Media against the Law

When it comes to events within the law, the bulk of the publishers tend to remain in the dark as to what matters and what does not. Which might be fair enough when you consider the fact that they are more and more about numbers in circulation, not about the clarity of reporting. So when I saw certain reports on how there are issues with Hello Games (read: No Mans Sky) and the law, I tend to get curious fast.

There were to instances. The first one was regarding Sky TV. Because the issue was settled, there is not too much official news in play. As far as I was able to tell, from the various sources. We get “The root” of the “secret stupid legal nonsense” is down to Sky’s belief that it owns the word “Sky” in the context in which Hello Games planned to use it”. Can anyone explain to me why any judge would not throw this out of court in an instant?

The fact that this is of course linked to Rupert Murdoch in some way, means that plenty of people are too scared to go against that fossil (I hereby apologise to all fossils who feel offended by their media categorisation)!

In law however, there could have been a case and there was a case and in consideration, beyond the academic parts of Trade Marks law, there was, as I see it never a case. In the case where we see that action brought against the decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal of OHIM of January 30th 2013 (Case R 2398/2010-4), there are three players.

On one side we have

British Sky Broadcasting Group plc & Sky IP International Ltd

And on the other side there is Skype Ultd.

One issue is and has for ever been, more alike than not. Which is one that Sky versus Skype (hear: Skaip) would win, yet, one could argue that British Sky Broadcasting Group plc and Sky IP International Ltd are not alike Skype Ultd in any way. Yet it is the service Class 38 that works in favour of Murdoch again. These are Telecommunication services and as such, there could possibly be a conflict. Of course the non-legal academic mind realises that the Sky services is there for people who contemplate suicide, whilst Skype is about communicating with others. There is no overlap at all (unless you’re talking to your mother in law).

Yes, there is an unfair issue here. Because there is in no way any clear overlap from a consumer point of view, there is as I see it no chance of mistaken service here, but the legal point was made by Sky. It is the issue at [17] where we see “the risk that the public might believe that the goods or services at issue come from the same undertaking or from economically-linked undertakings constitutes a likelihood of confusion“, which is unlikely, yet not impossible and as such Skype lost the trial. The support was found from case Laboratorios RTB v OHIM — Giorgio Beverly Hills (GIORGIO BEVERLY HILLS).

So why bring this up?

You see, there is one part where there is a relevant part in the more likely than not as well as more similar then not. This is however not the case for Hello Games. First of all, this product of service is not telecom, it is a video game. In that regard Rupert Murdoch has a lot less knowledge of video games then Robert Maxwell, you know the other tycoon who took a swim on November 5th 1991. I know that to be a fact! In defence of Robert Maxwell, he was visionary enough to see that video games had the real future (he was the man behind Mirrorsoft), he would be proven correct less than 5 years after his death.

So when we consider British Sky Broadcasting Group plc. Sky IP International Ltd or Sky, there is absolutely no similarity between the one and the game ‘No Man’s Sky’. That case should have been dismissed of the bat. In addition, if Sky did not start a case against the following movie titles: ‘October Sky’, ‘Fire in the Sky’, ‘Iron Sky’, ‘Island in the Sky’, ‘Castle in the Sky’, ‘Red Sky’, ‘Sky Captain and the world of Tomorrow’, ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘Sky High’, can we contemplate that if these cases had not gone to court, the injustice against Hello Games should be trialled for against Sky IP International Ltd?

You see, for Hello Games, the initial case could have been decided against them if the game was called ‘Sky of no man’, this is not the case so the dissimilarity is there. In addition, this is a video game and unless there is a clear sky game ready for the office, I am better of not getting close to it. As I see the likelihood of confusion would have never been a case so I am getting the idea that there is more. Yet, without the court papers there is no way to tell for certain. What is known are some of the facts in play? You see, the part “Too close is determined by whether the relevant consuming public would likely be confused by the second mark“. I can state with 100% certainty that those buying the game will never be confusing the mark of the game, with the mark of a Murdoch corporation.

In addition we can raise the following cases:

Jockey International, Inc v Darren Wilkinson [2010] ATMO 22, where Jockey was sufficiently different from Throttle Jockey and Chris Kingsley v David Scott [2011] ATMO 20, where Rebellion was sufficiently different from Soul Rebellion. As such, Sky should be seen as sufficiently different from ‘No Man’s Sky’. Yet, I will accept that without the full court data elements might be missing from the case. So I am keeping an open mind to some extent.

Now we see that Hello Games is in another situation, yet now on an optional case regarding the feat of patents, or is that the alleged featured use of a patent?

Dutch company claims No Man’s Sky Uses Its ‘Superformula’ without permission‘ (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/dutch-company-claims-no-mans-sky-used-patented-superformula-create-its-massive-universe-1571747), the news now three weeks old gives another side of the entire universe. Wherever there is a true innovator, there is a vulture trying to get on the gravy train! In nearly all countries we see the application of it. In Belgium Law we see “De machine is patenteerbaar, evenals het proces van de aanpassing in functie van het draaimoment van de motor of de kracht op de snijkop. (voor zover dit voldoet aan de 4 voorwaarden voor een klassiek octrooi, maar laten we dit even aannemen).  De wiskundige formule die gebruikt wordt om deze functie te berekenen niet.” (Translated: A machine can be patented, so can the process of adjustment in function of the rotational moment of the engine on the power of the cutting head, the mathematical equation to calculate this cannot). You see, this is at the heart of the matter, in academic reality you could patent the universe, the methods of how it was conceived was not in addition, as the game is unique, Hello Games now have the copyright, yet not on the formula.

In addition, I need to show you the article by Eurogamer, who did some of the legwork (at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-07-21-why-no-mans-sky-fans-are-worried-about-a-patented-superformula), they make a few references, more important is the fact that they got through to a few of the connected parties. Now we get to the gritty part of it. You see, there is orchestration in the wind (not by or through Eurogamer mind you).

Consider the quote Jeroen Sparrow gave Eurogamer, as stated in the article: “Genicap is working on a project to create revolutionary software based on the superformula that can be used likewise by indies and the major game studios. Using the superformula to generate natural objects enables you to create endless varied and original objects such as trees, rocks, beaches, planets and mountains. Currently most of this work is still done manually. We are still in the conceptual phase. We expect to be able to tell you more in autumn“, which is, as I see it a load of bollocks! Consider, that initial publications of teasers of No Mans Sky started in December 2013, it was introduced at the E3 2014, now we see ‘We expect to be able to tell you more in autumn‘, how is this even contemplated to have any kind of value?

You see, part of all this is linked to the patent claim EP1177529 (A1). You see in Patent Law, whenever the first element fails, all subsequent elements fail too.

