Steam Deck reservations are already selling on eBay for absolutely stupid prices

Steam Deck reservations on eBay
(Image credit: eBay)

When Valve announced the Steam Deck yesterday, it also revealed a plan to keep resellers from earning profits on them by taking advantage of limited supply: Anyone making a reservation must have made a purchase on Steam prior to June 2021. The goal is to ensure that nobody can crank out a bunch of new Steam accounts and then use them to reserve a big pile of Steam Decks that can later be unloaded at massively inflated prices.

It's a strategy that might prevent institutional resellers from making bank, but it's not a perfect firewall. Steam Deck reservations went live today, and the online auction site eBay is already swimming in "confirmed order pre-sales" at prices far above cost. One listing for a 64GB unit, for instance, has bidding starting at $550 and a "Buy It Now" cost of $750—nearly double the regular $399 price. The lowest price I've seen on a 512GB unit is $949; at least one true optimist is asking for more than double that amount.

And they are selling: This 256GB model went for $850, while this 512GB unit was a comparative steal at $975. This one, on the other hand, sold for an eye-watering $1,599.

The obvious question is: why are buyers forking over such big wads of cash for hardware that can't even be pre-ordered yet, rather than just making reservations themselves? It's possible that some folks just have too damn much money, and are willing to blow hundreds of dollars extra to ensure they're among the very first to get their hands on a Steam Deck: Actual preorders will be offered based on the order that reservations were made, and shipping dates are already being pushed back. 512GB units currently aren't expected to begin shipping until Q3 2022.

(Image credit: Valve)

The more likely explanation, though, is that Steam Deck reservations are currently only available in the US, UK, EU, and Canada. So if you live in, say, China, Australia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, or, y'know, any place other than the US, UK, EU, or Canada, you're out of luck for the moment—unless, that is, you're willing to pony up to have someone in those regions mail one to you.

Personally, I think it's ridiculous to pay that much money for the ability to play your Steam games on a tiny screen with analog sticks and trackpads in places where you could be doing something else anyway, but Valve's restrictions have at least seemed to keep reselling to a minimum. And this kind of thing is all but inevitable anyway: In September 2020, Nvidia said it was "doing everything humanly possible" to stop RTX 3080 resales on eBay, and in January 2021 the cards were selling for an average of $1,300 on eBay—85% over their regular retail price.

We managed to place a couple of Steam Deck reservations not too long after they went live, but many have experienced server errors and other problems. Reservations are still available, though as mentioned, the ship dates keep getting pushed back.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.