Firewatch publisher Panic reveals new handheld device, Playdate

The publisher of Firewatch has unveiled Playdate, a new handheld device that delivers a new game from a different designer every week.

“Introducing Playdate, a new handheld gaming system from Panic,” the company explains by way of a lengthy thread on Twitter. “It fits in your pocket. It’s got a black and white screen. It includes a season of brand-new games from amazing creators. Oh and… there’s a crank????

“Our company has been around for a long-ass time, and we’ve made lots of great software. But one day we realized: we’re self-funded, and there’s nobody to tell us what to do. Why aren’t we trying more new things? So, we also started publishing video games. It’s been fun and rewarding. First, Firewatch from Campo Santo, and later this year, the joyful Untitled Goose Game from House House.

“But there was another thing we’d never done. A thing that we figured would be harder than any thing we’ve ever done. But something that would stretch our skills and help us grow. Hardware.”

Early adopters of the device – which has been in development for four years – will be eligible to receive its inaugural offering, aptly entitled “Season One”. According to the creators, it will release 12 games – including offerings from Keita Takahashi, Zach Gage, and Bennett Foddy – to the Playdate device in weekly intervals. Interestingly, while every game is included with the system, the game themselves will remain a secret until they’re released.

“Our dream is simple: that you wake up on new game day excited to see what you can play next,” Panic says.

As for the crank? “No, it doesn’t power the device”, Panic explains. “It’s a flip-out rotational controller that puts a fresh spin on fun. Some games use it exclusively, some use it with the d-pad, and some not at all.”

To register your interest or find out more about developing for the handheld, head to The device is expected to ship in 2020 and cost  $149 USD.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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