It seems like logistical difficulties are the hot issue right now, as it's not just the Steam Deck launch that's been postponed — the tiny yellow Game Boy-like, Playdate, is also going to miss its planned release date.
In an update sent to all Playdate customers who've got one of the units pre-ordered, here's how the Playdate team described the issue that caused the delay:
"As our first 5,000 finished Playdate units arrived at our warehouse in California for 2021, we began to test a few of them. We quickly became concerned that some of them weren’t giving us the battery life we expected...
We made the difficult, expensive decision to replace all of our existing batteries with brand new ones, from a totally different battery supplier."
Luckily, the Playdate team is "extremely confident" that the new battery supplier will provide them with the battery life that they designed: "Playdate’s battery is designed to last a very long time, and always be ready for you, even if not used for a while."
The 5,000 Playdates that were supposed to be finished and shipped to customers had to be sent back to Malaysia for new batteries. "How did that feel? Not great!!!"
It's not just batteries, though. The global chip shortage (which Nintendo has suffered from, too) and pandemic-related worldwide supply chain failures meant that the team had to figure out a work-around: using a similar, but more widely available CPU. The chip they were intending to use is apparently backed up in orders for two entire years!
"You won’t notice anything different about this new board revision when it comes to playing games — functionally it will be the same. But it’ll give us the best chance at getting you a Playdate next year, which we both want."
All of that means that pre-orders are all being pushed back, although the "queue" hasn't changed — people will still be receiving Playdates in the order they bought them.
Here's the updated schedule:
Group #1 ~1 to 10,000
Late 2021 → Now Early 2022
Group #2 ~10,000 to 20,000
Late 2021 → Now Early 2022
Group #3 ~20,000 to 30,000
Still 2022 (Second Half)
Group #4 ~30,000 to 40,000
Still 2022 (Second Half)
Group #5 ~40,000 to 50,000
Still 2022 (Late Second Half)
As for the good news:
" On the software side, we spent the last few weeks heavily testing the season delivery code with every Panic employee.
After some tuning and tweaking, games deliver exactly as we dreamed: you wake up in the morning, and your Playdate is ready with two new games for you to unwrap and play. New game delivery works great and feels great — every time.
We’ve also just completed some very complex work on a file system update for Playdate, so Playdate will ship to you with a more robust, journaling file system, to get the most of its 4GB of storage."
And, of course, they outlined how the "seasons" of games would work:
"Playdate Season One begins when you set up your Playdate for the first time. You’ll get two games immediately, then every Monday you’ll get two brand new games, for three months.
We had originally hoped everyone would have a synchronized season, but it didn’t feel right to artificially hold back from shipping units to customers just for this. But, if we do another season, our synchronized season dream will be finally possible."
That's a lot of information to take in, but transparency is good! Hopefully there won't be any more bad news for hopeful Playdate players.
Does this impact your plans to give a Playdate to someone as a holiday gift? Let us know in the comments!
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 11th November, 2021.
What does this have to do with Nintendo?
Like I said with Valve, if PlayDate couldn't ship tens of thousands of units in time for release this year, then there is no way Nintendo would have been able to ship millions of Switch Pros for a release this year either.
Any idea what group number the queue happens to be in, ATM?
@Thatsalie It's very much a Game Boy inspired console, so it fits
Do not question the NL overlords!
@Thatsalie idk, seemed to me like another excuse to push more pandemic/shortage fear porn
I ordered one but I have no idea which group I’m in. I’m pretty sure I’m in group 3 or beyond. I’ve looked at my emails and order summary and don’t see that “group” information anywhere.
Edit: I got an email today that shows the info
Well seems like the chip shortage and shipping issues had cause a number of delays for these would be vaporware: first the Analogue Pocket, then the EverCade VS, then the Intellivision Amico, then the Steam Deck, and now the PlayDate. It seems only the PS5, Switch OLED, Atari VCS, and Polymega made the launch this year.