So consider the first claim: “1. A method of creating a physical form, comprising: programming a computer with a computer application for computer graphics or computer aided design or the generation of physical waveforms, with a representation of the following formula r = 1 1 a · cos m 1 ·φ 4 n 2 ± 1 b · sin m 2 φ 4 n 3 n 1 <img class=”EMIRef” id=”188164907-ib0037″ /> where r is a radius value at an angle φ, selecting values for the parameters a, b; n 1, n 2, n 3, m 1and m 2, at least one of n 1, n 2and n 3and at least one of m 1and m 2being variable; generating a pattern via the computer based on the selected values input into said formula; transforming said generated pattern into a physical form.“, here you might be confused, but you need no math, just plain English “transforming said generated pattern into a physical form“, here is the simple crux. A virtual representation, is not a physical form. A supporting thesis can be found (at https://unfoldingform.wordpress.com/about/), if there is one upside then it would be that this all introduced me to the work of Kris Henning. The abstract quote “a design investigation exploring the transition between the virtual representation and physical fabrication of folded forms” gives the goods: ‘transition between the virtual representation and physical fabrication‘, they are two different dimensions. Whilst we could argue that Jeroen sparrow is finding new ways to fund a tax party and here the quote “transforming said generated pattern into a physical form” does not hold the bacon, because this is not what Hello Games are doing and as such, we could regard Genicap as a simple vulture trying to get scraps from someone who was able to create. You see, Dutch patents are very similar to those in Common Law nations “De vinding moet gaan over een product of productieproces, en je moet kunnen aantonen dat dit technisch kan functioneren. Zo kunnen diensten, ideeën zonder concrete uitwerking, natuurwetenschappelijke theorieën, rekenmethoden en esthetische vormgeving niet beschermd worden door een patent” The invention needs to be on a product or production process and it must be shown that it technically functional, services, ideas without concrete solutions, natural theories, calculations and aesthetic shapes are not protected by a patent (translation), so as we cannot fault Eurogamer for  lack of Dutch, plenty of Dutch sources did not give this the attention it needed to have. This case is likely to go nowhere!

So we see the collection of people lacking innovation and applicational genius and trying to weasel in on their flaccid approach of inability (perhaps I am oversimplifying the issue?)

When we look at the final part of the Eurogamer article (which is quite excellent), we see “If Hello Games used our technology, at some stage we will have to get to the table. We have reached out to them but understand they have been busy. We trust that we will be able to discuss this in a normal way“, whilst, as I see it, there is enough to debunk the patent claim, there would still be issues of copyright. Yet, there is an issue there too. For this we need to take a step towards Forbes, who published on May 19th 2014 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnvillasenor/2014/05/19/how-much-copyright-protection-should-source-code-get-a-new-court-ruling-reshapes-the-landscape/), where we see “Consider a programmer who writes source code to implement a complex weather forecasting model. Models for weather forecasting are not subject to copyright, but the programmer (or, if the programmer is an employee, his or her company) may nonetheless have an enforceable copyright interest in the specific code written to perform that task“, which actually gets us pretty close to the heart of No Man’s Sky. the mathematical model has no protection (if it was used), but Johan Gielis could have ‘an enforceable copyright interest in the specific code written to perform that task‘, yet that part is stopped, because that part was built from scratch by Hello Games, so even if the superformula is in whole part of No Man’s Sky, it seems to me that the application was re-engineered and as such, Genicap has nothing. Nothing is as I see it should be, because they come up with “the superformula to generate natural objects enables you to create endless varied and original objects such as trees, rocks, beaches, planets and mountains. Currently most of this work is still done manually. We are still in the conceptual phase“, whilst a demo has been visible for close to two years? I reckon that they were asleep at the wheel (possible trying to come up with a mathematical formula to grow mentioned wheel).

In the end, Hello Games is growing an industry in a direction no one foresaw, the even better part is that I blogged an additional application for this solution well over 6 months ago implies that I surpassed Genicap regarding any superformula (without ever seeing it), even before they went into some conceptual stage, I found it another application. So what does that tell us about Genicap and Jeroen Sparrow?

So, be like me and enjoy playing No Man’s Sky (and thanking Hello games for coming up with a brilliant game).

 

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An early verdict

So many people have been speaking about No Man’s sky and I am now joining them. Those who know me are aware that I have idolised the game since I saw the very first teaser 2 years ago. It is still three days away, yet I could no longer wait and I saw the stream by DJ Angel (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqmjEv7l3u0). There are two reasons to look at this one. You see, for all the good, it also shows one debatable part.

From the first part, as far as I can tell, No Man’s sky is promising to be everything I hoped for. No quick glitches, or short cuts, just a play through. The fact that every planet is procedurally generated is also an indication that your planet could be very different from the one you are seeing, so watching this is not too much of a giveaway for what you face. The game gives the goods and the others. I am not stating it is the bad side. I am stating that as an explorer you need to think, so when you try to get to a milestone and you want to get something from your ship and you get introduced to ‘ship out of range’ you know you needed another solution and wandering so far from your spaceship was not the best idea you had. Yet, like Minecraft you can get lost in time and suddenly realise you made the milestone of 10,000 steps and you go Oops!

Not sure how DJ Angel felt, but I thought it was brilliant. So in the last weeks I saw people screaming upcoming disappointment, I saw people claiming to play this game and ‘finishing’ it in 30 hours and now I see a 6 hour play through (I watched a little over half an hour), where I see a player just trying to get by the elements. Short on items and getting ‘hindered’ by inventory full. I saw an option to buy a multi-tool upgrade and a few items you will have to see for yourself. I am moving towards a fair amount of sleepless nights I gather. No Mans Sky is about to exceed my personal expectations!

Now, The graphics (this is on a PS4), are pretty awesome. I reckon that other presentations were on PC, yet this resolution and the details we see are really good. The amount of icons in the field give decent indication of what I need to be aware of. Now, here is the part that I need to be mindful of. You see, I might not be in a desert environment, I might start on a temperate planet with seas, or in the icy cold. I will not know for another three days, yet this video shows clearly that we the players will be in for an excellent ride through our console universe. In earnest, Paul Tassi at Forbes raised a few issues I agree with, also sets ease many minds so you need to read the article ‘What’s Going On With No Man’s Sky’s Awkward Launch?‘ (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/08/06/whats-going-on-with-no-mans-skys-awkward-launch/#5730666621b3). For the most he asks fair questions in a way that should not worry you and moreover, on Wednesday you will have a clean server and a game with a day one patch to work with.

Yet in the negative, I would want to add a possible essential fixes to the achievements. This is based upon the IGN list of achievements: I saw several ‘milestones’ in the game, like ‘beginner’ for learning 8 words. Considering that 10 words gets you the bronze achievement, which is fair enough, yet another review I saw implies that the achievements were too easy (no idea how many words are needed for Silver and gold. So far, I am unable to oppose it and personally I do hope that from the initial verdict that this person gave where the achievement list is set to 4/10 (in difficulty) it will be shifted more towards a 7/10 or even an 8/10. I would feel sad if this ends up being an easy chase to the platinum cup (which does not lessen the gaming experience in any way). Yet, this is just my personal view and it is based on missing information. So, be aware that I might be wrong on that count, as I got this from none too reliable sources.

What DJ Angel clearly shows is that Hello Games completely delivers on the promise they made over the last 2 years. In addition, I do hope, based upon the IGN list, the following additions will be made:

Abreu – Survived one extreme planet for no less than 2 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Bronze).
Amundsen – Survived three different extreme planet for no less than 3 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Silver).
Armstrong – Survived five different extreme planet for no less than 4 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Gold).

I am going with extreme Heat, Cold, Radiation and Toxic, so I am hoping there is a fifth one.

That is pretty much the only negative part that we could possibly face and there is no guarantee that this is a fact, so no matter how you feel regarding the achievements, apart from all the BS we have been exposed to for many months, DJ Angel gives a few spoilers, but only if you land on a planet with these weather and ecology markers, which has a rough probability of 0.000002324%, those are truly gaming stats that make you smile!

We are a mere two days away from a great moment in gaming history! If Minecraft was anything to go by, I reckon I will be spending in excess of a thousand hours over the next year in this game. For Sony this is another notch on their guns of revenue. When we consider the past there were a few moments when one game was worth buying a console for.

