The Steam Deck
is awesome. I know this because I have one. Instead of playing Dead Cells
on my Nintendo Switch
or on my Android
phone (both of which I own), I can play the version of it I own on Steam. But instead of playing it on my Desktop PC which uses the beastly MSI Suprim X 3080
(at least until Kosta sends me his 4090
), I can play it while I'm on the toilet.
Imagine showing Leonardo DaVinci this marvel of modern technology.
How I bought a Steam Deck
"But," he might ask, after he stopped laughing at my funny clothes. "How did you purchase a Steam Deck in Australia?" And if we ignore the temporal incongruities, it'd be a pretty fair question. After all, the Steam Deck isn't (at time of writing) available for purchase in Australia.
My secret is getting drunk and buying things on Ebay.
But here's the thing — I wouldn't recommend this particular strategy. When, two days after I made my purchase and promptly forgot about it, I received the email telling me I'd won my auction, I did what anyone might do. I panicked and looked into Ebay's cancel auction policies.
Nobody has the patience for that, chums.
A scant two weeks later, I had a Steam Deck in my hands, and I was very happy. But in those two weeks, I (unwisely) familiarised myself with how a person in Australia might get a Steam Deck in a smarter way.
Here's how I wish I'd done it.
How You Should Buy a Steam Deck
Here's the thing. If the only way you're buying a Steam Deck is if alcohol can remove your inhibitions around spending that much money on something you don't need, turn back now.
There is too much going on here, too many steps for an inebriated person to put all this together. And it's nebulous. Steps that worked for one person required a workaround from another. Up-front, I want you to know that I Am Not A Lawyer and This Is Not Financial Advice, and any other empty disclaimers people append to things they say on the internet when what they're trying to say is 'don't sue me if this doesn't work'.
But it should work. The method I'm about to lay out, I have on good authority, works
. Here's how you do it.
Get a VPN
I don't want to sound like every second YouTuber, but grab NordVPN
. It's just the easiest to quickly set up and use. If you've already got another VPN, don't tell me about it. Nobody ever wants to hear about VPNs. Big Money Salvia used to make funny skits about VPNs and even then nobody gave a shit.
You Must Use US Money
Until the Goa'uld return to complete their domination of the human species we will continue to toil under the tyranny of the US Dollar. I don't make the rules, that's just how the world works. So you're gonna need some US cash.
The easiest way to acquire some is via USUnlocked
. I've heard of people buying preloaded Visa Debit Cards online from places like Walmart, but it's fraught with peril — you can easily end up paying far more than you bargained for. USUnlocked has a good reputation, so you might as well go with them.
Get a Mail Forwarder
Here's the tricky bit. Get a mail forwarding service. You can use any one you like, but I recommend Planet Express
. First of all, their slogan is "Our crew is replaceable, your package isn't!" Secondly, they are an extremely reputable service with stacks of very happy customers. Finally, Futurama rules
If you go with Planet Express, once you sign up they'll give you an address with specific details that you need to note down. I've held your hand a lot so far, but there's only so much I can do. Note the address and your specific suite details as it is important.
Speaking of PlanEx, if you sign up for a Premium account for a single month for $10, you'll save about $44. Each state in the US has different Sales Tax rates, and by default you'll get charged 10% on top of your purchase. But they have a warehouse in a State without Sales Tax, and Premium Members can take advantage of that.
You Need a US Steam Account (Not an AUS Steam Account)
Now that you have money and an address, you need a Steam Account that is, as far as anyone at Valve is aware, based in the United States. You could
change regions on your current Steam account, but that method is extremely temperamental.
Instead, what we're going to do is make a brand new Steam account based out of the United States from the get-go.
Switch on your VPN, open Steam in your browser (don't do it via the program, which I refuse to call an 'app'), and add a game to your cart. Set your region to US, back out and "Continue Shopping". Add a Steam Deck to your cart. This specific method worked for two people I know. Add the game, set your region, add the Steam Deck.
Buy a Steam Deck
Alrighty. If you want to buy a Steam Deck, at some point you have to actually buy a Steam Deck.
Don't get the 64GB one. It's not worth it. You can expand the memory on the machine but you're needlessly gimping yourself, as the 64GB version uses eMMC storage which is significantly slower than its larger siblings.
Here's the thing -- don't get the 512GB version either. This is where we get a bit tricky. The 512GB version of the Steam Deck costs $649 USD — that's just barely over the $1000AUD duty limit, which will instantly cop you an extra $150 AUD in taxes.
Now you can lie on your customs form — you've already lied about so, so much in this process right? But the Australian Border Force aren't Valve or Jesus, so lying to them has consequences. Consequences that you'll find out about at the tips of some black nylon gloves. So we actually highly recommend not
lying to the Australian Border Force.
So grab the 256GB Steam Deck. You can expand the storage anyway, right? And unless you plan on installing Call of Duty, 256GB is enough. Face the facts, you're just gonna play Stardew Valley
or Dead Cells
or Hollow Knight
on this thing anyway. How much storage do you really need?
Set Up Delivery
Once Valve ships it to Planet Express' warehouse, they'll send you an email. Then you fill out your customs declaration form (truthfully) and select how you'd like it delivered. Do not opt for an option with "Delivery Duty Paid". It shouldn't be necessary and it is needlessly more expensive. I would buy insurance but you don't have to. Go for FedEx, probably. It will be around $80 for shipping.
Now you relax! And by relax, I mean constantly refresh any page that updates you with details on where your shiny new object might be while your sanity slowly slips beyond your grasp.
While you wait, I recommend buying a Steam Deck Dock. I got one from JSAUX
that I think rules. It ships internationally, it's really well priced and it works phenomenally well.
Eventually your Steam Deck will arrive and you'll get to lord it over everyone else you know. You can login with your regular Aussie Steam Account and ignore the US one you created until the Steam Deck 2 comes out. You don't need a transformer or converter or anything to charge the thing — any 65W charger will do the job, but you can just use a US plug adaptor on the Steam Deck's included charger, as it's rated for 100 - 240W. That's what I'm doing right now.
The only downside to it all is that in the back of your mind you'll have this niggling feeling that Valve is literally just about to announce sales in Australia and all your effort will have been for nought. Sadly that feeling never goes away. But playing Dead Cells on the toilet right now is worth it.
Buy Me a Beer
I mean, you kind of owe me after all of that.