The launch of Playdate has been pushed back to early 2022 due to a "surprise battery issue" found in finished units.
Drained batteries were found in numerous finished devices earlier this year, which developer Panic Inc. then spent "months" researching. In the meantime, production was halted.
All batteries are now being replaced, meaning 5000 finished units had to be shipped back from California to Malaysia for the work to be done.
"How did that feel? Not great!!!", Panic said in an email to pre-order customers.
Further bad news followed, as parts for units due to be sold next year have now been hit by the ongoing component shortage.
"We can't get any more of Playdate's current CPU for - you're not going to believe this - two years. Like, 730 days," Panic continued.
"Maybe you've heard about the 'global chip shortage' everyone's talking about? We're here to say it is very real. COVID-19 caused an ever-cascading set of worldwide supply chain failures that are leading to many, many electronic parts being simply... gone."
Panic is now revising Playdate's CPU to offer a different and more easily-available alternative. There's no word yet on when this will become available to buy.
Hi! If you've pre-ordered a Playdate, check your email for a copy of the "Playdate Owner's Update #1".— Playdate (@playdate) November 11, 2021
There's bad news (a battery tragedy means Late 2021 units are now Early 2022, see email for your timing) but also good news (Pulp+SDK release dates!!)
Thanks for reading it. pic.twitter.com/03BUolZetY
For existing pre-order customers, this means that everyone's place in the queue remains - but that each group has shifted back. Pre-order groups #1 and #2, for the first 10k orders, are now early 2022. Groups #3 and #4 are still 2022 (second half). Group #5 is still 2022 (late second half).
This covers the first 50k orders. Anything after that will "almost certainly land in 2023".
Games will then unlock for you over a weekly cycle, beginning when you first power your Playdate on.
While everyone waits, Panic did provide a bit of good news for anyone hoping to make Playdate games themselves. Pulp, a browser-based game creation tool, will launch in open beta in January. Playdate's software development kit then arrives in February.