Playdate mini console with hand crank hit with pandemic delay

Panic's handheld console with a physical hand crank has been delayed until 2021 because of issues caused by the pandemic. The company reassures interested future buyers that it is nearly finished with the device and that the product will still ultimately hit the market, but it seems a few extra months are necessary to hit its goals.

The Panic Playdate console was introduced in 2019 and scheduled for release in 2020. However, in March the Playdate team was moved to a work-from-home arrangement due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the same day, Panic revealed that the Malaysia factory it was using to make the console had temporarily shut down, as well.

In an update published this weekend, the Playdate team revealed that despite the setbacks and overall tough year, work on the console and its Season One games is nearly complete. The first mass-production batch of Playdate consoles will kick off next month.

The console's Season One games are finished and Playdate promises even more games than originally anticipated. Likewise, the hardware is finalized and ready to enter production. Hardware certifications are in place, as is packaging, and hundreds of developer preview units were distributed.

Ultimately, though, the team explains that it won't start accepting orders for Playdate until it is sure the console is ready. For this reason, the company will open to orders starting early next year, noting that its first batch will involve 20,000 units. The company promises an update in the near future with more details.