After a short delay at the end of last year, Valve have announced their portable Steam Deck PC is officially launching on February 25th. Sort of. The very first units won't actually ship until February 28th at the earliest, but the 25th is the day Valve will be sending out their first batch of order emails to existing reservation holders.
Once you receive your order email, which Valve say will start to be sent out from 10am PST on the 25th, you'll have three days (72 hours, to be exact) to complete your purchase and order your Steam Deck. Order emails are sent in the same order that reservations were made, and you'll only be able to buy the model you originally reserved. Miss that window (or end up deciding you want a different model) and your reservation will released to the next person in the queue, which will likely mean another lengthy wait if you ever decide to get back in line.
As hinted above, this three day window means the first Steam Deck units will be shipped out on February 28th. Valve say they're hoping to then release new batches of order emails on a weekly basis after that. As previously stated, the £5 / $5 reservation deposit you paid all those months ago will be taken off the final price of your Steam Deck, and shipping costs are included, too.
Interestingly, they also confirmed that press units are being sent out soon, with the review embargo falling on launch day. As such, expect to see James' final verdict on the Steam Deck on that date, as well as plenty of performance testing and analysis in the days that follow.
Until then, Valve say they're still "working to tie up the last few loose ends and polish some rough edges, and are excited to get these out to you at the end of next month!"
Personally, I'm also very excited about the Steam Deck. We've already started to see a bunch of great games get verified for Valve's portable PC, and I can't wait to test out its dynamic cloud sync feature for myself so I can switch between playing games in handheld mode and picking them back up again on my big desktop. It was originally meant to come out at the very tail-end of last year, but the ongoing hardware shortages resulted in a small delay to February of this year for all three models.
I reserved the middle model with the 256GB SSD inside it, but it's also available with 64GB of eMMC storage, as well as a top flight model with a 512GB SSD. All the other underlying hardware components are the same across each version, so games should run identically no matter which Steam Deck you end up going for. With the launch date now confirmed, it won't be long before we'll be able to tell you more about exactly how it works in practice. Watch this space.