Steam Deck reservations are weird, but they could help stop scalpers

Steam dropped a bombshell of an announcement today by revealing the Steam Deck, which is essentially a portable PC meant primarily for playing PC games on the go. The prospect of truly portable PC gaming is one that could get a lot of people excited, but unfortunately, we're going to have to wait until December to order one. In the more immediate future, we'll be able to reserve one, but there are some things you should know about Steam Deck reservations before you take the plunge.

For starters, reservations will kick off tomorrow, July 16th, at 10 AM PDT. Unfortunately, not everyone will get to reserve one at that time, as those with newly-made Steam accounts will have to wait 48 hours before they can reserve a Steam Deck for themselves. In this case, Valve requires that reservers use a Steam account that has made at least one purchase before June 2021 to reserve in that first 48-hour window.

This is a strange restriction at first blush, but when coupled with the fact that Valve is only allowing each Steam account to order one Steam Deck, it begins to make a little more sense. We're currently wading through a computing parts storage that's being felt in many different areas of the consumer electronics space and making a lot of new hardware – particularly the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – hard to find.

At the same time, scalpers have been attempting to resell new consoles at prices far above MSRP, so it looks like Valve is trying to avoid that by requiring people to reserve with Steam accounts that have purchased something before and limiting reservations to one per account. Valve will also charge a $5 fee for reservations, though that can be refunded if you wind up cancelling your reservation. If you cancel within the first 30 days after placing the reservation, it'll get refunded to your original payment method; beyond 30 days, and the fee will be refunded to your Steam Wallet.

Some other things to consider: Valve will only be opening reservations tomorrow in regions where the Steam Deck will be available first. That means only people in the United States, Canada, European Union, and the United Kingdom will be able to reserve one tomorrow. Also, when the time comes, you'll only be able to purchase the Steam Deck you reserved, so be sure to decide which model you want before you place a reservation tomorrow.

You can read more about Steam Deck reservations over on Steam, which has a very detailed FAQ about the topic. Steam Deck reservations open tomorrow at 10 AM PDT, with availability expected for December 2021.