For near on two decades, Valve’s Steam digital distribution platform and storefront has delivered games from their developers and third-party publishers online to players around the world. This came with the expected online perks of digital rights management, social networking, streaming, server hosting and more. It seemed they were well at home in this gaming corner, until they made an announcement last July that sent waves across the industry. They unveiled the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming computer that would enable players to enjoy PC game titles like they would a portable system like the Nintendo Switch. Valve pegged the Steam Deck arriving at year’s end. Unfortunately, it is not.
The Verge reports that the original December release window for the Steam Deck has been scrapped. Valve has announced on their official blog this Thursday, November 11, that problems caused by global supply chain issues have forced them to delay the official launch of Steam Deck. They estimate that the first units will start shipping sometime around February next year, so the new release window is within the first quarter of 2022. If material supply issues persist, even a Q2 release date is quite likely.
“Due to material shortages, components aren’t reaching our manufacturing facilities in time for us to meet our initial launch dates,” stated Valve in their blog post. They are not the only one feeling the crunch of supply chain problems exacerbated by the long-running COVID pandemic. It is one of the contributing factors to the limited numbers of PlayStation 5 units available. Essential tech components like Nvidia graphics cards and touchscreen chips have been increasingly difficult to acquire for manufacturers. Valve relates as much on how lack of materials due to their being shipped late or not at all could be blamed for Steam Deck’s delay.
Valve’s Steam Deck has caught plenty of attention since its unveiling months ago. Its graphics capability is said to be sufficient for eight individual PCs. Three internal storage capabilities could be augmented by room for a microSD card. A 40-watt battery would allow for 7-8 hours of gaming, which can be extended by a Nintendo Switch-like docking port – sold separately – for viewing on screens larger than the 1280×800 7-inch display. Three variants of the Steam Deck dependent on memory capacity are available for preorders on Valve, but buyers will have to wait until next year.
Image courtesy of CNet