With the PS1 this was Tombraider, with the PS2 that list was pretty big with God of War & Soul Caliber leading my list. The PS3 would be worth buying for Metal Gear Solid Guns of the patriot, Skyrim or the Last of Us and now on PS4 No Mans Sky joins that famous list. That game alone is buying a console for! In all the games published not many titles can make that claim, yet from what I have now seen No Mans Sky delivers the gaming goods!

Yet for those feeling nervous, there is one more fact that should be considered. This has been stated by several decently reputable sources. The two elements are that the database gets wiped, which means that those early players have no advantage and that you will discover your fair share of elements, life forms and planets. The second part is that there will be a day one patch adding even more replayability. Things like ship diversity, meaning there is a larger list of ships all with benefits and drawbacks. Additional depth in trading, meaning more fun for you and your ship as well as multiple endings. These are great facts and none are too much a spoiler. What is clear is that a team of 11 have outdone the larger developers with a comfortable margin, which is good for other claims I made in the past, and even more rewarding for me as I start playing No Mans Sky tomorrow (wishful thinking).

So I hope you join me in spirit as you embark on your own quest through a universe as Hello Games procedured it to be, a fun trip for anyone holding their PS4 controller!

 

 

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A simple choice for real gamers

We are forever confronted with choices, some clear and many not so. We seem to rely in most cases on experience, yet in some cases, your gut feeling is all you have and at that point, the more emotional you are, the less likely that the choice was a good one. Now this is nothing special, we all do to some extent that very same thing, the mind, the gut, the heart and the sexual drive. Although that last one tends to be highly driven by emotions, especially when you give into lust, temptation and desire. That is not a bad thing, it is just the way we are.

Gaming is another place where emotions run high. Some part is about desire, but most of it is about a drive, drive to experience. For me that drive is there. Yet I am on a different scale than many are. I am not on the list of those needing to go Call of Duty on my fellow gamers, although there will forever be a thump of my heart for Mass Effect 3 multi-player. In my view the best multi player action a console ever had. No, I am on a reserved list of players that will forever be smitten and tempted by games like Minecraft, Skyrim and Fallout. You see, the challenge of RPG is met in Skyrim and Fallout, yet the fun of just wasting a day away playing Minecraft, exploring, building is not lost on me. Like a kid with his bucket of LEGO, I will never stop feeling for Minecraft. I will walk away for months at a time, but I will always pick it up again and soon thereafter I will have as much fun as I had when I played it in the beginning. I have it on all my consoles. At the initial price of $20 and the upgrade to a NextGen console for a mere $4, it’s probably the best investment I ever made. So when I get confronted with ‘Gamer who bought No Man’s Sky early reaches galaxy center, deflating fans’ anticipation’ (at http://www.polygon.com/2016/8/1/12341236/no-mans-sky-how-big-length-beaten-center-of-universe-galaxy), I wonder what is wrong with people, especially the writer of the article.

The first quote “Daymeeuhn, the Redditor who bought the game, said his 30-hour play through was not simply an attempt to reach the galaxy center as fast as he could” is already a giveaway. You see, 30 hours is a lot more than many games offer (Tombraider offered a mere 10 hours and Infamous Second Son offered less than 20). Still people are worried. Why?

From what is given away there are two enormous elements to consider.

  1. If he has a review copy, he has a limited version of the game.
  2. The game will not be released for another week, so how did he get it?

Now we get the quote: “I actually intentionally took time out of my warp jumping over the course of going to the middle to explore planets to break up the monotony of it

Which gives us the following points of evidence.

  1. He was basically trailblazing. Did he not run out of fuel? How did he refuel, with what funds?
  2. He admits to not doing all the major ‘events’.

So we see a person, who for example like in Minecraft build a house and thought that the game was done, or glitches himself to the ender dragon and killed it. How? By cheating? If we stick to Minecraft we get a few parallels. Finding the fortress, getting to the Netherworld, Mining Obsidian, finding diamonds and getting blaze rods. The path is not short and chasing to get there defeats the purpose. No Man’s Sky, as I see it is about seeing the other worlds, actually spending time there, learning a ‘language’ grow your character as equipment evolves and as you see the universe, this does not mean mindlessly doing the following:

  1. Select jump point towards centre of universe
  2. arrive at next location.
  3. Go To a.

Which seems to relate to the oldest Basic program:

 

10 PRINT “Daymeeuhn is an idiot”

20 GOTO 10

Yes, that makes you a programmer in the smallest of ways. So this person is one of what I personally regard as ‘a mere wanker’, who wants to know a detective story, so he reads chapter 1 and the last chapter, then publishes quickly ‘The Butler did it!’. So not only did he not care for the story or the writer, he also decided because of his ego to just spoil it in falsehood for everyone telling an incorrect and half-baked story. And something like that calls himself a ‘redditor’? In addition, many of the game review places should know better and for the most ignored the actual story just to try and cash in on curiosity. A Murdoch approach to a world none of them seem to understand. Not only is that person off the boil, he was willing to pay $1300 to prove that there is something wrong with him.

Which leads me to the following question.

How come that anyone had the game four weeks in advance and how did he acquire it? In addition as this wet though eBay, how come the FBI is not all over this? Perhaps because it is an American company, but a British victim and as such they do not care? There is a decent amount of evidence suggesting that eBay was used for criminal purposes. That was not considered by anyone?

I like the response that Forbes gave the best. They stated: “There’s no way we can trust this Daymeeuhn character. Just look at the facts. He bought a video game on eBay for $1,300 just days before it was set to launch for $59.99. That’s crazy. You can’t expect people to take your opinions, analysis, or observations seriously when you voluntarily spend an extra $1,240 on a video game just so you get it a few days early. It isn’t rational behaviour, strictly speaking, and certainly ought to colour others’ reception of your opinions” (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/08/01/its-too-early-to-start-panicking-over-no-mans-sky).

They hit the nail on the head, the fact that other gaming sites are not really on top of things makes me question a few more things, more than I am comfortable with, mainly because the overall quality of reviews and gaming sites has been deteriorating way too much. Another linked video is ‘Trophy Review | No Man’s Sky‘ (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyfCYnUZ0SY). The reason is that I was curious on what trophies there were. The interesting side to all this, is that this video also refers to ‘a person’ who defeated the game in 30 hours and it took him a few days to get all the achievements. This is now turning into another issue altogether. So this person has been spreading himself all over the field giving us an even longer timeline as to how long that so called early copy has been out in the field.

Now, I cannot stress enough that I have no idea how true or false the claims are, yet I have seen the trophy list on PlayStation Trophies dot org. Here the following trophies come to my attention.

  1. Attain ‘Naturalist’ status in Uploaded Discoveries, with a nice reference to a cult movie. This trophy implies that you will have to upload plenty of discoveries of the planetary flora and fauna to get it. I would speculate that it requires more than one planet. So consider the time, walking around to get it.
  2. Attain ‘Legend’ status in Ships Destroyed. Now this might not require as many kills as getting the Elite Status as a fighter in Elite dangerous, but it would be quite a few.
  3. Attain ‘Magnate’ status in Most Units Accrued. This means you have massive funds and coin, enough to find a planet with Dragons, a white wall and enough coin that it would make Cersei Lannister to act and motivate Lena Headey to find you on that planet and asks you to stay with her for all the nights of the rest of your life.

