Valve have delayed the Steam Deck, their handheld PC, until February 2022. Originally due to start shipping at the end of this year, Valve put out the announcement today that pinned the slip on "global supply chain issues".
"The launch of Steam Deck will be delayed by two months," reads the update, which was also emailed to anyone who pre-ordered. "We're sorry about this—we did our best to work around the global supply chain issues, but due to material shortages, components aren’t reaching our manufacturing facilities in time for us to meet our initial launch dates."
When announced, Valve said that the Steam Deck would start shipping in December 2021. When pre-orders opened, however, demand was so high that it wasn't long before those purchasing the handheld starting being given a shipping date of 2022. Valve say that everyone will keep their place in the queue.
"Based on our updated build estimates, Steam Deck will start shipping to customers February 2022. This will be the new start date of the reservation queue—all reservation holders keep their place in line but dates will shift back accordingly. Reservation date estimates will be updated shortly after this announcement."
Of course, Valve have a reputation for delays, with their release date predictions being wrong often enough that the internet coined the term "Valve time". That reputation has felt unearned more recently, with Half-Life: Alyx releasing in line with its initial release date.
More generally: it is incredibly difficult to predict how long hardware and software development will take, and the global supply chain is a disaster right now, with ramifications across all sorts of tech products including consoles. It's little surprise that the Steam Deck is effected, too.
If you want to know more about what Valve's handheld actually is, Katharine spoke to Valve about the Steam Deck's creation back in August.