The Polymega is a remarkable system capable of running original software for consoles such as the SNES, Mega Drive, PC Engine and even Sega Saturn – but while the unit itself lives up to its potential, creator Playmaji has had something of a nightmare when it comes to actually getting it into the hands of people who pre-ordered it back in 2018.
The machine was heavily delayed and Playmaji faced an issue with North American retailer Walmart, via which many thousands of customers had placed their orders. The latest issue is related to the ongoing civil unrest in Myanmar, where the Polymega is being manufactured.
Playmaji's communication during the past few years has come under fire from several quarters, and the company has only now broken its silence regarding the status of Polymega pre-orders. Playmaji has revealed that the new ship date is September 12th, 2021 for systems pre-ordered between 2018 and April 2020, while complete fulfilment of these pre-orders is anticipated "by end of October".
If you placed an order with one of Playmaji's global distribution partners, then it's going to be a slightly longer wait. "Partial shipments will be provided to Japanese and European distributors NK Trading and Worldwide Distribution. Additional units will be provided to them through the Winter," Playmaji says.
If you pre-ordered after April 2020, then you've got a longer wait ahead of you. Orders placed in late 2020 and 2021 via the website will be delayed to the first half of 2022. The GC01 Light Gun has also been delayed, and will now be launching in the first half of 2022. Pre-orders for that accessory will remain open through 2021's holiday season.
It has also been accounted that Polymega's mooted digital game store will launch "Holiday 2021".
Here's the full press release:
Playmaji, Inc. today announced the firm worldwide release date of September 12th, 2021 for its highly anticipated POLYMEGA® Modular Game Console. The release is for customers who pre-ordered their systems via polymega.com between September 2018 and April 2020.
Playmaji will begin fulfillment of Bundles, Base Units, Module Sets, and accessories to customers (in the order received) starting on September 12th and will complete fulfillment by the end of October 2021. Products will ship worldwide from Playmaji in California, so those expecting to receive their items should allow 1-3 weeks for shipping depending on where they live.
Playmaji CEO Bryan Bernal said "Despite the challenging shipping environment presented by the COVID-19 pandemic starting last year, and other factors beyond our control at our Myanmar assembly facility in 2021, our team is excited to finally reach this critical release milestone, and further, we're beyond grateful to our thousands of customers who stuck with us and believed in the vision of POLYMEGA® and what it could mean to the future of the video games industry."
Bernal added, "We're now ready to move forward to the next phase of this project including the launch of our digital games store for Holiday 2021, and a sharp increase in production and availability of POLYMEGA® systems for 2022 and beyond."
Additionally, for customers who ordered after April 2020, partial shipments will be provided in September to official POLYMEGA® international distributors NK Trading (Japan) and Worldwide Distribution, GmbH (Europe), with ongoing fulfillment proceeding through Q1 2022. Recent orders from customers placed in late 2020 and 2021 via polymega.com will be delayed to the first half of 2022, including the GC01 Light Gun.
If customers have an anticipated change of address to inform Playmaji of prior to shipment of their products, they can email support(at)playmaji.com or send a message through the contact form on polymega.com. An email confirming shipping details to each customer with a pre-order prepared for fulfillment will be sent in mid-August.
If you've yet to lay down cash to pre-order the Polymega and are still interested – even after all the delays and drama – then Playmaji states that orders will shop around the middle of next year, and that customers should pre-order "as early as possible" to ensure they get their system as early as possible. Playmaji also notes that rising components costs are being observed and that pre-ordering early ensures you lock in the "best price possible."
What makes all of this so frustrating is that Playmaji has a brilliant product here; we reviewed the beta system last year and thought it was fantastic, and since then, several firmware updates have been issued (including one last month, version 1.0.8) which have improved performance further.
Hopefully, Playmaji can stick to this latest release window (which hasn't happened with previous ones, it has to be noted) and actually get the Polymega into the hands of its customers this year.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Mon 2nd August, 2021.
[laughs in PC emulation]
I would love this since I have a small fortune invested in original software. But I will not buy until it is actually shipped and on store shelves (or at least in warehouses). In other words, probably not for a long time, if ever, unfortunately.
manufactured in Myanmar ??
You can buy a modded Saturn, and a Genesis and SNES Classic (both easily hackable) all for less than this. The Turbografx Mini is STILL unhackable, but is still a solid purchase overall. As such, I can only ask...why would you buy this again? (Although to be fair, I'm not entirely sure that the TG16 Mini existed yet as of the announcement of this thing, but still...)
@EmmatheBest Polymega runs original media. So if you have a large collection and you want it all in one place, this is the only machine that does that right now.
It's a cool idea, and even though I wish they had done more systems that interest me personally, I think their problems are largely in trying to do too much at once.
They probably should have focused on a core machine first, then updated it over time.
