The Steam Deck (opens in new tab) officially launches on February 25, although that doesn't mean you'll be holding one in your hot little hands when the big day arrives. Instead, that's when Valve will begin firing out emails to people who have reserved one to purchase—the initial batch of Steam Decks aren't expected to begin shipping until February 28.
Valve has now confirmed that schedule, and nailed it down somewhat more precisely. In a Launch Day Details update (opens in new tab), Valve said that emails to the first group of reservation holders will go out at 10 am PT on February 25, at which point recipients will have 72 hours to complete their purchase. If they do not, either by cancelling or just failing to finish the process, their reservation will be sent to the next person in the queue when the clock hits zero.
Review coverage of the Steam Deck from roughly 100 media outlets (including us) will start to go live at around the same time, "so there will be a ton of interesting content and coverage for everyone to check out," Valve said.
Unfortunately, every silver lining has a cloud, and in this case it's a longer-than-expected wait for the official Deck Dock. "We are also looking forward to getting the official Dock for Steam Deck into customers' hands," Valve wrote. "It won't be happening as early as we wanted, but we're excited to talk more about it soon and are planning to make them available in late spring."
Supply issues are a real problem for the Steam Deck: As we said earlier this week, the limited availability of the hardware "will guarantee a slow rollout (opens in new tab)" and blunt the overall impact of its launch. Steam Deck orders (opens in new tab) placed now aren't expected to begin shipping until sometime in the second half of 2022, although that could change if enough people bail out on their reservations. (Which, to be clear, is extremely unlikely.)
The hardware itself is a completely different matter, though. Developers have praised its capabilities (opens in new tab), and the number of Steam games verified to run on it continues to grow. Valve also recently added a new feature to Steam that enables users to check their games for Steam Deck compatibility (opens in new tab).