Playdate News

Catalog One-year Anniversary Report

May 2, 2024

April 18, 2024 marked the two-year anniversary of the launch of Playdate. To commemorate the occasion, for the first time, we are publicly sharing data on the sales of Playdate games on our own game storefront, Catalog, and are excited to announce that over 150,000 games have been sold since the store launched - netting out to $544,290.12 in gross revenue for developers after taxes, processing fees, and Panic’s 25% revenue share for distribution on Catalog.

Infographic summarizing the numbers available in this article.

Catalog and its Crank-to-Buy technology first launched with 16 titles on March 7, 2023, close to a year after Playdates began shipping out to customers on April 18, 2022. For the past year Catalog’s storefront has been updated bi-weekly with a handful of titles; now, the storefront has 181 games and apps from first-time to seasoned game developers alike. This number is of course not indicative of Playdate’s full game library, as it does not take into account the 800+ Playdate games and apps available on itch.io.

We have previously announced that over 70,000 Playdates have been sold to customers. 38,000 Playdate users, about 53%, have made a purchase on Catalog - including downloading the two free games offered by Panic on the store (Reel Steal, Recommendation Dog). About 32,000 of those users who have not bought a game are still working through the games included in Season One. With this information, we plan to continue finding ways to spread the word about Playdate’s game store to help developers find an audience for their project.

Season One was a big part of introducing Playdate to the world and letting them know that there would in fact be games to play on this neat device when they buy it,” says Head of Playdate Developer Relations, Arisa Sudangnoi. “Now we want to let everyone who enjoys games know that there is a vibrant game dev community making hundreds of inventive and thoughtful games for Playdate! Season One is just the start when you invest in a Playdate.”

More Catalog data:

  • The average Playdate game price is $5.36. Playdate game prices are up to the developer and have been priced as low as $1 and as high as $15.
  • The average Playdate game price during the first Catalog sale was $4.50.
  • 1,500 players first bought a game in Catalog during the sale
  • The top regions for game purchases are the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Japan.

Game sizes:

  • Biggest game - 107MB
  • Average game size - 5.03MB
  • Smallest game size - 30.1KB

Thoughts From Developers

“Making games for Playdate is fun and challenging,” says Playdate and P-Racing developer Risolvi Productions. “It’s a great opportunity for indie developers because the SDK is easy-to-use and you only need to target one device. Also, the Playdate community is small but very passionate. Unlike other app/game platforms, I feel that someone will play and hopefully enjoy the game I’m working on.” P-Racing has sold 6,300 copies and is priced at $12, when not on sale.

“I love how every Playdate is able to be used as a development device,” says multiple time Playdate game developer Matt Sephton (Sparrow Solitaire, Yoyozo, Fore! Track, and many more). “I didn’t think I’d get another opportunity to develop so easily on a device that was so attractive to me, and it coincided with having some extra free time due to the first COVID lockdown in England so the timing was right.” Learn more about Matt’s full-time year as a Playdate game developer on his blog.

Panic will continue to update Catalog with wonderful games in the coming months and are sincerely excited to see what game submissions come their way this year. Any developer can submit their game for Catalog consideration via a simple form.

crank to buy

oom origins

March 29, 2024

(Gregory is the creator of oom, the spiritual successor to the Season 1 game Omaze.)

My name is Gregory Kogos and I play too many games!

“Hello, Gregory…”

Sometimes, they directly inspire me to create my own, but more often, they linger in the corners of my mind, waiting to resurface as the solution to a specific design problem.

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Mars After Midnight is now available

March 12, 2024

👽 Mars After Midnight, the new game from Lucas Pope—maker of Papers, Please and Return of Obra Dinn—is here. It’s an entrant-screening, mess-tidying, session-planning work simulator. Buy it in Catalog on your Playdate, or on our website. We hope you enjoy your shift at The Off-Colony Community Support Center. Get Mars After Midnight

Swift on Playdate

March 12, 2024

Here’s some exciting news for Playdate developers: the Swift team’s newly-announced embedded language support means you can now write Playdate games in Swift! Expressive and performant.

