Category Archives: Gaming

And the case is?

ABC shows us an article, which I saw yesterday and even as it is fine, even as it is nothing new, it is brought to us like it is an exclusive look at what has been happening for a long time now. The article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-03/video-games-you-play-are-using-sneaky-tactics-four-corners/100098826) gives us “Persuading players to pay for advantages or extra features is a key part of the gaming business model”, yes that has been happening long before Candy Crush was a thing. And then we get the part where stupid takes over. With “Kat McDonald lost track of how much she was spending when paying with an in-game currency” we are given the taste of how she is an innocent victim, she is not. We also get “I wasn’t sure how to work out an itemised account, because on your bank account, it just says Apple”, from my point of view this is not a victim, this is an extremely stupid person. Even as the writers are trying to hide it all behind “Game developers will sometimes use multiple currencies to make it difficult for players to keep track of how much they’re spending”, we are being told a story for some reason that has not been revealed yet.

Whats up?
So to give you the lowdown, most games use two currencies, the normal one that everyone has and the premium one that only some get and needs to be paid for. For example Bethesda’s Fallout shelter has credits for all users, but you can buy Nuka Cola to get the advantage. They do give out Nuka Cola to all players in missions, you can find them and there is a chance Cappie and Bottle leave some when they visit you. I have at present 350 Nuka cola bottles, I have never spent a cent on the game. The game Gems of War has a few options in that regard, however like Fallout Shelter, I have never had to spend any money to get ahead, I merely had to play a lot. These two are for the most exceptions to the lot. Some games use gold bars, some use diamonds and so on. The important part is that ‘THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE GAME!’ The two exceptions I mentioned offer to sell you stuff and it is appealing, but it is up to you the player to either take the grind road or take the spend road, take some responsibility! So when I see “Kat became so immersed in the game she lost track of how much she spent on multiple small purchases” and “I sat down with a notepad and pen and wrote out every single transaction and added it up to $4,000”, at this point I wonder how stupid the journalist actually is. You see $4,000 amounts to 400 to 1000 purchases, and that is not merely ‘she lost track’, this is one of these (as I personally see it) stupid people who should not be allowed near a credit card, just like the person spending $12,000 on FIFA purchases. We need to accept that either you are responsible, or you need to be, never near a credit card ever again. This sounds harsh but that is how it is. Yes we see that gaming makers have a business model, some are revolving around your data and advertising, some are about selling items and some are all of the aforementioned. This is not new, this is no rocket science, this merely is.

So when we get to “Or you or me could just spend some money then and there and get all the advantages that come with having progressed”, which is true and in many cases that advantage can be gotten in the beginning by spending $3-$10, depending on the game. The important realisation is to do this only once, the initial grind is the longest one.

I had this once with a game called Castle Age, I spent in the early 10 hours about $5, it got me a character (and gear) that gave me a huge leg up in the beginning. I did not feel guilty, this was in the early days of Facebook and Castle Age was a cool game to play. I played the game for about 2-3 years about an hour a day, so it was $5 well spent. That against $4,000 is a larger setting. We all get the vibes to dole out money if we have it, but to spend about 40 times the funds for a PS5 game is just ridiculous. And the ‘getting hooked’ is only part of the setting, when someone spends that much money it is not (or at the very least debatable) addiction, it is stupidity and some excuse like “But I was still participating because it was still giving me that dopamine rush” it becomes my personal conviction that anyone relying on ‘dopamine rush’ should have stuck with comfort food (and chocolate is cheaper too).

There you have it
And that is when the article is showing its actuarial part, the McDonalds were as I see it merely used to bring the goods towards “In loot boxes … you don’t buy the game for the reward mechanism but the reward mechanism is there. You purchase access to this … and you get a random outcome, that might be very valuable or not at all valuable”, yes another go at the loot boxes, which in my point of view is not gambling. Some games hand out loot boxes on a daily basis, some give them out when ‘milestones’ are reached, or specific circumstances are met and some use them as well as those that can only be bought, but the ones you buy tend to have more valuable cards, items and options. And in all this, no one is responsible, it is the poor poor player and the evil maker of games. Please go cry me a river, when you spend $12,000 on loot boxes you are absolutely bonkers, more important, the main part of the game does not require these loot boxes. In some games (Ubisoft) they offer them, yet they also CLEARLY state that these items can be gained by normal play without spending cash, and such items are a mere few dollars. Then there is the view of game influencer Laura Gilbert, which I actually love (her point of view, not her, before you get the wrong idea)  “Gaming influencer Laura Gilbert refuses to buy any loot boxes”, I agree, to be more clear, if a game cannot be played without loot boxes, it should not be allowed to be released. And even in FIFA, the part that uses loot boxes is not the foundational part of the game, or it was never originally so, I do not know how it is now to be honest, because I loathe soccer, I am a hockey player (the real version on ice). 

Two more things
There is “Video gaming has grown into one of the most lucrative entertainment businesses in the world”, that is true, there is a hidden gem (for the game makers). In the first there is the need for short term satisfaction, we are all OURSELVES guilty of that, you, me we all are, I might be clever enough to avoid certain traps, but I see that they are there. The other side that there are games that have a pay to win foundation (candy crush like games, any game with a match three approach (Gems of War excepted), there is a pay to play setting, this is harder, we see the Idle games, where we can play the foundational games, but when there are competitions, the only way to reach the ranks is to pay for special items, special managers, more powerful miners, the list goes on, it is never a lot, but in the beginning be ready to pay $3-$7 to get the better people in the game. There is the option to watch ads to continue, yes you can avoid them, but it slows you down, so to get the leg up you will be watching 5-15 ads per hour, so how is that satisfying?  And they also offer options to get the really rare cards, but they tend to cost a few $$$. All this is out in the open, so the entire “They kept messaging me, telling me to come back and play” as well as “so immersed in the game she lost track of how much she spent on multiple small purchases” are as I personally see it, parts of the BS foundation, it is time to take responsibility, but the writers of the article are in part making statements, but to the larger extend it to bring loot boxes out to another round of finger pointing, all whilst the players need to take responsibility for their own actions. 

The article does however end with “Gamers are now starting to realise how they’ve been played”, I find little to oppose this, and the larger state was achieved by me in the beginning. There is no such game as a FREE GAME. There is ALWAYS a price to pay, in all the games I have seen two exceptions. Bethesda gave us Fallout shelter, even though it was initially done to give larger visibility to their Fallout line and they made a lot of money out of the other games, which had to be purchased. There is an optional truth that they hoped that the microtransactions would give them more money and it did, yet I have played it on 4 systems, and I never had a need to make any kind of purchase. The other part is Gems of war, there it was a new game with no link to anything else, and they offer options for purchase, but they never push for it and I never had to buy anything, there is no pay to win, or pay to play. Perhaps in higher stages, but on one system I made it to level 150 without spending a cent. They might be the two exceptions, and I am not new to gaming. I started testing and reviewing games in 1989, so I have been around for some time (I started with a VIC-20 in 1983). 

There is one part I stepped over (intentionally), it is the quote “Microtransactions started appearing in games in the mid-2000s, encouraging people to repeatedly make small purchases to keep them involved”, I do not oppose it, but I wonder which games had that first? I noticed it first with Candy Crush, they were not alone but the math gave me the speculated insight that it was designed to ‘almost make you succeed’, it was very clever and I deleted the game the same day. There is no way to beat an algorithm, that much was pretty clear to me. We can go on for a long time, but the larger setting is the irresponsible spending of people and that is left on the side of the road, it is equally irresponsible to do that. I believe that the ABC article fails to a much larger degree at that point, from my point of view it was about the push on loot boxes and to help out Senator Jordon Steele-John (Greens), but that is my take on the article.

