It is more than a ban

It has not been an easy rise for game makers, now that Microsoft has shown its initial hand, now it is time for some of the game makers to show theirs. It starts with “Apple and Google both removed the hit game from their app stores after Epic Games bypassed their payment systems, to avoid giving them a cut of sales”, I get the sentiment, and the BBC article ‘Fortnite: Epic Games sues Google and Apple over app store bans’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53777379) gives part of it. We got some of the other side in the GamesRadar article that I discussed in ‘the Silent reason’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/13/the-silent-reason/) where I gave “Xbox Game Pass is the next generation of Microsoft gaming, not Xbox Series X”, in this we see the start of the big players to set a new generation of GaaS, Games as a Service is the next thing and it allows Microsoft to set another revenue bar, it is the one realisation on top of the other ones that made me give up on Microsoft and now the larger players are using GaaS to gain revenue. In this, I have nothing against the approach that Epic is making, even as I am not a Fortnite fan, it is a free game and as such it has every right to make this approach, yet Google and  Apple will not be left out of any revenue loop. Gpay and Apple Pay are their own devices and they have a stage and it requires their view or perhaps the stage is their vision on the services offered. I  am not sure how to react, in favour or against the ban laid on Epic, but both the Google store and the Apple store have their own rules and the idea that Epic circumvents the stores might be seen as optionally cheaper to the player, but the downside is that as third parties get their own direct access, their store access becomes available to come under fire and that is not a good thing. 

The article gives us “Fortnite’s latest update offered all players a 20% discount on its in-game currency V-bucks – but only if they paid Epic Games directly rather than using Apple or Google’s payment systems. This broke rules applied by both stores”, The danger of a third party is something neither Google or Apple find appealing and I feel certain that their fees avoided is equally unappealing to them. And lets be clear, as GaaS evolves over the next 2 years, we will see the players exposed to all kinds of ‘direct from the source’ deals, because it allows the gathering of data and data is more revenue for whomever has it. The problem as I see it is not the fact that there is GaaS, the fact is that the stage will be overwhelmingly younger players. Even as 63% of Fortnite is 18-24, there is a stage where there are supposed to be 12-18 year old players and there are supposed to be a large following of them too, yet the toppling charts I saw does not reflect them properly, in light of 350,000,000 players I wonder how large that 12-18 group is and even as it is not their credit card, someone is paying that bill (most likely their mommy), yet that stage also gives Google and Apple a larger concern and I reckon that they are programming the stores to raise all kinds of red flags before they fall in a trap that is not unlike the one Electronic Arts is facing with their loot boxes. In all this there is a lull in the life of the lawmakers, GaaS is new, so new that most laws are riddled with holes and that is not a good thing. A lot needs to happen to bind and limit financial institutions from allowing gamers to be used and exploited. Now let me be clear I do not believe that loot boxes are gambling, in that same stage I believe that Epic Games has done nothing wrong, but consider other games that pushes for additional movements and choices that come at a price, whilst their algorithm is set to always set the bar at your effort +1% (speaking figuratively), so how is that fair? I reckon that Google and Apple are set against that stage (whilst getting their own grains of revenue) and that is perhaps not the worst idea, yet I see the other side too, especially as Fortnite is free to play, to gain the upper hand you can buy V-bucks to buy loot boxes and skins. It is one way to get the income, it is of course a risk, but knowing you have 350 million fans, the stage is set in a decent way and when you consider that they made $1.9 billion in 2019 gives rise to the GaaS platform. It is a platform that does allow for more than one game to be part of it and that is what players like Microsoft are hoping for, I reckon that Apple and Google are on that same train. And it is there that we see the balancing act that both Google and Apple face. It is appealing to lock the door to players like Epic Games, but they are not alone and over time, other options will become available, of that I am absolutely certain

 

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Reflections

These are the days where a lot of people reflect on choices made and I am not any different. I was at the foundation of gaming, when gaming was young, when people thought that this was the sport of nerds and I did not care. I reviewed games for 13 years and I never regretted it. I was there when Commodore release the CBM64 and the Amiga 500. Sony released the PlayStation, I was there when Nintendo released the N64 and the GameCube. I had the Sony PlayStation 2 on day one, I saw with amazement when the SEGA Dreamcast was released. I saw an amazing range of games and systems, even now I think back to how great gaming was in those days. Even now we see how some makers misrepresent their games on how unique their game is whilst in the end it is merely another version of Candy Crush or Bejewelled. The hide behind quick animations and we see some Zombie game and the list goes on, they all need to make a game that is quick so that it is downloaded, their name depends on the amount of downloads, the sheep that play games follow the games that have a lot of downloads, yet they miss the larger stage. A game is something larger, it keeps you interested, it offers a larger stage and there is no denying that Microsoft Game Pass might actually entice people who call themselves gamers will actually end up playing actual games. Yet there is a danger there too. I personally believe that Microsoft is in it for the soft money, the micro transactions and it makes sense, micro transactions represents billions a year in revenue, and there mobile systems are the biggest source of micro transactions and that too is a reason why Microsoft wants Apple access. 

