Should I buy a Steam Deck?

I pre-ordered Steam Deck on day one, but my excitement is dying and I'm still months away from getting hands on

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

I pre-ordered Steam Deck on day one of pre-orders opening in July last year and, despite me being shafted by Steam store at checkout as it kept crashing and hanging, I did finally get an order in.

Problem was, as I wasn't one of the lucky gamers who managed to get their order through checkout within the first 10 minutes or so, I did not make the first tranche of Steam Deck pre-orders. This means that right now, despite more than 6 months elapsing since I placed my order, I am still facing months of waiting before I might get my Steam Deck.

It looks like right now it will be a full year since I pre-ordered the console or more by the time I get to play it and, well, that's really got me thinking recently if I should bother at all.

After all, a year is a hell of a long time in the tech industry and times have very much changed. Here I weigh up the pros and cons of me buying a Steam Deck.

Why I should buy a Steam Deck

When my Steam Deck is eventually made available to me, it will likely still be the most powerful handheld gaming device on the planet. It will also come out of the box with my entire Steam library of games to play, which will translate as the best launch line-up of any handheld system ever.

The Steam Deck will also have been on the market by that point for going on half a year and, hopefully, a lot of the bugs it has experienced will have been ironed out by that point. Theoretically I get it, update it and then enter PC gaming nirvana, as I'll have loads of free games to play.

Lastly, despite the tech powering the console getting one year older from when I pre-ordered it, it is still very capable and to someone like me who doesn't mind tinkering, the console will offer plenty of potential for customisation and modding.

Why I shouldn't buy a Steam Deck

The Steam Deck will have been on the market for months by the time I get my system and won't be the new thing. It will also still be the same price I pre-ordered it for, despite me having to wait months extra while other PC gamers enjoy their system. The technology that powers it will also have got a year older, and likely 6 months older from the console's official launch in February this year.

I also have a pretty well specced desktop gaming PC at home equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, so it's not as if I can't play new PC games or my back catalogue of Steam titles.

In terms of handheld play, I'll also be a year closer to the unconfirmed but inevitable Nintendo Switch Pro console, which will almost certainly deliver an upgraded Switch experience most likely with better frame rates, resolutions and graphics features like real time ray tracing and DLSS. I have a Nintendo Switch and plenty of Switch games already, so this will mean Switch Pro will allow me to enjoy these games with a new level of quality, and I won't have to pay for them either.

Naturally, I'll still be able to play my Switch on the go, and my still awesome (and heavily modded) PlayStation Vita.

I'll also be likely playing next-gen console titles like God of War: Ragnarok on my PS5 and also be saving money to buy PlayStation VR 2.

Conclusion

I've got to be honest, it really makes me miserable to see just how touch and go this is – I genuinely am thinking I will cancel the pre-order.

My mind isn't 100 per cent set yet, but with the cost of living going through the roof and an overwhelming sense developing that I've missed the boat on Steam Deck, it sure looks like it could be a possibility for me.

And especially because I've already eyed other gaming tech products like PSVR 2 to buy this year. If Valve had asked for my money in February this year I'm certain they would have got it, but if they ask for it in, say, August or September or beyond, I increasingly don't think it is going to happen.

Here's hoping then that I get to see more reasons why I should still buy Steam Deck, as it would be a shame for it to end like this.

If I do buy a Steam Deck I'd absolutely play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on it, and if you're interested in watching shows like the recent TV adaptation of The Witcher, then a Netflix show that schools it has just had its new season start streaming.

Deputy Editor for T3.com, Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. You can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket two favourites. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.