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Baked Alaskan Marketing

Yup, it is about the desert, well in some form. To be honest, I never had it, I saw pictures, I saw people making it (YouTube), but I never ate it. And for today that is OK. You see, it is not really about food. It all started this morning when I saw ‘PS5 isn’t good value compared to Xbox Series X, and I’m sick of it, that is his view, I believe it to be a bit of a hatchet job, but that is usually the case with opinion pieces. There are also ‘anti-Xbox articles’ and that is fine by me. In the end the systems are closely matching, yet for me the actions by Microsoft over the last 8 years have been an indication that the Xbox console is lost to me. No matter what promises they make, as I personally see it, they betrayed the gamers, all in favour of more and more Azure pressure. It is a personal choice and you need to realise that, I personally demoted Microsoft, but it remains personal. Even as they are now starting the Xcloud and other services, I do not want any of them on my systems, but it is mostly personal (partly instinctive). I will not tell you to not do it, you must select what you think is best for you.

When it comes to Xcloud, I feel that I am leaning towards Amazon Luna if I get into that field. The Luna was close to the Google Stadia, almost there but not quite. Considering that Google should have won it as a tech giant implies that Amazon is more hungry and more willing to make the leap, it gives them an edge and in all this, I want something giving me games no other system will, exclusivity matters. I am not certain if the Luna can deliver, but their setting is looking good. 

The fact that we saw ‘Amazon Games opens new Montreal studio, developing a multiplayer game with Rainbow Six Siege veterans’ implies that Amazon has skin in the game, and as such, if my IP (as published earlier) is either PS5, and/or Luna, see it as public domain. The setting for good gaming is what we need and Microsoft (in my personal view) has betrayed that approach. It was their right to make choices, but they come with consequences. So why is there a baked Alaskan in play? Consider the method “The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for a brief time, long enough to firm and caramelise the meringue but not long enough to begin melting the ice cream”, it is a way to use the crust to hide what is inside and it can only done once, yet via Microsoft we get ‘As Microsoft pushes partner transformation, a state of ‘channel inertia’ is emerging’, ‘Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 Is Nearly Perfect’ and ‘Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2022 is moving to 64-bit’, all different titles, all different sources, but there is a link, lets see if you pick up on it. There is also “Microsoft officials also said they are planning to refresh Visual Studio for Mac by moving it to the native macOS UI”, perhaps you are already catching on. One more hint. It is ‘The FBI removed hacker backdoors from vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers. Not everyone likes the idea’ there are two parts here.

  1. A court order allowed the FBI to enter networks of businesses to remove web shells used by cyber attackers exploiting Exchange vulnerabilities. But what does this mean for the future of cybersecurity? It is one view, I am not against it, but I get that some are. This has nothing to do with the FBI, it has everything to do with Microsoft dropping the ball. 
  2. Microsoft is seemingly everywhere, with connections way past their computers, Xcloud gives them more and there is too much questions on what Microsoft is capturing, when I asked why they needed to upload 5GB their help-desk stated that this was with my ISP, how stupid is that? I will not allow them on any device, no matter what game will become unavailable to me.

You see, it is not today, or tomorrow, it is what happens a week after that, when we see the exchange issue, the idea of a DDOS version that can use Xcloud is not that farfetched, a DDOS setting using any console it can connect to is a nightmare that should keep several Cyber divisions awake for a long time to come and when we see how Exchange was ‘bitched’ that thought is not the weirdest one to have, with any connection through Xcloud and Azure, the data options are the wettest dreams of organised crime, whilst data facilitators will seek access in whatever way they can and it connects to your systems, your data and could optionally impact your consoles and games. If we get (as published earlier) the setting of ransomware, considering the millions of gamers who have built up a lifetime of achievements, gear and wealth in a dozen games. How long until someone gets a hold of that? Microsoft is spreading itself too thin on too many systems, channels and operating systems. I believe it to be the much larger danger down the track. Yes that is a personal feeling and it is riddled with speculation, but when we see the transgressions over the last 6 months, is the thought that far fetched? 

At the middle of this is their marketing. ‘Partners should ‘ride the wave’, ‘Nearly Perfect’ and a lot more, all to make sure that Microsoft is on the high rise and in the light of diminished negativity, which is the job of marketing, with over 285,000,000 hits on Microsoft (as per today), and 329,000 (Microsoft+scandal), 14,500,000 (Microsoft+problem) we see an overly positive view, which might not be wrong, but that imbalance is making me massively uncomfortable. Especially when we consider “Some Windows 10 users are encountering serious problems following the release of the recent “KB5001330” update, with some reports even coming in that the update itself can’t be installed on some machines”, now these things happen, anyone making other claims is flat-out lying, there is no way that things go perfect, things happen. However, in a stage where Microsoft is so widespread that one hitch could mean all kinds of transgressions, the setting becomes a problem. When we see that and consider “Socure to Provide Identity Verification for Microsoft Azure Active Directory Verifiable Credentials”, we see more and more third party solutions becoming part of the equation. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, but speculatively consider that any danger is double of the previous danger per party involved, as such we see 1%, 2%, 4%, 8%, 16%. The fifth (third party) connection sets the danger to almost one in five, and now consider that we see a stage of overlaps of PC, MAC (iOS), Surface, Azure, Xcloud, Android, we are now optionally in the 32% group, almost one in three where things can go wrong and organised crime wants in, I hope that you realise that a group like HAFNIUM will have no issues selling their solution to the highest bidder, as such, are you sure you want to connect all these systems? 

I accept the work that any marketing division does, but the setting of keeping the users for too long in the dark can have massive consequences down the line and that is where Microsoft has become (my personally speculation) a clear and present danger to gaming (among other parts), that is beside the fact that they are in it for the data, but that too is my personal assumption on the matter. Oh, and I remained conservative, when the error becomes exponential, the setting goes towards 1%+4%+9%+16%, there we see the 4th link making a lager negative impact then any before, I see that, but I personally do not believe that the situation will become quite that bad, but it could be.

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Consequences of balls

We all face them, you, me, pretty much everyone, we always face consequences. We do not always face them the same way and some see a diminished version of it, but they will be there, no exception. So when I saw the FIFA corruption scandal explode 2-3 years ago, I wondered what would happen next, and yes reports were suppressed and we got to see all kinds of excuses. But it was an event with far reaching consequences. Now, I personally believe that some of the upper class leagues decided to fight the expansionism by certain members and they created the European Super League, the BBC gives us all kinds of news including “Uefa said it will use “all measures” possible to stop the “cynical project”.” To them I say ‘If you had done something to stop the fucking corruption by FIFA, you might not be in this mess’, and that is not all, when we consider ‘Sepp Blatter gets new six-year ban from football after Fifa investigation’ (source: the Guardian, 24th march), so not only was the first conviction not enough, we see him getting more and there is no way that the high end of UEFA was unaware, the BBC investigation over 10 years shows that there is a lot more going on and they stayed silent, so in the setting of anti-expansionism, the largest team set up a new league and it will draw crowds. Is it fair on the ECA (European Clubs’ Association), or UEFA? Not sure if that is in call, it is the consequence of letting Sepp Blatter and his friends getting away with the amount they have. So when we see “Senior figures at European football’s governing body are furious about the proposals”, are they? Where was their indignation stopping FIFA? Where was their indignation on the suppressed reports? Sitting on your hands also comes with consequences and these teams are looking at a way to make it pay for them, so when we see “This proposal risks shutting the door on fans for good, reducing them to mere spectators and consumers” I cannot stop laughing, this is exactly what fns are, they are spectators, they are consumers, this is how sports work and any display or marketing event to show that they are more is pretty much a lie. Consider that “The gross salary awarded by FIFA to its President Gianni Infantino rose to more than $3.2 million (£2.4 million/€2.66 million) in 2019. The world football body’s 2019 annual report details amounts earmarked for both Infantino and Fatma Samoura, secretary general, in salary and allowances last year, at what stage is that level of income seen as normal? I get that they optionally earn a decent penny, but that decent? A source gave us in 2018 ‘UEFA reveals president Ceferin is paid $1.64M salary’, yes these people will see a drop in income, so they are furious, in all this what is the stage we need to see? Can we blame that Andrea Agnelli (Juventus), Ed Woodward (Manchester United) and Ivan Gazidis (AC Milan) want to see a chunk of that money go towards their own club? Oh and before I have stop typing (from excessive laughter) consider “Labour leader Keir Starmer said the clubs involved should “rethink immediately” or “face the consequences of their actions”” I wonder where the hell he was when FIFA got away with event after event, at this point he is better off keeping quiet. So when I see all these people cry havoc, on how fair it is and how greed driven it is, consider their silence when Andrew Jennings initially voiced his show on FIFA in 2006 and for how long serious investigations were avoided and pushed into the dark room in the back. Now we see the consequences on the biggest teams, having to chance injury on Edinson Cavani against a third tier team a week before to head of against AC Milan, this is not against that third tier team, but we all know that the biggest teams want to play the other biggest teams, not fall to injury against a low level team and the fans, the chances to see the big teams fight each other, I am certain they will love it pretty much right of the bat. It is the consequence of badly thought through expansionism, the biggest players are wondering why they need to suffer the consequences of bad management. I believe (still speculatively speaking) it is that simple.

