Perhaps unsurprisingly at this point, we're here to report another delay, this time concerning the first shipping wave of Playdate handheld gaming systems.
Previously scheduled to be sent out later this year, the first batch of 5K units suffered battery issues. The units had to be sent back, their batteries replaced with brand new ones from a different supplier. Needless to say, this meant a delay into early 2022.
The good news: we’ve already received the new batteries from the new supplier, and they’re looking really impressive — they’re exactly what we’re hoping for, if not even better than before. We’re extremely confident the new supplier can give Playdate the battery life we designed, and you deserve.
And there’s one huge silver lining: we’re extremely glad that we found this potential issue before shipping you a Playdate.
In just a few weeks, factory production will ramp up to full speed again, with new batteries in place. They’ll be put in all units, even those we’ve already made. But, it does mean “Late 2021” units are now “Early 2022”.
Panic has also had trouble getting chips due to the ongoing shortage. In fact, they've said their current CPU is back-ordered for two full years. Because of this, Panic will be switching to a different, albeit similar, CPU thanks to a revision of Playdate's mainboard.
On the software side, though, the team has been squashing bugs to the point where game delivery works as expected, and the file system is now more robust. Panic then shared the ETA for Playdate's game-making tools, with Pulp (available in browser for those interested in crafting simple games) having its Public Beta in January 2022 and the full Playdate SDK scheduled to hit in February 2022.
All things considered, Panic is a small company. When delays affect even the likes of Valve, with the Steam Deck launch now moved to February 2022, it's hard not to be understanding.