In May 2019, Panic, the publisher of Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game, revealed that he was developing his own gaming handheld, the Playdate. This cute device has made waves for its sunny yellow color, unique analog crank, and the simple yet charming graphics of its all-digital software. It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about this, but Panic ended the silence today by releasing a video full of updates for the device where he showed his first list of games, a large accessory, as well as its price and pre-order window.
The games make or break any platform, and Playdate’s initial library consists of 24 original games, a Panic dubs Season One collection. These games consist of titles designed with inventive mechanics that take advantage of the unique features of the system, such as its crank (which is a form of analog stick). Each Season 1 game is free and owners will receive 2 games per week for 12 weeks. You can check out some of the games in action in the preview below (at 3:35 am), but Panic prefers to surprise owners by not sharing any details about the games, title included, until they hit the system.
Panic has a long list of independent developers who are currently tinkering with Playdate games. Notable creators include a new game from Return of the Obra creator Dinn, Lucas Pope (which you can read here) and Bennett Foddy from Getting Over It. Panic is also partnering with promising studios from marginalized communities under the mentorship of development studio Sweet Baby, Inc. The company says that in the future, creators will be able to independently sell Playdate titles that can be downloaded from the handheld computer. and will discuss other distribution methods at a later date.
To further encourage game creation, Panic is launching a free game creation tool called Pulp. This all-in-one tool allows designers to develop Playdate games using a simple web browser, where they can DIY graphics, write scripts, compose music, and more. Once the game is finished, it can be downloaded from Playdate. Pulp will be available later this year.
Panic also revealed Playdate’s first accessory, the Stereo Dock (pictured above). It magnetically connects to Playdate and doubles as a battery charger and has a bluetooth speaker for increased and enhanced gaming sound. The docking station is designed to sit on your desk and has a few nifty pen holders that you can use to store Panic’s official Playdate ballpoint pen (included with the docking station). Panic has also partnered with online radio station Poolsuite FM to create an app of selected summer songs that gamers can listen to through the Stereo Dock. There is no word on the price of the Stereo Dock or when it comes out.
However, we do know how much the Playdate itself will cost: $ 179. This award, of course, includes its first season of games. You can also order a protective case for your Playdate for $ 29 or buy both as a pack for $ 199.
When can you buy a Playdate? Panic hasn’t revealed a release date, but it will start taking pre-orders in July. The exact date for next month is unknown, but Panic promises that it won’t surprise customers and will announce the pre-order date a week before it goes live. Pre-orders will take place at play.date.
Panic assures fans that the Playdate won’t sell for good after pre-order day. The company will continue to take orders and will gradually ship units as they receive them from the factory. Of course, those who place their orders earlier will receive their handhelds sooner. Panic also wants to temper expectations by reminding customers that anything can go wrong and that Playdates can take a while to arrive due to global coin shortages and COVID. With that in mind, Panic says you can cancel preorders at any time for any reason. Panic promises to share more updates on the Playdate in the coming weeks.
What did you think of the presentation? Are you interested in taking a Playdate on the road? Let us know in the comments!