I for one, do not really care, I am a hockey fan, there are 31 NHL teams in total over all of the US and Canada combined, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), has 4 groups adding up to 79 teams. There is a cost to expansionism and I reckon that they are seeing it now. If Ron Francis (Seattle Kraken) offers me a place as goalie on his team, I will happily accept, I get it, we all want to be in the big leagues, but a stage where we have 4 groups combined to 79 teams, the setting is off the wall and the people in charge should have stopped a long time ago, but the media coins were just too appealing and in this we see that FIFA and UEFA are in a bad place, they got themselves there and now we see politicians (if we can call Keir Starmer one), they are all about the change and how these manager have to ‘rethink immediately’, all whilst there are larger flaws to consider and these teams are now setting the stage for THEIR team. Let’s not forget that UEFA is not beyond the paint reach. So when we see “Michel Platini, who was the head of UEFA at the time that Blatter headed up FIFA and the corruption allegations were taking place, had to deny receiving a ‘disloyal payment’ last year. He was paid £1.35 million for, he describes, ‘legitimate consultancy work’. The problem he had, however, was that he received the payment in 2011 – a full nine years after his initial payment for work with FIFA and just three months before Blatter was re-elected at FIFA boss in 2011” (source: Football Stadiums), in all this who even remembers Andrew Jennings? Who is asking the deeper questions? I personally see that expansionism led to Qatar 2022, now, personally I like the idea of Football reaching the Middle East, if sport gets a conversation going, their participation should be welcomed, but in the light of expansionism, there is a drawback and those sponsors are crying like little girls, and now as that is taking place certain funds are suddenly questioned on a larger scale, there is a consequence on nearly every turn and whilst people like Keir Starmer cry foul, the tend to get awfully quiet around the Sepp Blatter case, what cries did he give us when Sky Sports gave us “FIFA’s ethics committee found Blatter was part of a “vicious circle” of officials who sought to award themselves over £50m in undeclared payments”, which is funny, because that much money took years to gather and for the longest time there was nothing and the media was quiet on nearly all of it (which makes sense), but it took a BBC investigative journalist (Andrew Jennings) to create the visibility, even then it took over a decade for all of it to make the limelight and the headlines, why do you think that was? Perhaps a decent look on stakeholders and their influence in media is not too weird a call to make? What do you think?

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Real life in virtuality

The other night I was pondering the setting (as you might have read in the previous blog) on RPG’s and the setting of a dream within a dream. The idea took another turn as I was considering the interaction of reality with virtuality, and in this a game based on a 1 exabyte setting, an online multiplayer game based on virtuality. A game where players fight each other, they create alliances and they conquer. To get this done, we either create a world that is believable, or we turn it around and let the world create our reality. 

And as I was pondering this, I remember a game called ‘Virus’, in this shooter the game created the levels depending on your hard-drive, that was when the cogs clicked together. 

The new game an entire exabyte of challenges.

The world where we are thrown into is not unlike TRON, but in this setting we become citizens of a cloud environment, we are kidnapped and as we scape we end up getting left to our own devices. So as such we see a challenge, but consider a cloud environment, one that has a dozen Fortune 500 companies, thousands of mid sized companies and a lot more small companies. So will you take on a large player, or do you start small? A game with settings unlike we have ever seen and it is a game that develops further as more players sink into a company, a game without a timeline, but with time as either an ally or an enemy. A stage we have (as far as I know) never seen before and as the cloud evolves, so does the world and the enemies we face. So consider creating a cloud environment for that event and turning it into a game, we are always looking for a challenge, so why not become the infecting part and take over companies, corporations and grow in that way and this is the game with a difference, it is hard core only, one life! You can restart as often as you want, but one defeated you start at square one, until you have complete control of your first company, corporation or enterprise. So as we see and as we get into one cloud, it will be close to an all out war with anyone you face, that is unless you can strike an alliance, and alliances require all parties to see the benefit of one another. The nice part here is that this might (or might not) be the stage where we either love it or hate it. You see this will not appeal to all, there is no doubt it is, yet how can we create the challenge of such a game? We appeal to the player and we set the event that the player will embrace. An approach where the benefit of both sledgehammer and scalpel are seen, and the creation of an environment where both can thrive. And that is the challenge, creating the environment where everything piece of hardware is shown as something, where every router and its components are shown as challenges, I wonder if it can be done.

The question
Yes, I do ask myself the question if it is feasible, if it is even remotely possible. You see, we all have Monday morning quarterbacks in one end, but the other end is also taken. Usually by some manager that has a new plan every Monday morning, but it never pans out to be possible, achievable or even deeply contemplated. I see that, I always question my own thoughts, you see the person who does not question their own thoughts ends up drawing castles in the sky, and then expects a dot matrix printer to print a 1200 DPI photograph. We must question ourselves at all times, especially when we caress our creative side. 

So is my idea a castle in the sky? Perhaps it is, there is no doubt on that. Yet for every 8-10 failures, that one idea will push through and become a real winner. In 1997 I opted and idea to my bosses to use a marketing strategy that used websites as the central core for reaching out to others, my bosses laughed, stating that there was no business model for something that delusional, and stupid me, I listened, 4 years before Facebook, I had the idea for a digital marketing path and it was ignored, silly stupid me, as such I am putting ALL my ideas on the public domain, some will find ground, some will not, perhaps most will not, yet in this I am setting the stage for some to take the idea and push it into a direction that I am currently unable to pursue, for a few reasons, but I digress.

We can try to literally translate a cloud, or we can set the inventory of any given cloud and create a converted one that boggles the mind. Consider that a company has a server, users, computers, routers, Cloud Connectors, Data Center Interconnect Platforms, Mobile Internet Routers and a few other devices, and the larger the company becomes, the larger the hardware and that is before the cloud, in the cloud we see all kind of other issues and to map these out we need a different set of rules, a different set of limits to add to the game, to give some version of ‘reality’ to the game, a set of spawning rules (I hate spawning in games) or to set a better stage, if a cloud is represented in elements (see image) now consider that each company has larger or smaller elements of all, how diverse will be the challenge a gamer has, even as the gamer goes from place to place, he is still in one cloud and there is the larger cloud security to content with. Perhaps the game is a fools errant, yet I believe that if gaming is the edge of technology, the only way we get beyond what we have now, is to push the stage of a new game towards and beyond the horizon of what we now can see. Sony gave us the console to do it, so let’s push into a realm we have never seen before, it is the only way to keep gaming at the height of any system, if we do not do that, we are hopelessly lost.

