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How to buy a Steam Deck in Australia
Don't want to wait on Valve? It'll take more than a VPN to preorder the company's portable gaming PC in Australia.
What is the Steam Deck?
The Steam Deck is Valve’s latest venture into the world of consumer electronics hardware. The device is a portable PC with a handheld form-factor that promises to leverage powerful specs and the enormous library of games that are available on the Steam online store.
Under the hood, the Steam Deck is powered by a custom AMD Zen 2 processor, 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory and up to 512 GB of SSD storage. The big picture appeal here is an on-the-go gaming experience with fewer compromises than Nintendo Switch has, plus a much bigger and better catalog of playable titles.
Steam Deck launch details
According to the official webpage for the device, the Steam Deck preorders will begin shipping out from February 2022 to early adopters in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.
Those living elsewhere, such as Aussies, will have to stay tuned for more information on if and when the Steam Deck will be locally available.
Steam Deck Australian availability
For now, Australian availability for Valve Steam Deck remains up in the air.
There are a ton of variables in the mix here, from recent issues with the global supply chain to Valve’s own inconsistent track record when it comes to bringing its house-brand hardware to Australian consumers.
At one point in time, Valve’s Steam Link streaming box and the accompanying Steam Controller were readily available and sold in Australia via an alliance with EB Games.
That precedent, along with enduring dominance of EB Games as the go-to gaming retailer for many Australian communities, is one reason to hope that Valve might look at another team-up when it comes to launching the Steam Deck in Australia.
That said, local availability for Valve products in Australia has been notoriously unpredictable in the past. For example, Valve’s Index VR headset didn’t arrive in Australia until two years after it launched elsewhere.
How to buy a Steam Deck in Australia
If adding the Steam Deck to your wishlist and hoping for the best isn’t enough for you, it is technically possible to put in a preorder for a unit right now.
However, this process is far from straightforward and there are plenty of caveats you'll have to put up with along the way.
At the time of writing, Valve will only let those in certain regions preorder the Steam Deck. Getting around those constraints requires you to trick the company's online storefront into thinking you’re making your order from one of those eligible regions.
Using the United States as an example, here’s a rundown on everything you’ll to preorder the Steam Deck in Australia:
- A valid Steam account: Regardless of the region, a reservation for the Steam Deck requires an active Steam account. Thankfully, it doesn’t necessarily need to be an account that’s been specifically registered in the region you’re pretending to order from. You can just change the home country of your current account temporarily.
- A VPN: If you attempt to preorder the Steam Deck without a VPN, Valve will quickly detect that you’re based in Australia and stop you from doing so. To get around this, you’ll need to set up a VPN using a server that’s based in an eligible region like the United States.
- A US prepaid card service: Valve has become increasingly stringent when it comes to region-specific payment processors in recent years. As a result, you won’t be able to preorder the Steam Deck in Australia using a locally-sourced credit or debit card. Instead, you’ll need to finance the transaction using a US prepaid card service like US Unlocked.
- Parcel forwarder: Once Valve believes that you’re an eligible Steam user based in an eligible region, the next step is to give them an address to send your Steam Deck. Unless you’ve got a trusted friend in the States willing to pass the parcel, your best bet here is going to be a professional parcel forwarding service like Planet Express.
- A US phone number: In addition to a US-based card and a US-based address, preordering the Steam Deck in Australia will also require you to set up a US phone number with an area code that matches your forwarder’s address. Services like OpenPhone can help you set this up with minimal fuss. However, it might be worth waiting until your Steam Deck arrives before you cancel your monthly subscription with them just to be on the safe side.
Steam Deck Australian prices
The Steam Deck is not currently available to preorder in Australia. Valve hasn’t released any official details about when that might change, nor how much the Steam Deck will cost if and when it does launch in Australia.
However, if you’re looking to import a Steam deck using the method described above, you’re going to be paying for it in US dollars.
Here’s what the US pricing for the Steam Deck currently looks like:
- US$399 for the 64GB model
- US$529 for the 256GB model
- US$649 for the 512GB model
Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch
When it comes to the specs involved, the Steam Deck has a number of technical advantages over the handheld it’s most likely to be compared against: the Nintendo Switch.
Check out the table below for a breakdown of how the display and processing specs on the Steam Deck compare to those of the three Nintendo Switch handhelds currently on the market.
Nintendo Switch (OLED)
Nintendo Switch Lite
|Display||7-inch LCD display||6.2-inch LCD display||7-inch OLED display||5.5-inch LCD display|
|Processor||AMD Zen 2||Nvidia Tegra X1||Nvidia Tegra X1||Nvidia Tegra X1|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB / 512 GB SSD||32GB||64GB||32GB|
|Ports||"USB Type-C port, Headphone jack"||"USB Type-C port, Headphone jack"||"USB Type-C port, Headphone jack"||"USB Type-C port, Headphone jack"|