It is time that this stage changes and if there is one stage we want to protect then it is the gaming stage, that stage gives direct access to the younger players. Even as these ‘critics’ proclaim loot boxes are ‘gambling’, there is no status on games like Candy Crush and all others designed to drive gamers to spend money, the addiction of achievement. Yet we see a lot less on that part do we? I remember playing the very first Lemmings, from the first hour I saw just how addictive it was, I still have great memories on Magic Carpet, I saw amazing games from Mirrorsoft, Microprose, Psygnosis, Rare, Westwood, Bullfrog and too many others to mention. Even then the creativity outranked corporate types and the gamer won. That field has changed!

Even today, I remember playing games like Millennium 2.2, Lemmings, Covert Action, Ultima 3, 4, 5, Eye of the Beholder, and that was long before PC’s started to take gaming serious. One title I am leaving for last, In 1987 FTL (Faster than Light) created Dungeon Master, it changed the way people looked at RPG games. It was only surpassed by Dungeon Keeper because Dungeon Master paved the way and created the love of the RPG game, Dungeon Master became the best selling game of all time for the Atari ST, others would follow and Dungeon Keeper would push the love of RPG to even greater heights, in the end 700,000 copies would be sold and it is there where we see what we can gain, in those days 700,000 copies were sold, in this day it would be 10 to 50 times as much. And we overlook the playability of those games now, yes we see the hypes created (and the games EA screws up), yet they also had there share of successes and underestimations. Who remembers ShadowCaster and Black Crypt? Upgraded they would make interesting games and in that same setting EA has close to half a dozen games that could raise the setting for Google Stadia. So what happens when we tinker Magic Carpet to become larger and multiplayer? And that is only the tip of the iceberg, Microprose has even more titles and that is all before we look at the near future and see what else we can do to set a larger stage of games that people either cast aside or ignored in the first place. An excellent example of that is Microprose’s 1990 release of Knights of the Sky. I loved the game and many others did as well, but the larger group seemingly forgot about this game, a game that could be upgraded and work on a whole range of systems, including Google and Apple systems. We need to take another look at these games, games produced in the era spanning from 1985-2005 gives us close to 100 titles spread over half a dozen systems and we forgot about them. Why is that?

I get it, some people moved on, they moved on to other things and that is fine, but there is an entire generation of people that is limited in its view of games and it is limited to match three shapes. That is not really gaming and we need to make sure that this does not happen. For a system like the Google Stadia, it is the difference from being in the game and setting a goal towards being the 4th system in gaming, from there the sky is the limit. There are enough games, the question becomes where do they (or Apple) want to go, offering a system or committing to a system. It is a small but distinctive difference, one is seemingly going that way (it doesn’t matter who), yet it opens up a larger stage. A stage where people can optionally now play a larger and repaired Mass Effect Andromeda, a game that is game 1 and game 2 together. A stage that Google Stadia and Apple allows for and that is good, perhaps the others will catch on, but that is not a given and perhaps not even required. Hardwire gives options, but when did all systems need to offer everything? I believe that Nintendo and Sony can work side by side, I feel certain that either Google or Apple will be the third system, there is a chance that people will select EITHER the Google or the Apple system, but I cannot be certain of that at present. And it does not matter, like Android and iOS, people will make a choice giving Google an edge but at present not a given victory, time will make determination, yet in time and over time we need to revisit the old games, the fact that we see more and more remasters is because the old jewels remain jewels, some of them merely need to get dusted, others need polish, but they remain jewels and the sooner some see that, the better their hardware will fare. 

 

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The silent reason

We (all of us) are mostly driven by offered choices, so it took me a few seconds to consider “Here is every action adventure game on PS Now that scored 9+” a little movie by IGN. I have a lot of these games, not all, but a lot. When you consider that every games is a mere 2 seconds in view and the movie lasts 1:25, you know that you are about to get a long list of reasons to move to the PlayStation 5. I am definitely taking that road, and for those embracing the Xbox, do not fear, it is your right, you still have faith in Microsoft, I do not share your view, but you are entitled to yours. There is one side giving us ‘Xbox Series X neutralizes PS5 assault with console war-winning counter-attack’, I personally see this as the ‘promoted’ choice certain makers are making a view that suits their needs. Even as we are given “Microsoft has been very vocal about the fact that gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles, and that games can even be enjoyed on mobile devices starting next month as part of Xbox Game Pass”, so if the console is not needed, why bother the war anyway? The article gives more, but I see nothing that can be seen as reliable, especially when I see mentions like ‘Microsoft are ready to lowball Sony’, ‘apparently the game runs perfectly on Xbox X’, and ‘gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles’, just consider a console war where you do not have to buy the console, how is that? In opposition GamesRadar gives us something valuable. With ‘Xbox Game Pass is the next generation of Microsoft gaming, not Xbox Series X’ we see a Microsoft Ace, Game Pass was and is a really good idea. There is no denying this, but consider that Sony Plus decides to offers their 60 games with a 90% plus rating, the playing field becomes an equal one really fast. They also give us “from all the messaging we’ve had since the Xbox Series X was announced, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Microsoft isn’t viewing this as a new console generation. Instead, it is shifting its focus to a more malleable model, one that has far more in common with the annual release cycles so commonly associated with graphics cards and smartphones. And Xbox Game Pass is at the centre of it all”, it makes sense, yet my negativity filter gives us that those with a Microsoft console could be left out in the cold, so optionally the gamer that comes in from the cold will have to choose either Sony or Nintendo and that is given some visibility, and I am willing to concede here that I optionally might be wrong, yet the evidence is out there, I will let you decide.

