It could be a longer delay for some
Part of the issue stems from battery concerns. According to Panic, the first batch of 5,000 Playdate units had broken batteries inside of them. These batteries drained so much, units couldn’t be charged or turned on.
This led to a “months-long” scramble to secure a new battery manufacturer and swap out the old batteries for new ones. This was made worse by the fact that preview units sent to media outlets did not exhibit the aforementioned battery concern.
Then there are the supply chain constraints.
Once pre-orders were locked, Panic placed an order for parts needed for 2022 and beyond. It learned many of the parts have been significantly delayed, with the CPU, in particular, being delayed by two years.
In response, Panic revised the Playdate motherboard. The new motherboard accommodates a different CPU for all orders after the initial batch of 20,000 systems.
Panic said there is no performance difference between the different CPUs.
As first mentioned, the initial Playdate run will fully ship in early 2022. Once that’s completed, the next 20,000 units will start arriving in the second half of 2022. Another 10,000 units will arrive by the end of 2022.
Any orders after that will “almost certainly land in 2023.”
Introduced in May 2019, the Playdate is Panic’s first foray into hardware. It features a 2.7-inch 400×240 display, a directional pad, two face buttons, and a mechanical crank.
Games will be released in “seasons,” with the first 24 games released in batches of two games per week. The release schedule will be kept secret and is only revealed when games are automatically downloaded.