I am glad that the project creator and staff found the factory up to standard upon their initial inspection, however I do find myself concerned as to what is happening when you are not there. One hears no end of labor horror stories from China. While I understand that the bottom line is a major concern to you, I feel that I should ask, "why didn't you make it in the UK?" The Raspberry Pi is made in the UK, and that is a small, affordable system with a good deal of power. 35 US Dollars for the base board, and there are numerous videos of it emulating 3D games, or running 3D games from scratch. Clearly, you can build local, have a powerful system, and make money while not charging the customers an arm and a leg, and apparently, there are companies in the UK who are willing to do board work. Was price the major factor in deciding to build in China, or are their components in the GameStick that are more easily accessible in China, or were there other factors involved? While I am very glad that platforms like the GameStick are coming into existence, and giving us control over the games we play and make, I don't want that newfound control to be at the expense of people being forced to slave away at my system. Please take continued measures to ensure that I and all your other backers are not investing in a Foxconn, even if it means surprise visits or passing the cost on. Thank you.
Dear Jasper, dear GameStick Team,
thank you very much for this update. I'm happy to see it's a concern for you as well and I hope your impressions in the factory where "real" and not staged in any way. I'm looking forward to the finished product and wish you the best of luck!
Finding the right partners has not been easy and has been an ongoing process during the last 5 months, with almost 50 different supplier / manufacturing options. KJ, our man in Korea runs a factory himself and has a lot of experience in hardware development and problem solving so he was able to whittle the list down to 4 for my review when we arrived. My brief was to choose a company with a lot of experience, proven quality and a track record of excellent staff welfare. The 2 partners we have selected - one for production of the PCB for GameStick and one for controller and plastics manufacturing - are first class.
The reason I wanted to do factory visits rather than just meet the marketing and sales staff was to get as close to the detail as possible. We often hear horror stories about manufacturing in China, Philippines and Vietnam. What I found was really impressive. Engaged people, strong engineers and a good working environment, linked to established recycling procedures. Working conditions in the factory are good - certainly as good as some of the factories I have seen in Europe and the US and better than many I have seen in other parts of the world. Some jobs are more fun than others for the staff, so they have skill grades and once you get above a certain grade you get the chance to move from one role to the next on a rotational basis. The workers come from all over China and so our parter, like many others here, provide a housing complex that out of town workers use during the week. Thats culturally quite different to many of us, but Chinas size (3,748,000 sq miles) makes it a necessity and also allows workers to save more of their earnings. The other thing that is interesting is that our partner ends the working day 1 hr earlier than most. Work begins at 8.45 and goes on until 4pm after which there is an optional 1 to 2hrs of overtime at time and a half wages. They found that the motivation of the workforce doubled in the later part of the day. Our partners are also a part of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition which was set up and is operated to improve conditions for workers in China - more info here: http://www.eicc.info/about_us.shtml
It was a great experience to see the end-to-end process and to see how GameStick will be made from raw components in to a beautiful product to hold and play with. It is important to us that GameStick is made by people who are as engaged and motivated by its success as we are. Its not easy to get a game console in China because the console titles are controlled by the government. So these guys were really happy to see a product that was open, for which there are already lots of titles and that could be sold in China - so many of the workforce already love the project. In summary, the human working conditions in our partners’ factories is good. I spent 5 hrs in our lead partners factory going through every workshop; every process and I came away thinking we had found a great and strong partner who cared about their business and people. If GameStick takes off in the way we hope it will, we will of course look at second sourcing. We are interested to explore options and to see if we can also support regional manufacturing. Right now we want to get the first few thousand units made and create the manufacturing tools and blue prints.
Just a thought , if I buy 2x sticks can I use them on the same account in the same way I do with apple.
In other words a only pay for a game once but can use that game on both sticks.
I have two kids and I'm going to buy 2 gamesticks.
Can I have my gamestick now :D lol
This is a great update, Shenzhen looks crazy, and that whole CBC building, good to know Canada is advertising directly over there :D BBC should take some notes.
I would love to see more user experience GUI videos, like how to invite your friends to play, or added features like being able to send each other messages from the lobby etc.
@Julien JEANROY-BERTRAND That is indeed a Razer Sabretooth - Q/A Testing video confirms @ 1:06
@Jahquan Ingram The Sabretooth is a usb corded cable, so it may be possible, but would require the GameStick to be on a stable surface.
since you've been there, could you spare some words on the working conditions?! I know it's a topic a lot of people don't want to talk about but I think it it our duty as consumer to tackle that topic
Too bad that's not the controller we are getting in the QA video, which looks way better aesthetically and functionally .
@Matthew PlayJam is not a US company so I'm not sure why you think they should prioritize making their product here. If anything, they would manufacture in the UK. Of course that wouldn't really make sense when pretty everything in this industry is made in Asia. This is a relatively small project so the cost would probably skyrocket if they tried to keep all production in country.
@Mathew Game Stick is a low-budget kind of console, I seriously doubt it would cost under $100 if it was being manufactured in the States. Of course I agree with your sentiment, but there's really no choice if you want to keep the cost down.
I'm sure it's difficult to find a bargain like you've got in China, I don't mean to harp, and it's not going to cause me to withdraw my pledge but felt compelled to at least mention that I really wish you were having this manufactured in the USA. The job situation in -this- country is never going to improve if we keep looking beyond our shores for our industrial and manufacturing needs.
Hello John - I don't think they have slept for jet lag - our hearts here are bleeding... ;)
Hello C Genovese - these guys make controllers for a lot of people!
Hello Julien - great spot! We spent quite some time making sure we picked the best manufacturing partners.
The controller being tested in the video is a Razer product : maybe the Sabertouth http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-controllers/razer-sabertooth
This is very good news because Razer is one of the most demanding company when it comes to the quality of their products.
So we can be sure this factory will produce a top quality hardware for our Gamestick.
Well done PlayJam, you've chosen wisely :-)
Assuming that very Sony/Microsoft-looking controller is something they make at that factory unrelated to the GameStick? I like the unique looks of the controller/ integrated system you guys developed. Hope that design is finalized.
Is it the Gamestick at the end of the QA/Testing video ?
I'm pretty sure it's not... but we can still dreaming about it...
Keep up the good work.
Lookin good guys, take some time to have a little fun too!