Steam Deck reservations open today: Why Valve may not sell you one

After announcing the Steam Deck yesterday, Valve is wasting little time opening up reservations for the handheld PC gaming device. Reservations are opening later today for the first batch of Steam Decks that will be available in December 2021. Here we'll tell you not only how to reserve one, but also what you should know before reserving.

The reservation process is slightly strange because of Valve's efforts to stop scalpers from snatching up all of the available stock. Reservations open at 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT today over on the Steam store, where three different configurations of the Steam Deck are listed: One with 64GB of eMMC storage for $399, another with a 256GB NVMe SSD for $529, and a third with a 512GB NVMe SSD for $649.

You'll get a carrying case regardless of the model you pick, and though there are some bonuses in the two more expensive models (such as anti-glare glass in the 512GB model), you're mostly paying extra for increased storage. Keep in mind that each model comes with a microSD slot, and on the 64GB model in particular, you'll probably need to make use of it, given the size of many modern games.

If you're reserving a Steam Deck today, you don't need to pay the entire purchase price upfront. Instead, you only need to put $5 down today, and that will either be refunded if you cancel your reservation before release or put toward the cost of your Steam Deck when it comes time to buy in December.

When the Steam Deck releases in December, Valve will notify Steam users in the order these reservations were received. However, reservations are only open today in the launch regions for the Steam Deck, with those being the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, and Canada. While Valve says that information about expanded region availability is coming soon, so far, those are the only regions of the world confirmed for the Steam Deck.

The good news is that the reservation queue will be regional, meaning if you're a US-based customer reserving a Steam Deck, you'll only be in line with other US customers when orders open up later this year.

These next few parts are particularly important: you'll need a Steam account to reserve a Steam Deck, and if you want to reserve one today, you'll need to do it with an established account in good standing that purchased something before June 2021. If you don't have an established Steam account like that and are creating a new one to order a Steam Deck, you'll still be able to do it, but you'll have to wait 48 hours before you can reserve one. For freshly-created Steam accounts, it seems that reservations open on Sunday, July 18th at 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT.

Steam is also only allowing one Steam Deck reservation per customer, and it must be noted that you can't change the Steam Deck model you want to buy after you place your reservation. In other words, if you place a reservation for a 64GB Steam Deck today, then the 64GB Steam Deck will be the only one you'll have the opportunity to buy when actual orders happen in December.

That's all you should know about Steam Deck reservations, but there's also a comprehensive FAQ on the Steam Deck page that answers most of the questions you should have about the process. On paper, at least, the Steam Deck sounds like an impressive piece of kit, so expect a lot of people to be interested in placing a reservation today.