So where is your virtual gaming life? In a new version of an existing game, or in a stage of gaming we haven’t seen yet? I have nothing against the next iteration in gaming, I played Tombraider, 1, 2 and 3 and never regretted that, yet even there, we saw evolution of gaming. That part was less and less visible in some other franchises and that is a sad part, because only those who push gaming beyond the limits will show a game worthy of conquering. We have all kind of views on this, some hate them, some love them and that is OK. I was never a GTA fan, but a lot are, some hate Watchdogs 2, I loved it (3 as well). Some love Breakpoint, me not that much. That is fine, I always state that those claiming to create a game that appeals to all, will create a game that pleases none, so if I am not part of any equation, that is fine by me. Others, will serve the game I like. 

This is how it should be and in all this creativity will push limits and creativity will open up other doors, such is life and we need to push as many doors as we can if we are to make life better all around us, the iterators never will, they are part of the margin spreadsheet, sailing a safe course to last longer, it will never ever go their way. Nintendo is perhaps one of the shiniest examples. It pushed the Wii, which was a decent success, then the WiiU, an abysmal failure, yet it resulted in the Nintendo Switch, an absolute home run in gaming and there we see that failings will optionally turn to wins, an iterator will never see that, only the innovator will get there. Nintendo at present is close to 75,000,000 switch consoles sold, that implies 2 Nintendo’s for every Xbox, so where is their ‘most powerful system in the world’ now? Iterators always have a good story, but they do not yield results, we will get another ‘We’re not driven by how many consoles we sell, it is the same all over, the losers will say the numbers are shallow, but when they are in pole position, it is everything. A brand gone to the dogs, largely because they ignored the voice of the gamer, I saw that almost a decade ago. And now we see a new world rising, one run by Sone ind Nintendo, it is fine by me, although I needed Microsoft to keep Sony on their toes, this idea will soon be a bust. So the best I can do is to set a stage of creativity and hope that some will Create more and more Sony exclusive games, those who do will be able to use my gaming IP free of charge, I do have commercial needs (income) for my 5G IP, such is life and I do like to enjoy a good meal.

So is my cloud game a bust? Perhaps it is, but for now I will try to envision more and more of that approach, consider a complete created cloud, one where you travel and set the premise of ruling the cloud, yet not alone, it is too big making alliances more and more important, a stage that several have attempted, some a lot more successful then others, I merely want to add to the success rate, or at least attempt to do so. It is the price of creativity and its push to innovation, only the successful continue that battle stronger, the failures continue too, but on a smaller scale, and that is fine, every person will fail at some point, it is what they do next that matters, because Steve Jobs had its successes, but he also had the NeXT computer. We recognise success, but we fail to recognise the failures and where they lead to, it is the flaw in many of us. And this is a larger stage, so how can we set that stage, when people keep on pushing Microsoft and their Blue solution. So as ZDnet reported “Microsoft acknowledged it was a service update targeting an internal validation test ring that caused a crash in Azure AD backend services. “A latent code defect in the Azure AD backend service Safe Deployment Process (SDP) system caused this to deploy directly into our production environment, by passing our normal validation process,” officials said”, a lot of bla bla and yada yada, yet the flaw is not merely within Microsoft, it is the same approach that is replicated again and again. So as we see mentions of Active Directory, we also see ‘a validation ring that doesn’t include customer data’, as well as ‘the SDP didn’t correctly target the validation ring due to a defect and all rings were targeted concurrently causing service availability to degrade’, so how long until there are more and more failures and the rollback merely adds to the problem? This is what I saw when I considered the NSA approach towards Trust Zero, the idea is good, but larger players will screw up making any rollback a much larger issues over the whole field. This is part of the idea to make the cloud a game, we could optionally see something we never noticed before, because thousands of gamers will kick the one part everyone ignored. 

Whether we see the issue in reality, or merely virtual. We need to look with different kind of glasses, I see that because 20 years ago I listened to the wrong people, those relying on bullet points, memo’s and ego. There is no space for that in gaming, or in innovative design, I wonder when Microsoft will figure that part out, they are now in 3rd position, what happens when they become deal last (behind Amazon), will they blame metrics or will it be a Covid set of variables? No matter what they will rely on, they are in a stage where they are losing more and more slices of business cake, they are losing slices in a time where they should have had the entire pie, as I personally see it stupidity, greed driven short sightedness and ego driven conviction made them lose field after field, and now they are in a ratchet state, they have no ability to get close to Amazon and at the same time there is every chance that Google could catch up with them. When that happens, Microsoft will be holding a losing hand in the both the cloud and the gaming field and as their surface solution falls short, we see them handing over slices of that pie to Apple, a three sided losing streak, it is a rare but slightly satisfying field. Why do I think that Microsoft will fail? ZDnet stated it best with “There is still no publicly available data on Azure sales. Azure is the part of Microsoft’s cloud business that most rhymes with AWS, but is buried in the commercial cloud”. In a lifetime of working in IT, I have learned that when commercial driven players rely on ‘no publicly available data’, it tends to be because someone is too close, they are too far behind, or the results create questions, and as I personally see it, Microsoft does all three, Google is too close, they are too far behind with Amazon and the Exchange server issues call in question issues with the Microsoft cloud as a whole. As we saw (from 2019 onwards) more and more hacks towards clouds, there is every notion that together with one source claiming that 90% of clouds are in danger, Microsoft has a lot is problems coming their way, I do not know if this is completely fair on Microsoft, as all three have issues, but the replicated approach Microsoft has (Active Directory anyone?), we see a larger issue, if hacks can be transposed from one system to the other, Microsoft hacks might be seen as lucrative (from the organised crime point of view), it makes the NSA approach more and more essential, yet I personally feel that any rollback has hidden flaws and flaws are a problem, especially in a cloud where one flaw transfers to a whole number of corporations. I will be the first to agree that my view is speculative, because it is, but to see that part you need to grasp back to 2003 where the people got “Erroneous VeriSign-Issued Digital Certificates Pose Spoofing Hazard”, this needs to happen only once on the cloud and the mess is almost complete and I believe that a rollback will make it happen. So how do you feel about ‘due to a defect and all rings were targeted concurrently’ now?

So perhaps my idea for a cloud game has a few additional benefits, apart from it being an interesting approach to a new game. 

Have a great day

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Belated brilliance

Some of us know what I am talking about, when we first see it, we think ‘nice’, nothing negative, just a plain nice. We liked the story, the girls loved Jude Law, the men were all over Jennifer Jason Leigh (virtually). The story was good, there was nothing bad about the whole thing, but now 20 years later some are realising just how brilliant David Cronenberg really was at that moment, our computers are catching on, our approach to virtual reality is catching on and suddenly what was once nice, is now regarded as the Koh-i-nor diamond. I am off course referring to eXistenZ the movie. We can take it apart from any angle, but consider the side we can now use on the PS5? What if we create an RPG that is a dream within a dream?

Not unlike the book the Talisman, consider a map, the normal game map set to a normal grid (whatever you call normal). Now we see a second map, that map has relative places in the same place (not the same place), but you are placed in wherever the temple, or resting place was. So in map one we have something resembling Japan, whilst Map 2 is more like New Zealand, as such map one is 50% larger, yet in relative places we see similar places and the resting places is an option to travel between the worlds, both worlds having duties, quests and achievements, but if you are a Shaman in one, you are an artisan in the other, a ying to every yang. Now that we have the power systems (like a PS5), we should use that to fuel gaming imagination, not merely a more buggy and textured killing game, but a sandbox game with several sandboxes, optionally they have very different kinds of sand in that box. Optionally there aren’t 2 worlds, but three or four, the opportunity offered will be staggering. 

