GDC: Jaffe on console game problems

David Jaffe opened his GDC "Microtalk" by adding his voice to the growing crowd that feels the need to tell us they play games on the toilet. At this point I'm over all the sharing, but he followed up with a good point. He, and all the rest of us, play apps in the bathroom and other short time windows because we can tap the icon on the screen and almost instantly be playing.

Jaffe said that console games are pushing people to the mobile space because, "it takes too damn long to get a game started." To support his point, he timed a few games over the prior weekend to see how long it took from the time he turned on the power to actually getting in the game. The fastest of them took a couple minutes, and the worst rose closer to ten.

He suggested a couple of solutions. One was to have a system where with a game in the drive, the console would offer a quick startup to continue from your last save bypassing all the home screen and game menu screens. The other was to give home consoles a sleep function like portable platforms use so he could put a game to sleep and then pick right back up where he left off.

Jaffe said console games face other entry barriers as well. They are too long he says. He wants a game he take home over the weekend and have a great, complete experience beating it. Needing patches to fix or add content, sometimes right out of the box, is another. He thinks there should be a restriction against patching a game in its first two months, and patches to be limited to a max of four per title. And finally, he said that we've forgotten that multiplayer is best when it's one-on-one. One of 300 in massive online games doesn't feel epic; it's just chaos.