Home / Features / Steam Deck lacking a wait list is the worst thing ever – because now I’ll have to buy one

Steam Deck lacking a wait list is the worst thing ever – because now I’ll have to buy one

Time to steam ahead with a new console? I’m more likely to run out of gas, again

Valve Steam Deck gameplay

When announced last summer, Valve’s Steam Deck was an exciting prospect: a handheld capable of running AAA games, yet with a palatable price tag. Alas, there was a tiny snag. Massive demand combined with worldwide supply chain shortages forced people to pay a few quid for a spot in a huge pre-order queue. Estimated delivery dates might as well have said “one second before the heat death of the universe”.

I was temporarily miffed – and then relieved. I realised this was the perfect excuse to not buy one.

That might sound strange, but handhelds for me have long been a box-ticking exercise. My ultimate goal is apparently a magical device to get all of gaming in my hands. I’m keen to dig into modern arcade racers that blaze through scenery so fast it takes your face off. I want to explore weird little indie hits that never make it to mobile. I hanker for high-end pinball simulations that mostly remind me how awful I am at pinball. And that all needs to exist alongside ancient titles from the dawn of gaming, with pixels so sharp you can cut yourself on them.

Spending too much time on YouTube watching Steam Deck videos – despite, you know, resolutely saying I absolutely will not buy one – left me well informed that you can get this mix of old and new running easily enough. All that would be required was to get on and do it. 

Now, the biggest barrier – availability – is gone. Steam Deck delivery windows are 1–2 weeks. And that is a problem, because I’ve been here before. Many times.

The drawer of dreams – unrealised dreams.

I’m beginning to wonder if one of my hobbies isn’t so much gaming as faffing about with handhelds in the search of the ONE TRUE CONSOLE – and ultimately getting nowhere. Initially, there was at least a tad less ambition. For example, I own devices with the grunt of a Pi and the looks of a Game Boy, and aimed to use them for retro fare. But as devices evolved, so did my thinking. Each time, I thought: surely, this one could finally be the route to perfection.

Steam Deck dangled the carrot of old and new, with a price tag that made the GPDs of this world cry out in terror. And now I have to somehow avoid buying one, because I know I’ll end up frittering time faffing rather than playing.

My cunning current tactic is therefore to look for further reasons to avoid buying a Steam Deck. Handily, the Stuff review suggests several, all of which alone should be red lines. The device weighs in at 669g – the same as an iPad. That’s chonky. There’s no tate mode – or at least, the controls layout isn’t suited to it; this makes it sub-optimal for portrait games and pinball. And I’m concerned about the fan blasting out whooping or whining noise (depending on whether it’s been replaced), given how distracting I find any hardware that makes even the slightest noise.

Yet the nagging voice in my head won’t go away. Still, I suppose none of the device’s drawbacks would really matter if I did finally give in. History suggests the console would end up in a drawer marked ‘guilt’, making friends with other handhelds that I’ll totally get around to doing something with. Eventually.

• The 16 best games to play on the Steam Deck today