A lot of us last August lost when pre-ordering a Pocket, the beautiful all-in-one handheld console from Seattle-based hardware manufacturer Analogue. With a replenishment now confirmed for 2021, the company has promised to upgrade its servers and crack down on resellers to ensure people can buy the coveted system instead of watching stocks being swallowed up by bots and scalpers.
Many of the problems with the first Pocket pre-orders were related to demand. The servers just couldn’t keep up with the number of people trying to buy a system, causing the checkout to get stuck on shipping calculations. Analogue has recognized the problem and will “take steps to ensure our till is optimized for large traffic peaks” when the bag is back on sale.
Like many sought-after products, the launch of Pocket was plagued by bots and scalpers, both of whom got out of the checkout faster than a normal person and intended to resell at higher prices instead of enjoying the product itself. Analogue has two solutions here: Implement “robust” bot protection and monitor the resale situation.
“All orders placed with bots will be canceled and their inventory will be assigned to real users,” said Analogue announcement read. “Analogue will monitor resale sites like eBay to report scalpers reselling pre-orders (reselling Analogue products that the seller does not own). This is against eBay’s guidelines and we will report these offers directly to eBay. All pre-orders that are available for resale will be canceled. “
Pocket is a very interesting device because the handheld does not emulate classic games via software, but two Field programmable gate array (FPGA) chips that can be configured to support Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Sega Game Gear, SNK Neo Geo Pocket, and Atari Lynx cartridges a hardware level. To do that, add a state-of-the-art 1600×1440 display and optional dock to view the handheld games on a TV, and you get one uniquely impressive machine
Analog has not yet set a date for the first pocket refill, but the company assures that the powerful handheld should never be available for a limited time. As in many other areas, the Covid-19 pandemic has got a grip on Analogue’s supply chain and slowed the ability to keep its products on digital shelves. Unless Analogue announces a delay, the first Pocket pre-orders have not yet been completed should be delivered in May.
“All in all, we’ll do our best to keep Pocket in stock in 2021,” said Analogue.