It seems like eBay has finally drawn a line in the sand when it comes to scalping popular electronics. Eurogamer today reported the company had removed listings for Valve's upcoming Steam Deck handheld gaming device from its marketplace.
Valve officially announced the Steam Deck on July 15 and started to accept reservations for the device on July 16. Those reservations give their owners the ability to purchase a Steam Deck for themselves within a specific delivery window.
Scalpers were quick to sell their reservations on eBay. Listings for the base model Steam Deck, which has an MSRP of $399, reached as high as $800 just a few days after reservations opened. The high-end model was going for as much as $5,000.
Now those listings have been removed from eBay. But scalpers have been using the platform to sell graphics cards, next-gen consoles, and other electronics with similar markups for months without obstruction. So what makes the Steam Deck different?
Spoiler alert: It's not because the scalpers were charging 10x as much as Valve for the Steam Deck or because it wasn't clear if they were selling the reservation or the device itself. An eBay spokesperson told Eurogamer it's because of its presale policy.
"To comply with eBay's presale policy, listings must clearly indicate that they are 'presale' items and must guarantee postage within 30 days of purchase," eBay said. "As the Steam Deck is not expected to ship until next year, these listings are in violation of our presale policy, we are working to remove all listings of the product."
Once the Steam Deck's release window is closer, well, scalpers will be able to list the device for whatever price they want once again. Not that eBay's system is foolproof; we already found a listing for the high-end Steam Deck with a $2,200 asking price.
For anyone who doesn't want to spend that much on a handheld gaming device, Valve is continuing to offer Steam Deck reservations. Just be warned that current pre-orders won't offer that sweet, sweet 720p gaming goodness until late 2022.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.