Steam scalpers are back, this time with devices in hand

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Ebay is littered with Steam Deck scalpers, with some attempting to sell the gaming device for more than three times what you’d pay through Valve.

With device shortages and official pre-order turnaround times stretching into the future, marketplaces like eBay offer a side-path to grab one of these PC gaming handhelds. However, going the Ebay route will make you pay dearly for your lack of patience, with comprehensive listings of what should be $529 devices readily visible at over $1,500. PCMag first reported on the massive number of scalpers, many of whom appear to have the device in hand and ready to ship to potential buyers.

In the US, Valve sells Steam Deck devices for $399, $529, or $649, for capacities of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB, respectively. There are other differences when it comes to storage speed and screen glass, and you can read more about those in our full Steam Deck review.

As of this writing, the official Steam Deck Steam Store page allows reserving any of the three SKUs mentioned above for a low fee ($5), with one big downside. All Steam Deck pre-orders today come with a disclaimer that your order should be fulfilled “after Q3 2022”. So you might be waiting until the fourth quarter of this year, and that’s a long time in tech. But the thought of paying so much more should set off alarm bells that buying from Ebay may be a bad deal.

(Image credit: future)

Thinking back to the front page listings, most sellers in the continental US seem to be hoping to reach $1,500 or more from their Steam Deck sales listings. Some have pretty ridiculous buy-it-now prices, over $2,500. Most of them promise to have the device “in hand” and will gladly ship it anywhere.

A second group of US scalping sellers dared to go the auction route and did quite well. It looks like they can even raise over $1400 for a 64GB eMMC machine. A cheaper eBay purchase option seems to be to buy a device from Europe. These seem to be usually $700-$800, but you’ll have to wait and it’s a long transit, so not as comfortable a purchase.

Another interesting category of eBay listings that the Steam Deck seems to have inspired is the sale of a device that hasn’t shipped yet. In the image below, you can see a user who has a reservation that will be available for shipment on April 1, 2022.

(Image credit: future)

We checked out a few of the device reservation sales and they were all described in the item details as a “portable system” with model and capacity descriptions. However, that doesn’t seem like a very reassuring way to spend so much money. Because of this uncertainty, descriptions mentioning “on hand…ships immediately” seem to be preferred. Nevertheless, you should be careful and ask to have any questions you may have answered if you are even considering bidding.

Many of these prices are lower than July, when people were selling reservations for up to $5,000 when we didn’t even know the device’s release date.

Save your money and buy a new laptop?

The Steam Deck is an undeniably cool device. But it still needs a bit of time to mature and live up to expectations, and remember – it earned its four-star rating in our MSRP award review.

If you’re thinking of paying $1,500 or more on a laptop for gaming, maybe one of the new compact-yet-powerful laptops could meet your needs at that kind of price, or less. In the meantime, the Steam Deck platform matures, improves, and you might even see Steam Deck 2 or 3 arrive before you feel like spending the money again.

For those of you considering a gaming laptop, we’ve got a recently updated guide covering the best gaming laptops of 2022. If portability is key, which is likely if you read up on the Steam Deck , you might want to read our best Ultrabooks and Premium Laptops 2022.

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