Battle of the giants

The Guardian has released a list of the best games of the year. As a Sony lover, I expected to see god of War and it is there, we also see Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 4, which ought to be there too. I was never a racing fan and still that game blew me away, so there!

We also see games that never were my fancy; Monster Hunter World is not a game I tried as I was disappointed with the grinding that the 3DS version gave. I admit that the graphics on the new consoles looked amazing, yet i felt no need to try. Ni No Kuni 2 is not a surprise and the absence of Bethesda is no surprise. I am quite frankly amazed on how many times Bethesda dropped the ball in this quarter alone. I have no idea what got them hit with the stupid stick this many times. Red Dead Redemption 2 is there too and my only surprise is the remastered Shadow of the Colossus. I actually did not expect it to show up, as I saw Dark Souls Remastered. If we look at those two, they deserve to be there, and even as it hits the mark, they do have the benefit of having a long time to be the original, when we look today, it is much harder to find an original game, as such these two might be regarded as having an unfair advantage.

I also missed titles that should have been there. first there is Spiderman, it is not merely the best Spiderman ever made, it is graphically perfect, it has the clear feel of a Peter Parker adventure and it is true to a Marvel world, as such I expected it to be there, right next to God of war, two games that made Sony to be the Huge success it became in 2018. The Xbox One misses out due to exclusivity, and I am in conflict with myself over Assassin’s Creed Odyssey not being picked, there are reasons it should be there and optional reasons for it not making the cut, yet I feel the balance scale is still on the side of it being there. I believe that in this case the DLC is added reason for it making the grade this time around as well (the cultural DLC of life in Egypt last year was a stroke of genius, you walk through it seeing just how much as a gamer you missed out on, making the replay 150% more satisfying). As a PlayStation lover (an important distinction), I need to side with Keza MacDonald on this one. Her statement: “This game is a beautiful experience. As driving games go, it’s the best I’ve ever played“, in the end, God of War blew me away as well, it was such a rush to see a game propel to the size it did, yet in the end, there is every chance that Forza Horizon 4 might end up being the best game of the year, it will be a title well deserved. In all my opposition to what Microsoft calls ‘good business‘ and their view of gamers, this one they got right, well done Microsoft!

If gaming is perception and presentation, just to call the attention, we need to stop and take another look at Bethesda. Even as the media titles have been ‘protective’ like ‘Bethesda Accidentally Leaked Personal Data of ‘Fallout 76’ Customers Looking for Help‘, as well as ‘Bethesda’s attempt to fix a Fallout 76 blunder leaks angry shoppers’ PID‘, we need to be mindful, accidental or not. Personal data is out there, possible due to an overreaction by Bethesda. Many consider Fallout 76 to be a failure; I am slightly less pessimistic calling it ‘work in progress’. That is the nature of the beast, when you tackle the online gaming, things go pear shaped, not merely because of the dangers of online resources, the mere consideration that 4 eager gamers can ask more of a system than 23,665 programmers can correct for, it is a mere truth of the online stage. And it was my personal feeling that after Tamriel in an online stage, Bethesda would have learned enough to get it much better from day one, they did not!

So it is unlikely that Bethesda is going home with any prices and awards this year (however, there is still Legends, and optionally blades).

Why look at this?

Games are not merely games, when a person buys a game; he or she pays for both an experience, as well as a stage of engagement. It is hard (read: impossible) to merely see AC Odyssey, without going back all the way to Masyaf and the very first Assassins Creed (if you played it as early as then), this is why AC2 and AC brotherhood are still seen as the path of perfection that AC Unity devastated. I got this Ubisoft punishment device (see image), just so I could explain it to the skull of Yves Guillemot as graphically as possible (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk).

