What I'm Reading - 5/30/2018
Three to five links every weekday - 'Politics And Other Sports' edition.
Retro, today, is known as the studio behind of one of the greatest games of all time, Metroid Prime, its two sequels and a pair of Donkey Kong Country games. The team is a part of the Nintendo family, beloved by fans who grew up with its games. But through a lot of its early years Retro was a studio on the brink of collapse, constantly churning but with no results. It was saved by Nintendo’s decision to trust it with one of its long-running franchises. Getting there, though, was a trial by fire that left many without jobs and with bitter feelings about a studio built on ambition and top-tier development talent.
Following last year’s announcement of Metroid Prime 4, in development not by Retro but a “talented new development team,” according to Nintendo, we decided to look back at where the Prime series started. We recently talked to 10 former Retro employees — from senior staffers to junior artists, sound designers and others — and heard a story of money, ambition, and anger. It’s a story that gets much worse before it ever gets better.
GOING TO AN E-SPORT EVENT IS LIKE TRAVELING BACK TO THE TIME WHEN PEOPLE FOLLOWED SPORTS FOR THE SPORT
Think about your favorite spectator sport. Do you remember a time when you were just into the game itself, without the complicating and exciting factor of having a team to root for? For most people, the experience of watching competitive sports is inherently connected to cheering for a particular team or player. In my case, that sport was basketball, and I literally can’t recall having any interest in it before the Michael Jordan Bulls captured my passion and attention. But when it comes to e-sports, a field very much in development, franchise loyalty remains secondary to the love of the game.
This past weekend, I attended the first big Dota 2 tournament held in the UK, the $1 million Birmingham Major hosted by ESL One, and I got to experience two uniquely pleasurable things. It was the first time I watched professionals play my favorite video game, and it was the first time I observed a sport, albeit an e-sport, being followed and supported purely for its own sake and not because of teams and players. More than 8,000 people gathered in Birmingham for a common cause: not to trade barbs and witless repartee, but to celebrate the game that they (we) all love.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of processes running on a smartphone-optimized chipsets that aren’t really necessary for the average virtual joe’s experience in a face computer. While tacking on more and more power to these headsets has generally been the dominating wisdom of the past five years, it’s getting to a point where the hardware that can be built has reached the good-enough stage and it’s time to bring costs down and focus on shipping units.
To herald in this necessary step, Qualcomm announced today that it has built a dedicated chipset for standalone headsets. The Snapdragon XR1 is the company’s first chipset focused exclusively on AR and VR, which the company is collectively referring to as “XR”.
In 2019, China will begin to build its own space station—but they don’t want the space just for themselves. According to an announcement Tuesday morning from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, China wants to share the station with space-faring countries, developing countries, universities, and companies from around the world to conduct experiments.
Michael Listner, the founder of the private space policy consulting firm Space Law & Policy Solutions, said in an email to The Outline that he believes China’s motivations are primarily power-driven. “Overall, this an effort by China to gain a stronger soft-power footing in the UN,” Listener said. “Especially among nations that do not have direct access to outer space.”