In brief: Playdate, the retro-inspired handheld gaming system with the unique crank mechanism, won’t ship in time for the 2020 holiday season. It's an unfortunate setback but one that is becoming par for the course due to the pandemic. Fortunately, most of the work has already been done and the Playdate should see the light of day early next year.

Developer Panic in a recent update said 2020 has been “trying very hard” to defeat them, from shutting down their factory for many months to forcing everyone to work together from home. Through it all, the team never stopped working on the Playdate and they’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The good news is that all Season One games have been locked in. Panic also noted that they’ve fine-tuned the Playdate’s crank mechanism, tweaked the internal hardware and addressed some other quirks found during the developer preview. As it stands, the system is ready for production (unless other changes are made).

Hardware certifications from the FCC, MIC and CE have also been obtained and even the product packaging has been finalized.

All things considered, Panic said it anticipates opening orders for the Playdate sometime in early 2021. It’ll still sell for $149, which includes all Season One titles. Panic notes that the initial order will be for 20,000 units, which they think should be enough to meet the first wave of demand.

Panic promises to share further details in an upcoming video update. Those interested in staying updated on the latest developments are encouraged to sign up for Panic’s newsletter.