Home $400K in stolen Playdate consoles dumped outside restaurant after going missing this year

$400K in stolen Playdate consoles dumped outside restaurant after going missing this year

Around $400,000 worth of stolen Playdate products have mysteriously turned up outside a random restaurant, still mostly in the boxes and completely abandoned. Panic, who makes the iconic video game consoles, took to X to share the bizarre story, which began in March after dozens of boxes went missing in Las Vegas.

At the time, company co-founder Cabel Sasser spoke at the Game Developers Conference, calling the whole situation “a bit of a true crime drama”.

However, a few months later, the consoles were returned to their rightful owner, though the circumstances surrounding their return remain unclear.

The company explained, “Did you hear the story about how $400k worth of Playdates were misdelivered by FedEx to a construction site near our warehouse? And then someone just… stole them? Seriously.” However, for reasons unknown, the thief or thieves deemed the haul either undesirable or too large to handle and subsequently abandoned it near a restaurant, which is visible in the background of the photos, close to the company’s fulfillment warehouse.

In a follow-up announcement, the Playdate team mentioned that they would provide more information about the situation at a later date. They described getting the consoles back as the “best possible outcome” and credited the resolution to “lots of time and detective work,” which they found enjoyable.

The team jokingly pondered, “The real question is, can we sell these as a limited edition? Playdate HotTM.”

Unfortunately, the company admitted that some may have been stolen, responding to a comment: “Who said no boxes were opened and no Playdate systems were missing or sold?”

What are Playdate games?

Playdate is a handheld video game console remarkable for its mechanical crank and a retro-style black-and-white screen. The device was announced in May 2019 and hit the market in April 2022. It is designed as a small, square, yellow console with a 1-bit black-and-white display, a 4-way directional pad, two game buttons, and a mechanical crank that can be stowed away when not in use.

Regarding the crank, TechCrunch commented at the time, “It’s not necessary for every game, though, so don’t worry if it seems too weird.”

On February 13, 2024, Panic announced on its X account that it had sold over 70,000 Playdates.

Featured image: Panic on X / Canva

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Suswati Basu
Tech journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award. With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google. Her…

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