The big picture: Playdate won't be as technically advanced as say, a Nintendo Switch or your smartphone, but that's not the point. Instead, developer Panic will rely on quality games, an endearing crank controller and a bit of nostalgia to help move hardware.

Playdate, the quirky handheld that harkens back to the earlier days of mobile gaming, is one step closer to being something you can actually own.

Panic in a recent blog update said the hardware is more or less ready to go. They recently adjusted their circuit board design to pass various RF emissions tests and also engineered a new crank that features all metal-to-metal contacts for the bearing surfaces. The new crank design will be stronger, more reliable and best yet, serviceable using just a hex screwdriver.

The handheld, announced back in the spring, will utilize a unique cranking mechanism that’ll serve as an in-game input device. In Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, for example, the hand crank will control the flow of time forwards and backwards.


With the hardware finalized, the Playdate team said their next focus is to get the system to developers ASAP. To do that, they announced a developer preview program that’ll allow a limited number of devs to get their hands on the system so they can start creating games for it. Expect these units to go up for sale very soon, we’re told (devs that have expressed interest will be e-mailed directly).

The good news for prospective players is that the handheld is still on track to ship in 2020 as originally scheduled.