We have had plenty of reasons to get mad at Ubisoft for a whole range of reasons and now we see a growing group of people angered with Bethesda. I say one optional flop does not make a raging crowd, yet the views, visions and YouTube’s out there say different. As for perception, this game (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWwyhymcDxI) was one of the first 5 games I ever bought (3rd or 4th), I still think fondly of this game, even after 34 years. I got the Broderbund title as it got the IBM joystick award (in those days there was no proper game reviewing). It was an instant success. When you get emerged in a game, your world changes, and you tend to focus on fun and challenge. This is not unique for me; this is for anyone who loves games. Now we can hardly perceive this, yet I still remember the challenge that level 5 was initially. For many, their first console, the first game they truly got involved in, that title they will carry in their hearts for the longest of times, they will judge other games by that game. For many it will be on all systems, others will judge it per system (which is fairer anyway). So the new gamers will hold a light to any new game, comparing it to FHIV, AC Odyssey, Super Mario Odyssey, and Red Dead Redemption 2. That is the nature of the beast and when we find the developer lacking, they will get slapped around by these gamers (poor poor Yves Guillemot). Yet when a developer gets it right, when they deliver beyond the over marketed title (like AC Origin) they also get the benefit of powerful acknowledgement (as they are entitled to that too). For me (in the Mario universe) it started with Super Mario 64, and until we got Super Mario Sunshine, it had the crown, even later as we saw Wii and WiiU, Super Mario Sunshine still ruled and now we see the optional crown going to Super Mario Odyssey (I only played the demo so far).

So when we see this, when we realise that best game of the year is also smitten with what they made before, we see a difference, another measurement. So in that light, I do hope that the rumours of Samus Aran and her trilogy for Nintendo Switch will be true. So far in 14 years no one ever surpassed the fun and challenge value that Metroid Prime delivered and I loved Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to that same degree. So to get that on Switch will up the ante for any game developer. The fun, the challenge and getting to the conclusion of the challenge is everything to the gamer, Nintendo has forever understood that part of gaming to a much better degree than any other developer (Bethesda had a good grasp of comprehending people on the past).

So when we see that the reality is that we will optionally be able to replay those titles via the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console, we see that Nintendo has a long term future as well, as these titles can capture the older hearts, as well as new players giving them a lot more bang for the buck. Nintendo rules these waves, we see this with the latest addition Super Smash Bros (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWo9wfsnj7M). It is Super Smash Bros that gives the main dish as a desert. When we realise that the impression of fun is not merely looking good, it is about getting it right, it is in this view that looking perfect will always lose against getting it right.

It is that distinction is also important when you look towards the best game of 2018, even as a PlayStation fan (a bias that is forever important), we see that Spiderman PS4 got it right, Forza Horizon 4 merely got it right better. So Microsoft on a game type that I am not really a fan of; justly wins with a title by getting it right the best. Even as God of War was perfect, exceeded everything they made before, we might compare it to why Super Smash Bros got 94%, yet in the end, the game that blew us away more will take the cake and candles in all of this. FHIV might never be in my collection as the One versus One X is just to distinct here (for now), yet the fact that whenever I see FHIV, I get the desire to race, as a non-racer, that impression is extremely distinct; it is why my vote went that way. To capture the heart of a player that has another game style is an achievement that we all seem to forget. Just like Super Smash Bros has the ability to get all kinds of people to pick up the game and play against as many people as possible, we see the impact of excellence in gaming through fun and the joy of getting there. Nintendo mastered that ability a long time ago and whenever we see any other game getting there, we rejoice.

Far Cry Primal got close and then dropped the ball by being ‘predetermined’. Far Cry 5 never got there by offering everything and becoming nothing at all, the God of War got there through the people who knew the originals, giving us a new track, another path in almost perfect graphics and with a rating of 94% they did excel, set that against the 92% of Forza Horizon 4 and in my state of mind, there would be no contest, game over for Microsoft Studios, yet that was not the case, challenge and fun, they merely got it slightly better. Even as we see that they got Best Racing Game and Xbox Game of the Year (which was not really that much of a challenge this time around), they are still on track to get Ultimate Game of the Year, Best Sports/Racing Game and Best Audio Design, it is my personal opinion that they would optionally lose the third one and anyone who has heard the soundtrack of God of War is likely to agree with me. As I see it, Forza Horizon 4 gets to be the Ultimate Game of the Year; at least that is how I personally would vote.

The annual award is a battle of giants, some excelled for a long time, some excelled in every way and some merely competed to some extent. What is important in not merely who wins, and who gets nominated, we see that the winners will impact what we see in upcoming 2020 games and that is important to realise.

