New game console REVEALED: Playdate is a new handheld made to sit between mobile, Switch

There’s a new games console in town – and it’s different to anything we’ve ever seen before.

The little machine – coming to the market courtesy of Panic (the publisher behind Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game) – wants to occupy the downtime between your mobile and Switch sessions, offering a wholly new kind of play and engage audiences in a whole new way.

“Playdate isn’t trying to compete with the other devices that we already play and love,” Panic explains on its site.

“It’s designed to be complementary. It’s designed to deliver a jolt of fun in-between the times you spend with your phone and your home console; something to fill the moments when you just want a game you can pick-up and play.”

Ideal for those trips to the toilet that may take a little longer than expected, right? Or ideal for those moments you’re caught in a commute that isn’t worth breaking the Switch out for.

“It’s yellow. It fits in your pocket. It’s got a beautiful black and white screen. It’s not super cheap, but not super expensive. It includes brand new games from some amazing creators. Plus it has a crank.”

It certainly is different, eh? We’re really interested in seeing what that crank can do from a mechanical perspective in games.

Uniquely for a games console, you won’t be buying games at launch and then building a collection… rather, you’ll be gettting games delivered to you in ‘seasons’ – it’s games as a service, but as a console. Interesting.

“It’s twelve brand new video games, one each week,” explains the site. “What are these games? Here’s the thing: we’d like to keep them a secret until they appear on your Playdate. We want to surprise you.

“Some are short, some long, some are experimental, some traditional. All are fun.

“When your Playdate lights up with a brand new game delivery, we hope you can’t wait to unwrap your gift.”

It’s an interesting take on game delivery – and one that we may see picked up by the bigger players in the industry if it becomes successful (I mean, we already sort-of have that with Games with Gold and PS+, so this is just the logical extension of that ideal).

The first 12 games will ship, one per week, once the console is in your hands. Beyond that, content delivery has not been announced.

Panic’s reputation as a publisher has allowed it to attract some interesting talent already. 

The lil’ console’s first playable offering will be Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure by Katamari Damacy designer Keita Takahashi. That’s some pretty pedigree talent right there – a really interesting way to kick proceedings off.

Following that, we’re going to see games from creators like Zach Gage (SpellTower, Really Bad Chess), Bennett Foddy (Getting Over It), and Shaun Inman (The Last Rocket) also making games for Playdate.

Playdate will cost $149 USD (that’s £118 at time of writing, but, you know, Brexit…), and that includes your first season of playable games, too.

The console is expected to ship early in 2020 and stock will be limited for the first run of hardware.

You can sign up here to learn more about the console and get notified when sales begin.

Colour us intrigued (or, um, yellow).

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