I have personally seen too many events and a tick record of 8 years of Microsoft selling its gamers short, as such, I lost my faith in them. So whilst we see “Microsoft’s monthly gaming subscription service is as close to the industry’s coveted “Netflix of Gaming” moniker we’ve seen so far”, it makes sense, it also makes sense on how they are crying like little bitches because Apple will not let them near to their hardware. And the failure we see at present gives rise to the setting of the console war, when Microsoft does not care about consoles, but about the Game Pass, we see the stage. What happens when Game Pass takes off on mobiles and PC’s, how long until the issues creep into the flaws of the console? Let’s not forget that they did not fix the current console for almost 8 years, a stage that has been clearly visible since the Xbox X was released. So even as some see this as the silent reason, I do not.

I have seen the stage where Sony took 180 degrees on decisions when it angered gamers (no second hand issues) and also when the gamers loudly complained on ‘always online’ Sony adjusted, Microsoft did not and that is only the beginning, the 90% plus games is the silent reason, over time the console embraced gamers and continued it course, it continued embracing the needs of the gamers, that is why Sony will win and Microsoft will hided behind new terms equalling ‘the most powerful console’ whilst Nintendo surpassed it with the weakest console. And in the end, it seems that the next stage of Microsoft might be “gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X”, so why would any gamer invest in a console that is not an essential buy? With today’s news giving us ‘Microsoft Surface Duo phone goes on sale starting at $1950’, it might be the starting signal to a different console war, it might be about console gaming on mobiles, so in that trendy stage, where will the Xbox fit? I am not certain but it seems that Game Pass was a better idea, so I wonder when they will drop the console hardware, it might not be today or tomorrow, but by the time it is 2022 I can not be certain on when it will be, as I see it, I feel that the Sony PS5 is a much better and safer investment in my days of happiness whilst I game the games I love and Sony has so far never disappointed my needs. 

 

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One sided coin

When is a one-sided coin like a watchdog? That is the underlying question, and the answer is seen in this article ‘When they are shallow’. We all have needs, we all have centred targets, but what happens when that setting makes you miss the larger picture? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against watchdogs, I have nothing against the media, or politicians, but when they give a one sided brief just to please themselves, how shallow will they be? It is not the first time, but in this case it starts with ‘US watchdog report cites civilian casualties in Saudi arms deal’, now this might be correct, might being the operative word and not towards optionally pointing fingers and not towards the setting. We see “The Saudi-UAE air raids hit farms, schools, water supplies, and energy sources, triggering what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” now, I am not making a statement that they did not do that, but in all that, was it truly some civilian hit target or were there Houthi and/or Hezbollah fighters there? So whilst some focus on ‘precision-guided-munition components’, no one is looking what they were clearly firing on, because that too is an unknown. So whilst some focus on one side of “Tens of thousands of Yemenis, many of them civilians, have been killed by the Saudi-UAE air strikes – often with American-made weapons, targeting information and aerial refuelling support”, in a stage where should consider on ‘how many were civilians (and how many were not)’ in the sentence “Tens of thousands of Yemenis, many of them civilians”, yes we can hide behind ‘many of them’, but precision is essential, even if the weapons are not. In addition Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee gives us ““This obvious pre-spin of the findings reeks of an attempt to distract and mislead,” Engel said, adding that he feared the classified annex to the report would be “used to bury important or possibly incriminating information””, and I am not debating that, yet in all this, the stage where Eliot Engel is optionally helping our the Iranians, that is still up for debate, is it not? So when we check NPR and we see the question “Congress had concerns about $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and those concerns included how the arms might be used in the war in Yemen” and the only thing that Eliot Engel gives us is “Yeah”? By the way the interview (at https://www.npr.org/2020/08/11/901431799/engel-discusses-ig-report-on-u-s-selling-8-billion-worth-of-arms-in-middle-east) gives us nothing on ‘Iran’, ‘Houthi’ and ‘Hezbollah’, three tags that are essential in the Yemeni war, as well as the current Saudi Arabian state of affairs, so why are they missing? So whilst Engel gives us “Meaning that all the excuses that they give us, all the reasons they give us for doing what they have to do are phony and are made up. It’s just that they don’t – they want to have freedom to operate, not have the public know anything, certainly not have Congress know anything. And this is the way they’ve operated from day one. And it’s not really, you know – on the Foreign Affairs Committee, this is our jurisdiction. We’re supposed to be investigating these things, and they look at us as somehow intruding on their private purview”, a view that is his and might be valid, but the Yemeni war is larger and the three elements (Houthi, Hezbollah and Iran) are left out of it giving us an unbalanced and one sided story. Now, there is a side that accept, the US can decide on how it does business and who it does business with, and consider the hilarity we see when that $8,000,000,000 dollars goes to the Chinese or Russian treasury coffers? The US has been alienating its middle eastern partners to such an extent (all whilst ignoring to a larger degree the activities by Iran), we need to see the way that ball rolls down the hill and away from the congressional weapons sales teams. So whilst some might applaud the activity of watchdogs, the absence of the whole picture is actually rather disturbing. Not merely to the stage, but the fallout is other large. This does not reflect on Eliot Engel, but his congressional party is seemingly ignoring a much larger stage and this stage includes both Hezbollah and Iran, so why is Eliot Engel and his band of naughty congressionals ignoring that? Consider that the people for a week have been aware of ‘Saudi Arabia’s project clears 177,637 Houthi mines in Yemen’, now, we accept that some would have originated in Yemen, but not all and when we see these elements in the equation (and that is merely the beginning of that mess), we need to wonder why the US watchdog is so one sided. An investigation into the forces active in Yemen, as well as the weapons used and one side is left off the table completely. So how does your humanitarian side react to that? Oh and for desert I offer ’84.000 children in Yemen are dead, who is holding the Houthi and their methods to account?

