There's good news for people waiting for a Steam Deck (opens in new tab), or who might be in the market for one: Production capacity is now at a point that should allow Valve to fulfill all reservations by the end of the year. But there's also bad news for people waiting for a Steam Deck in Canada because, well, that might not apply to you.
"Our distributor has hit a processing backlog for orders to Canada, so folks in this region will see a (very) temporary pause on order emails," Valve explained on Twitter. "We're working on it, and are optimistic we can resume emails to Canada soon."
Valve clarified that the pause is to enable the distributor to get through the backlog of paid orders in Canada, and that emails and shipments in other regions will not be impacted.
As PC Gamer's resident Canadian, I have to say that, well, this sucks. Hopefully the pause is as brief as Valve suggests, and the Decks will start flowing tomorrow or maybe next week at the latest, but regardless of the duration, it's the principle of the thing. Unlike most of the rest of the world, which is separated from it by large bodies of water, for us in Canada the US is literally right there. Did you know that 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles (opens in new tab) of the US border? It's right there!
And why just us? Why not Ireland or Spain or someplace? Out of the whole wide world, why is it that the country most closely attached to the US (we share the world's longest international land border (opens in new tab), you know) is the one that has to wait? It really doesn't seem fair.
Our distributor has hit a processing backlog for orders to Canada, so folks in this region will see a (very) temporary pause on order emails. We're working on it, and are optimistic we can resume emails to Canada soon. This doesn't impact emails or shipments to other regions.September 22, 2022
Anyway, performative outrage aside, what's really interesting about the announcement is the implication that by 2023, anyone who wants a Steam Deck will be able to simply purchase one off the shelf, so to speak, without having to horse around with reservations and waits. It was inevitable that Valve would eventually work through the backlog, and Valve announced earlier this week (opens in new tab) that it had begun fulfilling some Steam Deck shipments that weren't expected to go out until Q4. Even so, this is an impressive turnaround given that just six months ago Valve couldn't nail down some shipment targets with any better accuracy than "after Q2 (opens in new tab)."
I've reached out to Valve to ask if it does in fact expect to start shipping Steam Decks directly next year, and if there's a time frame for the Canadian pause, and will update if I receive a reply.