Scalpers Want $5,000 for the Steam Deck

Image of the Valve Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

That didn't take long. Scalpers have pushed the price of Valve's new Steam Deck gaming handheld to as high as $5,000 just one day after it went up for pre-order.

Valve offers three different versions of the Steam Deck: A $399 base model that features 64GB of eMMC storage, a $529 model that includes a 256GB NVMe SSD, and a $649 model with a 512GB NVMe SSD as well as anti-glare glass for the display.

Demand for the handheld appeared to be higher than Valve expected. Its servers were strained when pre-orders started, and at the time of writing, delivery dates have slipped to 2Q22 for the 64GB and 256GB models and 3Q22 for the 512GB one.

Tom's Hardware

(Image credit: eBay)

Valve technically classified these orders as reservations, with a $5 deposit applied to the final order when the devices are closer to shipping. It appears that in some cases, the scalpers are only selling the reservation, which means their buyers will also have to purchase the hardware from Valve, but in other cases, the Steam Deck itself is truly for sale. This ambiguity not only makes it harder for buyers to determine the true cost of a system but also gives scalpers a way to maximize their profits by requiring even less of an upfront investment.

But that hasn't stopped the secondary market value from soaring above the official price. Listings on eBay range from $800 for reservations for the 64GB model to as high as $5,000 for reservations for the 512GB model at the time of writing.

The estimated delivery window is also affecting the listing prices. A base model expected to ship by December 31 sells for roughly the same amount as a 256GB model arriving in 2022, for example, simply because it will arrive sooner.

None of this is particularly shocking. Scalpers thrive at the intersection of low supply, high demand, and relatively low MSRPs—which is why they've managed to make millions by targeting PlayStation 5 consoles, GPUs, and other electronics.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

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.

  • Wolfshadw
    What scares me is that some people will probably pay that much for something they might not see for 10-12 months (if ever).

    -Wolf sends
  • USAFRet
    Wolfshadw said:
    What scares me is that some people will probably pay that much for something they might not see for 10-12 months (if ever).

    -Wolf sends
    I just looked on fleabay, and there were several "Sold", at $1500 and up.
    Or, supposedly sold.
  • rarebush
    Worth saying that these presale items are against eBay’s Ts and Cs given the product will not be delivered within 30 days. Presale policy
    If anybody wanted to flag a listing, all they need to do is click the ‘report item’ action, then select ‘Listing practices’, ‘inappropriate seller terms’, and finally ‘presale’.
  • aetolouee
    I'd rather stop playing video games for the rest of my life than feed the low life leeches.
  • hotaru251
    ppl who pay them deserve to get robbed.

    5 grand can build a top end desktop/laptop that would put steamdeck to shame (especially since steam still isnt sure if they can get aroud nthe anti piracy issue it struggles with)
  • LolaGT
    There are plenty of people willing to hand over money to these scumbags, one only needs to look back over the last year.
    There have been many on this very forum that were happy and actually called themselves lucky that they were able to snag a GPU or CPU for double, triple or more of listed MSRP.
    As long as they exist, it makes it easy.
  • USAFRet
    LolaGT said:
    one only needs to look back over the last year
    This idiocy is 20 years old.
  • Neilbob
    All scalpers deserve to have a scalpel taken to their knackers.
  • Makaveli
    human stupidity is infinite
  • Giroro
    Just because somebody is trying to sell reservations, doesn't mean (real) people are buying them.
    Scalpers will "buy" their own product with a burner account then cancel the deal when the fails to fund. The fake sales keep the asking price high, because you have to look closely to see they aren't really selling.

    Steam is still accepting preorders, and I have my doubts that there is a huge amount of mainstream demand. These handheld gaming PCs are usually a very niche market.