Why is it important: If a steam deck is in need of repair, do-it-yourself or home operations are no longer the only options. Valve has been touting its deal with iFixit to provide replacement parts since the launch of its handheld gaming PC, but the company also acknowledges that do-it-yourself repairs aren’t for everyone.
Friday Valve announced that Steam Deck Repair Centers are now open. When a customer contacts support and ships a device to Valve, the company diagnoses the problem and charges a fee based on the warranty and repair required.
Something like an occasional button press issue is covered under warranty, which Valve will repair and return to the customer free of charge. Something like a pet destroying a thumb stick would be a non-warranty condition and would require a repair charge. Valve didn’t list a cost, but said customers can choose not to repair after receiving an offer so they can try another option, such as going to an unaffiliated repair shop or getting replacement parts from iFixit.
Valve advised against do-it-yourself steam deck repair, but understood that it couldn’t stop every customer from trying to do so. So he uploaded a teardown video of the device and partnered with iFixit to offer replacement parts.
Repair kit supplies were initially limited, but Valve has recently improved their availability. Fan replacements are available for $30 and battery packs are $95. These prices are probably a bit higher than Valve’s dedicated repair centers, but offer another option for users who want to follow Valve’s advice or don’t want to do their own repairs.
Valve didn’t mention who does the repairs at its centers, but they likely use outside contractors. Nintendo uses external repair centers for the Switch, and one of them reported a constant saturation with requests for repair of the system’s Joy-Con controllers. Hopefully, Steam Deck repair shops shouldn’t have these issues.
Since opening orders for Steam Deck, Valve has been working to improve its supply chain, managing to move orders from Q4 to Q3. Those who reserved the deck should receive it by the end of 2022. Those who haven’t already done so should order it ASAP if they want a Steam Deck before next year.
Over time, Valve has refined its Proton compatibility layer to run Windows games on the Linux-based Steam Deck operating system. However, this is not the only group working on Windows and Linux compatibility. Earlier this week, an update to Wine included fixes for running Windows games on Linux.