The Half-time Show
Color Voting Results are in!
When we first clicked launch we never imagined we’d grow to this scale so it felt safe to just stick with the neon blue / neon red combination. You guys wanted color choices as a stretch goal and we opened the floodgates and let everyone vote for their favorite color last week. We closed the polls after 3 days with 1,273 votes (incredible) - so we know you take your Joy-Con colors seriously.
The good news is we found some ways to basically make a lot of options for everyone but may have to sacrifice the 1P / 2P inscriptions - this actually could be better because it means you can use GENKI backward if the lights annoy you (though we actually have them auto dim btw). Anyways, back to what you’re here for, the voting results! (drumroll):
So we’re glad to know that is default color is the most popular and we will be making sure to be making plenty to go around for our monochromatic buddies (my wife included).
Now the interesting part - we honestly didn’t expect there to be more than a 1/4 of our crowd wanting the game specific Joy-Con colors. And honestly there’s a dangerously low interest in the ARMS Neon Yellow demand but we’ve decided that we’re just going to be awesome for the community because you guys have been awesome to us (or we can set an arbitrary stretch goal of $200K and congratulate ourselves in a few days - just kidding). We'll make these game specific colors limited and ensure there’s just enough to go around to satisfy our Kickstarter backers - so let's just call this a Kickstarter Exclusive.
So what about the remainder? This is where we had an ‘other color’ field that will probably get us in trouble. But upon closer inspection, we realized that half of the “others” category wanted color combinations made up of the colors above. So in order to fulfill this demand, Chris our designer has stepped up to the plate and offered his support in those wanting custom color configurations. He will personally sit in the factory and assemble these customizations and we ask that you donate $2 to your order if you want this so we can at least put him up in a decent hotel for volunteering (you can do this when we confirm final addresses when the campaign closes).
So there you have it, we’re able to satisfy 97% of your color demands. Now just to respond to some of the messages you guys left us on this survey (these were anonymous by the way)...
Reading Your Anonymous Mail
Can you make it to where the colors can be changed? Like a removable piece of plastic or something.
So we had this crazy idea to offer a DIY LABO-like kit where you get an unassembled GENKI and you get a bag of colors for you to put it together with glue or snaps. Let’s just say the Engineer and the Designer do not approve… The size would have to be much thicker and the QA process would be a nightmare and we couldn’t truly ensure it would work on arrival. So yeah we’re sonic welding this thing to make it as compact and robust as possible and just offering colors directly.
You guys are dope / You guys rock! / Love you
(brushing the dirt off our shoulders) You're dope, you rock, and we love you too!
In the case that the Splatoon Edition does not win out, since I was the first to post about the idea, is there any way at all you guys can be like "Hey kid! You gave us a great idea and got all these people even more excited our product, so we will do one Splatoon Edition just for you since you're a real nice guy!" That would make me a very very very happy person. Thanks for making this product happen!
It's not every day we make someone very very very happy, we're honored!
I’m allergic to soy.
What if soy milk... is just regular milk introducing itself in Spanish? (but seriously don’t drink it)
Can you make a little hardshell case for it?
Grey and Neon should be made mass market, others possibly as Kickstarter exclusive.
You got it, boss.
I would really like the ability to flip the Genki away from me or turn off the green lights.
Free win! USB-C works both ways. And our lights auto-dim, they’re actually not distracting at all but we leave it up to you.
I love your company and glad you take your backers/supporters into consideration.
And this is how you schmooze us into making your ARMS edition neon yellow!
How do I choose before receiving my Genki?
Good practical question, you’ll get a survey at the end specifying all the add-ons, mods, and even your final shipping address.
Does this work for PS4?
Yes, it works on the PS4 with the dock adapter! Also works on a Macbook if you want to Netflix and chill voyeuristically. In all seriousness, we do hope Netflix comes to the Switch.
Is Splatoon edition US or international arrangement? (Colors are flipped)
We're a bit ashamed we didn't know that there was a color difference… and yeah I guess it is the US edition with the green on the left, and pink on the right. Well, at least we have that customization option?
Please keep us updated on the microphone functionality research and production!
Okay, perfect transition into our next topic…
The Mic Update
So on the first day of our campaign we were all hyped up and freaking out at the same time as it turned out to be the same day Fortnite had announced (but not enabled) voice chat for the Switch. We first thought, yay this is great! If people can talk without the smartphone app over Bluetooth headphones this would be great. Since then we've been furiously preparing solutions and trying to figure out how the Nintendo Switch and Fortnite would handle voice chat. We quickly learned a few things on how the Switch handles audio input after a few tests.
1. Enable Voice-chat through HFP Bluetooth Profile
This sounded simple enough at first and when it seemed like the ideal option since we had all the hardware in place to technically make this change. When we looked into it though we realized there's a lot of software development behind this, and not just adding Bluetooth profiles but also introduces some complexity in how we toggle between profiles. What this means is you can use A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile for stereo 48kHz bit rate) to play games but the second Fortnite sends a request for mic input it'll force downgrade to a profile which supports it, HFP (Hands-Free Profile, mono 8kHz bit rate) which is what is commonly used in modern car phone integrations. Your game audio instantly sounds as if it were on the other side of a phone call, muted, hollow, and muffled. It's dramatically noticeable and an unpleasant experience. If you've heard of people using USB wireless audio headsets it's actually because they're specific gamer headphones that are not Bluetooth, and use a proprietary radio connection with big bulky designs that tend to make you look like a cyborg (which is cool, if you're into that sort of thing!)
2. Build an Integrated Microphone Inside of GENKI
So then we looked into how we could just build in a mic into GENKI. We didn't know if this was technically possible for GENKI to transmit audio through one source and receive audio through another source all through one USB-C port. So what we did was get a USB-C splitter and basically plugged in USB microphone on one port and GENKI on the other. We loaded up Fortnite and high fives all around we saw it load. Now we're looking into what impact it'll have for the final product as we'll have to add three things to the BOM (bill of material for manufacturing) which include a microphone, a hub controller, and a sound card with ADC audio digital conversion. We have to try moving a lot of components around and do some further testing! The good news is the sound quality remains top notch but realistically we will have to consider how to mute the mic for those who value their privacy at times.
3. Add-on a Microphone to the Headphone Jack
So this sounded simple enough, GENKI uses the USB-C port why not use the headphone jack for analog voice input? It's pretty smart too because you don't need to modify and do further testing - and you don't have to worry about it always being on if its a separate thing to plug in. It sounds almost too simple but we found some interesting things. If you plug-in a USB audio device into the Switch it trumps all connections so even if you were to plug in a mic after it would ignore it. Yet when you do it the other way around, plugging in the mic first its not a problem. You heard it here first, a GENKI discovery. The great thing about this option is that it doesn't impact the sound quality, de-risks development, and shipment schedules, but it would technically require a huge upfront order for us to make one that sits the way we want.
We haven’t made a decision yet as we still want to further explore and adjust our confidence in each option. We are least confident in #1 because sound quality is super important to us and it introduces risk and confusion of toggling profiles and will likely introduce many more bugs (we’ve squashed all of them last week). #2 we will keep trying different parts and test the performance and most importantly the impact. #3 will require a bit of design and confirmation of a supply chain to support it. Either way, we just want to say voice chat isn’t going to be an optional add-on, we want it to be ready for everyone before shipping (even if Fortnite turns out to be just a fad). If you read all the way to the end, bravo...
Till next time,
Eddie, Chris, and Andrew
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