Panic, the company behind the upcoming Playdate handheld console, has revealed some early thoughts about how a possible second season of games would work.
“We have just sketchy ideas of what a Season 2 might be like,” Greg Maletic, Director of Special Projects at Panic told TrustedReviews via email, accepting that the prospects of a second set of games is dependent on how well Playdate sells.
“It also depends upon how people actually react to the Season concept after they’ve gone through it,” he continued. “Do they love it? Are they indifferent to it? If they’re neutral, maybe we try a different approach. That said, we really like the idea of Seasons, so we’re hoping we get to do it again.”
And what about pricing? The Playdate console itself will sell for $179 with a full season of 24 games included, so what does that say about the cost of games going forward? “I could guess that the price of a Season 2 would be significantly less than the cost of the Playdate itself,” Maletic wrote.
“Beyond that, we don’t really know. What kinds of games do people like to play on Playdate? What sort of depth or length-of-play do people enjoy? There are several unknowns.”
Of course, there are other ways of distributing games, and Panic is considering these too. “Beyond ‘seasons’, we’re looking into other ways for developers to distribute their games: a game store, sales through third-party storefronts… we’re exploring all of it,” Maletic continued.
“We want Playdate owners to have a ton of great games to choose from, and we want Playdate developers to be able to make money off what they produce.”
We know that there are more games in development for Playdate than have been earmarked for Season 1, with Return of the Obra Dinn creator Lucas Pope working on a game intriguingly called Mars After Midnight. Is that why the Panic was able to double the number of games in Season 1 from 12 to 24?
“It’s due to the fact that we commissioned more games than we thought we needed from the top-tier developers that we had initially reached out to,” wrote Maletic, calling this an “insurance policy” to ensure quality across all 12 promised titles.
“Turns out we shouldn’t have worried: the games this group delivered were so good — clever, fun, beautiful — it was a fairly easy decision to up the length of the Season to 24 games.”
Maletic also reiterated that people shouldn’t worry about the limited inventory selling out. The company has ordered enough parts for 20,000 units, but plans to buy more if there’s demand.
“We want everyone who wants a Playdate to be able to order one with a minimum of hassle,” Maletic wrote. “That’s why we plan on keeping orders open, rather than cutting them off after each production run sells out. We don’t want to put customers through the ordeal of having to check their email every morning, waiting for the latest news about the ‘next round of Playdates’, then be disappointed when that round sells out in two minutes.
“If you want a Playdate, you’ll always be able to place an order, take your place in line, and then rest easy knowing that one will be coming your way.”
With that in mind, is Panic confident that 20,000 units will be enough to meet initial demand? “It’s a great question! We’ve gotten a huge response to Playdate, but we have no idea how that enthusiasm will translate into actual orders. So we barely know what to expect.”
We’ll find out when pre-orders open next month. To be amongst the first to know when pre-orders open, you can sign up for alerts on the Playdate site.