Departures, polls, and impressive sales: This was a quiet week in games, but there's still some stuff to talk about. Brace yourself, because the big early year releases are about to drop. Frankly, let's enjoy the quiet while it lasts.
The Nintendo Switch Sells Like
Hotcakes Artisanal Avocado Toast
The ultimate dream of the Nintendo Switch and everything Nintendo releases is to recapture the incredible sales of the original Wii, a console that changed gaming and really impressed your grandparents. And the Switch, according to a report by NPD (read Kotaku's take on it here ), is doing a pretty dang good job at meeting that standard.
According to NPD—which, maddeningly, refuses to release actual numbers—in December the Nintendo Switch sold better than any game console has sold in any December of this generation. That means neither the Xbox One, nor the PlayStation 4, nor the Nintendo 3DS have done better. That's, uh, pretty incredible. Nothing like a new Super Smash Bros. to goose sales!
Cyberpunk 2077 Just Lost its Creative Director, Which Seems Not Great
Sebastian Stepien worked at game studio CD Projekt Red for 13 years, working his way up from junior dialog writer to the creative director for the upcoming game Cyberpunk 2077 . Well, no longer: According to a report from Variety , Stepien has moved on to a mysterious new role at Blizzard, which he started this month.
Now, I'm no game developer, but my general impression is that a creative director leaving an unfinished project tends not to bode well for said project. Cyberpunk 2077 is pretty far along in its dev cycle, supposedly slated for a 2019 release (though that's just a rumor, at this point), but it still feels like one would want such a prominent role to continue on until everything's done and packaged up.
Almost Half of Game Devs Support Unionization, and Other Neat Stats
Variety also has a great roundup of a major survey among game professionals this week. The 2019 State of the Industry Survey, conducted by the Game Developer's Conference every year in advance of the event, contains a wealth of fascinating data. Like: 47 percent of respondents support unionization for the industry, while only 16 percent say outright no. (One has to wonder how many of the 16 percent happen to be folks in management.)
Also interesting is that 44 percent of game devs work more than 40 hours a week—which itself is a good reason to support unionization, honestly. Also, while 47 percent of those asked say they sell their games on Steam, only 32 percent of developers don't think that platform's 30 percent revenue cut is worth it. Overall, it's a compelling gathering of data, and seems to suggest that discussions about workers' rights and platform supremacy are only going to be more pressing as time goes on.
Recommendation of the Week: Resident Evil 4
So, this thing happens to me. I'll play a new game in a series, and then I'll get nostalgic and go digging through the backlog. And, y'all, did you know this Resident Evil 4 game is pretty good? Like, solid stuff here. Reimagining Resident Evil as a dumb, but still thrilling horror-action movie, it's tense and fun and overall just a wild ride. It's been remastered and rereleased on pretty much every platform available (with the Switch coming later this year), so you probably already own this game. And you should definitely revisit it.
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