Playdate

It seems like logistical difficulties are the hot issue right now, as it's not just the Steam Deck launch that's been postponed — the tiny yellow Game Boy-like, Playdate, is also going to miss its planned release date.

In an update sent to all Playdate customers who've got one of the units pre-ordered, here's how the Playdate team described the issue that caused the delay:

"As our first 5,000 finished Playdate units arrived at our warehouse in California for 2021, we began to test a few of them. We quickly became concerned that some of them weren’t giving us the battery life we expected...

We made the difficult, expensive decision to replace all of our existing batteries with brand new ones, from a totally different battery supplier."

Luckily, the Playdate team is "extremely confident" that the new battery supplier will provide them with the battery life that they designed: "Playdate’s battery is designed to last a very long time, and always be ready for you, even if not used for a while."

The 5,000 Playdates that were supposed to be finished and shipped to customers had to be sent back to Malaysia for new batteries. "How did that feel? Not great!!!"

Playdate Update

It's not just batteries, though. The global chip shortage (which Nintendo has suffered from, too) and pandemic-related worldwide supply chain failures meant that the team had to figure out a work-around: using a similar, but more widely available CPU. The chip they were intending to use is apparently backed up in orders for two entire years!

"You won’t notice anything different about this new board revision when it comes to playing games — functionally it will be the same. But it’ll give us the best chance at getting you a Playdate next year, which we both want."

All of that means that pre-orders are all being pushed back, although the "queue" hasn't changed — people will still be receiving Playdates in the order they bought them.

Here's the updated schedule:

Group #1 ~1 to 10,000
Late 2021 → Now Early 2022

Group #2 ~10,000 to 20,000
Late 2021 → Now Early 2022

Group #3 ~20,000 to 30,000
Still 2022 (Second Half)

Group #4 ~30,000 to 40,000
Still 2022 (Second Half)

Group #5 ~40,000 to 50,000
Still 2022 (Late Second Half)

As for the good news:

" On the software side, we spent the last few weeks heavily testing the season delivery code with every Panic employee.

After some tuning and tweaking, games deliver exactly as we dreamed: you wake up in the morning, and your Playdate is ready with two new games for you to unwrap and play. New game delivery works great and feels great — every time.

We’ve also just completed some very complex work on a file system update for Playdate, so Playdate will ship to you with a more robust, journaling file system, to get the most of its 4GB of storage."

And, of course, they outlined how the "seasons" of games would work:

"Playdate Season One begins when you set up your Playdate for the first time. You’ll get two games immediately, then every Monday you’ll get two brand new games, for three months.

We had originally hoped everyone would have a synchronized season, but it didn’t feel right to artificially hold back from shipping units to customers just for this. But, if we do another season, our synchronized season dream will be finally possible."

That's a lot of information to take in, but transparency is good! Hopefully there won't be any more bad news for hopeful Playdate players.

Does this impact your plans to give a Playdate to someone as a holiday gift? Let us know in the comments!