Valve officially revealed its handheld PC gaming machine only a day ago, but that was apparently enough to spread the word — when the Steam Deck went up for preorder today at 1PM ET, the demand from gamers knocked Steam for a loop as the store produced error after error. Seemingly every step produced another pitfall: two-factor authentication if you weren’t signed in, some signed-in accounts had to sign in once again, credit card checks, even a wonky response from a system that pegged long-established Steam accounts as being “too new” to participate.
Other parts of Steam got flaky during the crush of preorder interest, too. The entire Steam store, Steam’s community pages, and the age gate that lets you view mature-rated titles didn’t always work this morning.
Two Verge editors managed to get through the reservation process and put $5 in their Steam Wallet to reserve a Steam Deck, eventually, with a little luck and a lot of refreshing. Another made it through later in the day.
The reservation system opted to lock out people with new or unused accounts for the first 48 hours, so it’s hard to know if the problems were caused by demand from real people who won’t let handhelds go, or if bot operators found some way around the block. One Verge editor confirmed that his credit card company wasn’t blocking the transaction, even after receiving Steam error messages suggesting that was the issue.
Later in the day, people who got their reservations notched have noticed the Steam store page is updated. For those I’ve checked with, it shows “your expected availability” marked for early 2022. Does that mean that Valve expects day one supply to be extremely limited? We’ll find out more about the production plans as the Steam Dock’s launch date grows closer.
On the customer end, it seemed just as difficult, if not more, than obtaining recent high-demand items like a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or Switch OLED. The mess didn’t rise nearly to the level of issues we’ve seen trying to obtain a new graphics card, but if anyone figures out how to mine cryptocurrency on the Zen 2 chip inside, then that could change.
Update July 16th, 5:30PM ET: Added information about expected order availability.
Update, 8:49PM ET: Added that another Verge editor made it through the process later in the day.