The company behind this is shady. They maintain radio silence on their website, two polite enquiries I made were never answered, and the only time they have much to say is when they're criticised on social media or youtube. Blaming Walmart really wasn't a good look either. I was interested in their console as soon as I saw/heard of it, but their offering has been progressively downgraded, first the Polymega would use FGPA (it doesn't) also it was apparently going to support native streaming (it doesn't). The price is ridiculous, but worse than that it's just vaporhardware, if there is such a thing. The company are always asking for more money, but have never delivered anything, maybe outside of the lightgun or controllers. Search for a review and the only reviews you will find anywhere are with partners or those who have been supplied a review unit. As a consumer product, it has never existed.
❗I hope those who pre-ordered paid with Credit Cards because then maybe you'll be able to get your money back if anything goes wrong.
Just mod a Raspberry Pi, hack an NES Classic, or better yet, find a Wii at a Goodwill and presto! You have a machine that can play all the classics.
I’m commenting because of the picture of the Japanese MD arcade power stick. Imported one of those years ago, still one of my favorite controllers. And the 3 button version is just so cool looking
@Damo not true. Retrofreak (that even was reviwed here on NL) does just like that. Retron has a bunch of machines doing that too. All of that available to buy right now. Polimega is not.
Having worked for years in Myanmar, I find it fascinating that this machine is being manufactured there. Hopefully none of the revenues make it into the hands of the junta regime...
@Nietzsche I don’t think it was manufactured there, I think that was a lie told to delay it even more. I still don’t believe we’ll ever see this.
@abdias Retro Freak doesn't do CD-based systems though.
@NinChocolate The stick in the photo is the one I got with my Japanese Mega Drive back in 1990. It's built like a tank!
If you pre-ordered the system the normal way or backed the garbage then you had to play the waiting game but if you're a would-be famous Youtuber like the Modern Vintage Gamer and MadLittlePixel then you get sent one ahead of the pack. Tip for those who want to get a Kickstarter garbage ahead of the pack, become a would-be famous Youtuber and if you're lucky you may get one before all the regular people who pay to make that product happen.
@HamatoYoshi Based on some quick armchair Googling, it looks like there are credible reports that Highway Holdings Ltd. (the company which received the exclusive manufacturing order from Playmaji for the Polymega) has a registered subsidiary called Kayser Myanmar Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Considering that Kayser's main factory is located in Hlaing Thar Yar Township (where some of the most egregious acts of violence were committed against unarmed civilians in March 2021), I have no doubt that any/all production would have been severely disrupted. My sympathies go out to all of those factory workers who had to choose between their main source of income and grievous bodily harm, and I would encourage all gamers who are eagerly awaiting this device to reflect on the social implications of our hobby.
For anyone interested, here was the state of Hlaing Thar Yar Township not long ago:
@WhiteUmbrella Yeap that's the difference between Atari and Playmaji. At least with Atari they manage to send their backers the Atari VCS ahead of launch and then to retailers a few months after. Playmaji did the opposite, they sent early units to people who didn't even backed the system and then constantly delaying the backer's units time and time again. Heck I don't think the Polymega will ever be at store shelves, choosing a crappy country that doesn't love, respect, and take care of its people to manufactured a product and you got a recipe for disaster right there.
I will buy this once inventory is in stock, ready to ship. Not ordering it a moment sooner.
@Nietzsche I heard one report (which I can't confirm 100%) that the factory next to where the machine was being assembled was burnt to the ground. That Playmaji has anything to ship at all is nothing short of remarkable when you think about it - combine that with a global parts shortage and the impact of Covid and they literally couldn't have picked a worse time to launch this thing.
@Damo Without knowing the specifics, this seems like a very real possibility as a number of factories were heavily damaged or destroyed. Indeed, the timing could not have been worse.
@WhiteUmbrella Gotta agree with you, there. PC emulation is literal decades ahead of this thing, and is super easy to set up. I have my emulation set up alongside my physical collection to minimize wear on the older systems. The only thing that could have set this thing apart would have been if it were FPGA, but alas, it’s no different than a PC with a ROM ripper plugged into the USB port.
I sympathize with them, assuming they are well meaning, and I might still consider it at a dramatically lower price for it's UI and alleged digital store. But they announced this thing in early 2017 and were planning to release it in 2018. It's less a case of bad timing and more a case of taking so long that they ran aground an increasingly common global crisis.
Anyway, just slap a MiSTer into a hybrid console, give it a nice UI and I'll give you all the monies.
I'd imagine compared to people looking at the Steam Deck, for this kind of purpose, the Deck will do considerably better.
@Damo I think this system has missed the boat if I'm honest, now we have all kinds of options for connecting original hardware to modern TV's, not least the retrotink and all manner of ODE's to expand their lifespan. Then on the emulation side there are a ton of options that are readily available for much less such as the Series S or the Mister for FPGA. For me this has taken too long and now is by far the most expensive solution as well as being the worst of both worlds in that it's emulation but you need an expensive library of games to take advantage of it but all without many of the systems you may want to emulate.
