It’s October Already?!
Let’s start with the biggest question on everyone’s mind...
After four rounds of mold refinement we can honestly say we're quite satisfied with our latest production test of Genki. There is however a noticeable failure rate with the placement of the USB-C ports into the middle of the board - most ports are placed on top of a board for easy pick-and-place manufacturing, but would make our product much thicker and/or asymmetrical. We've tracked down a vendor who can setup a tool to automate this with a much higher success rate and should be up and running again next week.
The dock adapter has finished production and works flawlessly. We received our third sample of the portable stand and the factory is beginning production while we do a bit of fine tuning of the exterior finish.
We have also been testing our mics on Fortnite and they’re all ready and good to go (the sound waves coming from the speaker icon indicate this) - we spent 4 hours testing a thousand mics and all of them worked functionally with only 3 of them having slight physical defects. And finally, our slick case is being fine tuned to securely fit our production units (as opposed to prototypes) and should be quick to manufacture.
Taking some time to reflect..
So for those that are eagerly waiting - we did indeed initially set a targeted ship date for October for Day One and Earlybird backers. And for those of you that did back first day you’ll know that we’ve come a long way since we first launched on Kickstarter with the following additional features:
- Developed a USB-C power passthrough port (this caused a complete PCB revamp and more than doubled components)
- Built and included a free mini microphone to support games with built-in voice chat (e.g. Fortnite)
- Created a unique game case as packaging for all components
- Slimmed down Genki by more than 13% to be more portable and fit in game case
- Redesigned the portable stand to better support multiple angles and the new passthrough charging and game case thickness
- Added 48 new color combinations (we should’ve been more conservative here, there are now over 500 unique package combinations we need to pack/ship)
- And maybe a few other surprise bonuses? ;)
- Developed a USB-C power passthrough feature (this caused a complete PCB revamp and more than doubled components)
There were also a few hurdles along the way that we feel would be considered beyond our control:
- Natural disasters: four typhoons, including the largest one in over 40 years, Typhoon Mangkhut, have impacted our supply chain, shutting down factories for days and delaying component shipments
- Week-long national holidays: despite planning for this, we had anticipated finishing manufacturing before this - but with new features we ended up in this dead time between Oct 1-7
- Trade wars: so it’s all over the news about tariffs, and since we’re working with Qualcomm, global chipset shipments have decreased, making it more expensive and difficult to source in quantity
- Over demand: though we're not going to complain!
So what does this all mean?
For some of our early backers we may be a little late for October shipment (which seriously pains us). For those targeted for November, we are still on track. We should have some units ready by the end of October but likely not enough for every one of our early backers. So naturally the next questions is “Will I be in the October batch?” And unfortunately we don't have the answer yet until we can confidently confirm the quantity of each items we can review before the end of the month - but our plan is to go by the order backer number (first come first serve) without color/extension customizations. Also specific certification for wireless devices in certain regions like Japan and Taiwan may take an extra week or two. We’ll keep the updates more frequent as we learn more.
I know this last paragraph may leave the community divided and all we can ask is for your patience. For every Kickstarter that is delayed there is also another one that rushed out defective products - its a delicate balance. We’ve invested a lot of additional effort in development and testing since we launched this project and I’m incredibly proud of our team in getting as far as we are today; Genki has really evolved into a much better product thanks to every one of you.
We’re taking this very seriously and have all moved together into an Airbnb together to manage every one of our five suppliers more closely - we've only had time to play one round of Super Mario Party, really! We want to ensure what we send out is quality and we want to be very thorough in our quality check before sending Genki out to the world. As one of our backers Nicolas reminded us of a quote:
Tokyo Game Show
Speaking of games, Genki was shown at Japan’s largest video game conference! We dazzled the crowds and somehow managed to get attention from some pretty impressive press mentions including Engadget Japan and Gizmodo Japan and even snuck in a conversation with the Big N.
The good news is that beyond demoing it to the Japanese crowds I was able to meet some of our backers and global indie developers in person which was amazing. The bad news is somehow in the process I destroyed my phone in water despite being waterproof. Luckily, we were able to recover a small video that I shared with the team earlier but most of my photos have been lost (I am devastated).
So besides all of the indie developers loving Genki, I wanted to share my thoughts on each of these wonderful games :)
Super Cane Magic Zero (Italy) - this game was demo’d with Genki during the whole show to demonstrate the dual pairing and I really can’t wait for this funky game to come out. It’s a 4-player comedy adventure game with a bunch of odd-ball puzzles and an awesome aesthetic that reminds me a bit of Scribblenauts and is coming out later this year.
The Gardens Between (Australia) - this game launched while I was in Japan and was featured on the Nintendo Direct for good reason, its a beautiful short adventure that really trigger the nostalgic feels. You go through these dream like environments with the ability to control time, but what really brought this game to life was when you put on headphones (which the game reminds you to do) to bring out the beautiful ambient soundtrack that is unfortunately lost in the built-in speakers.
Super Dodgeball Beats (Spain) - This is what happens when the most unlikeliest mash-up comes together - a funky music rhythm and dodgeball fighting game. I was fortunate to catch-up with the lead artist who gave us the thumbs up - Genki doesn’t skip a beat even in music games. Comes out next year!
Zen Bound 2 (Finland) - I first played the original Zen Bound on iPhone and must say its come a long way and feels great on the Switch with the Joy-Con gyro. The music is some of the most relaxing soothing and always puts me in a meditative trance. A great game to unwind after a few intense Smash sessions. This is out already on the eShop!
Tokyo Dark Remembrance (Japan) - Fellow Kickstarter project Tokyo Dark has created a cool murder mystery interactive novel with really innovative controls for the genre and a matching bone-chilling soundtrack. I can’t wait to dive into this one coming Winter 2018.
Ibb & Obb (Netherlands) - So cool that one of our backers actually stopped by to visit us and surprise us with his game. I’m all for more 2 player co-op games in tabletop mode with Genki and this definitely scratches the itch. The world is divided by a line where the gravity flips on each side, it’s a cool puzzle platform that keeps you on your toes as you bounce and fall through portals together. Coming out later this year!
So yeah, there’s definitely an awesome library of games coming to your favorite Bluetooth headphones paired to the Switch.
Thanks for making it to the end!
Eddie, Chris, and Andrew