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Our first-ever Catalog sale starts now

March 4, 2024

Catalog is one year old (if you can believe it) — and to celebrate, we’re hosting an anniversary game sale! More than 100 incredible Playdate titles have discounted their titles from March 7 until March 14. Head on over to the store on your Playdate, or on the web, and grab ’em while they’re hot ’n cheap!

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New in Catalog: Pullfrog and oom

February 20, 2024

Two great new titles are available in Playdate Catalog today: 🐸 Pullfrog, made by Amano, a puzzle platformer where you play as a long-tongued frog inside a block-falling, line-clearing game. … and ☄️ oom, made by Gregory Kogos (of Season One’s huge hit Omaze), a unique rhythmic dungeon crawler where your decisive actions are made in-between the beats. A Playdate game with immaculate vibes. Grab these from Catalog on your Playdate, or on the web.

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Playdate is now in stock

February 14, 2024

🎺 We did it. We shipped over 70,000 Playdate pre-orders. We’re all caught up. And that means… Playdates are NOW IN STOCK and READY TO SHIP. Place an order right now, and your Playdate will go out the door in just a few days. Head on over to shop.play.date to order. More countries. We also just massively expanded the list of countries we ship to. (This makes us very happy.

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Catalog Drops for December 2023

December 21, 2023

Here’s a roundup of December’s new games in Catalog. That wraps up our year, and boy is there a lot to download and play: 🧙‍♂️ Under the Castle, a classic rogue game where you’ll explore dungeons, gather Orbs of Light, and rescue enslaved villagers—with the power of your hat. Gorgeous art and ultra-satisfying gameplay. Made by Dani Diez, ZCorbs, VolcanoBytes. 🏎️ F-Out, a futuristic racing video game, with your spaceship racing at dizzying speeds, tight turns, and dangerous obstacles.

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Catalog Drops for November 2023

November 21, 2023

With today’s game drop, Catalog now lists over 100 Playdate titles—our curated selection of games has grown beyond our most ambitious dreams. Here are the games we added this month: 🍺 Root Bear, a hilarious and quick game where you are the Root Bear serving bears their root beer, always in search of the Perfect Pour. Made by TEAM ROOT. 🪀 Yoyozo. Be a space yo-yo, gracefully guided in a cosmic ballet.

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Playdate Update #4

November 8, 2023

Hello! It’s us, Panic.

We’ve got another update on what’s new with Playdate, featuring upcoming games, some platform classics, and our new Playdate Cover color.

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Hook, Line and Sinker: A Retrospective on Playdate's First Big Fishing Game

October 31, 2023

This bird brought a message in a bottle! Hello all, I’m ToadleyUnderControl, but I go by other forms of “Toad” across the internet! I’m the creator of Reel-istic Fishing, a chill/relaxing fishing game for the Playdate! The Prophe-sea With the arrival of Reel-istic Fishing, the curse that has gripped the Playdate since it was first announced has been broken. There had not been a big fishing game until its release, which is wild to me!

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Catalog Drops for October 2023

October 24, 2023

You know what goes well with a comfy reading chair and a mug of hot apple cider? A tight collection of excellent Playdate games. 🔡 Sketch, Share, Solve, a fully-featured nonogram puzzle. Yes, you can construct your own puzzles and share them with friends! Made by RDK. 🐜 Lillybug, where fireflies take on termites and collect whirlygigs—classic video game stuff. Made by Scenic Route Software. 🏝️ GlagStone, a resource-manager game set on a mysterious island.

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How the Creator of Alone in the Dark Came Back to Games - The Making of SKEW for Playdate

October 20, 2023

Greetings. Jörg Tittel here, writer, director and producer of games, films and comics and co-host of Directional, a podcast on videogames and the creative rebellion. This year, I released the PS VR2 game C-Smash VRS, the star-studded multi-platform adventure The Last Worker, and its spin-off, SKEW, available only on Playdate of course. Some of the most precious moments in my life have been meeting my heroes—filmmakers, musicians, game developers and beyond—and thanks to the Playdate, I not only got to work with one but also lure him back to the wild and wonderful world of game development.