Oh and I have one of those Sinden lightguns on order and will have it long before this and will have many many more options and games to use it with
@BloodNinja yep, I have a ton more games and systems on my PC with much more customisation available and I don't have to pay any ebayers a lot of money to emulate a handful of games
@carlos82 Some of those prices are eye watering. Hyper Duel on the Saturn goes for close to $1000! Why?! Lol
so glad I cancelled my pre-order 2 years ago lol
@Damo it isn’t the only machine that ‘does it right now’ because it doesn’t exist to consumers.
Nowadays every medicore PC can run Machines up to the PS2 Era.
It would be much cheaper to connect a Laptop to the TV, pair it with a controller and play whatever you want.
To play original CDs and Dvds isn't a Problem, if your Lapto/PC has a Drive.
For Cartdridges you need something as the Retrode2.
Better, buy a small PC that can run also modern Games.
Win 10 and Steam Big Picture make it easy to control via Gamepad.
Play modern and old Games, more Value for your Money.
And for a more original Experience, just the MISTer.
It is in the End cheaper as to buy any HD Clone Console, even if they are so sexy as the Analogue ones :>
More so if you have original Hardware and a good Upscaler.
@Azuris Completely agreed, 100%! Though, I've not heard of a MISTer, can you explain?
It is a little Machine with a FPGA-Chip, that one can adopt the Logic of other Chips.
So the Hardware can "transform" into a SNES, Megadrive/Genesis, Neogeo et cetera and acts exactly as these.
So it has not the Issue Software Emulation has, but also not all the Advantages (save states).
@Azuris Sounds neat! I’ll look into it.
Does this thing still run on software emulation? If so, the typical smug "lol my PC/phone can emulate lmao" attitude is correct, if annoying. If the polymega is just doing software emulation, what's the point of using your authentic games? For those that care about accurate emulation, MISTer or Analogue is the way to go not that the latter is any easier to buy lately.
This has to be the sketchiest console 'release' that's ever been.
Lol I'm fine with my Series X as an emulation device, thank you. Or PC.
@abdias Emulation on Retro Freak isn't that great, uses an older version of Snes9x with speed hacks (weak hardware) and a lot of games that use Mode 7 lack color gradients.
@BloodNinja So you are saying you don't like overpriced products?
@Gus_Campos Depends on the product! Some things are over priced for what they are, other things are priced right. I take it on an individual basis. As an example, there’s an arcade stick called a Mix Box I wanted to try, but after shipping it was close to $400 so I didn’t buy. Then I got an 8-Bit Do arcade stick for $80, and bought a $25 mod that adds the same WASD controller as the Mix Box. It then gave me room to pay another $20 for some Sanwa buttons, so I essentially “built” a Mix Box for less than half the price. I found that value much better. My gaming laptop was $900, and for what I got and how much I use it, the price was more than justified. So, depends on the product, individual basis.
The only thing I'm interested in is how this thing handles Sega Saturn emulation. I'd love to be able to play the Shining Force 3 Trilogy patched in English outside of my PC. I own the original Shining Force 3 and I played all the way through it, but haven't had a chance to play the other episodes. I've heard some people say that it can't run patched ISOs and I've heard some rumors say it can.
Other than that and maybe PS1 emulation, I'm not particularly sold on this thing.
@Onion it'd be cheaper to just buy a Saturn and an upscaler then this
@HamatoYoshi As of September, that changes.
@BloodNinja We covered Mister here: https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2021/02/hardware_review_mister_fpga_-_a_tantalising_glimpse_into_the_future_of_retro_gaming
@Damo we’ll see! Personally I don’t think it’s good practice for Nintendolife to stick up for this company when they’ve messed their customers around so much…..but I guess if you want the review hardware there are certain hoops to jump through. Some things from the Zzap 64 days never change.
@HamatoYoshi Did you read the original news story? We're not 'sticking up' for anyone. The launch has been a disaster, but it doesn't change the fact that the product is excellent.
@Damo yes I did read the original story, as Polymega have had my cash from the very beginning and their customer service and communication is beyond terrible. A product can’t be excellent if it doesn’t exist.
@HamatoYoshi The comms has been dire, for sure. And I can appreciate it's frustrating to have handed over your cash years ago and not have the product yet. All I can say (as someone who has been using a beta Polymega for a year now) is that the system is brilliant and has exceeded my personal expectations, and I'm sure when units do eventually make their way to those who ordered (I understand the first batch is literally on the water as we speak), they will be very pleased. But none of that changes the fact that it's been a long and painful wait.
@Damo Thank you
I think the whole point is to use your authentic games.
Some people just don't want to fiddle around with dumping their games or downloading (illegal) copies from shady sources.
Although, at the current price point, it's hard to recommend. Unless you want all that systems, a Retron 5 + a PS3 might be much cheaper.
And there is always the same problem with this emulation based systems: In 1 or 2 years there will be a much better product. And those people, who now praise the emulation quality of this Polymega will then inform us how ***** it actually is and why we need newest retro emulation box.
Anyway, I don't want to pay insane amount of dollars for Mega Man X, if I can buy it for 10$ on Steam, rip it and put it onto my MiSTer. So, it isn't for me and that's ok.
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