While Valve have strongly recommended against opening up your Steam Deck yourself, they did hint last year that you would be able to buy replacement parts to fix bits. Yesterday they announced the first authorised reseller, iFixit, a site which offers parts and repair guides for phones and Macs and things. It's not yet clear how many of the handheld PC's parts will be sold officially, though Valve had previously suggested they might include "thumbsticks, SSDs, and possibly more".
Valve said yesterday, "iFixit will be one of the authorised sellers of Steam Deck replacement parts – as well as replacement parts for the Valve Index VR products. We are still hammering out the details, and will be sharing more info on this soon."
iFixit celebrated the announcement by taking a Steam Deck to pieces, and into many more pieces than Valve's own official breakup did. Evaluating how user-repairable it might be, they did wish the battery was easier to remove but overall managed to put it back together just fine and seemed to dig it.
"The opening procedure is simple and straightforward; there's above-average modularity for most components; and you only need one Phillips screwdriver for all your repairs. And the storage solution here outclasses a lot of current laptops," iFixit said. "Overall the Steam Deck nets a 7 out of 10 on our repairability scale."
Valve also recently released CAD files for the Steam Deck shell, "for all the tinkerers, modders, accessory manufacturers, or folks who just want to 3D print a Steam Deck to see how it feels."
Part of the pleasure of PC gaming is the freedom to tweak and tinker and fix (if you want), so it's good to see Valve continue this with their handheld PC. Despite having built many PCs myself, I absolutely would not fiddle inside an unfamiliar device like the Steam Deck, but I'm glad it'll be an option for those with more daring—or money. And it's always good when electronics can be repaired by users.
The Steam Deck launches on the 25th of February. It comes in three models, ranging from £349 to £569, with better glass, drives, and accessories as prices go up.