make the most popular PC games playable on the go on a Nintendo Switch-like form factor. Despite its aging hardware, the Switch remains a blockbuster success for Nintendo thanks to killer exclusive games and an affordable $299 price. The Steam Deck is slightly more expensive with a $399 starting price, and the high-end model with 512GB of storage costs $649.
It remains to be seen if the Steam Deck will meet the high expectations from PC gamers, but the device could mark the emergence of a new market for handheld gaming devices. Back in December, Qualcomm and Razer revealed the Snapdragon G3x handheld gaming developer kit, a Nintendo Switch-like device powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform. If this prototype device is designed for Android games, it will also provide access to cloud gaming services including Xbox Cloud Gaming.