$400,000 Worth Of Playdate Systems Gone Missing


A promotional shot of the Playdate and one of its games.

Image: Panic

Cabel Sasser, co-founder of the company behind whimsical yellow gaming handheld the Playdate, was giving a talk on the crank-sporting device at the Games Developer Conference when he provided a noteworthy factoid and anecdote. Apparently, $400,000 worth of Playdates curiously went missing at a shipping factory in Las Vegas. Folks, we’ve got ourselves a good ol’ fashioned video game heist.

As first reported by Stephen Totilo at GameFile, Sasser was checking in on the Playdate’s inventory numbers at a shipping center in Las Vegas when he noticed that the numbers weren’t quite adding up. Upon further investigation, he resolved that about two pallets containing Playdate systems had gone missing. “It’s a bit of a true crime drama,” Sasser told the audience at his GDC talk.

When Sasser brought his concerns to the shipping center, they told him that FedEx claimed they “were delivered, but we have no trace of them.” To throw another wrench in things, a few weeks later, another set of pallets (which did wind up being recovered) wound up being delivered to the construction site of a Circle K next door to the shipping center. Hilariously, Sasser then showed the crowd a picture of the pallets just sitting out in the open before the shipping center presumably sent someone over to retrieve them.

Curiously, Sasser noted that he was told that the same person who seemed to sign off on the missing pallets also signed off on the ones that were found in the construction site. “So there’s a lot of research going on right now,” Sasser joked. Despite the setbacks, Totilo claimed that Sasser told the story (as well as others) in good spirits.

The heist is just the latest development in the story of the little handheld that could. The Playdate, which was derided by many for its size and crank, has come a long way since its early issues and even has a pretty robust library these days. Elsewhere in Totilo’s report, Sasser revealed that the system wasn’t profitable yet, but that making it so was Panic’s primary goal for the year. Here’s hoping another mysterious robbery doesn’t stand in the way of that goal in the near future.



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