 

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The moneymakers

Corporate Earth loves moneymakers, they shelf their resources on what makes the most the fastest and that is how businesses run, but what happens when the ruling council is off the ‘Fake it till you make it’ category? That is the question that matters, because the people are now following whomever has the coolest look, whilst quality takes a second turn back. For the most this is nothing new, it happens all over the place. We now have Apple and Google adding up to the next gaming war, whilst Prime Gaming is starting to get noticed. All whilst Forbes gives us ‘There Is A Belong Gaming Area Coming To Your Town’, gaming has become the 100 billion annual industry and in this age everyone wants a bite. Even as we merely accept “Vindex bought Belong Gaming Arenas from London based GAME Digital. Vindex plans to open more than 500 Belong locations in hometowns across America, and another 1,000 locations outside of the U.S. over the next five years” then we get “Esports doesn’t act like a traditional sports business—game developers have a lot to say. In esport, the playing field is the intellectual property, and it’s owned by game developers”, yet how many people realise how powerful the data is that these gaming interfaces collect? It seems all a case of ‘conspiracy theory’, yet consider the following:

Microsoft said it would be unable to launch its game streaming service on iOS due to the restrictions on gaming apps” and “Earlier this week, Microsoft said it would be launching its xCloud gaming service as part of a subscription service called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Sept. 15. But the app, which lets users jump into an Xbox game on their smartphone or tablet, will only be available on devices powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system, not Apple’s iOS”. A stage when Microsoft needs to get its own mess under control, they are screaming about making a mess somewhere else. The funding by larger brands is not merely about visibility, it is about getting the largest dat slice, as much as possible and as fast as possible. In an age where it is about branding, the two larger players are about “Microsoft and Facebook have lashed out at Apple for restrictive App Store policies”, there is a reason why people have lost faith in Microsoft and Facebook. I myself removed Facebook from my mobile, why would I want them to cater to my mobile gaming needs. Why would I allow other Facebook junk on my mobile, draining my battery? Similar issues exists with Microsoft, in January 2017 I wrote ‘Taking Xbox to Court?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/30/taking-xbox-to-court/) and it was ignored by the bulk of people. It was all my imagination, yet the specified bill was not on their side. In 15 days close to 6GB was UPLOADED and the Microsoft Xbox support stated the this was with my provider, really? My Xbox uploads data without my permission and it is the internet provider? How much data is Microsoft about to get access to, how much data will Facebook capture under the seemingly innocent stage of cloud gaming? If data is the new currency gamers are the prime clusters to get, some gamers have a following of thousands and Microsoft and Facebook are screaming murder because they want into the game and a protective Apple is something they can do without. I am not proclaiming that Sony, Apple and Nintendo are innocent, but they are showing themselves to be less guilty, Nintendo and Sony are banking on the fair play approach towards gamers, they expect it to play out in their favour and I believe that this will be the true path. They expect data to be a by-product, not the direct goal, Microsoft and Facebook have (from my personal view) a more direct approach to the benefits of data. In all this Google is not innocent, but their approach was data from the very beginning, from search to linking and to other means, data became the currency that allowed people to have free services, but the truth is that nothing is free. Facebook made the same steps in the beginning, but data took over and now as we see that TikTok is actually getting into the face of Facebook and capturing the margins and more we now see ‘TikTok Begins Doling Out $1 Billion Bonuses To Top Creators As Facebook Tries To Lure Stars’ and it is about to be worse. Even as Google Stadia is in a position to grab a larger margin, Facebook is up in arms to create the larger benefit, because the reality is that cruise liner Facebook is losing more steam and propulsion, the waves of TikTok is adding up and Apple is not Data friendly to the likes of Facebook and Microsoft, in all this the voice of emotional gamers is all that is left to them because they are running out of time and there is a larger stage where Xbox series X will underperform just like its predecessor, and that is the fear Microsoft fears, they are in a stage where they could soon be regarded as powerful as in the age of their first Xbox, they threw that much away and a lack of trust is not helping them any. That is the stage we are looking at, but I have to be. honest, the fight over gamers is one that I never saw coming, not to this degree and even now as I have seen within me the IP of several games, I wonder what these game corporations are doing, because the evidence is all around them, they merely have to open their eyes. So why are they not doing that?

