The global semiconductor shortage has been a major nuisance for all electronic hardware, which, of course, includes game consoles as well. Consoles that are already in the market have had a hard enough time of trying to meet demand, so one can only imagine how much more complicated things will be for a new release- like the upcoming Steam Deck.
Valve’s handheld PC has already been delayed once, being pushed back from its originally planned December 2021 launch by a couple of months into February 2022. But should we be preparing for another delay? Thankfully, it seems like that might not be necessary.
Speaking in an interview with PC Gamer, Valve designer Greg Coomer sounded optimistic about the Steam Deck’s February launch, saying that as things stand right now, the company is going to be able to hit that planned launch window.
“We do feel like we’re on track for that,” Coomer said. “We’re still bummed that we had to move from end of this year to beginning of next. But yeah, all the signs are pointing to us being able to ship in February.”
Coomer went on to say that though Valve is going to begin shipping out high volumes of the Steam Deck to consumers right from day one, given the nature of the product’s launch – which is only being sold through Steam, and will not, unlike most other consoles, be available through retail – the distribution is going to be much more staggered.
“It’s a real product launch, so many thousands of people right away are going to receive Decks as soon as we’re able to ship them,” he said. “But even talking about thousands would be quite low compared to the volumes we’re shooting for in the first few months.”
That said, by the time the Steam Deck is completing the first year of its life, Coomer says Valve will have expected to ship millions of the device.
“We’re going to have a launch that looks like a significant number of users right out of the gate, and then build that over time, rather than having the biggest splash on day one and then generally declining after that,” he said. “If you extend the timeline out through 2022 and all the way to 2023, we expect to be building on our numbers constantly throughout that whole time, to the point where there’s many millions of customers if things go the way we think they will, who are using Steam Deck by the end of that year or so, through 2023.”
Valve CEO Gabe Newell has previous said that the company hopes to sell “millions” of units of the device, so clearly, they’ve got big plans for and high expectations from the Steam Deck- you can read more on that through here. Even so, don’t expect the device to get any exclusive game releases.