The Playdate handheld cranks back its release date to 2022

(Image credit: Panic)

Playdate, the adorable yellow handheld with a crank, has been delayed to 2022.

Units were originally scheduled to start shipping out later this year, but due to an issue that requires developer Panic to replace the battery in every system, pre-orders will now start going out sometime early next year for the first group of buyers.

Other groups are prioritized based on when you put in your pre-order, with groups 1 and 2 now slotted for early 2022, groups 3 and 4 scheduled for the second half of 2022, and finally, group 5 should be getting their Playdates around the end of next year. If you have a pre-order, you should receive an email with your new rough delivery window.

Panic explains the situation in-depth here, but essentially the creators found a number of units had faulty batteries that would drain faster than they should've, to the point where some of them wouldn't power on or charge at all. So before shipping any of them out, Panic is sending back the first systems to get a battery replacement and changing the manufacturing process for those to follow.

"This quickly turned into a months-long, all-hands-on-deck research stress-ball, and we halted production at the factory," says Panic's Cabel Sasser. "We made the difficult, expensive call to replace all of our existing batteries with new ones from a totally different battery supplier."

Like pretty much every gaming manufacturer these days, Panic is also getting hit by the supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic. Notably, additional units of the CPU used in current Playdate models won't be available for two years, so Panic is swapping it for a similar version in future units. Panic says this change won't affect how the system operates or how games play.

While we wait for Playdate, here are the best handheld consoles to play on the go right now.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.