@Specter_of-the_OLED the evercade vs only got delayed by a month. nothing do with chip shortage but the shipping issues that is effecting everything at moment worldwide
@adh56 I got an email two hours ago with my group number.
Never heard of these Playdates, are they worth looking at?
a bit of a bummer. this thing looks like a cute little gadget.
I'm in group 2.
I'll gladly wait as I have enough to pay atm and this and my Evercade Vs will be a nice way to start the year.
@Anguspuss The EverCade VS got delay to January 2022 over here so it still counts. If it came out before 2022 it wouldn't be on the list.
@Mattock1987 I’ve got mine in order. They’re really embracing the indie dev scene and sent out about 500 units last year to indie devs. Quite a bit of fun demos have been posted, just wish I could play em.
@chefgon okay yeah. I see it now. Confirmed group 3
Wait... People out there bought this?!
@HollowSpectre I managed to resist, but I think it looks cute and fun.
Edit: Damn it. I sold myself on it below. I have one on order now.
@Dethmunk I don't think it's DOA really. Anyone can make a game for it. Literally anyone. It's launching with very few, but when it launches, it's also launching with a browser-based game maker, and later a dev "kit" (no actual physical dev kits, just an app, but that further speaks to the ease of developing games for it) openly available to anyone. https://play.date/dev/ I can easily see this thing catching on simply due to the open nature of development.
this is a very niche product. But on the long run it will get hacked and it will run GBA games on a nice screen, so i guess it will have a purpose. But i think this unique game delivery digitally will be a disaster. This article serve a purpose. People are craving for a cute handheld. We are all waiting for the Gameboy Classic revival. I just saw this new sex education tv series and there's a girl playing with her gameboy color in 2021.
Go Panic Go!
Great project, I hope it will all pan out to be what it seems to be going to be. Times are indeed wild.
The season delivery of games is a fun idea, and it’s open for everyone to make their own games!
@Bret Good for you but it's gonna take a lot to sell me on it...
@dimi It's not going to run GBA games. It's a pure 1-bit black-and-white screen. The 400x240 pixels are either on or off, no grey.
@adh56 and what group u are?
Suda 51 said in a recent interview that he's interested, so it seems likely Grasshopper might develop something for it.
If it's something substantial i might pick it up.
Hardware delays for everyone! lol
Still hard to believe this weird little handheld with no backlight and a 1-bit screen almost costs as much as a Switch Lite.
It’s quirky, cute, and looks like fun. I ordered a quick as I could, but only got in group #3 (stupid time differences!). I want it purely for its intriguing form factor, and to make a few simple games myself - I’m not expecting to play anything groundbreaking on it
Looks like a Pikachu.
I'm not too optimistic about this project to be honest. It's already such a niche product, and it costs almost as much as a Nintendo Switch, with much less actual functionality. The delays due to the chip shortages doesn't bode well for them. I guess we'll see what happens.
@Ralizah Exactly what I thought. I can't see this thing being remotely profitable. I expect them to get slapped with reality on how overpriced it is and end up being forced to lower it down to half it's current price just to get them out the warehouse.
I a huge fan of the group who designed the Playdate, Teenage Engineering, so I'll probably pick one up when they become more available. Back to my OP-1 for now.
@Ralizah A majority of those cost probably went to creating the crank. If it came without that it'll probably be a $40 handheld at most.
Wtf why is there a crank on this pos lololololol
@Yakuboto I’m in group 3
I'm in group 2. Not sure why people think this is DOA (or whatever) They've sold around 40,000 (I think) which for a hipster gaming device is great. They're QA-ing them like no one's business and it looks like their standards are high. If anything the software will be extra-solid with the extra time they have. People have played with the units, and like them. Bodes well to me!
I'm here for Nintendo related news, not some ***** gimmick indie handheld
@Bret true, but it can already play gameboy mono games emulating the
4 shades of grey using pattern fills. People can get creative, i understand its not ideal
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