The Playdate Update

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Panic broadcast their Playdate update earlier today in a short 15-minute video which you can watch above. I’ll break down the important bits below if you’d rather get the highlights:

The Playdate Console

It’s yellow! It’s got a crank! What else do you need to know? Maybe a couple of more things… here are the rest of the specs

Battery

  • 14 days standby clock
  • 8 hours active

CPU

  • 180 MHz Cortex M7
  • SDK supports Lua, C

Storage

  • 16 MB RAM
  • 32 KB L1Cache
  • 4 GB Flash

Size

Included

  • Playdate
  • USB-C to A Cable
  • User Guide

Wireless

  • 802.11bgn 2.54GHz Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth®

Sound

  • Built-In Mono Speaker
  • Stereo Headphone Jack
  • Condenser Mic + TRRS Mic In

Display

  • 400 × 240 1-bit

Inputs

  • D-Pad
  • A + B
  • Sleep + Menu
  • 3-Axis Accelerometer
  • Crank

Cost

  • $179
  • Plus Taxes & Shipping

The Dock

This dock is awesome. It’s not just a way to plug in your Playdate console; there’s a whole bunch of other features packed into it:

  • It’s also a Bluetooth stereo speaker. If you’re playing a game, you can enjoy rich stereo sound, or play some music included with the console.
  • Attach the Playdate console magnetically to the front, and it automatically starts charging.
  • After the Playdate docks, the face turns into a clock. It reminds me of nightstand mode on an Apple Watch when plugged in and laying on its side.
  • It’s also a pen holder. And not only is it a pen holder, but it’ll come with a really nice color-matched pen.

No pricing has been announced for the dock yet.

The Cover

No need to worry about the screen getting scratched up. You can pre-order a nice purple cover to protect the Playdate. This is the next best thing to having a flip-top device. Price is $29. I’m hoping there’ll be magnets embedded into the cover to snap on to the front and keep it firmly closed.

The Games

Now, what’s a device with games? Included in the $179 purchase price is the entire first season of games delivered effortlessly and wirelessly straight to your device. You’ll get two new games every week for 12 weeks. That’s 24 games if I’m doing my math right. The website hints that a few extra games may also be part of the season 1 offering.

Also, Playdate will offer two ways for you to make your own games! You can use their free SDK or use the Pulp game maker and build games right from a web browser.

The Price and Availability

In case you missed it above, the Playdate console will cost $179 not including shipping. Pre-order are expected to open up in July with at least a week’s warning and will not close. They’ll ship out consoles as soon as they’re ready in the order that pre-orders are received. Panic acknowledges that with the global chip shortage due to pandemic, it may take some time for you to get yours but they promise to deliver. And if you change your mind, you can cancel at any time and get a full refund.

Like I said before, the handheld market is ripe for the taking. And Playdate may be just the thing to fill the gap. Only time will tell if the crank is more gimmick than innovative, but I’m willing to give it a try.

I can’t wait.

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