As we will anticipate on the coming of the Trilogy on Switch, some might wonder why. It is not merely the FPS part, it is open (to some extent), it is a challenge and it is an adventure, even in 2002 when it was released, even with the more ‘advanced’ graphics that the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 had, they could not touch Metroid Prime and its 97% rating. That small disc, holding a mere part of a DVD blew away all competition and with Metroid Prime 2: Echoes at 92% it did so again, and those who loved gaming want to get that feeling again. That is the impact that fun coated in challenge, or is that challenge coated in fun? Whichever way it is presented it creates gamers and it creates desire within a gamer. The ultimate game of the year can impact that future of where we will look next, what we will try next, even if it is not our cup of tea. When it hits the mark we will all order a pot of it, not merely a cup. That is one part that the game makers understand, and they are eager to get into the sweet spot of gamers there.

Should you think that gamers are selfish, think again! Digital trends reported less than 2 weeks ago: “Grandma Shirley — had left expressing her doubts at living to see The Elder Scrolls VI, a petition was created on Change.org to have her immortalized in the game“, gamers care to this extent, especially when they share a connection to a game, so I think that Bethesda needs to be truly stupid to not consider this, and to be honest Bethesda has been overly considerate in the past, not for personal gain or marketing, their actions regarding Erik West (Eric the Slayer), and there are more examples. Bethesda has forever been trying and aiming to get it right and to a larger extent, they have, so I was puzzled on how they got Fallout 76 so wrong. I merely cover it with ‘a work in progress‘, which in light of the approach is probably as correct as it gets (for now).

Gaming is for me not some state, or an escape. It is a world you become a part of, not replacing reality, but having it on the side. Making it part of the 24 hours a day you have, not replacing the 24 hours you should live in. Some choose sports, some choose a passion (or passion itself) and some hike, trail and be out in the open. Gamers do the gaming thing and when developers get that mindset right, the games will propel in excellence, it is a lesson Nintendo learned early on and they are still able to surprise us. In this Bethesda and Nintendo are optionally more alike. They both got it wrong (WiiU/Fallout76), yet as Nintendo Switch is now the golden mark of excellence, we might get the same from Bethesda (with whichever titles comes next) and that too is gaming, when the challenge is met and we get that satisfying feeling of a new challenge and we look forward to every second that comes next. That ‘Oh Yeah!‘ moment (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB8BLMMVFLg) when you see that they are got it right. Gaming has had plenty of these, which is why developers are getting additional chances. Witcher 3, Mass Effect 2, Diablo 3, Skyrim, Metroid Prime, GTA5, the Last of Us, Golden Eye, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The list goes on and will remain growing after tomorrow, because any developer that flops now (Far Cry) will optionally be able to hit it out of the park at a later stage (Far Cry 3) and that is gaming too, to be there and live through the successes, even after a massive failure (AC Unity anyone?)

Gamers can afford to wait as there are plenty of players offering the next golden egg, or is that the next golden eye? And with results like God of War, Forza Horizon 4, Ni no Kuni 2, and Subnautica I personally believe that the future of gaming is in good hands. No matter who gets to be called the ultimate game of 2018. There has been 45 years between Pong (1972) and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017), it was never about who had the best graphics (Minecraft 2011 is evidence of that), any category can win, any style can win (Rock Band 3 2010) and it opens us optionally to playful directions we might never have considered on day one of that game (Limbo 2010).

Personally I love the yearly gaming awards for reasons mentioned earlier, but for the most, for me it is about to consider a game that stood out in one way and merely missed out on that game initially having something to look forward to, which in my clearest case was Far Cry 3, the previous versions were not up to standard and therefor I never considered it, which gave me in the end more joy than I bargained for, exceeding expectations can end up being that rewarding.

It will be Monday morning in 60 hours, so try to take a moment and play a game this weekend, even if it is for merely an hour and it is something as simple (and highly addictive) as Minecraft.

 

