If you want to buy the Steam Deck in India, you’re out of luck. While the pre-order date for Valve’s portable PC is July 16, India isn’t on the list of countries getting it. We were met with the message that the Steam Deck “is not available for reservation in your country”. No surprise since there’s no Steam Deck India price or release date either. A quick check on the FAQ section reveals that US, Canada, European Union, and UK customers can reserve a Steam Deck with “information about expanded regional availability coming soon”.
What this means is, if you live in India and want the Steam Deck at launch, your best bet would be to order one through a friend or relative in one of the countries Valve is shipping to who could then pass it on to you. Though keep in mind that if something were to go awry, warranty would be a major concern.
Steam Deck India Release Date and Price in 2022?
So does Valve plan to bring the Steam Deck to India? Well, according to the Steam Deck website, the company does plan to bring it to more regions in 2022. However Valve’s distribution and presence in India has been spotty at best.
Sources in the supply chain speaking to IGN India on condition of anonymity state that if the Steam Deck does make it to India, it would with a tentative price starting at around Rs. 40,000. It’s unclear how successful it would be since the PC gaming space in India is divided between competitively priced laptops and assembled PCs.
Assuming it does have a Rs. 40,000 price tag puts Valve in a tough spot. Reason being, a majority of the gaming laptop sales in India are dominated by value for money offerings from the likes of Asus. The company’s TUF range of laptops is one of the best-selling in the country.
”The TUF series price point is around Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 80,000, this segment, not just for Asus, but for other manufacturers as well, it occupies almost 40 to 50 percent of India’s gaming market,” said Arnold Su, Business Head, Consumer and Gaming PC, System Business Group, Asus India to IGN India in a recent interview. ”It’s usually working professionals or students that are buyers in this segment and it’s doing quite well. They aren’t hardcore esports players, but those that want a machine to do their daily work as well as play games.”
However, some like Acer believe that both sections are ripe for the taking, though the volumes are in the value segment.
”What we’ve observed is both — the casual gamer audience that spends around Rs. 50,000 plus and the esports or hardcore crowd that spends Rs. 1,00,000 plus for a better specced PC — are growing,” said Sudhir Goel, Chief Business Officer, Acer India to IGN India in a recent interview. ”This is why we brought in multiple ranges after the success of the Predator laptop series such as the Aspire 7 for those focussed on value, and it did well. During last year’s BBD [Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale] we sold thousands of pieces in a few hours and it sold out.”
In such a market where competition is cutthroat and the majority of audiences perceive PCs as more than just gaming devices, how Valve decides to approach India will be a point of concern. More so when you consider that none of its existing partners in the nation have any major experience in the category.
Valve’s India Presence — Or Lack Thereof
The company does have an India distributor for its games in (the now quaintly titled) Worldwide CDROMs that’s based in Mumbai.
Although Worldwide CDROMs lists Valve as one of its publishers (alongside Activision) on its website, Valve itself hasn’t done much in India since launching Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in 2012.
Much like in markets that aren’t the US, Valve prefers to have a hands-off approach, resulting in most esports events around Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 being run by tournament organisers like Nodwin with little to no interference.
The company has partnered with Nodwin’s sister company Novaplay that acts as its billing partner in India for purchases made on Steam. This deal made waves as it allows Indian gamers to buy games on Steam using cash on delivery as a payment method. However none of these companies have any real expertise in selling hardware.
Another possibility is using AMD’s distribution network in India to bring the Steam Deck to market, though AMD’s price control issues in the country are legendary at this juncture. Case in point: the company’s RX 480 India launch which had it flip-flopping several times, a scenario that repeated itself with the RX 580 as well as the recent RX 6700 XT.
Nonetheless, IGN India has reached out to AMD, Novaplay, Valve, and Worldwide CDROMs for comment and will update this story if we hear from any of these companies.