Now, there is plenty of options to get this when it is a limited review copy, yet there is a growing and overwhelming sense that we are being fooled and this is a heist by a Troll with a hatred of No Mans Sky. As I see more and more fake hype attempt by all kinds of sources, I wonder why anyone is so afraid of a game that people are looking forward to. There is no moral or logical justification.

Can I be wrong?

I always ask myself this, in nearly any issue that I write about. Now consider the Achievement ‘Attain ‘Babelfish’ status in Words Collected‘ which is a gold achievement and remember the demo’s that Sean Murray gave? If those shrines all have one word, how many shrines do you need? Now also consider the fact that this is generated, so there are no maps and the ships scanners gives you dozens of interesting places all for different reasons, how long until you get to the 10th or 25th shrine (just calling these Obelisks that)? Not in a few days I reckon. That is besides the fact that some places are ultra-hot, ultra-cold or ultra-irradiated. As we see fact by fact add up, the mere claim by ‘Daymeeuhn’ seems to hold less and less water. Now, as Forbes stated. Wait for a week and decide then, I will get it regardless. There is enough shown to see that this could be the game I have waited for, for well over 2 years. With 5 major releases until the end of the year, no matter how you slice it, there will be plenty to play.

What bugs me is the lack of quality support by those who call themselves quality gaming sites and game reviewers. Those who did get a hold of play time at the previous E3 and other options have been too silent. How weird is that? In addition the sites all ‘heralding’ the unreliable news have not been looking at the potentials that this so called gamer missed. So in the end, we will know in a week and I am holding onto my copy for dear life, because like Minecraft, getting most blocks is not that hard, it is how you grow your world that matters and as I can see and by what was shown, the pleasure of just admiring the views that the planets are offering is already more overwhelming and reliable than what I consider to be the empty claim of a 30 hour games defeat.

 

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When they get it right

For those who have read my articles, you will have seen how I have had a little bit of an issue with Yves Guillemot and his software company, ‘the soft of Ubi’. Now, ever as we will acknowledge that it is not he, but Jason VandenBerghe who deserves the Laurels, it is still the CEO who gave the OK. What looked interesting a year ago when I was initially introduced to it, has moved from ‘interesting’, via ‘need to keep my eyes on this’, via ‘this seems really cool’ to ‘Holy crap, I need to get this’.

This game is also an additional piece of evidence that proves the point I had all along with Ubisoft. If you rely on a business spreadsheet to avoid not having a flop, you will in equal measure never get a real hit. This game has shown in more than one way that it went all out and it left the beaten path months ago. From an expected online only, to an online with single player elements (like Evolve), to a game with full campaigns. Geoff Ellenor shows the intro mission for the knights (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WzhdaVj8N4), not only is it a female knight (something in reality unheard of), which we have not seen to this degree since Gwendoline Christie has been playing Brienne of Tarth. So not only can you imagine playing this bad ass lady, one must not forget that this is a video game, so we get to have plenty of freedoms. The intro is extremely impressive and very educational. Not only is this a 360 degree combat system that is better than anyone I have ever seen. The simplicity of control makes me wonder how established brands like Soul Calibur and Tekken never considered it. In addition, this game shows that button mashing is not a way to survive this game. The graphics are beyond sublime, I realise that this is likely shown on a system bolstering the highest end graphics card possible, but it shows clearly that we are offered top rank gaming. In addition, the introduction offers a nice twist at the end which you will have to see for yourself. Intro or not, the makers went all out showing a valued and worthy intro to a game that has been promoted to one of the expected top games 2017 will be offering, so even though many titles are unknown and unseen, this game will be the expected contender for best game of the year. That is a verdict I am stating. Those who know me know that I have never been a real fan of these hack, slash and fight games.

How wrong am I?

Well, that is still an option, yet over the course of a year, I have seen what was already really impressive a year ago and over time have seen this evolve into something bigger. Now, I still have to give this some serious gameplay on a console to see how it holds up under the scrutiny of a PS4, yet I am convinced that the elements shown in sound, in graphics and in game play make this an easy 85%. This is not a final verdict, because the game could realistically gain another 10%. This is done through exposure of AI (read NPC interaction) and storyline. You see, the demo does not show how the game will interact with your style of play. The AI of your opponents will be crucial in this game. We can agree that the intro is about learning the interface and controls, yet the game passed that point will be all about the AI and what level of challenge the opponents offer from then on. Not just the bosses, but the soldiers. They did not really show opposition in the intro, yet in the full game after that level, those soldiers need to be a little better than they are in the intro. The challenge and satisfaction, as well as the total hours of gameplay that the campaigns offer. There we find the additional 5% that makes a game no longer great but legendary. In reality, it just needs to be over 90%, for the mere reason that nearly all games over 90% should be regarded great. In my view, the remaining 10% comes from two areas. The one is the game the second is how we react to the game. Our levels of satisfaction with what the game offers. For example Dark Souls 3 shows that achieving victory in that game is near impossible. It gives us tremendous satisfaction when we do get there and frustration when we do not. Now, with the Dark Souls series we know that they are for gamers with an Olympic level of playing, but when I reviewed a game in the past I looked at two elements in a game. The first was the playability and the second one was the replayability. In that view I have had a passion for RPG games. So even as I admire Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne as graphically and inter active as perfect, the skills required to get to the end of this game is beyond normal which is an issue for the masses so I would see it as a ‘97% with a warning’. The warning is that if you are not an above average gamer, this game would not be for you.

Fair enough!

So back to the main event. For Honor has so far moved boundaries, opinions and expectations towards a likely ‘legendary’ status. So, as I see it those who are ready to slay their opponents, better realise now that this game will be released on Thursday February 14th 2017, so there is a chance it will be on your table untouched for one day (I’ll let you figure out why). I reckon that taxation year 2016 (July 2016 – June 2017) will show us some of the best games we have ever seen, not just the remastering of what were great games. But the addition of actual new and novel games. No Mans Sky, Skyrim, For Honor are definitely there, games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Resident Evil VII, God of War 4 and Final Fantasy XV are extremely likely to make that list. However those we have not seen to the degree we need to see to make any kind of assessment like: the Last Guardian, Scale bound and Call of Cthulhu. No matter how you slice it, there is enough evidence to show at present that we are moving towards a great year of gaming and that For Honor isn’t just on the list, it is moving towards the high end of that list. How high? Well that is also influenced by you the player. You see, some of you will due to passion and preference automatically move Andromeda or Final Fantasy to your number one spot. This is very valid, because it is about your experience. In that same light For Honor will likely move towards your top list too!

This means that Ubisoft got it right for this game and I can’t wait to add it to my collection.

 

 

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What we waste away

This is an issue that bugged me for a little while. Even though it started small, the near exponential growth of waste is now looking towards me, looking at me as I look into an abyss of squandered opportunity. You see, this is in part the Monday morning quarterback speaking, whilst in that same view I should hold a mirror to my own choices. Just like you should do.

The idea for this article started small, it started when I realised that Huawei was willing to sacrifice its Australian market share by tweaking the skewing profits they have. They are now making short-sighted decisions and as they do that, they stand to lose close to 10% of the Australian market share. So why waste that? Let’s not forget that before the P7 Huawei was almost synonymous with ‘whazzat?’ and now after the P7, which was and still is awesome, after a less appreciated P8, Huawei is close to being a global household name. Now with the Nexus being a little outdated (Nexus 6P), the 9P could have been ready to gain a decent market share, hurting both the iPhone to a lesser degree and the Samsung phones to a larger degrees. So what does Huawei do? They decide to not release the 64 GB in Australia. Now until recently, we could have expected that, yet when you consider the exponential demand for mobile games that Pokémon GO is pushing, the fact that we now see ‘Apple plans to invest in augmented reality following success of Pokémon Go‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/26/apple-earnings-pokemon-go-augmented-reality-steve-cook), whilst the players are not thinking their decisions through could be regarded as a larger (read: massive) act of wasting away opportunity.

