Skip to main content

Steam Deck Becomes Top Seller by Revenue on Steam

Steam Deck sales
(Image credit: Valve)

The popularity of the Steam Deck handheld has become highly evident in recent weeks. For the last five weeks, Valve's AMD Aerith APU-powered portable was second in the top seller by revenue charts. However, it managed to move up to the number one spot over the weekend.

Competition for the pinnacle of best-selling games on Steam by revenue chart is intense. In its favor, the Steam Deck has a big ticket price of at least $399, but many will be opting for a higher-spec model, probably bringing the average price paid to $500+.

One of the biggest competitors in the chart's top three over recent weeks has undoubtedly been Elden Ring, published by Bandai. In mid-March, it was noted that this new title, very popular on PCs (accounting for 44% of sales in Europe), had sold 12 million copies in three weeks. However, at the time of writing, the game is still priced at over $50 online.

Given the above, one could reasonably estimate that selling a million copies of Elden Ring would bring approximately the same revenue as selling 100,000 Steam Deck handhelds. Figures of this scale could be possible for Elden Ring, but we can't be sure as it has been a few weeks since the game publishers updated us on sales figures. Unfortunately, Valve doesn't publicly share Steam Deck order numbers.

(Image credit: SteamDB)

Valve and hardware haven't always been happy bedfellows. We probably don't have to remind regular readers of the sad fate of Steam Machines and peripherals like the Steam Controller and Steam Link. However, it looks like the Steam Deck has put Valve's previous misadventures to good use. There is quite a lot of venerable tech leveraged in the new portable and its OS.

If you are interested in the Steam Deck but not entirely sure what the fuss is about, please check out our benchmarks and hands-on first impressions feature from last month. In the meantime, there are very frequent news stories about expanded PC games library support (better compatibility), plus enhancements like AMD Adrenalin, Cloud Sync, new Windows drivers, and more.

Unfortunately, it isn't that easy to secure a Steam Deck at the current time. Valve has a pre-order system, and you will have to wait until an expected shipment date of "October 2022 or later" if you click the reservation button today (all variants). Valve recently said that it was "ramping up" Steam Deck deliveries and added that "no reservation windows have been changed or delayed."

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • ezst036
    This is great news for Linux adoption and gaming on Linux. Increased revenue will mean more resources are devoted to it.(Not that Valve has sat back for the last decade, but still)

    Hopefully this leads to more native Linux game ports and less reliance on Proton.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    ezst036 said:
    Hopefully this leads to more native Linux game ports and less reliance on Proton.
    Quite the opposite, with valve putting so much effort into making windows games run devs won't have a lot of incentive to make native ports for linux.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    The popularity of the Steam Deck handheld has become highly evident in recent weeks. For the last five weeks, Valve's AMD Aerith APU-powered portable was second in the top seller by revenue charts. However, it managed to move up to the number one spot over the weekend.
    These numbers are not all that meaningful though. The device has been backordered since preorders first opened for it back in July of last year, over 9 months ago, and the launch was pushed back at least a couple months, so whatever sales numbers they are showing now are based on how many of those existing pre-orders they can ship out. It doesn't reflect current sales of the device, but rather the better part of a year's worth of sales, compressed into the time period when they actually started shipping them and charging people's cards.

    Ultimately, the Steam Deck seems like a relatively niche device, and it's very possible that most of those interested in it already put in their pre-order many months ago, and once the pre-orders dry up it might not actually sell all that well. The device may have had hundreds of thousands of pre-orders, and I imagine it could eventually sell a few million units or more, but compared to the couple-hundred million consoles sold each generation, and a similar number of PCs used for gaming, in addition to a couple-billion mobile gamers, that only amounts to a rather tiny portion of the total market.

    Likewise, I would expect Elden Ring's sales are waning at this point, seeing as the game has been out a couple months, and anyone interested in paying full launch price for it likely did so weeks ago. So it's probably less that Steam Deck's pre-order fulfillments pulled ahead, but rather Elden Ring's sales simply fell behind. Making guesses at Steam Deck sales numbers based on pre-order and early sales numbers for Elden Ring is likely going to be hugely inaccurate. And really, there have not been a lot of other big game releases recently, so topping the list shouldn't actually take all that much. The next-highest selling game is currently a Lego Star Wars title, if that says anything.


    TerryLaze said:
    Quite the opposite, with valve putting so much effort into making windows games run devs won't have a lot of incentive to make native ports for linux.
    Yeah, I would expect developers to bother even less with native Linux ports. What is the developer's incentive devote a chunk of their budget and resources to porting the game to yet another platform with a small user-base when things are likely to mostly work even if they don't? A Valve developer commented that any games Steam Deck can't run are considered "bugs", so it's up to Steam to make sure games are able to function on the platform, not the game developers. If a game doesn't run properly, the developer can simply point to Valve for not supporting it adequately.
    Reply
  • ezst036
    TerryLaze said:
    Quite the opposite, with valve putting so much effort into making windows games run devs won't have a lot of incentive to make native ports for linux.

    cryoburner said:
    Yeah, I would expect developers to bother even less with native Linux ports. What is the developer's incentive devote a chunk of their budget and resources to porting the game to yet another platform with a small user-base when things are likely to mostly work even if they don't?

    In the short term, I agree with both of you about an incentive deficit. That deficit will keep most companies relying on Photon as its work they don't have to do. In the long term though, it's all about critical mass. We all know that if somehow Linux had 90% or more of the market then gaming companies would all be rushing to get Linux ports out the door and probably wouldn't bother with Windows ports.

    So all that's left is for you and I to haggle about the number. Is critical mass 70%? Is it 20%? Or 6%? There is a critical mass number, it's just "where is it". Until that number is reached, yeah, I agree there's an incentive deficit.

    As long as the Steam Deck keeps up sales numbers, it's all very encouraging in the correct direction.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    ezst036 said:
    In the short term, I agree with both of you about an incentive deficit. That deficit will keep most companies relying on Photon as its work they don't have to do. In the long term though, it's all about critical mass. We all know that if somehow Linux had 90% or more of the market then gaming companies would all be rushing to get Linux ports out the door and probably wouldn't bother with Windows ports.

    So all that's left is for you and I to haggle about the number. Is critical mass 70%? Is it 20%? Or 6%? There is a critical mass number, it's just "where is it". Until that number is reached, yeah, I agree there's an incentive deficit.

    As long as the Steam Deck keeps up sales numbers, it's all very encouraging in the correct direction.
    But the steam deck will not change "the mass" at all, it will still be all windows games. The games will not be running on linux, they will still be running on windows, linux will just be able to "simulate" enough of windows to make them run.
    Reply