How To Preorder A Steam Deck In Australia

How To Preorder A Steam Deck In Australia
Image: Valve
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Valve’s Steam Deck set the internet on fire when it was announced in July — but you could only hear a low moan from disappointed Australians. But if you want to roll the dice with Valve’s handheld console and international shipping, here’s how you can go about preordering a Steam Deck in Australia.

Remember, the Steam Deck isn’t technically available in Australia. When you go to the reservations page, you’ll find a lovely message stating the console isn’t available in your region and you won’t be able to place a preorder. But if you’re using a VPN, you should be able to remove those nasty barriers.

Here’s how to preorder the Steam Deck from Australia if you’re really keen to get your hands on a device.

How to preorder the Steam Deck if you live in Australia

The first thing you’ll need to place a Steam Deck preorder within Australia is a VPN. While the preorder page does show up without one, you won’t be able to place an order locally until the Steam page recognises you’re in an eligible location.

According to testing by Streaming Rant and How To Watch, the best VPN services for accessing overseas content in Australia are: NordVPN, Surfshark, PureVPN and ExpressVPNThey each costs between $4 and $12 a month (or less for a yearly subscription) and you’ll be able to use them to access other services as well, including the hearty library of American Netflix.

If you’ve never used a VPN before, it’ll basically ‘trick’ websites into believing your device is located anywhere in the world you choose.

Select an American VPN location, and the Steam Deck preorder page should unlock for you. You might also have to update the home country of your Steam account to the United States, like Aussies had to do when they wanted to get the Valve Index early. (Steam has a FAQ on how to change your home country here.)

When your update the account, Steam will ask you for an address from your account’s new country — which you’ll get from the next step.

Because the Steam Deck still only ships to the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, you can’t ship your console directly to Australia. Instead, you’ll want to send it to a friend in one these locations or use a mail forwarding service like ShopMate or Shipito.

These services allow you to purchase goods and send them to a provided overseas address, where they’ll be shipped directly to you. ShopMate will give you a US-based address, and that’s what you’ll want to put into Steam when updating your home country.

You’ll also need a local payment service for the United States, too. The best option, as called out by Kotaku Australia readers, is a US prepaid card provider. US Unlocked is one service you can use, but note you’ll have to cop additional fees upon setting up. You may also need a US-based phone number too for registration. OpenPhone is a good option that you can link into your existing devices, as is MightyCall. Both have trial periods you can use, although you will have to pay if you want to keep the phone number active until you get your Steam Deck.

Major factors to consider when importing the Steam Deck

steam deck games
Image: Steam

There’s a couple of unknowns about the Steam Deck you should familiarise yourself with before you run off to grab one. Namely, you need to consider the power issues you may run into, as well as compatibility issues with your Steam account.

Power adaptors and voltage

The first issue you’ll run into with ordering a Steam Deck from the U.S. is your charger will likely be a a two-pronged North American power cord, rather than a local Aussie one. A converter will be needed for a quick fix — but it’s not as simple as grabbing any old one off eBay.

Australian power outlets are designed to deliver 230 volts of energy, while U.S. outlets deliver just 120 volts. Using a basic converter with your U.S. Steam Deck could overload and overheat your console, an outcome you’ll definitely want to avoid. You’ll have to purchase a voltage converter to be on the safe side, but it will add bulk to your charging set-up.

In better news, the Steam Deck does appear to have an alternative USB-C option for charging — and while we haven’t seen exactly how this’ll work, it should be an easy plug-and-play fit. We’ll have to stay tuned to the console’s release to know more about how the charging will actually work, and whether the U.S. power plug system will actually be a challenge.

Store compatibility

Another thing you’ll need to consider is your imported Steam Deck will likely run on the U.S. version of the Steam store. So if you want to buy anything from the Steam store, you’ll need a payment method that works in the United States. Steam, however, says you can update your store country multiple times “as long as you use a payment method that matches your Steam country setting” — so you’ll have to follow the steps above if you want to buy games in Aussie dollars.

It pales in comparison to the power issue but it’s something you should still think about.

When can you actually order the Steam Deck in Australia?

steam deck australia preorders
Image: Valve

If all that seems a bit too much, there is better news on the horizon.

While Australia was not included in the initial preorder phase for the Steam Deck, the console will eventually be available in other territories.

“Information about expanded regional availability coming soon,” is what the Steam Deck hub states now, although at one point it did indicate preorders would be available for other regions in 2022.

We don’t have an expected release date or pricing yet — and Australia hasn’t specifically been named on the preorder hub, but given we are expecting the Valve Index to drop locally in August we know Valve is aware of Australia at the very least. It’s arriving two years later than it released in other territories, but we are getting it.

We still don’t know whether we’re getting the Steam Deck or if it’ll arrive any time soon. But staying patient is currently your safest bet, especially if you run into warranty issues.

Still, if you’re happy to take a risk there’s plenty of ways to grab one early.

This post has been updated with additional information and tips, including which VPNs are best for accessing overseas content.

Comments

  • Australian who managed to preorder here. It is not that simple. Valve has drastically increased their region stringency, so a VPN won’t cut it. They also require region-correct payment information. You’ll need a parcel forwarder as mentioned in the article, as well as a US prepaid card service (because you’ll need a US billing address), and a phone number with an area code that matches your forwarder’s address.

