Gaming

Analogue is making more Pockets and will fight pre-order bots

The bespoke handheld can play game cartridges for the Game Boy and several other retro consoles.

Analogue

Analogue complainers, hold your tongues. The company behind the attractive Pocket retro handheld says it will make more units available this year, with hopes of keeping the console in stock throughout the year. The Pocket quickly sold out when pre-orders opened last August, frustrating gamers interested in a retro experience better than playing on the original consoles themselves or using emulators on other hardware.

“More Pockets will be available for purchase in 2021,” Analogue wrote in a blog post. “With all things considered, we will be doing our best to keep Pocket in stock in 2021.” It cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as causing supply chain issues that have delayed the console's release — customers from the first wave of pre-orders have yet to receive their units.

Bot plague — Because this is 2021, Analogue's blog post also details how it will combat scalpers who use bots to scoop up inventory and charge high markups on the secondhand market. Its online store will feature "robust" protections against activity that looks suspicious, and Analogue will closely monitor eBay and other sites for people trying to sell coveted pre-orders, which will be canceled if discovered. Bots have held practically the entire gaming industry hostage during the pandemic as demand for consoles and chipset shortages have created irresistible incentives for profiteers.

It's a thing of beauty... hopefully it ships. Analogue

Luxury gaming — For those who missed all the fuss, the $199 Analogue Pocket is essentially a high-end Nintendo Game Boy clone, compatible with that console's entire cartridge library as well as those for the Sega Game Gear, SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Colour, and the Atari Lynx.

The Pocket includes a 3.5” LTPS LCD at 1600 x 1440 resolution (615ppi) protected by Gorilla Glass, USB-C charging, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, mappable controls, and an input for the original link cable. Analogue says the screen is able to display games exactly as originally intended by simulating the pixels of each title's original device. But the Pocket is also supposed to be better than the original hardware because the screen is bigger than that found on the original Game Boy.

Time will tell whether or not the Pocket can actually live up to the anticipation surrounding it. We'll find out when the first orders ship sometime around May 2021.