Playdate finally available to everyone, now you can see what the fuss is about

The quirky console's waitlist ends

Playdate in hand
(Image credit: Panic)
Quick Summary

Panic will openly sell its quirky Playdate gaming handheld at last.

It had previously only fulfilled pre-orders dating back a couple of years, but is now ready to sell the device to one and all.

A few years ago, the Playdate burst onto gaming's scene as a proposed antidote to the constant churn of massive mainstream releases.

An alternative to consoles like the PS5 and handhelds such as the Nintendo Switch, it's a tiny little handheld made of satisfying materials, with a much smaller library of indie games that are largely short, simple and full of fun ideas. 

After a lengthy period during which the Playdate has slowly been shipping to the thousands of people who pre-ordered one, its creator Panic has finally announced that it's fulfilled all of those orders. 

This means that, for the very first time, you can head to the Playdate website right now and order one for yourself, with the expectation that it'll arrive with you in just a few days. 

The Playdate looks adorable, too, and this means that many of us can finally get the chance to see what it's like to use – in particular, testing out that all-important little side crank, one of its most unique features.

The handheld has a small black and white display, a D-pad, two buttons and the crank, and that's basically the extent of its controls, which means that developers have had to be inventive in making games for it.

The console also comes with a unique way to give you games - once you get it set up, you'll get two free games a week, for 12 weeks, giving you a sort of weekly dose of new ideas.

This means 24 games for free overall, although you'll also have access to the console's modest storefront, which offers a couple hundred more to pick from at will. 

With an eight-hour battery and diminutive size, this is a pretty unique bit of kit. It'll set you back $199, although there's no UK store so you'll have to order in dollars.

It's definitely one for lovers of unique handheld gaming experiences. 

What remains to be seen is whether there's ever any followup hardware, or if Panic feels its work is done having come up with this idea and very successfully launched it over the last few years. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.