How to Find a Steam Deck in Australia in 2022

Steam Deck
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Written by Max Delaney

Updated - June 19th, 2022

The announcement of Valve’s Steam Deck is up there with some of the most exciting console announcements in gaming history. A handheld console like the often ignored Playstation Vita and beloved PSP, the Steam Deck gives owners access to games in their Steam library any time, anywhere.

The Nintendo Switch, the fifth highest-selling console of all time, surpassing the original PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, is a great console for Nintendo fans. If you crave Zelda, love Mario Kart and enjoy playing games on the couch with your friends, the switch is great. In terms of giving you the best access to the best games in a handheld format, the Steam Deck is everything the Playstation Vita could and should have been.

As the gaming world was struck with lighting at the release of the Steam Deck, Australian gamers had the opposite reaction. The Steam Deck, ladies and gentlemen, is not available for purchase in Australia. You can close this article now. It’s over.

Only kidding. If you’re willing to do what it takes, you can get your hands on the illustrious little machine. If you’re willing to put in some effort, lie to your computer about where you live and pay a little extra, the Steam Deck can be yours. Just listen to us and we’ll guide you through it.

When did/does the Steam Deck release?

Delayed like everything else in the gaming sphere due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and a global chip shortage that has had every gaming company running around like a crazed chicken, the Steam Deck officially began arriving at those who first reserved on February 28th. Unfortunately, this is only in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada and Germany. Much like PlayStation’s ‘PS Now’ subscription service, we Aussies miss out.

While Valve has said that the Steam Deck will be coming to other markets at some point “after Q2 2022”, any hope of it being truly available in Australia this year are dim.

At the moment, if you go into the Steam website to buy a Steam Deck, you will be hit with the message “this item is not available for reserve in your country”. At any point they are allowed to reserve the handheld, they will have to wait for Valve to get through the millions of reservations already made, beforehand.

Luckily, as there is with accessing a movie that is only available on the American Netflix library or an NBA game that isn’t showing on Australian TV, there is an option for Australians.

How to reserve a Valve Steam Deck in Australia

No amount of dedication and time can earn you a Steam Deck from Valve. As long as the device you are using to reserve the Steam Deck believes you are in Australia. Luckily, there are ways to get around this in 2022, though it isn’t going to be simple, or easy.

Follow the thorough steps below, and you’ll get there.

1. Buy a VPN

This is the first and most important step in your journey to acquire a Steam Deck early. There is no way to get your hands on a Steam Deck in Australia, other than waiting, without a VPN.

A VPN tricks the website you are using into thinking you live anywhere of your choosing. According to PCWorld, the five best VPNs for Australians to use are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost and Tunnellbear. Whichever one you use, the pricing and benefits are pretty similar. If you’re only going to use one for the duration of your Steam Deck purchasing process, be sure not to lock yourself into a long-term contract.

Turn on your VPN and set it to the United States. The Steam Deck Reservation page, which previously told you the Steam Deck was unavailable, should now be open.

2. Change your country of residence on your Steam account

The second step of your journey is to change the country of residence connected to your Steam account. When this is completed, you will be asked for an address in the United States (or whichever of the valid Steam Deck countries you have chosen). You must complete the third step in the process to complete this.

Follow this guide to change your Steam Store country.

3. Provide a valid shipping address

This is when earning yourself a Steam Deck starts to get in-depth and annoying. If you have family or friends who live in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada or Germany, you are in luck. Just put their address as yours and your brand new Steam Deck will be delivered to the address of your choice. From then, just get them to mail it to you and all you have to do is wait for your Steam Deck to turn up at your door.

If you’re unlucky enough to have all your friends and family nearby, meaning that not only do you have to interact with them, but they can’t help you get a Steam Deck, there is still hope.
If this is you, your only other option is to sign up for a mail ordering service.

Unless, of course, you would prefer to find a friend through Reddit or Twitter you trust enough to send a rare and expensive handheld console to. I would suggest not doing that.

Services like Shipito provide you with a US-based postal address. Once they receive your product, they will then ship it directly to you.

4. Sign up for a valid payment service

We’ve done a lot of the hard work but we aren’t done yet. You still need to pay for your Steam Deck and your everyday Aussie debit card isn’t going to get the job done. To complete the illusion that you are living in the United States, you will need a payment service based in the United States.

To do this, the best option is to sign up for a U.S. prepaid card. US-unlocked is a popular option that will satisfy your needs, but there are a few options. Be sure to have a look around at what suits your needs best. You might find you want a long-term card for future overseas shopping.

