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How to pre-order the Steam Deck

Valve is trying to prevent scalpers

a photo of a Steam Deck, a new handheld console from Valve, in a case Photo: Valve
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

The newest piece of hardware from Valve is the Steam Deck, a Nintendo Switch-like handheld, the company announced on Thursday. The console is capable of playing Steam games on the go and is set for release in December 2021, starting at $399. If you want to grab one for yourself, here’s what the pre-order system will look like.

To handle orders, Steam is using a reservation system that is scheduled to open on Friday, July 16th at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Once the slots open up, you’ll be able to reserve one of the three models available for purchase on Steam’s website for a fee of $5. According to the company’s website, one Steam Deck can be reserved and ordered per customer.

As with any anticipated console release, there will likely be high demand. In an effort to curb scalping, Valve said that it would take an additional precaution: If you want to reserve a console, your Steam account will need to have a made a purchase on Steam before June 2021. This rule will be in place for the first 48 hours of reservations.

“We are aware of potential unauthorized resellers, and as an additional safeguard to ensure a fair ordering process, we’ve added a requirement that the reserver has made a purchase on Steam prior to June 2021 for the first 48 hours of reservation availability,” Valve said in an FAQ on the Steam website.

If you’re looking to order a Steam Deck, make sure your account fits the requirements before attempting to sign up for one during that time window!

The additional measures make sense since it’s been so hard to snag new consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Scalpers often buy, and jack up prices to ridiculous proportions. It’s become so intense that hunting for a PS5 became an entire subculture itself. All of this has been further strained by slower production due to the pandemic.

If this works, scalpers will have just another barrier to overcome if they want to try and buy the consoles for resale.