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Playdate

I signed up for the newsletter/preorder notice the second I saw this, but learning more about it and who’s behind it, a purchase is pretty well assured.

Plus it’s got a freaking crank.

Anyone else think this looks awesome? If they deliver on their current vision, I think it could be a great little boutique system.

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It’s a pretty exciting concept from a relatively experienced software/games publisher, but seems a bit steep? I’d like to see the specs before I think about getting one. Having said that, the idea of 12 new surprise games is a nice one, and I imagine the price is allowing them to pay the developers a decent amount, which is great. Signed up to the mailing list :slight_smile: thanks for linking!

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I wouldn’t worry about specs as much as games with something like this. It’s not something you can count on to take off and attract post-launch developers outside of an exceedingly niche enthusiast online community that may or may not even appear around the product.

But they’re being coy about the games, turning this into perhaps the first gaming platform that is, itself, a loot box.

It could be neat, but in my view this is essentially a Tamogachi; it’s possible it will become a “platform” but it’s much more likely that what you see will be very close to what you get. Only they don’t want to spoil the surprise. So what you get is ???

Yeah, I maybe should have mentioned that I’m actually more interested in the development possibilities. I’m definitely interested if there is an easy way to develop and get games onto the platform. I’m also interested in what can be done on it, both in terms of what the scope of the games will be, as well as what can be done from an amateur dev point of view!

If it’s an open development platform that’s easy to develop for, I can see this being pretty exciting, whereas if it’s locked down either in terms of software or hardware that limits the size of games too much then I’m less interested.

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It’s a proprietary OS per the press sheet, so I don’t think it’s truly open. BUT per the press sheet:

“We’re looking for people of all backgrounds and abilities to make games for Playdate. You can be an accomplished expert or just getting started. And while our SDK currently requires Lua or C, we are working on new ways to make game making accessible to everyone. We don’t want anyone to feel hesitant — reach out and we’ll keep in touch.”

I feel like it’s important to note that this is explicitly being created as a niche product. There is no intent to compete against Nintendo or mobile phones here, and they’re clear about that. If they sell enough units, there will be more seasons of games. If not, we get a cool little curiosity with 12 unusual little indies on it.

As for the loot box comparison, I’m not sure where to begin with that. I’m vehemently opposed to predatory sales practices and have absolutely no problem with the business model they’re going for here.

Not sure if this is OK or not, but after I posted this thread, we ended up publishing a short article on the device here, and it does a pretty good job of encapsulating why I find this project so exciting. @MinuteWalt please let me know if the link needs to go?

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Thanks, that’s all useful information, including the links in that article!

Seems like a positive start :grinning:

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I don’t have a Twitter account, so this was ripped from elsewhere, but some fun stats since the announcement:

Playdate Tweeted this last night:

“Playdate in 24 Hours:
• 70,000+ people on the wait list
• Thousands of interested devs
• Some skeptics (we understand)
• 23k Twitter followers (hi!)
• Most importantly… an overwhelming flood of positivity + excitement from people who also want this weird thing we want (!!!)”

I saw this! I read somewhere that it has something to do with the devs of Firewatch which I am…all over for sure. haha

I don’t see the loot box comparison either, but I think standard preorder warnings apply: people can get hyped for it and eagerly await more information, but until final products are in the hands of players, it’s hard to know what will be delivered will match what is currently proposed.

Though it does help that the people making the system and games have a great track record in indie games. Not just Firewatch, but I saw a video of someone playing Untitled Goose Game, and he was just laughing non-stop about all the dick things his cute but obnoxious goose could do to the poor gardener.

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Just to clarify things, Panic is the developer of the device and associated OS, in collaboration with Teenage Engineering (handling industrial design). They are the publisher of Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game. Their prior dev chops come from making apps for devs, and this is their first foray into hardware development.

Long story short: proceed with caution, but I for one will be jumping at the chance to get one.

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I don’t know at all. The examples they show look like 5 minute curio demos. Are these fun games we’ll want to play again and again or just a nice little surprise to play and think “oh, that’s a bit different” before moving onto the next nice little thing you’ll play once.

But I think this is aimed at more hardcore gamers than me. It almost seems like it’s created to make watercooler moments on discords.

(I also don’t get why everyone’s so excited about the colours as something different. It’s the same exact scheme as the early 00’s Gameboy!)

I’m in the skeptic camp as well. What I would want in a system like this is some fresh new platformers, rpgs, action games, etc. Like being able to play mario, pokemon, or final fantasy for the first time again. If it is just gimmick puzzle games, or twitch skill challenges, whether short or long I really couldn’t care.

I guess my main worry is that people will develop mobile-style games for it?

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So far they have purposely kept dev details close to the hip, but the names released thus far are definitely exciting. My prediction is that the hardware itself will appeal to “the right kind of developers” and “the right kind of audiences” with very little overlap. It’s a niche product for a niche kind of gamer.

I happen to be a particularly niche gamer.

It’s twelve brand new video games, one each week.

What are these games? Here’s the thing: we’d like to keep them a secret until they appear on your Playdate. We want to surprise you.

That’s where I’m getting it from. They’re selling something the value of which is highly dependent (for non-developers) on the games that appear and they want people to start buying it before information about those games is properly available. Because it’s a surprise. That feels pretty poorly thought out to me and reminescent of loot boxes.

P.S. To be clear, I have nothing against them keeping things close until release. That’s fine. It’s the “we want you to buy this before we tell you what the surprise is” thing that rubs me wrong.

Sure, that wasn’t my point though. Loot boxes are one among several predatory, psychologically manipulative “tricks” aimed to bilk consumers (and let’s be real: specifically children) of their money, with no limit to how much or how often. Many countries already formally recognize them as gambling and have banned them outright.

This is a product with a promise to deliver 12 games under the pretense of a surprise. It’s more akin to subscription boxes.

That’s a semantic point more specific than my use of the word “loot box” was intended to be. I think of subscription boxes, the Humble Monthly Bundle and so forth as pretty similar in character and manipulative intent to many things you would probably more readily agree to call Loot Boxes. I don’t see as much of a difference between those two things as you seem to so it’s a distinction that doesn’t change my point. Imagine I said subscription boxes, but said it with similar grim discomfort.

For sure, I didn’t mean to imply your feelings on their direction were invalid, but I do think there’s a distinct and vital difference between these practices and those of (in-game) loot boxes.

And I don’t know if this will change your view or not, but I don’t actually think they’ll reveal the surprise until they show up on the devices. :wink:

I don’t follow. That’s literally what the press release says, so we’re in agreement there?

The crux of it is that I think this is a device that cannot be relied upon, for non-developers, to be valuable much past those first 12 games. The handheld market is pretty niche and has a very well established player in Nintendo–it’s quite possible this device won’t sell enough to generate a meaningfully active development community.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be profitable or that it won’t be awesome to play with, but it means those 12 games are important. They’re most of what people will be paying over 100 dollars for. This isn’t a PS4 where you can rely on a bevy of major titles over several years. I don’t much mind if they say nothing about these games until release day, but I think extending the reveal of–effectively–how much the device is worth to most of its audience over a twelve week period past when they expect customers to buy in is unreasonable and predatory.

Is this worth 100 bucks? Pay us now and find out in a few months!

Edit: Misremembered the timeline as a year rather than 3 months.