Now consider that no game designer has ever considered creating such a leap, well, apart from serious Intel computers, the power was not there before, so why do we see more Assassin’s Creed 2022 LEAKS, with references to Africa, why more of the same whilst the last two games are still buggy? Why more existing IP, and what makes for the massive absence of new gaming IP? The creativity is out there, some of it is 20 years old and never considered for gaming, all whilst that movie was all about virtual gaming. What allows for an iterative mind to exist in a world that relies on true innovation? I mentioned that before, when you try to make a game that appeals to all, you end up with a product that pleases none, I would think that some game makers would have learned that small truth by now. I created (in my mind) in the last three months close to half a dozen games and if I can do it, why not these self proclaimed experts? 

I will let you decide, but if you get jumpy and overly exited when you see the next Assassins Creed, like a teenage boy seeing his first photo model topless shall we say. In a stage when we can be exploring life as a tailor, designing cloths for her naked body, I reckon you got exited for the wrong deal. By the way, according to some ladies that same formula works with Daniel Craig too, so he should be happy for now. 

For me, these ideas came to me as my mind was arranging books and movies, rearranging ideas in all novel ways to make connections that were not there before, so why aren’t others able to do just that?

And if you think gaming is a mess, consider that I completed the concept of a stealth systems to deploy a solution giving the Iranian navy a unique view of the Sea of Dammam (the view from the bottom), so what gives? Northrop Grumman lost idea’s and is relying on the Next Generation Interceptor program to stay alive a little longer? Well, if software iteration x.53 is anything to go by, it will not last long. Iteration was the game of financial stability, it is now the deterrent of innovative leaps ahead, it was the one part that the weapons industry had in common with the gaming world. Innovation was everything, and that is falling away more and more. 

So even as the Wall Street Journal gave us in 2018 “a payload adapter—that failed to operate properly in space”, it is interesting wording, apart from the silly notion that more than one thing went wrong, so as I gave two maps with different scaling, what else causes a person to be in a different place when he falls asleep? The person who never really knew where he (or she) was and that is important in gaming, because there we do not sleep, we merely pass time, so what happens when location and time are triggers? What if one life is set to time, but the other one is depending on a sun and a moon? In a real stage where we have two worlds where both work in a different premise, understanding that premise is essential if you want to efficiently win the game, that has been a cornerstone setting in RPG games for a long time, so why not change that stage, the technology is now powerful enough.

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Right & wrong, 2 multi-dimensional sides

There was an article at the BBC a few hours ago and I had to sit down and ponder for a moment. I can revisit my view again and again, but the BBC gave a very specific side and it stopped me. As I see it loot boxes are not gambling, but the article ‘Loot boxes linked to problem gambling in new research’ gave an additional side, and it matters.

The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56614281) gives a lot of the same, including the view of “About 5% of gamers generate half the entire revenue from the boxes”, which is an optional valid view, my emphasis is on ‘optional’. You see, even as we are given “Loot boxes are a video game feature involving a sealed mystery “box” – sometimes earned through playing the game and sometimes paid for with real money – which can be opened for a random collection of in-game items such as weapons or cosmetic costumes”, I noticed ‘sometimes earned through playing the game’ before, I got most of all gear in NHL19 without ever paying a cent! This is important, and there is a stage where we need to recognise the games that offer loot boxes as a reward from within the game. It is “The upcoming Gambling Act review is set to look at the question, with the UK’s House of Lords already having weighed in to say that loot boxes should be firmly regulated as “games of chance”” that made me pause, loot boxes are not gambling, but when it is stated that they are ‘games of chance’ I do not disagree. We can argue in all manner that EA games took loot boxes in FIFA and went overboard, I will not disagree on that. Consider that FIFA21 “In FUT, there are more than 16,000 Day 1 cards, corresponding to as many players”, as such, if there are 1,000 it would be a low estimate, 2,500 would be more likely, but I have no official numbers. This implies that to have them all you would have to buy a minimum of 2,500 packs, if each pack has only one rare, that is just insane. 

It is not gambling! You see, to have that premise, that needs to be a setting that buying one pack gets you one cards stating ‘Thank You’, that is not the case, you always get a set configuration of common, uncommon and 1 rare card. But the House of Lords goes with ‘games of chance’, which is the seemingly the case and even more, it has an exploitative side, I never denied that, and there is a difference, I opted in the past for an alternative. It is what is called ‘A factory set’ a set with every card, the set is not tradable and has no value as you cannot trade them, but you would have all the cards and to offer that set in the last quarter of the game might be an option. 

My issue with the article was “The link between gaming loot boxes and problem gambling has been “robustly verified”, according to a new report”, I have issues with that straight of the bat and I would want to see that full report and its data before giving it any validity. You see, in the last 6-12 months I have noticed that gambling and in game advertising that is pro gambling has been popping up all over iOS and Android, Google’s own YouTube now has an increasing amount of gambling advertisements, so the setting is as I personally see it rigged.

This included advertisements on how to win at gambling, a stage that in my mind has nowhere to go and shouldn’t be allowed in any advertisement setting of Google. I wonder if that factor was considered in that report, was it even investigated? Let’s take a look!

A stage that is on a sliding slope, as we see more and more pagers on the internet all set to the stage where you can win real money playing games, so the game is already rigged and it has nothing to do (as far as I can see it) with loot boxes. And the report by the GambleAware charity is off to the wrong start with “Loot boxes are purchasable video game content with randomised rewards. Due to structural and psychological similarities with gambling, they have come under increasing media, academic and legal scrutiny. The UK government is currently reviewing evidence on loot boxes, which will be considered in the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act 2005”, you see plenty of games allows you to win these boxes by playing, Mass Effect 3, NHL 19 and several others, some give several packs a day, you only have to enter the game to get them. The report (at https://www.begambleaware.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/Gaming_and_Gambling_Report_Final.pdf) has more. “relationships between loot box engagement and problem gambling have been robustly verified in around a dozen studies”, I have an issue with that statement, but lets continue for now. When we see “Participants also purchased loot boxes because of a ‘fear of missing out’” I wonder how this was proven, you see, when we see on page 6, ‘A game will offer loot boxes for free. Encouraging later real-money purchases’ it is an assumption, a speculation. I never spend money on NHL19 and I have all the jerseys, all the goalie masks and all the arena’s. In addition, Mass Effect never pushed for spending money, you can get it all by merely playing. That is a setting of two games straight of the bat. Yes, it was possible to spend money, but it was never needed. The research then give us Overwatch which is a free to play and loot boxes are their only revenue, but what is there?

The report gives Fortnite a pass on a few settings, yet the Verge gives us ‘Epic Games will settle Fortnite loot box lawsuits in V-Bucks’ with the additional “The class action settlement also provides an additional $26 million in benefits” (at https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/22/22295676/epic-games-fortnite-loot-box-lawsuit-settlement-rocket-league-v-bucks), as such the report already has a few sides I find debatable and optional rejectable. When we are treated to “the game’s cooperative survival mode, “Save the World,” did — at least until 2019 when Epic changed its loot box system to allow players to see the item inside prior to purchase”, so why did that report not contain the part that gives us ‘when Epic changed its loot box system’, and all whilst another source gives us regarding Ubisoft “The Division 2 has both microtransactions and loot boxes and we said that Ubisoft didn’t go overboard with recurring revenue”, this was given to us in 2019, so why is a 2 billion dollar company excluded from this research? Is this EA games bashing?