Even as we see that the current situation is not the greatest stage for any business, books, movies and games help in a lockdown, so why are others faltering? I personally see it because they see games as nothing more as a springboard to ‘real cash’, yet games should be about games and about the edge of what is new and innovative, that was proven in the days of the CBM64, CBM Amiga, Atari ST, PC, N-64, Gamecube, Wii, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Xbox360,  PlayStation 1, 2, 3 and 4, and as Apple and Google enter this domain, we will get a new stage, now with 5 players and one would think that this would benefit the gaming dimension, but as I see it, Microsoft is more about Azure and data, making it a universe of 4 (which is fine too) but when gamers catch on, when the Marketing BS comes to a halt, Microsoft will only have themselves to congratulate. Anyone stating that the fight between apple and Google is over, is mistaken. I reckon that this fight will take until 2022 to settle and in the same time Sony and Nintendo will fight for larger domain of the gaming pie, but their worlds only partially overlap, so they will set another fight and they will coexist, in this Google and Apple will slice out a part and they will be more fiercely competitive than Sony and Nintendo ever was (well they were in the age of PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64). The fight is far from over, but all the gamers out there need to realise that not all the moneymakers out there have the welfare of gamers in mind, merely the data they give rise to. And when the gamers figure that out, some lame excuse from some wannabe executive will no longer hold water, when that happens a lot more will be lost to them. I expect that to become a reality no later than the second half of 2021.

 

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The 51st State

Consider that the US just grew a little, it seems that Canada has become the 51st state, Governor of that state is Justin Trudeau, that is until President Trump decides that he is not allegiant enough. How did I get here? A few sources are giving us ‘US court issues summons for Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman’, under normal circumstances there wouldn’t be a big thing. Yet consider the events, an exiled person moves to Canada, when we are confronted with “Mohammed bin Salman attempted to send Tiger Squad to Canada to assassinate al-Jabri, according to a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in August 2020”, so a person went in exile in Canada and now relies on US jurisprudence? And if you are in doubt, the other element is (rephrased) “allegedly attempted to send a Tiger Squad to Canada to allegedly assassinate al-Jabri”, so in the first it was an alleged attempt, in that case where is the evidence of the alleged attempt? What evidence is there to assassinate al-Jabri? Beyond that, why is this case not heard in Canada? In the second, it is my personal belief that Saad al-Jabri needs to get evicted from Canada into America, he is so sure of their legal system. And of course there is the stage where we need to investigate on why an optional case of alleged events in another country are being heard in America, is that not a question that baffles you too?

And it does not end there, the only additional information is given by Gulf News. I am making mention of it as I cannot vouch for the information. I am not willing to use merely one source because it fits my speculation better. Gulf News (at https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/saudi/report-fugitive-saudi-official-misspent-11b-in-government-funds-1.72662340) gives us ‘Fugitive Saudi official misspent $11b in government funds’, and lets face it, if I walked away with $11,000,000,000 I would move to Canada, buy the Edmonton Oilers, or the Calgary Flames, buy a nice mansion in either city, train to be their goalie and live the life until I die. It is a plan, not a plan everyone will embrace, but I like that plan, especially if I have that much money. Oh, and the quote gives is “Al Jabri, a 61-year-old with a doctorate in computer science, was the virtual No 2 in the Saudi Interior Ministry, which was run for years by Mohammed bin Nayef. Al Jabri ran a special ministry fund that mixed government spending on high-priority antiterrorism efforts with bonuses for himself and others, according to documents reviewed bio y the Journal and interviews with Saudi officials and Al Jabri’s confidants,” the WSJ report read”. In all this and in fact of tha accusation of corruption and through that (as well as) “spending on high-priority antiterrorism efforts with bonuses for himself and others”, who else was paid? So in this, how much investigation was done by the FBI, for did they allegedly acquire enough self-funding to be above the law? I am merely asking!

So in this universe where Canada is the 51st state of the US, and as we see a quote by the Wall Street Journal, how much investigation did the US do? How much investigation did the Canadians do? The are mere questions but they matter, even as the newspapers on both countries are all about “A former top-ranking Saudi intelligence official living in exile in Canada alleged in a lawsuit filed in a U.S. court that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a team to kill him in 2018 but the effort was foiled by Canadian authorities” if those are the facts, what investigation was done by the Canadians? Consider that I would be angry when someone steals $1,000,000 from me (an amount I do not own mind you), so an amount that is 11,000 times higher will get the blood boiling in many persons. So in all this, the entire matter does not make sense, Oh I get the need to add $11 billion to my bank account, that makes sense, although I would hope to use my own IP to get there, then there is the stage where I doubt that it was about ‘assassination’ I reckon the Saudi’s want their money back, so there would be a stage of alleged kidnapping, not assassination. And lastly, I reckon that the US would love Saad al-Jabri to move to the US so he can spend $11 billion (minus addition taxation) freely in the US and the US is so bankrupt, they are willing to set the legal stage in their nation, a nation of laws they will claim. 

Yes it is a brand new day as we see the optional stage of laws to whitewash money that was not the property of the person white washing it. It is my point of view and some will claim that it is not a valid one, but consider, how many papers set the stage of making the money link in all this? That is the $11 billion dollar question of the day, have a great one!

 

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Government driven destabilisation

That is a term you are not familiar with, is it? Yet it is more now than most other things, even as some are all about ‘donations for Beirut’ all whilst the larger groups ignore corruption there as well as the stage that Hezbollah is not in the clear for storage of explosives in the Beirut harbour.

