Dev Box Interview: Nyko’s VP of Product Development Amir Navid
It usually takes a small army to create the video games that we play, and, most of the time, all of the focus gets put on the game itself, and not on the people that came together to make it. Our Dev Box interview series takes a look at some of the unsung heroes that have committed their lives to entertaining all of us. This week we doing a little something different, and letting a peripheral developer get on the Dev Box and tell us a bit about himself, and what he thinks about the games industry. Check out what Nyko’s Vice President of Product Development Amir Navid had to say about peripheral development.
Name: Amir Navid
Title: Vice President of Product Development, Nyko Technologies
What you do: Design and oversee the development of products at Nyko
Most recent game worked on: WAND™ controller for Wii® and several upcoming Trans-Port™ enabled accessories that attach to the WAND™
1. What game has most influenced you, and why?
The original ATARI Controller. It was just so awkward and painful to use. They would inevitably stop working properly, or stop moving in a direction. This forced me to open them and attempt to fix them.
It also made me think of how it could have been designed better. With that said, I also love that controller for its simplicity, and it reminds me of a very exciting and innocent period of gaming history.
2. What are you playing right now?
“FiFA 09,” and “Resident Evil 5″
3. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about game development?
Nothing good comes easy, and details make a world of difference
4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
There is always something to be learned from every situation, good or bad.
5. What do you think is the biggest problem current games suffer from?
There is a constant battle between retail margin and innovative technology. As a manufacturer that distributes to various retailers, we have to design every product so that retailers can make their required margins, while still supplying the user with an advanced device that meets and exceeds a comparable product’s feature set. As a third party we must accomplish this by being at an equal or lower price point than competing products. Often times we must decide if it is better to sacrifice a feature to achieve a lower retail price point or advance technology at the risk of a product not selling due to a higher cost. This balance requires a great deal of work and risk on our part.
Not all companies have the same emphasis on technology and innovation so they are able to avoid this problem by producing lower quality, higher margin products. These may sell well initially but usually further the stigma that 3rd party products lack quality due to a high return rate, making it harder for high end 3rd party accessories to sell because the consumer lacks confidence in that product’s durability. For Nyko, shedding this stigma is our greatest challenge, one that has driven us to carve out a successful niche as a quality 3rd party alternative over the last 10 years.