The Playdate is one of the most unusual handheld game consoles to launch in recent years. The small yellow device has a 2.7 inch black and white display, a mono speaker, and very low-power specs. But it stands out thanks to an unusual design and an emphasis on original titles designed for the system.
When the Playdate began shipping last year it sold for $179, but came with 24 games delivered in a “season” with 2 new games rolling out every week for 12 weeks. Now Playdate has announced that the console is getting a price hike. Starting April 7th, it will sell for $199. But Playdate maker Panic is also making it easier to find games that run on the console with the launch of a new Playdate Catalog.
The Catalog is basically a curated game store where you can currently find 16 games with prices ranging from around $1 to $15 each for paid titles, as well as a few free games including Reel Steal and Recommendation Dog.
Since the Playdate already supports sideloading games, you can also find hundreds of games for the device at itch.io. But not only does the new Catalog offer a curated experience, but many of the games in the catalog are new titles that had not been available elsewhere until now.
The new Playdate Catalog is accessible on the Playdate itself if you’re running the latest version of the console’s operating system. Or you can visit the website to browse the selection or buy games which will be wireless transferred to your device.
Customers who order a Playdate before April 7th can still get one for $179.
The Playdate console features a 168 MHz ARM Cortex-M7 processor, 16MB of RAM, 4GB of flash storage, and a 2.7 inch, 400 x 240 pixel -bit display. It has a D-Pad, A and B buttons, a 3-axis accelerometer, and a hand crank for controls, plus sleep and menu buttons.
It has a mono speaker, headphone jack, and support for WiFi 4 and Bluetooth. While the 76 x 74 x 9mm (3″ x 2.9″ x 0.4″) console isn’t the most powerful or versatile portable gaming device on the market, it is one of the most unique. And its low-power specs give it at least one advantage over more powerful hardware: battery life. Panic promises up to 8 hours of active use or two weeks of standby time.