JB Hi-Fi Is Selling Steam Decks in New Zealand

JB Hi-Fi Is Selling Steam Decks in New Zealand

Steam Deck handhelds are being sold in-store and online by JB Hi-Fi New Zealand. Yes, really.

But before you get too excited, it looks like, rather than becoming the Oceanic region’s first Valve-approved Steam Deck supplier, JB Hi-Fi has scooped the stock from a third-party supplier. Unlike some third-party resellers in Australia like Kogan, Bunnings and Woolworths, JB does not sell anything via a marketplace arrangement. It becomes the first major retailer in our region to sell the devices direct.

JB Hi-Fi NZ has stock of the 64GB Steam Deck available both on its website and in-store (as noted by Kotaku Australia reader Anthony, and our thanks to Anthony for the tip-off), with the 256GB and 512GB versions available on backorder. After making a few calls, Kotaku Australia was able to confirm that stores like Auckland CBD and Dunedin’s Meridian Mall were holding multiple consoles in stock.

Floor staff confirmed that their Steam Decks came with a Type I charger — the standard three-prong charger used in Australia and New Zealand — a far cry from many grey import Steam Decks available for purchase in Australia. For comparison, reviews indicate that Kogan’s stock comes with Type C EU charger.

There is no indication that JB Hi-Fi Australia will begin stocking the console now or in the future. However, making the hardware available in New Zealand could be seen as a way to test consumer appetites for the device before bringing it to the larger Australian market.

JB Hi-Fi confirmed to Kotaku Australia that its Steam Deck stock came from a third-party supplier and not Valve, though it declined to confirm exactly who the supplier was. The company also confirmed in writing that the one-year warranty offered on the Steam Deck consoles was not through Valve, either. In an email, a company spokesperson told Kotaku Australia that “(a)ny warranty claims for the device is the obligation of the third party supplier with JB customer service if there are any issues.” Essentially, JB Hi-Fi NZ will put buyers in touch with the third-party supplier for repairs, should they have any issues with a Steam Deck purchased from a JB store.

Kotaku Australia reached out to Valve for comment on this story but did not hear back in time for publication.

It’s worth noting that JB Hi-Fi Australia was hit with a class action lawsuit in December in regard to its extended warranties. Law firm Maurice Blackburn suggested that customers had the same rights offered under extended warranty add-ons as they were granted for free under Australian Consumer Law. JB Hi-Fi NZ doesn’t appear to be implicated in any similar class action currently.

The Steam Deck is, of course, yet to be officially released in Australia and NZ. There is no clear indication of exactly when we can expect to see them hit our shores in an official capacity, if ever. However, that hasn’t stopped multiple third parties from importing them for sale. They have been a particularly popular item on marketplace-style platforms such as Kogan, Catchoftheday, Woolworths Marketplace and Big W Marketplace. As we’ve said before, this kind of grey import purchase does have its risks when it comes to warranty purposes – while Valve does offer a manufacturer’s warranty in the US, purchasing via a third-party importer outside the US means the Steam Deck won’t be covered by Valve themselves, leaving buyers at the mercy of local consumer laws and third party warranty policies.

So far, there don’t appear to be reviews on any of the Steam Deck consoles sold by JB Hi-Fi NZ to confirm whether the handheld does in fact come with all the bells and whistles promised by the retail giant. There is one five-star review on the 256GB version, but it appears to be for an unrelated pop album (and we’re glad the reviewer enjoyed their record).

The sale of grey import Steam Decks by JB Hi-Fi NZ marks one of the first times we’ve seen the handheld consoles sold in-store and outside the bounds of marketplace type online platforms, even if it does appear likely the store is sourcing them from similar places to other sellers in Australia and NZ. Whether this heralds an era of legit brick-and-mortar stores selling the consoles in-store across both countries is anyone’s guess, but despite the risks, it gets easier and easier to score a Steam Deck locally, even without Valve’s official supply.

Image: Valve

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