Image: Playdate

Update [Fri 31st May, 2024 09:30 BST]: Remember that $400,000 delivery of Playdates that went missing back in March? Amazingly, it's been discovered.

The missing consoles were "hastily dumped at a random restaurant" yesterday morning.

"More details — and likely a very good Playdate Podcast episode — in the future," says the official Playdate social media account.

"For now, this was our best possible outcome, the result of lots of time and detective work. (Which, ok fine, we enjoyed.) The real question is, can we sell these as a limited edition? Playdate Hot™[?]"

Original Story [Wed 27th Mar, 2024 10:00 GMT]: Two pallets of Playdates worth roughly $400,000 have vanished in Las Vegas and have yet to be recovered. That's according to a recent GDC talk from Panic's co-founder Cabel Sasser (as summarized by Game File).

Sasser's talk, which took place on Thursday, March 21st focused on Playdate's journey from a software developer/publisher to a hardware manufacturer, detailing some of the various ups and downs it has to contend with while making the switch. This includes initial scepticism from others within the games industry as well as an initial shipment of units being sent to the company with faulty batteries, forcing repairs and a delayed launch from 2021 to 2022.

The most attention-grabbing setback, however, was arguably the revelation that two pallets of Playdate consoles have seemingly vanished into thin air in Vegas, with the developer yet to retrieve the lost inventory.

Sasser called it "a bit of a "true crime story" and went on to give an account of how Panic initially realized the inventory had gone missing (as transcribed by Game File's Stephen Totilo):

“We checked up on our inventory levels and it was a little bit short...We contacted the shipping center, and they're like, ‘Yeah, weird. These pallets–—FedEx said they were delivered, but we have no trace of them.

But another thing that you might want to know that's weird is, two weeks, after your pallets went missing, two other pallets were delivered by FedEx to the construction site next door instead of our shipping warehouse... And they sent an amazing picture of two pallets of Playdates just sitting where they're building a Circle K in North Las Vegas.

The person that signed for the two pallets that they recovered was the same person that signed for the two pallets that [they] have yet to recover. So there's a lot of research happening right now."

Sasser went on to state that Playdate keeps a tab on the serial numbers of every unit and seven of them have since been registered to people who live in North Las Vegas, implying that someone has been distributing them illegally without Panic's approval.

He told the audience he'd keep people posted on the investigation, or potentially not — depending on how things progress legally.