Valve, of Steam gaming platform fame, has announced that its Steamdeck portable gaming device has been delayed, until at least February of 2022. Which means for nearly everyone who made a preorder reservation, July or later.

Why is that unclear? Well, because even this may be optimistic.

This isn't as huge surprise, when even big guns like Microsoft and Sony can't make the new Xbox Series X or Playstation 5 in stores.

The device specs read great but that may be part of the challenge. In science and engineering, NASA is famous for getting funding based on things that maybe have a 50 percent joint confidence interval, heavily reliant on future private sector companies making magic happen. It's why the James Webb Space Telescope, if it launches in December, will have been 20 years late. And why a 'return to the moon' President George W. Bush signed off on in 2004 won't happen until at least 2025 now.

Steam is a company, not a government agency, so they probably had a lot more confidence in their timeline. But they likely also thought that government would have made pandemic supply chain problems better rather than worse. And there are a lot of moving parts in this device. Anyone who has worked in software or hardware development knows sometimes you just don't anticipate every issue, you instead attach severity and risk to what you can estimate. And rolls of the dice don't always go your way.

If any of those are the case, they are better to delay it. Game companies have gotten famous for leaping from putting out unfinished games to putting out games that are just missing pieces they originally promised, but hardware is another beast entirely. Like the Webb telescope, once it is out there, you can't fix any hardware.

For that reason, while it may be a downer to not have it at Christmas, that's better than being frustrated they didn't give it a few more months.