It's January of a console generation launch year, so it's time to start looking to the glorious future and getting uncritically hyped up about a new generation of plastic boxes to spend all our money and time on! Wooooooo!
As we get closer to the launches, expect the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Switch Pro to start popping up more and more in these columns, partly because everyone's going to be talking about them, and partly because the generational switch-over often means there's not a lot else that people want to talk about.
We'll start the march to new hardware this week with some snippets about the future and a couple looks back at new tech of previous generations, and then dip back into a potpourri of observations to remind you that pretty much none of 2019's ongoing crises in gaming were resolved, so we're sure to see more on that front this year as well.
QUOTE | "There are still more unique elements for PlayStation 5 to come that separate it from previous consoles. The 'bigger differences' have yet to be announced." - Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan teases that the already announced new features in the PS5—including 8K support, backward compatibility, and a solid-state drive—won't be the console's only unique selling points over the PS4.
QUOTE | "Going into PlayStation 2, we were certainly confident, but we were also cautious because it was very rare that the leader of one generation could hold that position in the next. There was a great deal of trepidation not to get caught up in our success and to make sure that we redoubled our efforts going into the next generation." - Jack Tretton, former head of Sony Computer Entertainment US, talks about the console as its 20th anniversary year arrives. Sony would avoid getting caught up in its success with the PS2, but got over that trepidation in time for the disastrous PS3 launch.
QUOTE | "Is there really a base of customers out there who would consider a Switch, if only it was a little more powerful and nominally supported 4K displays?" - Rob Fahey wonders what problem a Switch Pro would possibly solve for Nintendo.
QUOTE | "At the beginning of [Xbox] Live it was all about sports, racing, and shooting games. Now if you found a game that didn't have some kind of Live functionality it would seem like it wasn't a complete game. I think Natal is likely to get there as well." - Phil Spencer in 2010, talking about his high expectations for Project Natal, the motion-sensing camera that would launch as the Kinect later that year. That was one of several bad calls we covered in the latest 10 Years Ago This Month column.
QUOTE | "Can you create a game that's as interesting and character-driven and compelling as an Uncharted story or Last of Us story without shooting? I think you can. Again the concept has to be... 'how can I create a rich enough world to allow for interesting core mechanics?'" - Naughty Dog game director Bruce Straley talks about how far the industry has come in making games where the story and the gameplay don't trip over each other so much.
STAT | ¥1 - The amount GR Drive is paying Nexon to acquire its mobile development studio Gloops. That's the equivalent of a penny, if we're rounding up.
STAT | ¥36.5 billion - The amount Nexon paid to acquire Gloops in 2012. That was more than $468 million at the time.
QUOTE | "The only statement I was really making with these games was that I like games and I want to make games. That's cool, but that's not necessarily interesting to other people. Why should they really care? I was just a fanboy for the technology, which is a bit like using a pencil to draw pictures of pencils." - Tearaway and Knights and Bikes designer Rex Crowle believes his earliest games suffered because he was too in love with the technology behind them.
QUOTE | "It was very aggressive monetization in those days, and I wasn't very happy being part of that. It almost felt like being part of a drug-dealing operation." - Ken Hall explains why he left game development in 2007, when he was working at APB: All Points Bulletin at Realtime Worlds and began to hear talk of switching the MMO to a free-to-play monetization scheme. Hall returned to games with his studio 2Dogs, which is working on the upcoming strategy MMO Destiny's Sword.
QUOTE | "There will be no playable female characters because of game lore and more importantly - the huge amount of work needed with animations, gear fitting etc." - Escape from Tarkov's official Twitter account dusts off a few tired excuses for the lack of playable women in its game. In short, they don't want playable women in the game, and even if they did, they probably wouldn't want them in there bad enough to prioritize it over other things they'd rather add.
QUOTE | "We believe workers are strongest when they're together in one shop in one union, so the disciplines can't be pitted against each other—none of that's good for the workers." - Game Workers Unite co-founder Emma Kinema talks about the approach she's taking in her new role with The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE), a group created by GWU and the Communication Workers of America (CWA) to organize tech and game workers in North America.