Lightning Mailbag: The “I’m Really Tired Again” Edition

Questions with short answers, go!

Where does getting the age rating from rating boards like the ESRB fit into the timeline of a project?

The targeted age range is usually decided upon very early in the game’s preproduction phase but the actual final rating isn’t obtained until the game is nearing completion and we can submit it for evaluation. The ESRB has to vet the game’s shipping content, similar to how games undergo certification with platform.


What are your opinions on the recently released PlayDate handheld console? Do you think it will be successful enough to create its own audience? Do you there will be enough developers to make games for it?

I think it’s too expensive. $180 for that thing seems too high, especially when compared to available alternatives. A new Nintendo Switch Lite retails just slightly higher at $200. I wish them luck and I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but that price tag is surely going to induce some sticker shock.


Funding / Pitching your intillectual property, A friend and I have an idea for a game and thought the best way to begin funding the project would be to pay for a “video” montage of the concept / basics / mechanics and game play - obviously nothing is developed but to show the idea or secure funding is this a road many developers go down ?

Absolutely. You need to persuade the people with the money that the product you hope to build can be successful. Even if you cannot build a fully playable prototype by the time you get the meeting, being able to show off what the game should be like goes a long way toward persuading people that the idea can work. Of course, you still need to persuade the investors that you can hire the sort of developers you know you’ll need in order to make what you showed in the video a reality, but that’s usually much easier than selling them on a product idea they don’t really understand.


What do you think of cloud versions of 3rd party games on the Nintendo Switch? Is it going to become a norm, or just a temporary solution while Nintendo catches up with hardware?

“If it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid.” It’s a functional and timely solution to a difficult technical problem, so I’m not surprised that publishers have leaned in that direction. If it’s popular enough, they’ll continue to do it.

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