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The Real Reason Playdate Recalled 5,000 Handhelds

As of right now, the Nintendo Switch commands the modern handheld market. But competition is never a bad thing, and a few years back, Panic Inc — the software company behind titles such as "Firewatch" and "Untitled Goose Game" — unveiled the Playdate, a tiny handheld console dedicated to indie titles which was slated to release in 2021. Featuring an old-school black-and-white screen and no backlight, one of Playdate's more novel features is a crank that acts as an analog controller for select games on the platform, such as "Crankin's Time Travel Adventure." Despite a good bit of hype and even some possible advantages over the rival Switch, gamers anxiously waiting to get their own Playdate have just been dealt some really bad news.

In what Panic has described as a "tragedy," it has been discovered that Playdate's battery is not up to scratch and drains extremely quickly. "As our first 5,000 finished Playdate units arrived at our warehouse in California for 2021, we began to test a few of them," a statement of the console's official website reads. "We quickly became concerned that some of them weren't giving us the battery life we expected ... we found a number of units with batteries so drained, Playdate wouldn't power on at all — and couldn't be charged. That's a battery worst-case scenario."

While it is definitely a good thing that Panic discovered this major issue before the Playdate made it into customers' hands, this also means that Playdate will not be arriving as soon as expected.

Playdate has now been delayed until 2022

Due to the issue pertaining to the handheld console's battery, Panic has announced that Playdate's release has been postponed to 2022 while the company replaces all the batteries and works on fixing whatever issue is causing it. In the meantime, those 5,000 faulty units are being shipped back to the handheld's production factory in Malaysia.

"In just a few weeks, factory production will ramp up to full speed again, with new batteries in place," the statement continues. "They'll be put in all units, even those we've already made. But, it does mean 'Late 2021' units are now "Early 2022"

Panic also confirmed further issues pertaining to component shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has a made a "revision" to the Playdate's main board so that the handheld can utilize "can use a similar, but more widely available, CPU." In a recent report by Eurogamer, anyone who has preordered a Playdate will keep their place in line and can expect the handheld whenever they finally launch in 2022.