Last month Houthi forces fired on Saudi Arabia, now there is an issue. First of all, the target was military (King Khalid Air Base) making it in my eyes a valid target, yet the western press for the most ignored it completely. The Jerusalem Post gives us “Saudi Arabia said it intercepted ballistic missiles fired from Yemen overnight between Sunday and Monday. Four missiles and seven drones were launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen”, the fact that the Iranian part in all this remains largely unreported in the EU and the Commonwealth is still a massive issue, I have little faith that the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) starts being of use in any way (other then prolonging the war in Yemen), yet the larger issue is not the attacks, the issue as I see is that as I personally see it, governments feel happy to set a stage of destabilisation in the Middle East, so that they can feel safe, at least from their Ego driven point of view. The paper also gives us “The military of Yemen’s Houthi group said it attacked and hit a large oil facility in an industrial zone in the southern Saudi city of Jizan” and in all this the amount of goods that is required coming from Iran is still not being investigated, and the dangers that they bring can be wielded in a few directions. My personal issue in this is why we are not getting a full constant update from the Middle East, why are the papers ignoring the actions from the Iranian side and Houthi atrocities in 

Yemen? We might give rise to the article (at https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2402186/yemeni-speaker-complains-un-over-houthi-violations), yet the western media steered clear of ‘Yemeni Speaker Complains to UN over Houthi Violations’, so when we consider this, who was aware of “Yemen’s National Alliance of Political Parties (NAPP), a group of parties loyal to the internationally recognized government, had also called on the UN and its envoy to condemn the ongoing Houthi attacks against Yemeni pro-government leaders”, how many Commonwealth and EU newspapers took notice? And when we take notice of “The parties added that the militias insist on continuing the series of their crimes against the Yemeni people, rejecting all international efforts to reach peace in the country. “Such behavior is reflected in their decision issued last March to sentence 35 Yemeni pro-government deputies to death,” after charging them with cooperating with the Saudi-led Arab coalition, the statement added”, how many newspapers took the trouble to see what the humanitarian impact is of Houthi decisions here? 

We can argue all week on what is right and what is wrong, yet consider that we cannot argue on matters that most newspapers do not publish, so when we see ‘Huawei-supplied stc wins 5G contract for Saudi mega-city’ (at https://www.capacitymedia.com/articles/3826056/huawei-supplied-stc-wins-5g-contract-for-saudi-mega-city) in here we see “NEOM’s infrastructure will utilise AI, robotics, and human-machine fusion to deliver greater predictive intelligence and enable faster decision making across all NEOM sectors. The procurement and deployment of a future-proof wireless network is a critical first for NEOM in realising our goal of driving innovation in the future digital economy”. Considering that I wrote about that part in ‘There is more beneath the sand’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/11/15/there-is-more-beneath-the-sand/) almost 9 months ago, and on some matters even before than, two weeks earlier I raised ‘Change is coming’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/09/01/change-is-coming/), all matters on Neom City and 5G that the western press left unattended, so what else did we not get to see?

Issues in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran all remain unreported. And I admit, there is a reach from unreported to Government driven destabilisation, I will admit to that part, in all this there is a larger stake, when we consider that papers are run by people adhering to the needs of Shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers, we get the first part in this, and yes it is subjective and there is space for debate and disagreement, I do not deny this. But when did you (if ever) wonder on matters not published in Western media? OK, in this, I admit that this is still a far stretch towards destabilisation, and that is a fair call, and I would be wrong if it was 1-2 items, but when we add the numbers Houthi attacks on civilian Saudi targets in 2018 and 2019, Iranian intervention in Yemen 2015-2020, with ‘US Navy intercepts ‘Iranian weapons’ bound for Houthis’ (at https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/us-navy-intercepts-iranian-weapons-bound-for-houthis-1.978874), we get a larger stage, how many newspapers reported on this in the EU or the Commonwealth? I also have https://news.usni.org/2020/02/13/video-uss-normandy-seizes-cache-of-iranian-made-weapons-in-arabian-sea and a few more newspapers (like the Adelaide Now), yet over three pages of links, no BBC, No Guardian, no Washington Post, No Dutch, Swedish, or German Newspapers. There were Middle Eastern newspapers and the Jerusalem Post. Did you consider that part of the equation? When we see the redaction of Iran smuggling drones and weapons to Houthi forces in Yemen, what other matters are you not aware of?

#JustAsking

 