There is more, and as gambling influences on other fields that the same group finds itself, the setting is as I personally see it rigged.

The report has some conclusions that make sense, they do have some grasp of the issue and as I personally see it, there needs to be a larger stage here, one that is beyond ‘self-regulating’, in this EA Games made several massive blunders on the stage and that Needs to be acknowledged too. I am all for the full disclosure of odds as well as a FULL LIST (including rarity) of all cards that can be obtained. I believe that a factory set, one that cannot be used for trading and optionally not for playing either, it might lower the ‘Pokemon’ impact (gotta catch them all) of those spending cards on it, some do want to have them all, merely for the having. Anyone who ever collected Football, Hockey or Basketball cards will get that part. A stage that will evolve over time and one that could reset the barriers we have now.

So yes, I feel I was right, loot boxes are not gambling, but they are a game of chance, even as every pack has the same dimensions, they tend to have 1 rare card and in case of EA’s FIFA that will not do, not in a game with 16,000 playable characters. There are several solutions, but it is up to EA to steer their ship to one of the solutions that gamers can live with, I for one think that the EA NHL solution is one that should limit damage, yet with 16,000 characters, the packs should be 500% larger, including at least 5 rare cards, but that is merely my initial view.

I have a few issues with the report, but it does give us a view that is not entirely wrong and it also gives us a few sides that matter. As for the BBC article, loot boxes might to some degree correlate to problem gambling, but that stage is a lot bigger than the report gives. And it starts in both the Android and the Apple store with their collection of free games that offer in-app purchases, the fact that these makers set the game up to mandatory show one advertisement EVERY level is a larger stage, and the oversight of that makes it an issue, if gambling is a factor, these influences should be looked at as well, as well as the deceptive conduct that we see in the advertisements with increasing amounts. 

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The joke is on us (all)

Reuters gave light (again) to an article that I wrote earlier, 2 days ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/03/30/an-almost-funny-thing/) I wrote ‘An almost funny thing’, I got it from the BBC and I feel certain that some official people were already already on the ball, being a mere 2 years late. I reckon that some figured out that the growing cash flow these people ended up with will count against certain players, if not a lot more. Some people might have gotten additional considerations with “In the OSI model, we see layers 3-7 (layer 8 is the user). So as some have seen the issues from Cisco, Microsoft and optionally Zoom, we see a link of issues from layer 3 through to layer 7 ALL setting a dangerous stage. Individually there is no real blame and their lawyers will happily confirm that, but when we see security flaw upon security flaw, there is a larger stage of danger and we need to take notice” and that is the tip of the iceberg. So when Reuters gives us ‘Ransomware tops U.S. cyber priorities, Homeland secretary says’ this morning, we might not get the entire field in view and that is not on Reuters. And as Alejandro Mayorkas gives us “ransomware was “a particularly egregious type of malicious cyber activity” and listed it as the first of several top priorities that his department would tackle in the online sphere” we are not getting the entire story and we are happily giving the Department of Homeland Security that as they have other consideration as well. Yet I personally believe (speculatively) that some programmers working in specific places got handed libraries to make more, but also got a setting where they created software that opened a backdoor, so that all parties have an excuse and any investigation will end up going nowhere. You see there are plenty of real option givers that start as ‘Top 9 Python Frameworks For Game Development’, and that is where it starts. Consider the following scenario: as some developers become better they seemingly need shortcuts and would you believe it, some knows someone on the darkweb and they will hand the developer an option, two actually, one is free, the other one is $19.99, but is ‘presented’ as a lot more secure and it has documentation, that is all that they need and as the library is linked, the trap is set. The game maker does the right thing and enhances his program with either version (both have the flaw), and now, with a passive backdoor is passive (gaming is required), it passes through a whole range of systems and as the game is offered free with ‘in-app purchases’ the people behind the screens suddenly have 100K+ stations for all kinds of use. So whilst some are trivialising “No one really knows the size of the dark web, but most estimates put it at around 5% of the total internet. Again, not all the dark web is used for illicit purposes despite its ominous-sounding name”, we see, ohh not all is illicit, but consider that this software would be in the open internet if it was all on the up and up. The indie developer (many companies of one) has that ‘special feeling’ as he was introduced and others were not, but they all were and some were offered similar links in the end all linking to the same package, and that is the game, so when we we see greed driven idiots like Epic games (and a few others) setting the stage to avoid the Google and Apple store, we will see a much larger shift, one that gives free reign to criminal minded people to infect a massive amount of systems. So when you think that players like DHS is ready for these assaults, the people will soon learn the hard way that they were not and from there it will go from bad to worse.

And this is not about Epic games, even as some will herald “Cesium will be available for free for all creators on the Unreal Engine Marketplace. It’s an open-source plugin for the engine that unlocks global 3D data and geospatial technology. This means that games that use it will be able to discover in real time the location of a player in a given 3D space, using accurate real-world 3D content captured from cameras, sensors, drones, and smart machines” (source: venture beat), we think it is all for the good of us, and it is not, it is good for the pockets of Epic Games, but what happens when other elements get a hold of the saved data linked to geospatial technology? What happens, when foundational advantages that were (for the most) in the hands of players like CIA and GCHQ; what happens when cyber criminals get THAT level of precise data and THOSE cluster data groups? Did you think of that? So whilst some laugh away “games that use it will be able to discover in real time the location of a player in a given 3D space, using accurate real-world 3D content captured from cameras, sensors, drones, and smart machines”, the data will go a lot further, it will optionally end up not merely showing those systems, but the locations of all systems they link to as well. It is a hidden version of what I called the ‘Hop+1’ intrusion malware (thought up by yours truly) that made much of the CIA counter software close to useless, someone took that idea and made a corporate version with some version of a backdoor, in that stage the internet will end up being as dangerous as walking the dog (not the ‘M’ word), in a minefield. Letting the dog have a shit will be the last thing you did that day for a very long time to come.

As such, some might applaud the DHS (they actually did nothing wrong) as we see “a DHS official said the reference was to underground forums that help cybercriminals franchise out their malicious campaigns.” Yet under these situations, finding blame is close to impossible and the mistrusting developers end up helping cyber criminals in the process, and that is if there is ever any prosecutable connection found. 4 stages not directly linked will make prosecution close to impossible. So how is that for size? And whilst we take notice of “He said the agency would “quarterback” the U.S. government’s digital defences and serve as a “trusted interlocutor” between business executives and public servants” we see that their heart is in the right place, but the people they are hunting are heartless, devious, better funded and technologically more up to speed. It is a race many politically governmental intelligence organisations cannot win, not now, and optionally not ever. What a fine mess some corporations got us into.

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A path retaken

We all tend to do it for all kinds of reasons, gamers do it to redo that achievement feeling, or just to feel awake and superior, for me Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, the Russia airport scene does it every time, 18 kills, 16 headshots, 100% accuracy; those virtual Spetsnaz kids had no idea who they were messing with (a nerd with a joystick), but hey, I digress.

I got to playing God of War again, it had been three years and when I played it there was no PS5 and that game became even more magical than it originally was. This time around I played the easy version, I wanted to enjoy all the views and I had forgotten just how perfect that game was. The soundtrack by Bear McCreary, the narration, the smooth graphics, especially the witch in the woods (censored identity), she looks as gorgeous on the PS5 screen as she does in real life. The game is all kinds of perfect, and I had actually forgotten just how perfect it is. It leaves little doubt why the game was rated between 94% and 100%, perfection seems to do that and from an RPG point of view, walking through Midgard, Alfheim, Helheim and so on looks overwhelming, and now that I am playing it in easy mode, the adrenaline goes down and I get to relax at times, taking in the beauty of the game more seriously than I had done before. 

