Sunday Thoughts 9.10.17

Outside In

Whenever my sister’s kids come to visit, it’s always the highlight of my month. I love my niece and nephew to pieces, and I’m incredibly proud of my big sister for raising such a wonderful family. To be honest, being an aunt has made me want children of my own someday.

Today, the little munchkins were digging through my Blu-ray collection and asked to watch Pixar’s Inside Out. After re-watching it, I was quickly reminded why it’s a top-tier Pixar film. Inside Out does a brilliant job of using colors and shapes to teach children about complex topics such as human emotions, neuroscience, and psychology.


Game Development

Over the past seven months, our small indie team has worked on a tiny game project for PC and consoles. Our lead programmer is knocking it out of the park. Our artists have done a fantastic job with the game’s art direction. It’s very colorful, but there’s also a dark, eerie vibe to everything.  We’re blessed to have such talented people working with us.

Hopefully, if development goes smoothly, we’ll have something to share in early 2018. It’s a small project, it’s nothing that will get anyone super excited, so I don’t want to over-hype it.

Do I miss gaming journalism? Not really. I left gaming journalism after coming to a realization that I wanted to try something different with my life. But I do have a tremendous amount of respect for gaming journalists (and journalism in general). They are hard-working individuals, and unfortunately, some of them don’t get paid as much as they deserve. Most gaming journalists are terrific people, and I admire them greatly.

Also, let’s be honest with ourselves. There’s a long list of journalists who left to join Nintendo, Golin Harris, Apple, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, Gearbox, Ubisoft, and 8-4 localization. So the idea of me leaving journalism to work on a tiny, low-budget indie game — which has a high chance of failure — isn’t some big deal.

Making indie games is a massive risk for everyone involved. Commercial and critical success is never guaranteed with indie game development. Example: Atooi’s Jools Watsham created Chicken Wiggle, a quality indie game that received positive reviews, but unfortunately, it didn’t find success due to poor timing.


Vita means Life

Recent rumors of a PS Vita successor (PSP 3) are being perpetuated by people who were never happy with Switch’s concept since the beginning. And, as you can imagine, these people are even more unhappy that the Switch is successful. Now, these same people, who were wrong on all of their NX hardware rumors, are praying that Sony will reveal something at TGS — anything at all — to steal some thunder away from Switch.

I highly doubt that a PS Vita successor could offer anything that the Switch doesn’t already. Take western third party support, for example. People will be very surprised to learn how many unannounced ports of third-party AAA western games are coming to the Switch. Why do we need this mythical PSP3 to play portable versions of PS4’s violent, M-rated, western third party games? The answer is simple — we don’t because Switch will have that territory mostly covered.

Historically, Sony’s portables has always had power advantages over Nintendo. The PSP was significantly more powerful than the DS, and the PS Vita was significantly more powerful than 3DS. But even if Sony released a more powerful handheld, it still wouldn’t be a noticeable leap over what Switch currently offers. This is due to numerous factors such as price, battery size, battery life, cooling systems, screen resolution, and the physical size of the system.

Switch is in a good position right now.

  1. Being a commercial success makes it an attractive platform for third parties.
  2. It offers engine support for Unity, Unreal Engine, and Snowdrop. The lack of engine support is what drove western companies away from 3DS.

So, what could a hypothetical Vita successor provide that Switch couldn’t? I’m drawing blanks here. A future PlayStation Portable might have a better online network and online infrastructure. In case you haven’t paid attention, Nintendo tends to struggle with online every generation. But that’s all I can really think of at the moment.