Valve's new Steam Deck devices went on sale this week after being announced just a day earlier, but the pre-order process went about as well as it did whenever people tried to buy the new generation of Xbox and PlayStation consoles. This system worked by allowing people to reserve a pre-order with as little as $5 down before paying for the device in full at a later date. Ordered Steam Decks were supposed to be shipping out in December 2021, but due to the demand, it looks like some people won't be getting their PCs until much later.
Head over to the Steam Deck site (which now appears to be working just fine following a rough launch) and you'll see the three different models of the Steam Deck. Beneath the various models are details about when those different devices are expected to be available if you order them now. At the time of publishing, none of the "expected order availability" for any of the devices falls within 2021.
Steam Deck reservations are now open! Choose your Deck at https://t.co/q7ANHMqDo4July 16, 2021
This was true on Friday whenever the pre-order reservations started winding down, but the availability estimates have been moved even further back as more people express interest in the Steam Decks. IGN noted that the estimated availability for all three models at one point said Q1 2022. Things have progressed past that now with the 512GB model now not expected to be available until Q3 2022.
That doesn't mean that every single Steam Deck has been delayed, however. If you were one of the fortunate ones who got in early and got your order secured, you'll likely be getting it on time (the site should say what your specific estimated availability is if you've reserved a Steam Deck). As more people reserve Steam Decks and take up the stock that Valve planned for, it makes sense that those who pre-order theirs later will see the more distant availability estimates now present on the Steam Deck site.
Speaking to IGN about the situation, Valve said it's making Steam Decks as quickly as it can and that the ship times shown on the site are based on both region and the model that someone reserved.