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Tic Toc Ruination

There is always a next deadline, a next target and a next threshold. When we see that point, some see obstacles, some see challenges and others await opportunities. It has always been this way. In the past we had 3G, Telstra could not keep up and gave us 3.5G and called it something else. The audience was deceived and has been deceived for a while in many ways. In Australia, as I personally see it, too many politicians dance to the needs of Telstra and as such, in the long run nothing was done. As 4G matured on a global level we saw the eCommerce run and we saw growth everywhere. And as the 5G moment grew near too many were sitting on the sidelines, all talk and no hard work. Huawei, Ericsson and a few more worked hard because he fin-tech term ‘be there first‘ applied a hundred times more to mobile technologies and we saw the escalation as China went ahead of the curve. Suddenly Huawei 5G technology got banned, a bankrupt America started and soon most nations followed, now, or at least 5 hours ago, the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/05/bt-removing-huawei-equipment-from-parts-of-4g-network) reported one additional move ‘BT removing Huawei equipment from parts of 4G network‘, we see “In a statement, the UK telecoms group has confirmed it is in the process of removing Huawei equipment from the key parts of its 3G and 4G networks to meet an existing internal policy not to have the Chinese firm at the centre of its infrastructure“, all at the behest of spymaster incredibili Alex Younger. Yet actual evidence of Chinese activities was never given in evidence. Alex does something else and in retrospect to his French, American and Canadian peers something that is actually intelligent. He gives us: “the UK needed to decide if it was “comfortable” with Chinese ownership of the technology being used.” OK, in opposition of American stupidity making claims they cannot support, Alex is giving us the national need and the premise that another government should not have ownership of infrastructure this important. I can accept that, yet in that same light, that equipment should not be American or Russian either. He also gives us: “We have to keep adapting … we are evolving again to meet the threats of the hybrid age … our task now is to master the covert action of the data age“, and he is correct. It does not state that Huawei is a danger, a risk or actively undermining the UK. I get the setting of national security first and in this Huawei might optionally in the future be that risk, it is not the same setting the yanks gave us.

Yet there is the opposition as well. At present not only is Huawei ahead by a fair bit, Engineering and Technology (at https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2018/12/china-continues-to-dominate-worldwide-patent-applications/) give us: ‘China continues to dominate worldwide patent applications‘, it is a lot larger than Huawei, yet the stage we need to comprehend is “China submitted 1.38 million of the total 3.17 million patent applications submitted“, and a chunk of that 43.5% is mobile and 5G technology. China is ahead in the race and as some people start living in denial, the stage we will see in 2020 is not that America will start its 5G part, there will be a moment when China lodges IP cases that oppose patents, and the optional proven stage of patent violations. At that point the nations moving in silly ways will learn the hard way that whatever they tried to overcome will cost them 200%-550% more that they thought it would. The entire patent system will be upside down as technology makers will be found to be technology breakers and that is one side why the US is so opposed to certain levels of protectionism (apart from their pharmaceutical patents). To give you a perspective, China applied for more patents than the US, Japan, South Korea and the European Patent Office combined, the difference is that big, there is a second benefit to a worldwide growth in IP filings and some technology offices will soon encounter the receiving side of a desist to move forward lawsuit. The Apple Samsung war in patents has shown that impact for years and when any firm is stopped in their tracks, for any 5G violation, you can flush that 5G implementation timeline down the toilet.

ZDNet gives us: “Sprint announced that it is now the fastest mobile carrier across New York City, providing customers with access to its gigabit-speed LTE services after upgrading its network in preparation for 5G services going live next year“, which sounds nice, yet when we see: “launching a 5G mobile service there in the first half of 2019“, the way the dates were given last week personally implies to me that any setback gives reason that there will be no 5G before Q3 2019. Now, I might be wrong here, yet in the past we have seen again and again that these timelines were never met and the pressure is really on this time around, making setbacks and delays even more likely. So a we see New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, Indianapolis, and Phoenix moving into the 5G realm, we now see the absence of an earlier mentioned Boston, Sacramento, Dallas, Houston, So as we see San Francisco, I see no Mountain view, no Palo Alto and no San Jose (consider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnzTgUc5ycc, just a little Helix for the fans). So will San Francisco get 5G, or will Google and Facebook infested Mountain View get the5G? The problem is not whether it comes now or later, the fact remains that implementation and deployment had to be done and be past the 100% deployment preparations 6 months ago and the players left it to the final moment, whilst some of the infrastructure should have been available a long while ago.

