Scalpers have taken to eBay with their Steam Deck reservations, marking up the PC handheld despite Valve's anti-scalping efforts.
There are multiple listings of the Steam Deck on eBay, all charging more than Valve's asking price. Some listings have the hardware up for sale for over £1000.
Valve made the Steam Deck available to reserve last night with some smart restrictions aimed at combating scalpers (although some of these restrictions ran into technical issues as Valve was inundated with high demand).
To combat scalpers, Valve charges a £4 "reserve now" fee, and only people who bought something on Steam prior to June 2021 are able to pre-order the console during its first 48 hours of availability.
As we've reported, Valve has now adjusted the availability of the Steam Deck. Try to pay for a reservation today, and you'll be faced with a Q1 2022 expected order availability for the £349 64GB model, a Q2 2022 expected order availability for the £459 256GB version, and a Q3 2022 expected order availability for the £569 512GB model.
So why go to eBay for a Steam Deck at all? The interest appears to be in buying reservations secured for this December, which would theoretically at least mean you'd get your hardware months ahead of someone who reserved a Steam Deck via Valve today.
The truth is, even a reservation made last night for December doesn't guarantee the Steam Deck will arrive in December. As Valve states in its FAQ, all the expected order availability windows relate to when Valve is "aiming" to start sending order invitations. That is, this is when Valve reckons it will convert reservations to orders and let you buy the thing. This isn't necessarily when the Steam Deck will ship.
Here's Valve's official line:
"We are aiming to start sending order invitations by December 2021. We will make every effort to convert all reservations to orders but we are not able to guarantee availability."
That sounds worryingly non-committal for anyone who has a Steam Deck reservation down for December. In truth, all the expected order availability release windows sound like they could quite easily slip. All the release windows are just what Valve currently expects to hit, and we all know how open to delay release dates are in the current climate.
The upshot of all this is you really shouldn't buy a Steam Deck from eBay right now - even those listings with "ships in December" in the title. Those listings are misleading. There's no way of knowing if the Steam Deck will actually ship in December. It may well do. It may not.
The Steam Deck scalping shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Scalpers have been having a field day with video game hardware for the last couple of years - just look what happened with the PlayStation 5. And scalpers are trying it on with the Nintendo Switch OLED model, too, which was only just made available to pre-order.
While you wait for your Steam Deck, why not check out Digital Foundry's initial spec analysis?