What happened? Panic has once again increased the cost of its unique Playdate handheld game console. Starting April 7, a new Playdate will set buyers back $199 – an increase of $20 over the current $179 price point. Luckily, Panic will honor the lower price from now until April 7th so you still have a whole month to save a Jackson on your pre-order.
Panic said it was recently told by its manufacturing partners that the cost of making the machine would go up and because of their already tight margins, they had no choice but to adjust Playdate’s price.
The Oregon-based developer introduced the retro-inspired handheld in mid-2019 at a promised price point of $149. The low-power gaming system, complete with a mechanical crank control mechanism on the side, will miss the planned 2020 shipping window due to setbacks from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first $20 price increase came in mid-2021 but was accompanied by a doubling of system storage – up to 4GB. Panic also said it will double the number of games released as part of the first season, from 12 to 24.
Speaking of games, Panic also announced that the Playdate Catalog is now available for all handheld owners. This curated store for Playdate software is available as part of the latest Playdate OS and includes new content and some previously released favorites.
Despite the formal launch on April 18, 2022, Playdate orders are still backlogged. According to Panic shop, pre-orders placed now bring the estimated ship date to late 2023. That’s a long time to wait for something that was formally launched almost a year ago.
Those too impatient to play the waiting game can unofficially speed up the process by buying from a third-party marketplace, but it will cost you. A quick check of for-sale listings on eBay reveals that units have recently gone for around $350 to $400. That’s a mark of almost double but for some, not having to wait until the end of the year is clearly worth it.