Panic has announced that Playdate, its unique handheld gaming system with a crank, will no longer start shipping in 2021 and has instead been pushed back to 2022 for its initial round of shipments. As opposed to the recent Steam Deck delay by Valve being due to a general components shortage and supply chain issues, the delay of the Playdate seems to have a more specific reason for the delay: bad batteries.
According to the announcement, a "critical battery issue" was discovered with Playdate late and ultimately caused the team manufacturing the systems to replace all of the batteries for Playdates in production. While the new batteries have caused the delay, there is an upside as the company states that the new batteries will also mean the systems have significantly improved battery life.
"This quickly turned into a months-long, all-hands-on-deck research stress-ball, and we halted production at the factory," Panic's Cabel Sasser states in the first Playdate Owners Update newsletter sent to those that have pre-orders today. "We made the difficult, expensive call to replace all of our existing batteries with new ones from a totally different battery supplier."
Your continued Playdate enthusiasm and patience — as we try to ship hardware during an intense time — is really keeping us going. Thank you.— Playdate (@playdate) November 11, 2021
(FYI, it'll take a few hours for all the emails to deliver. And if you haven't pre-ordered, read the update here: https://t.co/aCSzNA3XMN)
The delay and reason for it were not the only announcements made by Panic for the Playdate, however. Playdates manufactured in the future will also have new CPU chips and redesigned boards due to the ongoing worldwide chip shortage, the Playdate Pulp Public Beta will launch in January, and a full Playdate SDK is set for February. As for the games on the system, the first season of titles will begin with two games released the moment someone sets up their Playdate followed by two new games every Monday for the three months following that.
As noted above, the first batch of 20,000 Playdate units is now scheduled to ship in early 2022. No exact date or month has been announced. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the upcoming handheld gaming system from Panic right here.
What do you think about the delay of the Playdate system? Are you still looking forward to picking one up for yourself? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to reach out and hit me up directly over on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk about all things gaming!