For a long time, indie games were considered a niche and small side part of the gaming ecosystem as a whole. Then, as they became more popular, many considered them the future of gaming. Well, the future is here, because indie games are just as much a part of video games as any Triple-A title. Game of the year awards feature at least one or two indie nominations/winners every year, and these games are frequently pushing the industry in new directions.
One company, Panic, Inc. saw this happening and had an interesting idea: What if there was a console that was made exclusively for indie games? Thus, the Playdate was born. A mobile indie console with a crank on it. It’s also a clock! That may sound weird, but we promise it makes more sense when you see it in action.
Playdate is familiar, but unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It has a very special black and white screen – not backlit, but super reflective – that looks way more amazing than you’re probably imagining.
An exploded view of the internals of a Playdate device.
It also has a peppy little processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a surprisingly loud loudspeaker. And when you’re not using it, the screen doesn’t turn off – it becomes a very nice low-power clock!
What’s cool about the Playdate is that, once someone owns one, they’ll receive 24 games over a 12 week period, all on the console itself. The idea of what the Playdate could be is very cool — if it does well, it could be a console that indie devs use to launch lesser-known titles instead of relying on overfilled markets like Steam or the Epic Games Store.
Unfortunately, it’s harder than ever to launch a new console these days. With the stranglehold that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have on the industry it’s going to take a big push, and maybe a little luck, for Playdate to succeed. Anyone that wants to get in on the ground floor of this console can do so in July.