So why is this a waste?

Until Pokémon GO, the need for storage had not been visible to the degree we thought we needed. Even I did not see this coming and I have been connected to games and gaming in excess of 30 years. Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/bensin/2016/07/25/these-photos-show-how-crazy-the-pokemon-go-craze-is-in-hong-kong) gives us a clear view with the quote “special phone plans from local companies offering unlimited data usage just for the game“, which shows the amount of users, but not the need for storage. The fact that millions of people are now getting dozens of screenshots every day (more than before) of every Pokémon they caught and even more interesting where it was caught. Of course the average teenager is also feeding the image streams on how they caught a Diglett on their boxer short, so the wildfire of images is growing. All these images require storage and this is only the first game, within a year I expect close to a dozen games with features requiring storage, because there will always be copycats. So do you really think your 32 GB phone will suffice? I think not, with all the other needs your mobile life has, buying any phone less than 64 GB from this point onwards is a massive flaw. It is short-sighted, even if you are not a gamer, this market is erupting into new fields and the chance that this will not affect you is near impossible. So as the difference should be no more than $100, sticking with the 32 GB is in my view for the nuts and fruits, the fibre based mobile user needs 64 GB, yes there is in some cases a 128 GB, yet this is except for the very few really overkill, you need to be a seriously intense user of large files to really need something this big, but by 2019, who can tell?

In my view, you need to consider a mobile phone for the next 2 years. 32 GB will not cut it, especially as Android OS is also growing and will require more space.

Now it is time to take a look at the Apple side, the Guardian gives us “The comments came during an earnings call to discuss the results of the company’s third financial quarter, the three months ending 30th June, in which the company earned $42.4bn in revenue, a 15% decline from the same period last year“, so as Tim Cook is making claims towards Augmented Reality (AR) he seems to have forgotten that Nintendo, with their 3DS got to that point 5 years ago. So, not only did he miss that entire cycle, we can conclude that 3 iterations of new Apple products were not near ready either, so he is running behind the ball, whilst someone saw the AR on the 3DS and game it a little more thought. As we see how Microsoft has been bungling some of their projects, in all of those steps Apple wasn’t just absent, they had no clue where the gaming world was, so as they are trying to pick up the pass, we see the lack of innovation and shear absence regarding the creativity of options that Apple happily avoided. Now as some ask questions we see a sudden mention of AR whilst none of the hardware is ready to facilitate innovation for this track.

As I stated that all (including me) missed the hype this caused and yes, it is a hype but one that is creating a beachhead, not one that is fading away. So Nintendo has options and opportunity here. Beyond the IP needs that are now rearing its ugly head, we need to realise that Apple is now moving to the shallow end of the pool. They moved from innovator to facilitator and until they change the mindset on what a gamer wants and what a game needs to be Apple is now the one barking up the wrong tree. In that regard evidence of their hardware is simple enough. Only the iPhone 6 started to have 2GB or RAM. The issue is that games tend to be memory hungry and no matter how good the swap architecture, the fact that you need it will drag gaming speed and swapping speed down, which makes for a bad solution. The fact that Huawei is skewing profitability by limiting storage is less on an impact, but knowing full well the impact on mobile gamers, the fact that Huawei has not adjusted it view means that they will not be able to keep up. That last one is a little incomplete for Australia, because it is one of the few places where the mobile phone providers do not offer a 64 GB edition, whilst the models do exist. Here we get that Kogan.com is the only open provider offering 64 GB phones, in the non-open field it is only Telstra that offered it (their iPhone 6S), the rest is now trailing storage land with a dangerous backlash that could come their way.

So how important is storage? It might not be that big on one side, until you run out. Ask yourself, when was the last time you deleted pictures, removed MP3 tracks and removed APPS you never use? The moment you run out of memory and as you suddenly see that you do not have enough storage you will freak out like the short-sighted PC users who used to think that 20 GB was enough for their PC. Most of those people ran out of resources less than a year after getting their PC, when they did not know how to clean up their PC they started everyone except themselves. That is what you now face with your upcoming needed Mobile, because that moment with your kids, or your partner who just made that one gesture just as a bus passes by and the water pool near her feet became the inverted waterfall covering her, that moment when you miss it will introduce you to the term ‘frustration’, which is the moment as you realise that storage was everything at some points.

Yet these were not the only parts, just the directly visible ones.

There are more options and several are being missed out on. I am currently sitting on a billion in revenue, yet until the right person comes along. I can’t afford to move towards it without leaving it open for others to pick it up. I just need to get lucky. In that same way, some game developers are sitting on optional IP, some are now finding its way towards us in other ways, some through redesign, some through the mini console gadgets, yet they are coming. Is it enough? That depends on your point of view. For those coming with the mini console, it is a way to cash in on old IP in an easy way, a way where the seasoned gamer will get joy from. Just remember that this $99 solution, with the original games which would have come at a price of almost $1900 when the games were initially released, yet I digress.

You see, the need for gaming is still growing and it is moving away from consoles and moving towards the mobile realm of gaming needs. AR is only one field and it is not the only field. Ubisoft had initially created a small wave with a brotherhood app, one that interacted with the console/PC games and soon thereafter stuffed it up with the AC Unity versions by not proper testing and considering options. Yes, that Ubisoft! Still, they are not done! Consider the options they still have. For one, they have the IP of Just Dance. How long until they get the idea to push songs to the mobile and kids in schools and colleges start holding a little Just dance marathon? Sydney of all places is one place where a dance app could make it big not just in the parks, but on the streets too and summer is coming!

How long until that Just Dance would evolve to work in selfie video mode, so that you can get a rating? This would require storage and some of these speculated options could be just around the corner. Even though Ubisoft dropped the ball initially, they are leading the way of combining gaming with mobile gaming. So there are more options that AR games, even if everyone is running that direction (which is not a bad idea), it will require an open mind to find something that could create the interest that the tsunami of Pokémon GO gamers crave. I will let the developers work that out.

The final part can be seen outside of the economic requirements of technology. It is found in the overly eager acceptance of ‘speculative estimation’. It is not based upon what could be, it is not set on the prediction of what already exists, it is seen in the quote “Shares plunge 10% as revenue falls short of analysts’ estimates amid modest gain of 3 million users“. In this case it is Twitter, you know that great tool. A connectivity tool that link you to existing interests, both professional, personal as recreational. No matter that it is limited to 144 characters, it enables you to get the information you care about. An invention that is profound and its value drops as revenue falls short of what a limited group of people expects it to make. So as we see a solution that is making “Twitter forecast current quarter revenue of $590-$610m“, we get the cold shower because some people claim that it is “well below the average analyst estimate of $678.18m“, so we have half a billion profit and someone says it is not enough. This is the waste, reduction in value, reduction of what those who do not create anything is just not good enough. Yet, this picture that the Guardian initially paints is not accurate either. We see should consider this when we take into account Revenue and Profit, no matter what the profit was, it did beat the expectations of some, making me wonder why analysts cannot get their act together.