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This is boom, that is not

Yet, Beirut, the place where buildings get free air-conditioning through the application of 7.62mm ammunition, the place where something went boom and it enraged a whole lot of people, yet on August 5th I wrote in ‘Boom goes the dynamite’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/05/boom-goes-the-dynamite/), we see “It is speculation, but consider the blast, according to some the blast was noticed well over 100Km away. I do have a point of reference, the Fireworks blast in the Netherlands (Enschede) had a similar effect, but nowhere near the size, the video’s I saw told a different story, one car on the highway with a distance of around 2000 meters away got its windows blown out and the rear view mirrors got blown off the car, and that is one of a few video’s that show me that this was no ordinary blast” and it was merely the toppling of issues. We get to see a better picture when we consider “Ammonium nitrate does not burn on its own” (Source: American Scientific), it is merely the foundation. When we consider “For combustion to occur, oxygen must be present. Ammonium nitrate prills provide a much more concentrated supply of oxygen than the air around us. This is why it is effective in mining explosives, where it’s mixed with oil and other fuels. At high enough temperatures, however, ammonium nitrate can violently decompose on its own. This process creates gases including nitrogen oxides and water vapour. It is this rapid release of gases that causes an explosion” we need to look any the explosion again (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdSHRbSZkwc), it is one of many explosions, and as you see there was a fire in the vicinity, but the explosion is violent and complete. The stage is in two fold, in the first, Ammonium nitrate doesn’t burn well and to explode oil is used. The images we see could not be done if it was merely the ammonium nitrate. It is my view and I am not the expert (I did study chemistry), yet experts tell me ‘Ammonium nitrate does not burn on its own’, all the footage I have seen give implication that this was not merely ammonium nitrate, yet Scientific American also give us “It’s stable under normal conditions, but you can do things to it that will cause it to misbehave. The main trigger is an external heat source. Depending on how you want to count it, there have been probably somewhere between 20 and 30 major catastrophic explosions with ammonium nitrate since it came on the scene as a commercial product in the 1920s. And fire is a frequent trigger. It’s the heat of the fire that warms up the ammonium nitrate that can become a problem”, it seems that everyone is willing to give Hezbollah a pass on this event. I am not willing to do so, even if they merely blew up their own city, there is a stage where we need to consider what else was there and was it meant for pro-Houthi or anti-Israel actions? In an age where we see a whole range of analytics and geometric based analyses, in this the Guardian gives us ‘The explosion that devastated the city was no accident and anger is boiling over’, and then we see “It was so huge it was heard in Cyprus. It was so huge it shattered glass and ripped doors off their hinges kilometres away. It incinerated trees, tore the red roofs off centuries-old buildings and brought the blue sea inland. It left 5,000 injured and 154 dead – so far. There are many still missing under the rubble”, which leaves us with the setting that it all went up in one big explosion, consider the fact that it required (read: used) 2,750,000 Kg of ammonium nitrate, I get that there might be an explosion, but IT ALL exploded at once is the larger issue, the facts do not support it. And the fear of some is merely strengthening my view. With “We don’t really know how this ammonium nitrate, confiscated from a ship and stored in unsafe conditions in the middle of our city for six years, ignited. Because those who are responsible are actively rejecting an international investigation”, and in this I see their fear, international experts will bare out what I expect, there were explosives there and that contributed to the much larger explosion, not a fire, and that gets us to Hezbollah, it will feel the brunt of rage from the Lebanese people. Something it cannot afford at present. My initial speculation that Iran handed out of date materials beneath cost price is still on the table, as dynamite sweats nitroglycerine and in the heat in Lebanon it would fuse the ammonium nitrate as well. Yet some media is giving us ‘it requires a combination of things and that seems to have happened’, or something to that regard. They all avoid Iran and Hezbollah in all this, true there would be some speculation linked to it, but things that go boom to this degree requires much more investigation, I do not disagree with this, but blasé painting over the stage with paint of the colour ‘that seems to have happened’ is not the way to go. 

 

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Rad 451

Yup, creativity bone got active again. It is a thought I had before and in light of the PS5 coming and the time of a new Fallout (Fallout 5), I decided to think things through. I loved Fallout 3 and 4. I never played Fallout 76, for the mere reason that I am not in multiplayer games. And in all this the idea floated to add to what Fallout 4 brought and in this I started. The first thing I did as consider Fallout shelter, what if the players can transfer the three vaults to the game? Your own vault, they can all become places to live (once they are cleared out) and the game will set a stage based on the amount of rooms and on the locations used. There is a form of randomisation in this, but consider the situation where you the player have created a vault and it can become your new home. In addition I thought of a way for Bethesda to gain a few millions by making one change to the game, but that is for another time. So there I was thinking on the additional vault(s). So up to three vaults can be added (as Fallout Shelter has three vault options), and the stage is set to add it in another way as well. Each vault becomes a larger storyline in several ways to gain a larger stage. The new game is set around Seattle, from the Atlantic, the Olympic National park, Raymond, Centralia, Mineral, all the way north to Bellingham. It will be some area to explore. As such, one vault will be around Forks, the second around Blyn and the third will be around Yelm, these three will be additional to the Vaults in play and the stage that is set will aid to more exploration and a larger stage of exploration. The story in this game will be around restarting a new city, so the build option is required. In Fallout 4, it was limited to about 20, now it will be up to 100 for a city and three need to be created, beyond that there will be chapters on growth and chapters on each of the actions required. Filling it in will take time (this took me two hours). When we set that stage we have to evolve short and long distance weapons, we get a form of experience, each experience can be set to holo-discs and be used to create a stage of experience. Yet the holo-discs are rare, really rare. So we need to find those as well as holo-readers (one for each town). The challenge is to make it non-repetitive. In this game there will be 5 by 5 sectors, there must be a ring of non towns around the town selected, so that there is ample distance, in addition, the towns each will have one speciality (greens, fishing, hunting, building, tinkering, vehicles, armouring or X (currently unknown). The second part is that certain items will be class E (Exclusives), they will be placed in selected locations, but the 70 places will get 50 items seeded (so 25 remain empty) and they will be shuffled every new game, so there is a new situation, running after a guide or solution is a thing of the past. The idea of the 25 empty locations is to keep the pressure on and to allow expansions (or DLC’s) to add a few items over time. Then there is the situation of the Shelter locations will stage 5-15 additional spaces. 

