The Real Reason I’m Not Buying A Grey Import Steam Deck Is That I Know Myself

The Real Reason I’m Not Buying A Grey Import Steam Deck Is That I Know Myself

As you might have seen, you can now buy a Steam Deck from Woolworths via a third-party marketplace.

As I said in that piece, it’s getting easier and easier to get a Steam Deck in Australia, despite the device’s lack of official availability here. The early days of buying prepaid credit cards in US dollars and picking the least sketchy-looking carriage service are more or less done. You can get a Steam Deck from many online stores in Australia now, including but not limited to Amazon, Kogan, and whatever they’re calling the Haunted Remnant of Dick Smith Electronics these days. These handhelds are also unofficial, grey imports. Though the individual sellers may provisionally agree to help you out under Australian retail law, they don’t carry Valve’s manufacturer warranty and could potentially create headaches for buyers in the event that anything goes wrong with them.

And despite my urging you not to buy a grey import Steam Deck, dear reader, I confess that in the quiet hours between 3 and 5 AM, when the resolve is weakest, I have considered it. There’s a thrill attached to owning a device that isn’t available in your country. It feels transgressive, somehow. I don’t know why. It isn’t like it’s illegal to import a Steam Deck. But the allure is there, and it’s this feeling of having it just to have it that tramples any use case I try to throw at the purchase. I tell myself that I’d use it a lot. That it would make chewing through PC games for coverage easier — but would it? I can play PC games on my PC. That’s still right there, down the hall from the bedroom. If I really want to sit on the couch and enjoy PC games, I can (and have) connected an HDMI cable to the TV.

But more than any practical justification, the thing that’s keeping me from hitting Buy Now is that I know myself. I know that even if I bought a Steam Deck, I would only extract four-to-seven days of value from the device. After that, I will cast it aside in a trance like Andy ditching Woody and never pick it up again outside of flights where there’s no WiFi.

Image: Disney, Kotaku Australia

The reason I consider this a forgone conclusion is that, pushing 40 as I am, my spare time is incredibly finite and flies by at an alarming rate. Add to this that playing video games is a significant component of my job — I play not for leisure but for work — and you have a list of priorities that grow in lockstep with my anxiety. An hour spent on the Steam Deck is an hour I could have been playing something on the PS5 for coverage. But what if the Steam Deck was being played for coverage? THEN you could justify it!

And then I’m back to playing games for work outside work hours, and never playing anything for fun and … you see the circular nature of the problem.

Every version of this scenario ends in the stockpiled anxieties of responsibility winning out and the Steam Deck being tossed onto my ever more expensive pile of shame (where it might break, and I would not be able to get it fixed due to its status as a grey import).

As I said in the piece about the Steam Deck showing up at Woolies, if you understand the risks of a grey import purchase, then by all means, pick one up. But beyond the thrill of owning a Steam Deck just to own one, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Do you own a Steam Deck? Tempt me greatly by posting stories of how much you like it in the comments below.

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