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Catalog Drops for September 2023

September 29, 2023

Fall is here, and with it, three new game drops (“drops” are similar to “falls”). Look at all these lovely titles: 🏀 Quantum Phantom Basketball, a basketball-fighting game set in a cataclysmic high fantasy New York City. Made by BRENDA ARTS. 🏴‍☠️ Life’s 2 Short: Unhooked, a point-and-click-lite adventure about a ghost, a pirate, and four wayward wives. Made by Pixel Ghost. 🌓 Halfway to Dawn, a hybrid shooter and narrative game requiring strategy, reflexes, and some luck.

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MAGICAL BASKETBALL ACTION - The story of QUANTUM PHANTOM BASKETBALL

September 6, 2023

QUANTUM PHANTOM BASKETBALL IS LONG RANGE SHOOTIN’, HIGH FLYIN’, SLAM DUNKIN’, HARD SHOVIN’, PRE-RENDERED, BASKETBALL FIGHTING GAME ACTION! I grew up playing Midway arcade games and I wanted to make something that pays homage to that, but smarter! My name is Spencer Garland and I’m the founder of BRENDA ARTS, an interdisciplinary media company that incorporates BIPOC youth into all of our productions. My goal is to show young Black and Brown people how culture, art, engineering, and imagination are all connected.

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Catalog Drops for August 2023

August 30, 2023

Put on your summer workout gear and run to Catalog—we’ve added a bunch of hot new games this month: 🍞 The Tartine’s Show, a theatrical performance put on after jumping out of a toaster. Of course. Made by Flying Oak Games. 🕳️ Crash Mole, a twist on the classic game of Whack-a-Mole. Made by Kait Sousa. 🧱 Soko, a polished sokoban game with over 400 puzzles, 7 unlockable characters, and the ability to import your own levels.

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Shoot ’em up in style: the making of Gun Trails on Playdate

July 18, 2023

Hello there, I’m Josh, sometimes known by my handle superfunc; I’m the designer and programmer behind Gun Trails, a bullet-hell shmup for Playdate. The game started back in October of 2022. I was living in Tokyo, had just quit my job, and was honestly having the programmer’s equivalent of an Eat-Pray-Love moment. Unsure if I’d continue programming professionally, spending most of my time playing Mushihimesama at the arcades in Akihabara, I was feeling a bit aimless.

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Catalog Drop 8

July 18, 2023

We hope you’re strapped into your beach chair today, because this drop features some action that will blow you away: 🚀 Gun Trails, a heart-pounding, buttery-smooth, bullet-hell shooter that pushes the Playdate to its technical ceiling, while testing the limits of your reflexes. Read more about its creation! Made by Yoyogi Games. 👻 Possessions, where you play as a restless spirit body-snatching poor, unsuspecting normals. Made by Moonbeam Games. 📻 Kicooya MP3 is a music player for Playdate, including a 5-band parametric equalizer and customizable UI A retro beauty!

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3 new Playdate Games in Development from Future of Play 2023

July 10, 2023

Hi there, Playdate friends! Jurge (George) [he/him] here from our marketing crew on Playdate, hope you’re all doing well on your side of the world. 😃 With the wet and wild Video Game Summer™️ upon us, all of us here working on Playdate wanted to join in on the fun and take a moment to show you some cool new things being worked on. Quickly we realized we are all very busy shipping out the rest of Playdate pre-orders, updating Catalog and other fun Panic + Playdate things.