There will be 10 main stories, one for each of the shelters, three for the villages created and there will be in addition a railroad, a synth, a story of a Brotherhood of steel equivalent, and a Mariner story. Apart from the 10 main stories, I was considering adding several stories founded and connected to the native American tribes that were part of that region. So there are 10 main stories and 5-10 connected stories and after that smaller sub-quests that players could be connected to. 

The idea is to set the stage where we get a adventure that is well over twice the amount that Fallout 4 allowed for. 

In all this, there is a need for me to address the small issue I had with number 4. The workbenches  made sense and were accepted, but what I saw from Fallout76, having a mobile one that we can place wherever. As such we get the second part, not just the mobile part, but to get a piece that like the holo-disc is really rare. It gives the game another dimension. As the title implies through innuendo, there was a thing in Fallout 3, There was the need to find the ‘pre-War books‘, here we will add 100 titles (out of 300) to a loot class, so 100 books will be set in locations, even as there are 200 locations, first 100 from 300 will be set, and they will be spread over 200 locations. Just a thought.

There is more to come, yet in an age of iterative gaming that gives us more of the same (certain Ubisoft titles), I have now given the readers 5 games (over the past stories) with highly innovative parts in gaming, so what is keeping makers like Ubisoft giving its gamers true innovative gaming?

 

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Business lost, options lost

There is no denying it, at times people take decisions, and when that happens others get to live with the consequences. This is how it has always been, it is a simple truth. Yet, when was the last time you had to live with the ethical believes of others, all whilst they refuse to demand the same on the other side of the coin? 

Consider the headline ‘Belgium suspends arms exports to Saudi national guard’, I get it, it is a choice, so when we see “the southern Belgian region of Wallonia halted weapons sales to Saudi Arabia’s defence ministry and air force over concerns about the conduct of its war in Yemen”, I cannot say one way or the other, yet so far NO ONE has held Iran to any level of standards, and the same was not demanded from the Houthi forces. That part is a first in understanding just how stupid the action was. Now, we need to understand that human rights groups have their own ideology and that is fine. So as there is now an increased danger that $2-$4 billion in small arms over the next 5 years will now end in the coffers of either Russia or China, one had to wonder how the US (at minus 25 trillion) or Europe (at minus 14 trillion) will live with losing billions in revenue and handing it over to China and/or Russia. Let’s be clear I have nothing against human rights, yet this is a situation where the house is on fire and someone is telling you (not a fireman mind you) that only rainwater can be used to stop the fire, all whilst it is not raining, so how will that end? I have seen a whole range of actions, but the EU refuses to act against Iranian interference or Houthi inhumane actions, for the most the European media has taken all the efforts to keep it out of their publications as well. Even as Israel’s Hayom gives us ‘Iran sees disaster as opportunity to advance regional interests’, we might not react, but who will asks the questions that matters when we see “more than 84,000 children who have died of starvation in the bloody civil war in Yemen can teach us a basic lesson”, so when we compare that to the UN news which was given last month, and similar news for close to a year ‘Waiting to declare famine ‘will be too late for Yemenis on brink of starvation’, so please explain to me how ‘on brink of starvation’ is staged in a situation where well over 84,000 children that died of starvation? How much more idiocy will we watch, empty actions from human rights groups so that we can sleep at night in a stage where it is already too late?

So not only are these people in denial, they are handing billion dollar industries over to China and/or Russia, so how does that sit with you? And let’s be clear, Belgium is not in the greatest economic situations. Yet, they have that right, and they are not doing anything illegal, it is merely silly on a few levels. So when the initial options are lost and the opportunities are lost to a group of nations that can ACTUALLY SPEND money, how intelligent are these people? The moral high ground is only interesting on a level playing field and it was never a level playing field. In this some may state that they would never work in the arms industry, but what happens when you are offered an instructor job on weapons? If you are unemployed, are you allowed the station of refusal? Consider that for a moment, working or unemployed? Is it such a bad call to teach a person how to properly handing a firearm? Is it illegal to be a data miner? An investment banker? What is the borderline where we decide on the events of others? 

Where is the wisdom?

We seem to believe that we have the wisdom to make things better in Yemen and Syria, but the people who should have acted refused to do so and now human rights are making it impossible for issues to be resolved, so basically our believe in human rights killed 84,000 children of hunger. Have you considered that part in the equation? Until human right groups can deal with both sides of the equation, they are basically worthless, not achieving much of anything, so if they get baskets of Yum Cha or Black-bread and Vodka this Christmas, they know which government is thanking them for the billions of extra revenue in 2020 and 2021. You see, in this instance the house is on fire and there is no rain coming, so will you forfeit the house or will you safe what you can? In the end having principles are nice, but unless the others are on the same page, you are merely handing others money you could make to make things better and remember, as an economic partner the EU had some options of talks in Saudi Arabia, when that falls away they are merely speakers with intent to be useless it ends. So tell me, when was the last time ANY government made time for any person with the mere intent to be useless? 

No matter who the need has, I was willing (and eager) to sell either the MP5, the Vityaz-SN (PP-19-01), or the Norinco NR08. Whatever the client wants, and if MP5 is pulling itself off the market, we should remember that there are 2 alternatives. I wonder how much thought the human right groups took that into consideration and when the money stops, their options stop as well. Sun Tsu learns us what battles to fight and which ones we should ignore, it is a basic setting in commerce as well. If certain people will not learn that lesson a lot faster there will not be a population in Yemen left.

 

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