Opinion Retro

Playdate’s Pre-Order Launch Was A Disaster For UK Consumers


Last week, Playdate went up for pre-order. The device had a specific list of countries that it would ship to with the first batch that will be delivered in late 2021. The UK was on that list. Unfortunately, I and many others discovered that Panic’s website didn’t agree with that. Every time we attempted to checkout and buy the device, the UK wasn’t listed as a shipping option. A fix eventually came, but only once the pre-orders for 2021 were closed and those ordering had to settle for a 2022 delivery date. I have settled, but I’m livid that such an issue was allowed to occur.

Panic clearly didn’t test its shipping on whatever service was being used for ordering. I accept that this is a small team who may not have had the capacity, but orders should have been split up further if that’s the case. The reality is that this issue is going to seriously hurt the device’s reception. This is a retro-inspired console, something that’s going to be extremely appealing to the growing retro market in the UK. Unfortunately, it’s now only going to be available in the US from those who got one and those scalpers who picked a few up as well. If you don’t think that’s true, I can tell you that at the time of writing I’d be able to order a 2021 model if I were willing to pay a £100 mark up. No thank you.

While I’m obviously quite passionate about not getting an order in, I’m more disappointed in what this means for Playdate. The UK market should have been the one that worked first. There are creators here who are spearheading retro enthusiasm and making it onto national news. It’s a massive thing, and the US and all other regions just don’t have that same love for old technology. They’re not as obsessed by weird old things as we are, but that’s because we have a culture of collecting and honoring our heritage.

Hopefully, Panic does an extra 2021 batch for UK residents only. That’s what I’d like, and I think it’s what will be the saving grace for the device. If not, it won’t be half as popular as it could have been.

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