Some of those are pretty much the same types who would increase the value of Nintendo by 10 billion, even as Nintendo themselves did not make Pokémon GO. Those same category of people who seem to expertly know that Twitter is supposed to have up to $70M more in revenue, did not realise that “Tokyo Stock Exchange has plummeted 17% in one day, apparently due to investors belatedly discovering that the company doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go, the latest mobile gaming phenomenon“, even as we all knew from day one that Niantec is an American development company in San Francisco, they were not making any mention when Nintendo stock went through the roof. So is this just plain playing the field or just short-sightedness? Even as shares went up 13 cents per share (up 3 cents), they had no good news on Twitter. It seems to me that there is a massive waste coming from analysts predicting values, setting targets that are a little too weird even as Twitter had achieved 20% revenue gain, it still missed targets (according to analysts). The pressure on false targets and fake values is dragging down people and it is dragging down quality of life for those who still made well over half a billion dollars. How is that not a waste?

It seems to me that we need to make large changes, not just on the way we think, but on the way we accept certain values. How is pushing by externals in any way acceptable? Let’s consider the following parts. These analysts we all about predicting the ‘opportunities’ for Greece in the era 2009-2012, even as we saw misrepresentation in more than one way. How did that work out for the Greeks? Brexit was never going to happen, they did not catch on to that part until the day of the election, how again did Wall Street overreact? Now consider the following definitions: ‘Slavery existed before written history, it continues through such practices as debt bondage & serfdom‘. Now consider debt bondage, where we see ‘a person’s pledge of their labour or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation‘, our debts, our essential need to work, the pledge of labour as analysts seem to chasten Twitter (and many other companies). Serfdom is another issue. It is not the same as it was. As the description might be seen as: ‘Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the lord of the manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence‘, many might deny that this still exists, yet in an age with high levels of unemployment we seem to push out own boundaries to do whatever it takes to keep levels of ‘protection‘ (read: not being unemployed) and ‘rights to exploit your position‘ (read: additional work requirements), even as we might disagree with parts of this (which is fair enough) the similarities are close to undeniable. In all this we see an iteration of analysts changing predicted needs, raising expectations, after which their errors are released through waves of managed ‘bad news’. Now, this might be just my speculative error of insight. Yet the evidence is all around you. In that regard, many analysts also get it wrong the other way. When we see Facebook exceeding ‘expectations’ by 59%, can we at that point agree that the analysts making the predictions have no real clue? In this age where we can all miss a trend, the fact that we see a 60% miss is not as much as a miss, as it is a massive inability to read your market, which is how I would see it (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/27/facebook-ad-sales-growth-quarterly-results).

You are now wondering how the latter part connects to the initial part. As I personally see it, we are receiving more and more hindrance from places that make one claim, yet in reality they are mere facilitators towards profitability to ‘satisfy’ the greed of ‘investors’ on the terms of analysts. I have nothing against profit and profitability. No company forsaking its ROI will live for long, yet when we see a company surpassing the 600 million revenue and they are turning a profit, everyone seems to have this surrealistic love affair with ‘Number of Users’. This gets us to what is behind the screens, you see, when we see the blind focus on number of users, is it about the product you have, or the data you collect? Those who are still about mere virtual profit through acquisition of personal data, those who proclaim comprehension, those are the same people who were unable to comprehend the value that products like Minecraft and Pokémon GO. Even if I got one wrong, I did not get both wrong, in that same light I can see that No Mans Sky will raise the bar for gaming and even as some proclaim the word ‘disappointment’ with the initial Alpha release of ‘We Happy Few’, I believe that this game can be a lot of fun and can end up being a decent game with a 90% score. Now, it is important to mention that this view was from a reviewer with a good reputation, it is a good review and as such it should not be ignored, yet in all this, it is still an Alpha version and as such there is plenty of space for improvement. This is possible, because the initial engine does look good.

These elements are all linked, the link is imagination and creativity. Not the imagination of hope in the view of ‘I have the winning ticket‘, no it is in the path of ‘What can we do to make a change‘. It is about the imagination to employ creativity to achieve a result. In the first case it is for Huawei to adjust its incorrect (as I see it) stance of that what they make available and for which nation at the bequest of whatever Telco. This is a mere adjustment of policy, it comes with the smallest requirement of creativity and a decent comprehension of data.

The second case with Tim Cook, which requires both immense creativity and imagination (and a good development team). We can make whatever claim we want, but the reality is, is that too much value is given to reengineering, and way too little towards actual true innovation. Where is the creativity and insight that brought us the iPod, iPhone and iPad? Oh, right, I forgot, he died! Yet, should Tim Cook be any less than his predecessor? So why are they not looking at raising the bar and instigating a different mode of gaming? Perhaps the next hype is not gaming at all. I might not have the answer here, but the bringer of the next challenge that will create a real hype might know, for Apple the need of finding that person makes all the difference.

Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. I wonder if that is still just the case. So far I have learned that “Any innovator will soon after their first big success become the pawn of the needs of Wall Street”. If you doubt that, then consider Adobe, Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Nintendo and Twitter and let’s not forget that they all started through true innovation.

 

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Out of the two issues

There are two things bugging me. One is technology based and I will get to that one next (read: article). You see, it is not the most important one and it fades against the game that is now on rotation. The first one starts on a good note, which tends to be a little awkward as it involved George Brandis, the Attorney General. The headline ‘George Brandis warns against assuming all attacks are terrorism after Munich shooting‘. I actually agree here. There was an extremely graphical video that I discussed (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/), on May 1st 2016, yet the video is all about implying targets. Here we have the crux, what makes the implied target a real target? Well that is for the boffins in the intelligence world to resolve. Yet when he states “He was obsessed with mass killings, owned a book on US school shootings and played computer shooting games. Most of his victims were fellow teenagers, five of them under 16“, I am placing a few question marks at his quotes. Just as Pauline Hanson is eager to blame religion, Brandis mentions that the German gunman played computer shooting games, which in light of the statements made by Andrew Scipione recently is slightly too enthusiastically and way too easily spoken.

Last there is “One of the phenomena that we have seen develop more recently is the development of lone actors who self-radicalise, often very quickly, most commonly online,” he said. “Very frequently these are young men with psychological disturbances, they don’t fit into the conventional or traditional understanding of a terrorism network”, which is true and fair enough. There are plenty of other sources that make similar claims, which does not make them false or wrong. It beckons the thought on how a kid of 18 got the gun. You see, Germany has a much stricter handle on guns, as can be seen in the article ‘Germany and gun laws: a chequered history‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/23/germany-guns-chequered-history-munich-shootings), the quote “three school massacres were instrumental in forcing through political reforms which are widely seen as making the country’s gun controls amongst the most stringent in the world“, even as many German’s have legally owned firearms. Germany is 4th on the world list of guns legally owned per capita. So, on one hand stealing one would be relatively easier (statistically speaking) in Germany, although that premise is an empty one without clear evidence on how the gun was obtained. So where did he get his gun from?