The setting is not merely 5G, it is the availability that is connected to all this that follows. Part of this situation is given weight to issues when we consider Telecom Lead giving us (at https://www.telecomlead.com/5g/192-operators-start-5g-network-investment-gsa-87745). The quote: “192 mobile operators in 81 countries are investing in 5G network as compared with 154 operators in 66 countries in July 2018, according to the latest GSA report released in November 2018” shows us that 15 countries are already late to the start and it involves 38 operators. Now, that might be valid as some are not in the size to be the initial adopters, yet it is merely the top of the iceberg. This Titanic is showing a leak when we get to “GSA also said 80 telecom operators in 46 countries have announced their plan to launch 5G to their customers between 2018 and 2022. 37 networks will launch 5G services in 2020 alone“. If this is the stage knowing that you are in one of the 37 countries. The 9 countries that are optionally launching between 2018 and 2020 might have a local advantage, yet which of these 9 are starting fist, or get to start between 2021 and 2022 is equally an issue to explore. We see: “Telstra, TeliaSonera Finland, Ooredoo Kuwait and Qatar, Zain Kuwait, and STC Saudi Arabia have done 5G deployments using commercial 5G base stations but are waiting for devices to enable service introduction“, here we see Australia to be ahead of the curve, yet waiting for devices implies that it goes beyond the mobile phones, I reckon that there is something else missing, yet what it is and when it comes is not given. The article also gives us the entire 5G trap and the Verizon steps that are in question. It is the reason why I mentioned Telstra 3.5G in the first place. We are given “Verizon’s network is not yet 3GPP compliant. It uses Verizon’s own 5G specification, but will be upgraded to be 3GPP compliant in the future“, so does that mean that it is merely a Verizon issue opening the market for Sprint, or are they both involved in that same pool of marketed pool to some form of ‘5G’ branding, and not the standard?

If that is truly the case, if this is truly verified, will the day that the 5G switch is turned on in the US, Japan and Saudi Arabia show that Saudi Arabia and Japan gives the people true 5G and America does not, does that make them the loser in the 5G race on day one? The question now becomes is Sprint 3GPP compliant, and more important what is the failing of 3GPP compliant bringing to the table?

When I look at the data opportunities that 5G brings, the opportunities that blockchain technology can revolutionise (especially in America) in retail with 5G are unheard of. There is a true growth of investment options available, yet are these opportunities seen as such?

So where is the ruination?

You see, this is the first time in history where high-tech is running ahead in China. In the past, America had the radio, they had the TV, they had video, DVD, Japan brought the Blu-Ray, and the US had 4G first; yet it all falters when we realise that this time around China is not merely on par, they are optionally ahead in the next technology wave, we have never seen this advantage from China before, and at the speed at how they caught up in the past, is worrying many nations as they are now ahead and optionally they can create more headway as they start giving the US less and less advantages, optionally resulting in greater economic advantages for China as America ends up having to catch up now, an advantage of being first which is now optionally no longer with the US.

The question becomes, will the consumers have to pay for that lack of headway? Even as we push for the comparison in the past app stage of 4G, we see that the IP war can become a much larger headache when you are not China, it might be good, it will most likely be bad and in the end we might benefit yet the reality is that massive amount of money will start going to the far east (China) and it will impact all manners of ecommerce soon enough. Yet will that happen? We might know tomorrow as the techboys (and one techgirl), AKA Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Ginni Rometty, Safra Katz and Steve Mollenkopf meet with White House officials later today. So as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm decide on what happens (or needs to happen) in the next 24 hours, I wonder what concessions they will get from the White House as long as they all finish second to none and give America the 5G pole position result. Ego comes at a price and I reckon that we get to know the cost of White House ego tripping before the end of the year.

In all this, I wonder, can I make matters worse when I ‘give’ 2 billion in IP value to Huawei? When we are pushed, should we not push back? When the others face too late the element of delay by not adhering to logic, and by ignoring common sense, should I give them consideration? That is actually a main point here, as technology becomes the main political pawn, how should we react? We can agree with Alex Younger that any nation needs to negate technological risk, we could consider that he seemingly had the only valid opposition against Huawei, as it was not directed at Huawei, but at the fact that the tech is not British, the others did not work that path, and as we see that technology is cornered by the big 7, those in the White House with an absent person from both Apple and Huawei. We have accepted the changed stage of technology and that might not have been a good thing (especially in light of all the cyber-crimes out there), also a larger diverse supplier group might have addressed other weak spot via their own internal policies, another path optionally not averted. So as we focus on national needs (which is always a valid path), should I hand that 2 billion dollar patent to Australia, who is too often in the pocket of Telstra (as I personally see it), or put it on the market for any to buy it, when that happens, do I create opportunity or limitations?

