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Crank-Powered Playdate Handheld Release Pushed Back to Early 2021

(Image: Panic)

The Playdate, manufacturer Panic’s bright yellow crank-powered handheld, is skipping its original 2020 release window to debut in early 2021.

The diminutive handheld, which resembles a small yellow Game Boy with included crank and a series of traditional buttons, was co-designed with Teenage Engineering and represents the crossroads of classic and modern gaming.

The delay comes as a result of the Panic staff having to begin working from home in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the Malaysian factory producing the Playdate shut down, which ended up contributing to the reason for the unit’s eventual delay.

There’s still some good news to go with the delay, however. Panic has announced that the Playdate’s hardware has been finalized and subsequently approved by the FCC. It will be officially heading into production as of November. There’s also a whole slate of games locked in for the unit’s first season, with new titles being added to the schedule as we speak.

Playdate also debuted the Playdate Simulator, software for both Windows and Linux. Since every system can be used as a devkit, the Playdate Simulator can be used to create and test games for the system. This will also allow creators to distribute their games for sale.

The Playdate will run $149 per system and is available for preorder via the official website. There will be about 20,000 units available at the onset, with more to come if Panic believes it is necessary.

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