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Why it matters: If a Steam Deck needs repairs, DIY or mom-and-pop operations are no longer the only options. Valve has touted its agreement with iFixit to offer replacement parts since launching its handheld gaming PC, but the company also recognizes that self-repair isn't for everyone.
On Friday, Valve announced that Steam Deck repair centers are now open. When a customer contacts support and ships a unit to Valve, the company will diagnose an issue and determine a fee based on the warranty and repairs needed.
Something like an occasional button input problem would fall under warranty, which Valve will repair and return to the customer for free. Something like a pet destroying a thumbstick would be an out-of-warranty condition and would face a repair charge. Valve didn't specify costs but said customers could refuse a repair after getting a quote so they could try another option, like an unaffiliated repair shop or getting replacement parts from iFixit.
Valve advised against DIY Steam Deck repairs but understood it couldn't stop every customer from attempting them. Thus, it uploaded a teardown video for the device and partnered with iFixit to offer replacement parts.
Repair kit supplies were initially tight, but Valve recently improved availability. Fan replacements are available for $30, while battery kits cost $95. These prices are likely a bit higher than Valve's dedicated repair centers charge but offer another avenue for users who want to follow Valve's advice or aren't comfortable with self-repair.
Valve didn't mention who performs repairs at its centers, but they likely use third-party contractors. Nintendo utilizes external repair centers for the Switch, and one reported constant saturation with requests to fix the system's Joy-Con controllers. Hopefully, a similar problem shouldn't occur with Steam Deck repair shops.
Since opening orders for the Steam Deck, Valve has worked to improve its supply chain, managing to move Q4 reservations up to Q3. Those who reserved one should still receive it before the end of 2022. Those who haven't should order one soon if they want a Steam Deck before next year.
Over time, Valve has sharpened its Proton compatibility layer for running Windows games on Steam Deck's Linux-based operating system. However, it isn't the only group working on Windows-Linux interoperability. Earlier this week, an update for Wine included fixes for running Windows games on Linux.