That is a question that most of us did not consider as the tech market had been global for the longest of times, yet as 5G comes into play, that might soon change and with that we will get new answers, new challenges and a lot more diversity (whilst having to entertain a whole range of new limitations as well). In my view there is an unseen balance between ruination and opportunity, yet this is where time is not a factor, it will be about the connectivity that one offers another and that is when we see that time influences it, but it is not the larger factor of influence. It is a market where diversity becomes an enabler against time (partially in opposition of time). I stated this before. As 4G gave us the golden path towards ‘wherever we are‘, 5G will be largely about ‘whenever we want it‘. It affects ‘on demand’, it enables ‘I need it now’ and it gives rise to security, automation and non-repudiation to a much larger extent. We have clearly seen that Huawei and China are in pole position of that race, and we must wonder who of the other players can catch up in time offering the full 5G with all elements validly in place (not using Verizon’s own 5G specification, or a version thereof).

I look forward to 2019 as I have already found 2 optional gaps; I wonder how many more I will find.

 

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The Saint’s parcel

Today it is December 5th, in the Netherlands that means it is St Nicholas day. It is the Dutch version of Santa Claus, but with a difference. The story goes back to the Greek bishop of Myra, what is now known as Turkey (270-340 AD). Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children and the day preceding his birthday (6th December) it is the evening of presents and all the kids (until a certain age) will receive a present.

As you might imagine the week before all this, things can get really hectic, especially in the toy stores, on a global scale when we see Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas and Christmas, the numbers given to us by power retail ‘Cyber Monday Breaks Record, Becomes “Biggest Sales Day Ever”‘, these numbers makes sense as moments like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other deal moments with discount sales is what people look for globally so that they can show their kids that there are happy times, even if it is just for a day or two. Variety gives us (at https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/nintendo-switch-sales-holiday-sales-figures-1203038569/) even more. With their headline ‘Nintendo Sold $250 Million in Products from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in U.S.‘, they are showing a setting that is awesome.

More important it is their e-commerce sales of games that is partially taking the cake with the statement: “The Nintendo Switch is now the best-selling Nintendo console in U.S. history for that five-day period, surpassing even Wii system sales, the company announced Wednesday.” Even as we see “Nintendo’s overall goal for the financial year of 38 million units sold, though analysts are still predicting it will fall just short, hitting about 35 million“, yet in all that the analysts are eager to avoid the one setting that matters, in under two years the Nintendo Switch is about to equal the lifetime sales of the Xbox One, a number that is very impressive as the Xbox One had 300% of the time frame to get to this point. And overall the entire Microsoft issue is expected to hit a few more bumps in the road. Software was the key in all this and Nintendo does comprehend quality software. The curve is changing for the better for Nintendo as their demo stations are all over game shops like EB Games. Parents can see how amazing it looks and as the kids are having a go at playing kart and playing Mario Odyssey, we see (as I saw) that the parents are getting a smile on their faces. It is a family friendly system, where violence is limited to a paint gun with a colour. And as we see the greats (Diablo 3) added to the Switch, we see an amazing list of games titles we see a system that is more and more overwhelming when it comes to quality gaming. A game setting where quality is not the silly notion of high level graphics, no! Quality gaming is the level of fun you get out of it and Nintendo is turning heads around and for the first time in history Sony is starting to get worried as the setting now is that this year Switch surpassed the Sony PlayStation. Now that does not means that Sony is number two, they have well over 250% in number of consoles in the field, yet the fact that Nintendo is closing the gap slightly and surpassing Microsoft has never been seen before in the age of gaming. I loved my GameCube (I still miss Mario Sunshine even today), I loved the games I had and when I saw that the Wii was backward compatible I did not hesitate, yet the Switch is showing to be up to the challenge of equalling this in quality gaming. In this we see that Nintendo is getting it right and even as I questioned the stupidity of analysts with their ‘predicting it will fall just short‘, I believe that their entire setting is bogus. Nintendo has the goods and is showing it has equaled the challenge gaining on the larger advantage that Sony has and surpassing what was once the great Microsoft console and the most powerful console? It might be, yet when it offers a mere 25% of the family fun, I wonder what some people choose.

Now, we do not state that the Xbox cannot deliver the goods, yet we have always known that Nintendo was a family and younger player system. Now that we can be on the road, play on TV (via dock) and have access to some of the most addictive games (Diablo 3, Mario Kart, Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket league) and so many more titles we need to wonder what the others did wrong.

Well they didn’t!

