I think we talked about it a little bit before, but it feels like you're sort of moving up the consoles in terms of technical requirements and difficulty of making games -- well, not necessarily that, but fidelity. Is that something that you are cognizant of?
JS: Oh, absolutely. We were very cognizant of that.
JT: We've been a two-game studio for a couple of years now, so just doing Hybrid and the next big game that we do doesn't necessarily mean that you won't see another handheld game from 5th Cell at some point in the future.
We look at every platform. There are some platforms that we talked about in the speech -- Facebook and stuff -- where we don't do it. We don't sit there and play FarmVille for hours.
JS: Or ever.
JT: (Laughs) I've tried it. You won't see 5th Cell there. But 3DS, NGP...
JS: They're interesting platforms. When me and Joe started our first company, Epix, which we didn't talk about in our speech, we did an MMORPG on Xbox. Obviously, it didn't come out, or you would have heard about it. But it totally failed; it was huge. It was shooting for the moon, especially on the consoles. There still isn't really a console MMO -- don't count Final Fantasy.
JS: Yeah, DC.
JT: EverQuest Online.
JS: Ugh. (Everyone laughs) Well, as we shot for the moon, it didn't really work out, so we thought, "Let's do the opposite; go really small and start building." So it was mobile to DS to XBLA -- not doing full console because this is kind of like "learn some more stuff in 3D." Everybody has 3D experience at our studio -- a lot of people -- but not as a studio. It's kind of a stepping stone.
JT: And it's ambition within the platform, I think, that's a big thing. We haven't necessarily said we're on DS and want to do something small on DS; we've always been like, "We want to be the best-selling game on DS. We want to be the best-selling game on XBLA." We always aim big, whatever platform we're in. If and when we do a console game, it will be a huge console game. We won't go and aim for double-A.
JS: Yeah, if there is such a word. You never hear that word; it's always triple-A.
JT: You won't see many of those games anymore. All the publishers are unanimous in their verdict that any middle-ground is dead: "We're doing XBLA, we're doing Facebooky stuff, or we're doing super triple-A high-end stuff."
What do you think about those new handhelds you mentioned?
JS: They're interesting. We've been playing with stuff. Obviously, I was at the Nintendo conference last year for 3DS and stuff, so. They're interesting. I'm not in either camp; I think they're both interesting, and I'm not sure what or if we'll do something for them, especially with new IP and stuff. I don't know; maybe.
It's tough because everybody's like, "Yeah, which? Red or blue? Which do I like better?" I don't know where the market's gonna go. I don't know what the consumers -- we have our own opinions, but they're not necessarily true. I definitely don't have all the information that both the first parties do.
JT: Not only that, but we've never done a game for an unproved platform or an unreleased platform. We've always looked at what the market is, who's buying that console or that handheld, what type of games that they're playing...
JS: It's interesting to us. We're not sure.
JT: It's something we'll have to do at some point in the future. We'll see.
How do you think the stores factor into that equation -- their ability to purchase games within the console? How important do you think those will be? Because they're not necessarily going to be there at launch.
JS: Who knows? It depends again because we don't have the full picture, so it's really tough to tell what Nintendo and Sony have planned for their things. If they're smart, they'll support it because that's this feature.
JT: But we know that retail's still gonna be a key part at least with 3DS. They're still in retail space.
JS: Well, he's saying because Nintendo has their store, and it's going to be a better version; they've learned a lot with DSiWare and WiiWare. So they'll be better, I'm sure.
JS: I don't know. Just give me mega broadband so you can just download games really quick. Give me Korean-style military-grade where it's two-hundred thousand megabytes per second. That's what I want!
JT: As soon as that becomes mass-market it's a great thing for developers because --
JS: -- look at the music industry, right? Nobody buys CDs anymore; only collectors or some hardcore die-hard fan who's like "I've got to listen to this." The reason why is because we can download them so fast. If we can download games so fast...
JT: Publishers take a lot of risk because of making retail games. At the end of the day, they've got to buy x hundreds of thousands or millions of units to stock, and that's at some cost. I think publishers with digital -- you can kind of put it up there. You still have to market it, but if ten people download it you're not stuck with a hundred thousand copies in the warehouse that you paid money for.
JS: Yeah. With digital, there's no warehouse. I think everybody in the industry is on board with it as far as the developing and publishing side. It's just a matter of when it'll happen. I'm excited for it.