Panic has announced that its quirky yellow handheld, Playdate, will be getting a price bump due to increased manufacturing costs.
Starting on April 7, 2023, Playdate's price will increase to $199 from $179, with Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser explaining the $20 delta has been sanctioned "because our factory recently gave us the inevitable news that in 2023, the price of building a single Playdate is going up."
Given the price is only increasing in April, anybody who's in the market for a Playdate will now have a month to secure a pre-order at the current price of $179.
In a press release, Panic indicated the price increase was a necessity given the "tight margins" it was already operating within, but added that it didn't take the decision lightly.
"We’ve always wanted Playdate to be as affordable as possible," said the company, explaining that's why it chose to give customers a one-month buffer before implementing the increase, and deciding to raise the price by a "modest" $20.
Panic also said it hopes the launch of Playdate's official digital storefront, Catalog, will convince customers the device remains value for money.
Catalog debuted today and currently features 16 titles, including two free releases from marginalized developers. As it stands, there are over 450 games and apps available on Playdate, including the 24 projects including in Panic's official Season One roster, and the 425-and-counting releases that can be sideloaded onto the device from other storefronts like Itch.
"We’ve been deeply touched by the excitement we’ve felt from happy Playdate owners, and (to be honest) shocked by the enthusiasm shown by our robust game development community," wrote Panic, waxing lyrical about the console's first year on shelves.
"Hit games like Zipper, Saturday Edition, Pick Pack Pup, Bloom, and A Joke That’s Worth $0.99—along with many more—have validated what we believed at the beginning: that there is room in this market for a very quirky, very different kind of game console. And room as well for the very offbeat games it inspires."
For more on Playdate, including deep dives, postmortems, and our review of the handheld, click here to explore our wide-ranging selection of launch coverage.