Playdate handheld sales top 53,000 units in fruitful first year
Wait times for new orders are still lengthyBy Shawn Knight
The big picture: It's been one year to the day since Panic started shipping its quirky Playdate handheld game console to early backers and business is booming. To date, Panic has sold 53,142 units but the numbers could have been much higher had it not been for supply chain shortages that pushed some lead times out by as much as a year. Now that those times are shortening and wait times for newly ordered Playdates start to come down, Panic is expecting an even better second year.
When Panic opened the pre-order window on July 29, 2021, they weren't entirely sure what to expect. The startup initially planned to manufacture 20,000 units but wasn't confident they'd be able to sell those handsets in a timely manner. To virtually everyone's surprise, those first 20,000 units were snapped up in less than 20 minutes.
Looking back on the one year shipping anniversary, Playdate project lead Greg Maletic said they had no idea how big the audience would be for a weird product like Playdate when they started designing it.
There is still a significant wait time involved when ordering a new Playdate. Panic said it has shipped 27,000 of its total pre-ordered Playdates to date, and newly ordered units aren't expected to ship until late 2023. Third-party marketplaces are always an option but expect to pay roughly double the retail price for a new, unopened model.
Last month, the startup announced it was increasing the cost of its handheld by $20. The price change went into effect on April 7. For $199, you get the console itself, a yellow USB-C to USB-A cable and more than 20 games. A bundle that includes a console cover can be had for $219.
There's an order limit of two systems per person, and you'll need to put down a full deposit to claim yours although you can cancel at any time for a refund. Earlier this month, Panic added five new games to its catalog including Gravity Express, Sparrow Solitaire and Life's Too Short.