    I used US Unlocked as my prepaid card service, because it can hook into your parcel forwarder (I chose Planet Express) and use that as the billing address, which simplifies things somewhat. They also apply a large one-time fee and require a $50 minimum deposit, though. Loading the card with $50 USD for the first time cost me $99 AUD, although loading it in future should be a lot cheaper without the initial one-time fee. Loading the card can only be done with a manual bank transfer, though, so be ready to wait 2-4 days to be able to do anything.

    The phone number is a lot trickier. I used OpenPhone, which has a free 7 day trial but requires you to pay $10 per month after that. To stay on the safe side I’ll be keeping the subscription until I receive my Steam Deck. I imagine you could just take a note of the phone number for future use and then just cancel the sub with very few repercussions.

    On the plus side, power is a lot simpler than this article gives it credit for. The device uses standard USB-C, so I imagine you could just use any old Australian USB power brick and chuck the one that comes with the console. With such a large battery you could also order a particularly high-wattage one from Amazon or something, but this is still altogether an easier process than buying a voltage converter.

    Hope this helps anyone else looking to preorder!

    • Thank you so much for the info! Transferred my money to us Unlocked and now waiting. Please let me know if you hit any road blocks. After all this trouble and expense I may as well go for the 512 Gb model,. Again cheers iWillBiteRawCoffeeBeans

      • Since writing this post I did hit a small roadblock. I paid some money from US Unlocked into my Steam wallet with a VPN sending my traffic to US, and that went fine, but I got lazy and left my VPN off when I paid money into my Steam wallet again and immediately got my account locked under suspicion of fraud. I got in contact with Steam support, who weren’t happy, but did unlock my account as nothing about my methods broke terms o service. So definitely make sure that you’re using a VPN directing your traffic to USA.

        • hmmm i see. After depositing the 5 bucks to reserve a unit, wouldn’t it be fine to then to switch back to the aus store until the full payment is required? I mean hypothetically I travel a lot *cough.

          • I stumbled across the payment method thing and had to use US unlocked because it uses your billing address and card details to validate your region. I did actually try making the deposit with an AU card and I got a region error. It’s possible that the final payment for the device will operate differently but I don’t want to take chances.

          • Hmmm I cannot seem to reply to your latest comment. Yeah I know, I tried at first using a VPN to do the deposit thing but like you said you need a US payment method. Bloody ell I hope this works. The US phone number thing you mentioned also worries me as I wont be paying 10 bucks a month till the thing ships, which how late im reserving it will be late 2022 I guess.

  • Both of these aren’t issues at all.
    Power adaptors and voltage aren’t an issue – it uses USB C PD so any 40w+ PD charger will be fine – it will probably even trickle charge on your PD phone charger if you get desperate.
    Store compatibility won’t be an issue either – they have already stated it is just a pc and is just using the regular linux steam distro. Even if it wasn’t you could just install it yourself as the pc is completely unlocked.

    The actual real issues are these –

    The price – the price will be much more than you think it will be. First you need to add US taxes to the price because they are seperate. Then you need to convert USD to AUD. Then add currency conversion charges your credit card company will charge you. Then you need to add both shipping charges (valves and the forwarders) – mail forwarding companies aren’t exactly cheap to use. Then finally you need to pay the AU customs and duty taxes on top once it gets here.

    Warranty and service – if this thing arrives DOA or dies down the road good luck trying to get it replaced or serviced under warranty in Australia.

    • US taxes can be avoided if you’re able to wrangle billing to a zero sales tax state, which would be one of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon.

      In the past, at least for virtual goods, I have been the happy resident of a public park in Anchorage.

  • Just FYI, you are better off ordering one via the UK.
    Voltage is the same as Australia and you can just swap out the power cord if it’s a laptop style charger.
    Or just but a travel adapter at a travel store
    No need for a voltage convertor convertor.

  • I don’t think anyone will see this, but if you’re Aussie and absolutely need to get one asap instead of waiting on Valve time. Do as the first poster says. Need a good VPN, login to the region you are ordering from. Get US Unlocked (need to wait for the transfer 3-5 business days), Get Planet Express like he said, then connect the 2 though US Unlocked. I did ok without Open Phone, just listed my steam approved mobile number which is +61 4*******. Don’t buy anything for a bit and switch back to the Australian store before you do. *thumbs up

  • Also someone who dabbled into preordering one (and have since cancelled due to the head F**kery). I was able switch my store to US and pre order one. But the amount of **** ness I’ve had since then. Every time I try to make a purchase with my steam account, my banks lock my bank card and see it as fraudulent. No amount of ringing them explaining it, etc etc etc works. Every time without fail, its auto blocked. And the kicker is you can’t switch your store back to Aus for 3 months. So I’ve been experiencing this cycle of butt ****ery for 3 months now. Luckily it ends in 2 days… but man what a nightmare. My advice, wait till it’s available for sale in Aus.

  • Honestly, I’m hoping that the whole reason that we’re finally getting the Index here is that Valve wanted to make the Deck available here ASAP and so worked out a deal with EB to sell Valve hardware here in preparation – which of course meant also selling the Index. It’s either that or the Index is finally arriving at the same time the Deck is announced by pure confidence.

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