Even as I never found everything, and there is every chance I will be in that same situation now, I do not feel bothered, the game delivers in so many ways, the idea that I miss a puzzle or two is mere icing on the cake. The game delivers and delivers again, that is excellence! (Ubisoft please take notice).

Even now as I am designing a new RPG, the feelings that I have replaying God of War matter; if you can hold your thoughts to something as perfect as that, you tend to gain ideas, you tend to open the thinking field and that part matters too. There is no need to copy, there is no need to be alike, there is a need to compare to a game of the highest notion and critically analyse the thoughts you are having. Others might use GTA5, or perhaps Horizon Zero Dawn, it doesn’t matter who you compare to, as long as you do. For me the story is everything, and there God of War delivers, in that I need to consider, if Keno Diastima (my TV series) taught me anything is that the field might have special effects taking the limelight, but it makes up for no more than 10%, any more and you are relying on the creation of a popcorn movie and the writer in me abhors that idea, it’s like a Batman story, complete with the kapow, crash, wham, and sploosh but without the graphics, it tires really really fast and that is what the game designer needs to fight, nearly all the time. When an action sided RPG launches, most of us focus on the perfection of form of the characters, and most forget the room they are in, the helmets that fall to the sky when you hit them, and perfect that ‘ding’ sound when an arrow hits a helmet, even as there are no cymbals in that village, there is a much larger setting here and when you revisit the God of War you see it all, the lack of glitches, bugs and weird issues (we are ignoring the blue dwarf in this case). What is a larger setting is the fact we ourselves need to take heed to not put our idea on a platform and if we do (not the worst mistake) we need to be willing to grab the nearest maul and reduce that pedestal to rubble if need be.

It comes with the territory. 

And I am still a little overwhelmed, I wanted to replay a great experience before the sequel is out (optionally in 2022), the amount of thoughts and the stages (some I had actually forgotten) that I am confronted with is more than I expected and my mind is taking notice of a lot of things more seriously now. 

That last part is not entirely due to myself, the option to compare mental notes to released perfection is rather rare, I named 3 titles, two of them had the smallest needs for alteration (if any), three in a stage of hundreds of games. Metacritic has 3 PS4 games that are 95% or higher (same amount for Xbox One), as such you can see just how limited that list is. And we need to take heed, plenty of games had good ideas, some had great ideas and did not follow through, no matter what the reason is. In this Ubisoft is that shining example. When we consider Far Cry 5 with a 70% score whilst Far Cry 3 had a 90% score you might see a first reason, how much money did Ubisoft deny itself? Because the PS3 was superior to the PS4, or because the game maker did not hold that candle up to its own reflection? I am guessing part two, hence the need to compare to something as perfect as possible (and perhaps not rely on repetition as much). 

There are more examples in other places too but you get the drift, we need to aspire to something bigger and get closer to this to be counted and too many do not. You can copy the idea of others, stay on iOS and hope that the micro-transactions do it for you and as money goes, doing that once is not the worst idea, but it does limit your future as what some would call a legendary game maker. I do not pretend to be one, but I hold their example to the light as much as possible, hoping that the ideas I have can be transformed into something that no one has seen before. If I do that and I end up a mere 70% developer, but if I see the verdict “new and unique” I know I am on the right track, the 70% part might be my lack of experience, we all go through that, not doing it because of that reason is just silly.

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A repetitive bashing

Yup, I will admit this upfront, that what I am writing is a little repetitive, yet when I stated it initially we were before the Bafta nominations and we were before the actual winners, now that they are out, the repetition sets in. 

So as we took notice of those who made it and those who did not, let’s be sure that being nominated is already a huge step forward, yet there can only be one winner, or in this case two. 

So when we see Nintendo with its switch and we see the wins that Hades and Animal Crossing New Horizons, we see groundbreaking moments in more than one way, Hades where dying is part of life and part of the game, which is a first, then there is the addictive Animal Crossing (I know, as I am as hooked to this just like the other 19,999,999 players), two games taking home multiple awards, yet that was not enough, Sony was there too, taking trophies for the Last of Us part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Sackboy and Spiderman: Miles Morales. All great games, all getting awarded and in some cases Nintendo and Sony were vying for the same title, the moral of this story, Microsoft might buy all the talent (that $8.5B invoice) but in the end the story and originality are everything and the games that the two houses brought did just that. Microsoft (Rare Studios actually) had one win with Sea of Thieves and Ubisoft was absent, my predictions are in part seen in the Bafta’s as they are massively absent, it is the consequences of not comprehending your audience. My advice to Ubisoft? If you try to make a game that should appeal to all, you end up with a game that pleases none. It is a flaw they have shown again and again, yet I must also allow for a part that is not of my liking, it is Rainbow Six, it is not my cup of tea, but for those who do like it, they are raving, as such I was expecting to see them show up, because fair is fair, they have poured a lot of talent into a game that is showing appeal to millions, as such I was a little surprised. 

Another prediction I made was the fact that indie developers would become more and more important and Supergiant Games showed that, it took home 4 bafta’s, a company with 20 people took the limelight away from a multi billion company named Ubisoft, that has got to hurt. And as the media is all about the impact of lockdowns, they better realise that these games were there, lockdown or not, the games were about fun and in that regards both delivered, it seems essential that some of the players start to realise that small lesson, the fact that I (over a few articles) set the stage of a unique RPG game should tell these people that their time is up, they tried and failed (and now these software houses are dying), it matters because I never wanted Ubisoft to go under, I needed them to make gams better, because good games is what we all want, yet last week we were given ‘Ubisoft removes some new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla quests and decorations to address crashing issues’, we are till seeing these things all whilst the game was released on 10 November 2020, a week early because they were ready, well we know how that is ending, do we not? And as we contemplate “Based on the latest financial disclosure, UBISOFT ENTERTAIN has a Probability Of Bankruptcy of 36.0%, significantly higher than that of the Electronic Gaming & Multimedia industry” (source: microaxis.com), as such a software house that was nowhere near collapse is now regarded as a lace where their downfall is almost one in three, a stage that they did themselves, but I am not happy, like any other junk I hope for another AC Origins, another Far Cry 3 and I loved Watchdogs: Legion. But I also warned all last year that their next two products better be beyond good and Watchdogs: Legion was, the other (AC game) was not, so as we are treated to ‘Try Ubisoft+ for a week for free’ might be the last attempt by their marketing to stop the flow going somewhere else, but I think it might be too late, if they had a massive great announcement during the Bafta’s, there was a small chance, but when we see special forces comment on Breakpoint on Youtube to the degree I saw, they better realise that the gig is up. They had good game and then they got lazy (optionally Rainbow Six and For Honor excluding), not my kind of games, but I want to make sure that the truth as I see it is given to you as complete as possible. And as we see that subscription services are getting more and more sides, we might realise that Ubisoft is one of many and they are not in a good place at present. 

A stage they could have prevented years ago, if only they had listened to their gamers, things would be different, very very different. Together with Microsoft they are pushing gamers somewhere else and that I still important, You see, Sony is now great, but they became great because the competition was fierce and Microsoft forced them to become good, the gap between Sony and Nintendo is too large making me worry about the PS6 (a extreme future view), in addition, Ubisoft forced both to keep their game high and indie developers are less likely to do this as they often are set to a specific system (example Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch Productions, Guerrilla games, Santa Monica Studio), and I do not mind, but when there is no competition, the high enders tend to get lazy as well, not the software houses, they are competing with each other. 