Now, this is not me stating that ISIS was involved, I am merely asking whether ISIS would eagerly use a tool like Ali Sonboly for instigating terror. Now consider the ‘news’ where we see the statement “Gunman Ali Sonboly used Facebook account to lure victim with offer of free food“, he apparently (according to the telegraph) used a fake Facebook account with the name ‘Selina Akim’ (other sources stated a hacked account), if that is true, than we have another iteration of issues. Not the fact whether or not he was a real mental health case, because this does not necessarily diminish that part. So when we consider the quote by George Brandis “when a search of the man’s home did not find any Islamist-related material, or any other political, religious or ideological material“, which we can consider in partial error. The ‘planning’ and creating a fake identity on Facebook (or hacking an account), trying to lure people of the same age group to McDonalds gives way to planning and to the act of contemplating. Contemplating because he viewed an approach with continued attention (aka tactical planning) and he observed or study thoughtfully (the use of a fake pretty girl profile). Now this does not make him any less of a mental case. Yet there is question on whether he himself came up with this or whether he was cautiously ‘coached’ by an outside source.

There is at present no way to tell, because even if no external evidence exist, until the origin of the firearm can be found, we all (me inclusive) will have a decent amount of speculations. So, I am not stating that George Brandis is wrong or incorrect. I am merely asking the questions that most have left untouched. The quote in the Telegraph (I know, not the best source to use) is “Police said the killings were not terrorist-related. They added that Sonboly was armed with an unlicensed Glock 9mm pistol and had 300 rounds of ammunition in his backpack“, the issue is regarding both the unlicensed Glock, where we do not wonder whether a Glock requires a license to exist, but the fact that the serial number could be traced back so quickly to an ‘unlicensed’ owner. In addition, the part of ‘300 rounds of ammunition’, so were these three boxes of 100? Six boxes of fifty? All issues, including the fact that ammunition outside of Canada and America tends to be a whole lot higher in price (I speak from experience here). In addition, German laws are stringent in this matter, so he would have needed to acquire/steal it somehow. There are more question marks rising now. These question marks are all linked to those proclaiming to have the facts, which makes it dangerous. In that regard, I am asking question, yet, am I asking the right questions? I feel that I am, because the actual answers might shine a more clear light on what allowed the events in Munich to happen. It still will not invalidate the views of George Brandis, yet questions need to be asked. When we know the following:

  • At almost 18:00 a shooting starts. Initially they think that there are three shooter (as there were three events), at the mall 300 rounds of ammo were found in a backpack.
  • At 20:30 gunman Ali Sonboly was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. (the Guardian stated that he was found 21:30 local time, as well as the statement that a post-mortem examination would be needed to see if he died from officers’ gunfire).

Now we get statements as him being into violent video games, on how this is planned, with references to books. The Independent gives us “One book found was a German translation of Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters, written by Peter Langman, an American psychologist. Mr De Maiziere said that Sonboly had researched a 2009 school shooting in Germany, as well as Breivik’s Utoya massacre“. I find it odd on how he went for such a specific book. Now we add another fact from the Guardian. ““It’s a little disturbing,” said Peter Langman, who was unaware that the Munich shooter had a copy of his book until the Guardian called him at his home in Pennsylvania on Saturday. “I don’t know quite what to make of it. I don’t know why he had it,” he said“, I share the concern of Peter Langman here. So less than a day after the event, the press seems to have all the facts, all the ‘goods’ of gossip, whilst a clear investigation takes longer. In addition, if there was a terrorist concern (which there was in the initial hours), the Press would not have gotten hold of anything ‘juicy’ and we would have seen at least one day of speculation.

The entire Munich event is calling for a lot more questions, question that have few answers. Now consider that the boy, obsessed with the extremist Anders Behring Breivik, on the day of the anniversary and he leaves his backpack with ammo behind? Now, we can argue on it and I am even willing to admit that under pressures our minds can go a little wonky, but with the essential need of ammunition leaving it behind seems a little too weird. In addition, we see the German website ‘the local (at http://www.thelocal.de/20160723/munich-attacker-was-shy-video-game-fan) state 16 hours after the event “Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae did acknowledge that Sonboly had extensively researched the theme of rampages and may have read about the lethal killing spree by white supremacist Anders Behring Breivik, saying there was an ‘obvious link’ between Breivik’s crimes and Friday’s shooting“. So, when this ‘conclusion’ is made after a mere 16 hours in public, how many hours were taken to investigate this? Was this one computer source? Several sources? Was Ali actually doing that research on his (or someone’s) computer?

When we consider the statements and the time line, I end up with a fair bunch of questions, questions that lead to even more question marks and no clear answers. So are we now being played or is this the German need to suss this quiet real fast? Let’s not forget that it could have been the solo act of Ali Sonboly, yet German security services do have an issue with escalations that involve refugees. It was only 4 days earlier that a 17 year old refugee started to play ‘me and my knife and axe‘ on a train in Wurzburg, also in Bavaria. So the police has every need to not see violence escalate, but at present what we are told and shown, I am not sure if the local population will accept the given as gospel truth. You see, the fact that both events are stated to not having any links to Islam extremism is not an issue, the fact becomes what pushed these two kids over the edge. There might not be a given answer to the first case as a knife and axe are readily available in nearly every hardware shop. A 9mm pistol with 300 rounds of ammunition is another issue entirely. As there are no links or clear indications where the gun came from and how he got his fingers on one. We become the people raising question marks whilst those who should be with answers are unable to provide any acceptable ones. This gives more and more weight to this issue being one with consequences.

It will take days before the dust settles and we have some chance of actually seeing the facts, yet the reality should sink in to many of my readers. There are iterations of cycled news, to some degree based on questionable data. Yet in this case it is less about the people and the fiction we see from the press, in this the press seems to be handed a less than sincere handshake from certain officials. Those officials have to push for agenda’s that make their live manageable, which is only partially fair enough.

The question we end with is: ‘Yet, was it good enough?’

I am not sure who has the answers, mainly because several of the released facts are too questionable.

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The Silvery Goon

To give a little form to this exercise I will alas need to mangle the lyrics that gave additional visibility to Doris Day, a song going back to 1910 when it was initially released.

 

By the light of the Silver Grey Goon

I shall thee groom, to be the sultriest slut I hump

Honey-pot keep your legs far apart

Your silly sight, not very bright, we’ll be laughing loud soon

That game is not really real.

 

So here is the start, direct and as I might add, intentionally offensive!

All this got started by he who did not get elected, it is NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione that takes a front seat today. Not the events in France or Turkey. You see, here on our home front we have an old enemy that is rearing its ugly head and the people who seem to casually start to take the front row as the facilitators here are part of a much larger problem.

First in all this, there is the small issue that it was repetitive. You see, something similar was addressed on August 6th 2012 (at http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/violent-video-games-incite-kids-to-crime-says-scipione/story-fn7y9brv-1226443402160). So as the headline read at that point ‘Violent video games incite kids to crime, says Scipione‘, we see a repetition from the people who should be doing the actual work, not the speculation on matters they do not even seem to comprehend.

Now, there are several studies that go back for at least a decade stating that ‘playing violent video games can lead to an increase in aggression‘. There is an issue with that part, you see, I think that a person who has an aggressive nature will choose a more aggressive game. Meaning that the aggression was already in that person, not given to the person by the game. In addition, this was happening in a time where professionals did not have a proper handle on issues like OCD or ADHD. This is important as this group of people is a lot larger than many are willing to admit to. When looking at American numbers we get the goods from the CDC and they tell us: “Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011“, I think that this group has been ignored for far too long and they took refuge (or shelter) within a mindset of video games. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5, the APA got creamed when NIMH withdrew support for DSM-5 in May 2013. NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), gives us the quote “Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure“, so this operation is looking into clinical evidence and even as they admit that there is a link between violent games and aggression, they state “Finds insufficient research to link violent video game play to criminal violence” (at http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/violent-video-games.aspx). So as we see the repetition by a Police Commissioner to rehash an old story, the fact that he is unaware on matters published 3 years after his initial ‘speech’ and the fact that these findings are a year old, in that light his speech does not seem that great or that qualified in a conference on violence in the media in Sydney.