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Catalog Drop 7

July 5, 2023

How’s everyone’s summer going so far? If it’s sunny where you’re located, why not jump into a hammock or a beach chair with your Playdate, open up Catalog, and snag some of these new titles: 🟡 Mash Gadget, a fidgety digital toy for button-pressing fiends. Made by Bipedal Dog. 🐦‍⬛ Cranky Bird, a flappy platformer where you’ll spread your wings across 30+ hazard-filled levels. Made by Jerry Verhoeven. 🐼 Bomber Panda is a level-solving puzzler that requires brains, but also bombs.

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A 3D Racer on Playdate?! Here's the story of P-Racing.

June 20, 2023

Hey! I’m Matteo, better known as RPDev, owner of Risolvi Productions. I’m an indie software developer and author of P-Racing, a pseudo-3D racing game. P-Racing delivers a pure racing experience pushing Playdate to its limit. P-Racing Once upon a time, there was a developer who really wanted to make a game but never had a chance to do that. He was focused mainly on programming and designing iOS apps.

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Catalog Drop 6

June 20, 2023

We’ve got an impressive crop of games today, featuring some platform firsts: 🏎️ P-Racing, a stunning pseudo-3D racer, with computer opponents, a photo mode, and…… racecar soccer!! Truly incredible. Made by Risolvi Productions. 🗒️ Pocket Planner is a suite of productivity tools: to-dos, calendar, voice memo, contacts. Get busy! Made by Hydra Softworks. 🌌 Stars of the Screen is a loving tribute to classic screensavers and small, pastime games. But look deeper and you made find there’s more to it…!

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Playdate OS 2.0 + Group 4 shipping

June 15, 2023

We have two important pieces of Playdate news for you today: Playdate OS 2.0 is out There’s an update to your Playdate’s operating system! You can get it by going into Settings > System. This improves a few things and lays a foundation for the future. One big change in Playdate OS 2.0 is the new list view on the Home screen. In addition to the big, expressive cards showing off each game’s “box art,” you can switch to a compact list view with icons.

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Catalog Drop 5

June 6, 2023

Five new titles today, covering a wide gamut of types and styles. Look: 🐍 Snoik! is a snake-like arcade game with a unique and trippy first-reptile perspective. Made by Ash K, Published by Strangest.io. 🤖 Shift, a deceptively simple match-four game guided by SAM-Y the droid. Made by Scenic Route Software. 🔼 PlayDaPon, an intense version of the classic match-three puzzle. Made by Lonely Star Software. ⏰ Playtime, a collection of fifty fun clocks, screen savers, and fidget toys.

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Catalog Drop 4

May 23, 2023

The Catalog Drops keep coming—we’ve got five new titles for you today. 🛋️ Generations, where you puzzle out how to arrange family portraits on the living-room wall. Made by Scenic Route Software. 🔁 Loopsy, an arcade race against the clock to build as many loops as you can. Made by Paul. 🧟‍♂️ NECROCRISIS, an on-rails zombie shooter set in a graveyard full of unimaginable horrors. Made with their trademark extreme touch by Strangest.

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Catalog Drop 3

May 9, 2023

Got an aqua-colored notification light on your Playdate? That means it’s time to open Catalog or visit our website and check out some great new games: 🪓 Legend of Etad, A first-person dungeon crawler, made by Gareth Williams. 📮 Post Hero, a mail-carrier simulator with magical details. Made by Scenic Route Software. 😼 Spike II: The Great Emu War, where the cat army battles the emu horde, made by Goloso Games.

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Catalog Drop 2

April 25, 2023

It’s that time again—we’ve got more excellent games in Catalog. Check your Playdate or head to our website and grab these new titles: ☕️ A Balanced Brew, the world’s premier combination of unicycling and espresso, from Robert Curry. 💥 Shining Gadget and Shadow Gadget, a pair of creature-collecting idlers where you capture g-g-ghosts?! From Strangest.io. 🟪️ Skwish, a charming and challenging puzzle from Pawprints. 🫧 Bub-O Collect, a romantic bubble-shooting puzzle from Gabboco Games.

