Playdate Portable Gaming Console Hits Preorder Crank Up In July For $179

The quirky little Playdate handheld gaming console is finally getting closer to release. Panic, the company behind the eye-searing yellow device, says that it will finally be available to preorder in July. And if all goes according to schedule, the Playdate will start shipping later this year.

Unfortunately, Panic isn't more specific on the official preorder date but said that the Playdate would come with a $179 price tag. That's $30 more expensive than initially announced, but Panic promises to make it up to customers when it comes to games (more on that later).

As for the console itself, it's powered by a miserly 180MHz Arm Cortex M7 SoC with 16MB of RAM, paired with 4GB of NAND flash (up from 2GB as initially announced). The 2.7-inch monochrome display has a resolution of 400x240, and it has a built-in mono speaker. Wireless duties are handled by 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but perhaps the quirkiest feature of the Playdate is that it features a hand crank that can be used as a controller (i.e., firing the chaingun in Doom).

Panic also announced a couple of accessories, including the Playdate Stereo Dock, which makes the console look somewhat like an old-school black and white tube TV. The dock doubles as a charging stand and includes a stereo Bluetooth speaker and a pen holder, which is nice, we guess. Unfortunately, pricing hasn't been announced for the dock. There's also a custom cover to protect the display and the back of the device, which will cost $29. However, you can order a Playdate Bundle that includes the cover for $199, which represents a $10 discount.

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When Panic originally announced the Playdate, it said that the console would include 12 games at no additional charge. However, that figure has since doubled to 24 games. The company says that its first "season" will deliver two games per week over the course of 12 weeks. So far, the company has announced 21 games that will be part of the first season, with the remaining three to be revealed at a later date.

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These are the 21 games (and their developers) that have been announced so far:

  • Crankin's Time Travel Adventure by uvula (Keita Takahashi, Ryan Mohler), Matthew Grimm, and Shaun Inman
  • Battleship Godios by TPM.Co Soft Works.
  • Casual Birder by Diego Garcia with music by Max Coburn
  • DemonQuest 85 by Alex Ashby, Lawrence Bishop, Duncan Fyfe, Belinda Leung, and Jared Emerson-Johnson
  • Echoic Memory by Samantha Kalman, Everest Pipkin, Carol Mertz, and Rachelle Viola
  • Executive Golf DX by davemakes
  • Flipper Lifter by Serenity Forge
  • Forrest Byrnes: Up in Smoke by Nels Anderson and Christina "castpixel" Neofotistou
  • Hyper Meteor by Vertex Pop (Mobeen Fikree, Robby Duguay, and h heron)
  • Lost Your Marbles by Sweet Baby Inc. & Friends
  • Omaze by Gregory Kogos
  • Pick Pack Pup by Nic Magnier and Arthur Hamer (he/him) with music by Logan Gabriel
  • Questy Chess by Dadako
  • Ratcheteer by Shaun Inman, Matthew Grimm, and Charlie Davis
  • Sasquatchers by Chuck Jordan with music and sound by Jared Emerson-Johnson
  • Snak by Zach Gage with art by Neven Mrgan
  • Spellcorked! by Jada Gibbs, Nick Splendorr, Ryan Splendorr, and Tony Ghostbrite with music by A Shell in the Pit (Em Halberstadt)
  • Zipper by Bennett Foddy
  • Saturday Edition by Chris Makris with music by A Shell in the Pit (Gord McGladdery, Alfonso Salinas)
  • Whitewater Wipeout by Chuhai Labs (Giles Goddard, Mark Lentz, Peter Traylor, Hero Liao, Remy Thor, Charlie March, Kensaku Nakata, Zach Aikman, Mihoko Terao, and Kinsey Burke)

We're eager to hear more about the Playdate as the preorder window approaches and will be keen to see how much the Playdate Stereo Dock will cost. Until then, stay tuned to HotHardware for future updates.

Tags:  Gaming, retro, playdate