This is however not all. The issue goes on, because he had more inaccuracies to state. We also see “When you see video games that reward behaviour, where somebody’s murdered, where somebody is abducted and raped and they get credits for that – what sort of messages are we sending our children“. You see, that part is another issue entirely. For this we need to take a look at 2014, where we see in ‘the Conversation‘ (at http://theconversation.com/virtual-rape-in-grand-theft-auto-5-learning-the-limits-of-the-game-30520) the following part: “After the release of GTA5 last September, there were discussions about whether players should be able to rape within the game. Wisely, Rockstar Games, the game’s developers, did not take this suggestion on board” in addition we see “But hackers did. They created a mod that allows a user to enter another player’s game, often as a naked or near-naked man, lock onto another player and then thrust persistently back and forth. All players can equally fall victim, regardless of character or player gender. And there is no way to prevent or stop an attack“.

So not only is the Commissioner misleading readers and listeners, but he is spinning another tale. As I see it, the game was never released that way, so the game was altered. We could go as far as to state that they are illegal versions of the game? In my view as I see it the question becomes why has Andrew Scipione not arrested those hackers and if they are not from his jurisdiction, why is he even talking about it? Is there not enough media circus issues in Sydney? In addition, there was a clear reason for 18+ games. When we see the quote “Given that children and young people are large consumers of this sort of content“, can we now be clear that children are not supposed to have those games and if they do, perhaps it is a clear parenting problem and those parents should be ‘losing’ their children? If the ‘child’ is over 18 that ‘child’ would be an adult and it is again a non-issue.

He sounds an awful lot like that confused and hypocritical person in South Australia. Michael Atkinson is his name, I believe. I regard him as hypocritical as he was awfully eager to leave the house he lost control of regarding Labor Premier Jay Weatherill. If Michael Atkinson was so about child safety, he should have intervened a lot sooner. So as we see the ABC quote “While he acknowledged there were fundamental issues within Families SA, he said a “whole community” approach was needed to protect children in the future“, we can draw a straight line to parent responsibility and proper games. So here is the third strike from Andrew Scipione. As I personally see it, this entire exercise is another step on the road to mere censoring.

So is this like Michael Atkinson another religious ‘enthusiast’ to spread the option of censoring?

Let’s be clear, both man can be as Baptist and as Anglican as they want to be. I have nothing against religion (being a Catholic and a partial Anglican). Yet it cannot influence the job that needs doing as long as no laws are being broken. The fact that we are introduced to a ‘presentation’ of inaccuracies is a large problem!

So as we realise that there is a clear 18+ category and as was said in 2012: “Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare says the new category will inform consumers, parents and retailers which games are not suitable for minors“, we wonder what the speech was all about.

You see, Andrew was not alone. So now we get Elizabeth Handsley, professor of law at Flinders University and the president of the Australian Council on Children and the Media. Now we see quotes that actually have a little value: “the number of people who become desensitised or oversensitive to other people’s aggression is going to be greater, and that will have that broader, society-wide effect that we won’t necessarily be able to identify“, she has a partial valid point. You see partial as it is her part that is also a problem. The part that both are skating away from. An act that is as I see it likely to be intentional is the accountability of the media in general. The ethical uncaring nature of the media that will trample basic rights of privacy to get the knickers of Kim Kardashian on any media at a moment’s notice, a media that after getting scared to death by the dangers the Leveson report brought, did fake gestures of sincerity and they were up to their old tricks before the ink on the Leveson report had dried. That side is not dealt with by either of them, because the fact that the Press gets away with murder (well almost) and that accountancy firms are suddenly not responsible for large corporations overstating value and losing billions in value. In all this the people linked do not end up in jail. I reckon that this side of reality is a lot more damning on those kids and their optional shift towards non-legal actions than a video game is. The fact that these sides of the media are not set forward is equally damning on Scipione as it is on Professor Handsley.

In addition there is what the conference called a certain ‘Distinguished Professor Craig Anderson‘, when we see the topic ‘Media violence science, video game industry lies, and responsible public policy‘ we need to also take heed of a part not shown here. The case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 564 U.S. 08–1448 (2011), a case that was struck down by the Supreme Court. A massive part in this is that the First amendment was seen as overstepped by stopping these video games. I am not completely in agreement here. You see, I am all for 18+ games. As an adult I want to play them, I want to play them completely and unfiltered by some half-baked censor. Yet, I am on the front lines to agree that Grand Theft Auto is not for children. We can argue how old a child should be, but the rating was clear, you need to be 18 to play it. I do not object. By the way, when was the last time you read the stories of Grimm? How docile are those stories?

I also support then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who stated in 2007 “a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions“, which is what age ratings are all about and any parent giving their child a mature game is a bad parent and should be held to account. Getting back to this ‘distinguished’ professor. When we see issues on methodology, the fact that the APA gives view that there is no evidence that violent games link to criminal acts (or more precise there was insufficient research), gives weight to the debatable part whether this conference is anything else than a tax write off for travelling academics remains. When we consider the opinion from the supreme court in the earlier case mentioned (at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf), where we see the mention of ‘admitted flaws in methodology‘ and the fact that I got all this in one hour, I get to wonder what on earth Andrew Scipione was thinking when he made his speech and I wonder in equal measure what Professor Handsley was thinking in her part. You see, the quote “potential harms of violent video games were often oversimplified” is not the issue. Proper investigation has been lacking, because (as I personally see it), political hatch jobs that cause the problem for whatever crusade they think that they are on. As Michael Atkinson blocked whatever he could under what I consider to be a false premise is the actual danger. In all the research I saw ZERO indication that properly investigated the opposite side. Not the violent games create aggression, but that people with aggressive tendencies go towards violent games. In case of OCD/ADHD people, there is a life of frustration and there is a chance that they are releasing steam by playing games. In this age, where the bulk of parents are getting less and less connected to their children, often because of the cost of living, long hours and exhaustion are also influences that create pressures and mental health dangers in every family affected here.

If there is one side in that conference I would have attended, then it is the part by Dr Wayne Warburton, where we see ‘Media violence and domestic violence: Subtle and not so subtle links’, you see there is one side that is open to debate on a near global level. You see, in June 2014, I stumbled upon an article (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/08/police-fear-rise-domestic-violence-world-cup). Here we see “domestic abuse rates has revealed that in one force area in England and Wales, violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won“, as well as “In Lancashire – where during the 2010 tournament domestic abuse rose by 25%“, so when they are talking about Media violence, will they raise the issue of soccer and domestic abuse? If not, how reliable was this conference? It seems to me that there is an awful lot of aggravated censoring of video games when there is enough evidence that the people involved have no comprehension of video games, or the people playing them, as well as their background and medical history of those involved.

Isn’t it weird how the same issue is raised again and again, especially against video games, which is still not proven,  whilst the evidence of domestic violence, which is a proven link to criminal behaviour in kids is interestingly negated, perhaps an actual fight for the safety of children is beyond them? Why bark up the wrong tree again and again? Was it not Einstein who stated: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results“, I reckon that I have shown that to be the case of more than one speaker.

So have a good night and remember to look up when you are trying to catch them all in Pokémon GO, especially when you aimlessly walk into the Pacific River!

 

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