Panic's Handheld Playdate Console Has Started Shipping

Group One should finish within the next month, then it's on to Group Two

Playdate, the little yellow handheld console with a crank and an open approach to game development, has finally begun its first round of shipments.

Back in 2021, Lifewire's Joshua Hawkins was impressed with the Playdate's design—particularly how it blends a retro look and style with more modern sensibilities and ideas. Now that the distinct-looking handheld is making its way into the real world, it'll be interesting to see how it's received.

Playdate mirror connection

Panic

Along with the order shipping news, the latest Playdate Update video from Panic offers reassurances that despite some production woes in 2021, the console isn't going anywhere. It won't be impossible to find or have a limited manufacturing run; Panic says that so long as you pre-order a Playdate, you'll get one (eventually). It's also adding a new Catalog app that will allow developers to upload and sell their Playdate games directly on the device in a curated storefront for customers.

Playdate console

Panic

Panic has begun shipping out its first round of Playdate consoles to the first group of pre-orders and plans to be finished within the next month (it'll email customers as it ships). A date for the next round of orders for its second group has not been announced yet. If you haven't pre-ordered one but are interested, you can do so via the Playdate website for $179—just know that orders placed now are expected to go out in 2023.

With or without a device, there's also a Playdate Podcast that Panic is releasing to keep customers, potential customers, and anyone else who might be curious in the loop. The first episode, which chronicles the Playdate's development history, is available now.

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