One snag you might run into through this process is the need for a United States-based phone number. Luckily through options like MightyCall, Skype, OpenPhone and Line2, this is a relatively simple process. Trial periods are standard options these days, but it may take a while to receive your Steam Deck and you will need to keep the number until it is safe and cosy in your hands.

Make sure to use an option that provides what you need. and is affordable.

What problems Can I face if buying a product meant for the United States?

While this thorough, multi-levelled and quite rigorous step-by-step process to get a Steam Deck to your house might sound simple enough, it doesn’t end there. You might just assume that there is little difference between a product made for sale in the United States and a product made in Australia. You would be very wrong.

The two biggest issues to think about before you take hours out of your life to go through the process of purchasing an American Steam Deck are the fact that you changed your country of residence on Steam to acquire the machine, and the United States uses different power cords. Let’s knock out the latter first, it’s easier.

The US Store, the Australian Store and You

Remember, about 600 words ago (584 to be exact) when you were told to change your country of residence within your Steam account? Well, while that is crucial to being able to get a hold of a Steam Deck in the first place, it will be a small thorn in your side when you want to start using it.

Luckily for you, through the process of buying the Steam Deck, you also can purchase items through the American store with your prepaid US-based card. So, if it makes no difference to you, you can continue to use the US Steam store without issue. If this is not a viable option or you just want to use the store of the Country in which you truly live, you are in luck.

Steam states that you can change your country of residence, as long as your store country is set to the country “where you currently reside”. To do this, you “must have a local payment method” to make purchases in that store.

Follow this guide to change your Steam Store country.

While it isn’t the end of the world, isn’t breaking any rules and has quite an easy fix, it is something to consider when buying a non-Australian Steam Deck.

Converters & Voltage and Outlets Oh My

This is the big issue with buying tech from the United States – our outlets are not the same. If you’re expecting your American Steam Deck to come with a charger that has a standard Australian three-prong power cord, you are sadly mistaken. A Steam Deck from the United States will come with a power cord meant for a resident of the U.S., meaning it will come with a two-prong power cord.

What’s the big deal, right? Hop on Amazon, buy an adaptor and viola! Your US-based Steam Deck is ready for some charging down under.

Wrong.

Australian power outlets’ output of 230V far outweighs the standard voltage supply from outlets in the United States of 120V. This means that a simple charge of your Steam Deck, using an adaptor, could cause your Steam Deck to overload and overheat due to an intake of a voltage supply higher than it was made for. Your Steam Deck might be just fine, but for a product you went through the lengths of this guide to find and purchase, it isn’t a risk you will want to take.

Luckily the Steam Deck uses a USB-C port for the charger, which means any USB-C cord, plugged into a USB port or power outlet, will charge your device.

Again, while this problem has a simple enough fix, it is worth knowing.

You may decide that these issues, along with the intense process of purchasing the product, aren’t worth the trouble, which leads us to the next point.

Going to wait for the Official Australian Release?

Is this all a bit much for you? Does the thought of lying to a website through the form of a VPN give you the heebie-jeebies? I can’t blame you. This kind of devotion to buying a product isn’t for everyone. The process above is not for the faint of heart, and waiting for the Steam Deck is possibly the smartest and certainly the most common option.

While it is going to be quite a while until we will be able to reserve our Steam Decks from the Steam site, below are the estimated prices for the three versions of the Steam Deck. Get your savings account ready, you have quite some time to get your finances in order.

It’s pretty simple to find out how much the Australian Steam Deck packages will cost. Just convert the American price to AUD.

This means the three packages will be priced as such:

  • Steam Deck 64GB, this base model which includes a carrying case, should be $555.
  • Steam Deck 254GB, with the carrying case,  faster Storage and an exclusive Steam community profile bundle, comes to about $740.
  • Steam Deck 512GB, which also includes an exclusive virtual keyboard theme, will come out to around $903.

Remember, when do you ever see a console or piece of tech available for purchase at an even $555, $740 or the even weirder $903? The answer is never. Prices closer to $599.95, $749.95 (the price of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X) and $949.95 seem much more likely figures. I wouldn’t be surprised if the figures reached $600, $800 and $1000 respectively. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Max Delaney

Max Delaney is a Journalism student at Macquarie University, joining Gadget User in 2022 and reporting on a variety of topics. Only early in his career, Max is excited to write guides, reviews and more to help you make informed purchases!