I still fear a lull in Sony because Microsoft consoles might fall away in 2022/2023, that part is seen as they are more and more promoting streaming gaming on your mobile, it seems that they are trying to get their streaming solution on PC, Android, iOS and other places (not on my system they will), and in all this other sources give me an implied state that sales of Xbox to PS5 is 1:2 moving towards 1:2.5, so I have reasons to doubt the existence of a Microsoft console in 2023, all because (my personal speculation) because the makers were asleep at the wheel from 2012 onwards, all the pushy games they played with their always online whilst that adjustment should have been fixed no later than 2014, that is now 7 years ago. They lost the field and I am actually not that happy, because it optionally takes the fire away from Sony in the longer run. Yet for now, all we can do is be happy for the Bafta Winners and enjoy the games they made, I am still missing Sackboy, but I have all the rest, so I am good for now and as I am replaying God of War in easy mode, so I can focus on exploration and the story this time around, that is besides the amazing views the game gives and lets not forget that this game is almost 3 years old. As such, I end this article hoping you all have a great day and I hope you will enjoy a game or two on whatever system you prefer. 

Have a great weekend!

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The brain race

I am not sure how familiar you are with the ‘race brain’, yet mine went nuts two hours ago. It was a set of circumstances, the first was Dragon Quest Builders 2, I restarted the game only to fall over on the second island (again). As I learned to ‘follow’ the orders nearly precisely I got a bit further, but I was thwarted by the game makers who got overconfident and that is where the wheels came off the car, or was it the train went of the rails? It is almost a crossing between a close question and an open question. If you confine yourself to closed questions, you tend to miss the desired direction, and when you confide in the response of open questions you go in EVERY direction, except the right one. It is a shame really, because the game (island 1) was heaps fun, you are in a stage where the second island seems fun but frustration sets in too quickly and you go nowhere, a game that relies on fun and delivers, at least the first 2 hours, after that it goes nowhere. But that set my brain in motion, or better stated it went into overdrive. As I was relaxing I looked at the new Hogwart Legacy trailer for PS5, within seconds my mind was devising all kinds of trails to make the game ‘better’, and I could not stop it. 

A game that I have not seen yet, I have not played yet and I am already trying to improve on it, 

In one part with an adaption (or DLC) that gives a setting that a group of four one in each house are linked, an idea that has links to an old WW2 movie, but the stage never left me and now it delivered something different. It seems a silly way to waste time, but my brain would not stop. My mind went on towards the stupidity of EA and their sport games. You see, I do not agree with some voices, Their packs are not gambling and I, for the life of me cannot understand why EA is not on the offensive. 

To understand this, you need to see the stage devised by Julius Caesar, I believe it was in De Bello Gallico, he stated that a soldier is in attack, in defence or awaiting response and each links to the other, as such the attack can move to defence or anticipation, defence can move to anticipation or take the offence and so on, as all three states are covered the soldier that can move between the three without pause and move from any stance to attack, that will be the winner. EA seems to be unaware of this option and seems to be between defence and anticipation only. It is a choice but it will be the stage that always and forever leads to losing. I came up with an idea to take the offence in this. Of course as all marketing costs, it might not be cheap but it beats getting slapped around by those giving voice to idiots spending $12K on packs for a $55 game, that is more than ludicrous and the media is eating it up, something they can flame and no one is asking the questions that matter, not even the legal department of EA, or at least they do it in a way no one can hear.

Even the Times gave us 3 days ago ‘YouTube stars ‘lure Fifa gamers into gambling’’ (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/youtube-stars-lure-fifa-gamers-into-gambling-dwk8tcx3g), a stage that beckons response but it seems that EA remains largely silent. So as we get “The company behind the Fifa football video game has been accused of using “exploitative” marketing techniques to lure children into gambling”, so where is the response and the campaign by EA? I wonder where they are? You see, loot boxes are not gambling.

Why?
To call it gambling you need to consider that you lose your money, this would only happen if you buy a loot pack and the only thing you get one card stating ‘Thank you!, but that is not the case. In my case (NHL19), I get a free pack every 8 hours, then each pack has also coins and a token, there are each month 3 packs that can be gotten with these tokens and they are three good packs. Beyond that you get non trade-able cards and the coins can be used to buy or bid for items in the auction part. When you hit a milestone (some small achievement, you also get options for packs and in some cases a specific player.

Within a month I had all 30 arena’s, all NHL home and away jerseys and in three months I also had all the NHL goalie masks and a ton of other stuff, I never spend a dollar on this. One site tells me that FIFA21 does not offer this, I am not sure about NFL21, so why not? It would solve all issues for EA. You see, people are staring blindly on the alleged gambling, but the stage of gambling is never truly properly investigated. You see when we gamble we see two options. The first is ‘play games of chance for money, but that stage has the unwritten law that you can lose and this never happens, you always get cards, common, uncommon and one rare card. The second version of gamble is ‘take risky action in the hope of a desired result’, that part too is not met, because the desired result is always the same, one rare card, several uncommon cards and the rest are all common cards. This stage is not the one we consider because the outcome is always the same. What most people forget is that in FIFA 21 (allegedly) we see “30 official leagues, over 700 clubs, and over 17,000 players”, if that is correct, there is every chance that there are 2,000 rare players, which means that any rare card has a 0.05% chance of coming out, so if you want Messi, Beckham or Ronaldo you need to get really really lucky and lets face it, every club in the world wants these three players. But that part is close to never considered, and when we go back to the adult idiot spending $12,000 on packs, that person need to get his credit score adjusted to -15000. Is there an issue? Perhaps there is and I think that EA made a few blunders on several levels, but that does not make it gambling, and as we never see anyone receiving a pack with only a thank you card, the stage of gambling is, as I personally see it never reached. 

So how did I get there? 
Well my brain will not stop thinking things through in creative ways and it is reason for another case of insomnia. I watched the trailer of the Unholy (which looks awesome) and immediately my brain went towards a remake of Stigmata (a Rupert Wainwright gem), why? I have no clue, when my brain is in this mode it needs to run its course, which is keeping me awake pondering N+1 issues all whilst N was the maximum I could contemplate. So at present I am typing this whilst I am trying to calm down my brain by listening to the Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan). 

The creative brain can be a curse, not an unholy one, but a curse none the less. So whilst we see what is next my brain (overzealously) adapted Hogwarts legacy before seeing the final product, I considered a new version of Stigmata, I am still contemplating a backdrop for ‘How to assassinate a politician’, which at present is set in the Hague and Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Then there is the idea I had regarding ‘Keno Diastima’, here I believe they should nearly all be new actors, no famous people there, I will not say to much because the cliffhangers 2-3 and 3-4 will be brutal, which is how it should be. 

An idea came to mind on a prequel to ‘Soylent Green’ with Chris Hemsworth in the lead (almost 2 years ago), yet here I fear that the story is just not good enough, the setting is great but I feel that it would end up being some cult movie and not a real breaking movie, a stage that precedes near perfection is also a dangerous step to make and it could backfire in a horrible way, which is why my mind remains the great dangers. I considered the idea before (2019-2020), but I never figured out the part that matter, no matter how good the prequel is, the stage needs to go beyond something nice, and Richard Fleischer did set the stage in a phenomenal way. One can say it is like buying a raincoat to warn against the rain that has been going on for weeks, the flood will drown you long before the usage of a raincoat is validated. There are other idea’s and I wrote about them before, so I want to avoid repetition, but the stage will soon come that Hollywood will look in other directions for new idea’s. Outside of the Marvel and DC range and there have been so many really good idea’s, I merely wonder why that path was not traversed before by Hollywood, Bollywood or Nollywood. And as my brain is seemingly slowing down, I end today’s article and will try to get some sleep (one can dream, can one not?)

Consider the two sidelines that are hidden between the lines and contemplate why it was done, because there might be madness in my methods, but there is also methodology in my insanity, it is merely what we aim for and whether we realise what we were aiming for in the first place.

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