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Brief Published: 30 Jul 2021

Indie Games Console Playdate Launches Pre-Orders

International pre-orders for the handheld gaming system Playdate, by Oregon-based games developer Panic (Firewatch, Untitled Goose Game), opened on July 29.

Alongside basic controls and a black and white 1-bit screen reminiscent of Nintendo's Gameboy, the much-anticipated pocket-sized device comes with a diminutive hand-operated crank, promising unique gameplay moments. Venerated games designers have created a library of 24 games, which will be released as weekly surprise drops across two seasons, establishing regular playdates for Panic's community to rally around.

These initial runs won't be the end of Playdate's content offering. On top of plans for future game drop seasons, Panic will launch a free software development kit. Accessible through web browsers, it will enable anyone to create and distribute their own Playdate games – from room-based point-and-click adventures, to script-driven storytelling experiences.

In our Future Thinking episode on Reinventing Social Media, Rex Woodbury, principal at global venture capital firm Index Ventures, highlighted the impact of new single-use social platforms as people seek alternatives to the information overload on leading social networks. Between Playdate's open development platform, unique hardware constraints and liberties and scheduled content drops, this little handheld is positioned to build a highly engaged and engaging passion community.

For more on how next-gen social communities will turn consumer focus away from aspirational lifestyles and towards demonstrable knowledge, shared passions and creativity as status markers, see Pop Culture Pulse: New Forms of FOMO.

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