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Catalog Drop 1

April 10, 2023

We have new games! Catalog has been updated today with these excellent additions: 🕳️ Core Fault, a survivors-like with a wicked fun game loop, from Playdate wizards SquidGod and davemakes. 🚀 Gravity Express, where you use your precision skills to battle gravity while transporting cargo through abandoned mines, from Nino van Hooff. 🀄️ Sparrow Solitaire, A beautiful new take on the tile-matching game mahjong solitaire, optimized for Playdate. Packed with layouts, options, and game modes, from Mac & Matt.

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Catalog Launch Titles

March 7, 2023

Here’s the lineup of games available now that Playdate Catalog has launched: 🎙️ Direct Drive, a silent-movie-musical game about being an intern in the music industry in 1927, from DAC Vector 🏂🏽 Carve Jr, where you’ll hit the slopes like never before, from Chuhai Labs 🎼 Playmaker, with six playful creative spaces where you can paint, compose, build, record, and dance, from Dustin Mierau ⚙️ Swap Machina, a fast-paced puzzle game made in the Pulp game engine by NaOH & Zion D.

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Playdate - $199 starting April 7

March 7, 2023

It’s a story we’ve all been hearing recently: costs are going up for parts, shipping… you name it. Panic is unfortunately no exception to these trends: our manufacturing partner recently gave us the news that the cost of building a Playdate is going up. And given our already tight margins, we’re at a point when we need to adjust Playdate’s price. We don’t take this lightly: we’ve always wanted Playdate to be as affordable as possible.

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Catalog is now out!

March 7, 2023

Playdate Catalog is now available for all Playdate owners! Arriving with the latest Playdate OS and also available at play.date/games, Catalog is our curated store for neat Playdate software. It’s launching with new games, and some previously released favorites. You can check these games out in the Catalog app on your Playdate (make sure it’s running the latest version of the Playdate OS.) You can also get them on our website; the games will be delivered wirelessly to your Playdate .

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Playdate Community Bundle of games

August 31, 2022

Six months ago, we released the Playdate SDK: a free, fun way to create games for our quirky 1-bit console with a crank. We find it incredible—frankly, quite shocking!—to see how many games have been made since then. As of today, there are over three hundred Playdate games available on itch.io, all ready to sideload wirelessly. There’s now a cool way to check out some of the neatest Playdate games: the Playdate Community Bundle by Playdate Squad.

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Some games being made for Playdate

April 28, 2022

As the first shipments of Playdate arrive in customers’ hands, we’re seeing some very cool games being developed for Playdate. Here’s a little roundup of ones that caught our eye! But first Sideloading these games onto your Playdate is very simple. Log in to your Playdate account at https://play.date, Go to the Sideload tab, Drag and drop a .pdx or a .zipped .pdx game file. It should download within an hour; or you can go to Settings > Games to download it now.

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Playdate is now shipping

April 18, 2022

Playdates in Group One will begin shipping… today. You’ll be emailed the moment your Playdate ships. We’ll ramp up our shipping volume every day to make sure all of our systems are working smoothly. We think we can get Group One out the door during the next month. And remember, your season of games begins when you set up your Playdate. (Yes, Group Two, you’re next. We’ll have more news for you in the future about estimates and details.

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The SDK is now available

February 28, 2022

As you know, last month we released Pulp, our easy-to-use Playdate game making tool. And today, as promised… it’s time for even more developer news. The full Playdate Software Development Kit is now available for free to all!! The full Playdate SDK is for folks already comfortable with coding — but we’ve worked hard to make it as easy and approachable as we can. It gives you two choices of languages: Lua, for a higher-level scripting language experience, or C, for improved performance.

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Pulp is now available in public beta

January 19, 2022

Playdate Pulp is now available in public beta!! Pulp is a super fun (and free!) game making tool for Playdate. With a few clicks, anyone can turn a game idea into Playdate reality. The best part: Pulp runs right in your web browser. You can work on any computer, anywhere, with no installation or worrying about moving files around. Everything is in one place, in one window. And with a few clicks, you can export an actual Playdate .

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