They made a choice and they continued on that path, Microsoft thought what it had to compete with Sony and they did not end up doing that, they soured their own milk from the very beginning in policy and hardware, they refused to listen to their gamers and they are still losing traction in the process. Even as some corrections and some really good ideas have been launched (Game Pass), they have too much to catch on. Nintendo remained on the family fun and family friendly path and they merely gained speed, and within a year they pushed for a speed that would surpass Sony annual sales and they seemed to have done it in 2018 (the official numbers are not out yet). However the consoles and the quarter of a billion in online store sales in under a month is now showing to become the monster truck of revenue. So as I personally sneer at “Nintendo stock hit a five year high of $58.45 a share this year, only to shed more than 40 percent of its value this month, with a year-low of $33.90“, I see clear numbers that do not support the actions and recommendations of these analysts. The titles Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 represent 40 million copies sold. This implies that every Nintendo Switch has at least one of these games and that is an amazing result. Now set this against a company like Ubisoft (as a mere example) with Assassin’s Creed, 100 million copies over 11 titles on 3+ systems, Far Cry, 25 million copies over 6 titles on 3+ systems and Watch Dogs with 2 titles on 3 systems, 10 million copies sold. These are all decent games and when compared to four titles on one system, we start seeing the first part where the others seem to be getting it wrong. That is the comparison that some analysts do not seem to grasp. In addition, the close to flawless results against other titles on other consoles show and we have not even started with the millions of players playing Pokemon on Nintendo handheld systems.

On the day of Saint Nicholas we look at these kids and we see the overwhelming need and desire for gaming, consoles and handhelds. For the next 4 weeks it will be about that group and I predict that Nintendo will be looking at another half a billion if the previous record is anything to go by. It is likely that Boxing Day sales will add to that revenue surpassing my prediction. Clever grandparents adding an optional $30 gift card for their grand-kids to get several games cheap on boxing day sales, adding even more to the Nintendo profit coffer.

Even Forbes gave me the thumbs up (virtually that is). They had the top purchase mention with Nintendo as one of the titles and the PS4 as the most talked about, no mention on Microsoft. Even as Apple got a few mentions, the words ‘Microsoft’, ‘Surface’ and ‘Xbox’ were absent in that view (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/11/12/5-best-headphones-under-100/#47cb25aa5239), in addition the aggressive discount that the Nintendo gives with their Switch plus Mario Kart in the Netherlands is seeing its own fair share of mentions. If the feast of Saint Nicholas has one drawback then I would think it is the longer absence of board games. Playing a game like monopoly whilst unwrapping a present whenever one player passes go was heaps fun. There was the tension which name was drawn and as present by present was opened; whilst we played monopoly and had hot chocolate milk (it is cold in the Netherlands in December) was a level of fun I still miss.

Yet, we must not forget the hardship either, and there is a lot of that and a lot more coming; in the last year over 50,000 children died in Yemen from hardship, disease and famine. I expect that in 2019 we will see that the 2018 numbers will surpass the passing of 100,000 children. The children are too young to face what other children have to go through in other places, yet we adults cannot afford to do that. If I had to forego my optional Nintendo Switch for one child in Yemen to have a decent meal, I will end up not playing a Nintendo Switch for some time to come, even as the child still dies and I merely prevented it from dying on an empty stomach, I would do so. Even as the peace talks are being held, I fear for the lack of progress, as this is not in the interest of Iran. It is still progressing on arming Houthi; it is still facilitating via Hezbollah and the children are merely in the way there. From my point of view Europe is enabling it as they want their nuclear accord, an accord that is not likely to be the value of printed paper, the Iranian missile tests can be considered proof in this. In this part Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is actually in a very dangerous place. Even as he is with an ally, as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, we see that the danger is twofold. As more and more US politicians are seemingly ‘bashing’ Saudi Arabia, yet they seem to ignore the danger that Hezbollah is there, we see the start of imbalance, and as this imbalance continues, so do the events in Yemen killing even more children. The hollow words like ‘Iran has praised Yemeni peace talks scheduled to take place soon‘, they want their version in charge in Yemen, not the elected one and they are willing to let millions of kids die to get that done. So whilst the US gives us “The United States has displayed pieces of what it says were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan“, whilst at the same time US politicians are unbalancing their allied commitment to Saudi Arabia, we see that in the end it is a political stalemate with the lives of all the Yemeni children in the balance and there is no reasonable chance that the children there will get a better deal out of it.

So as we see the independent giving us the goods and the stage of truth last week with: ‘US struggles to find footing on Yemen, as Iran increases influence‘, we see (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-yemen-civil-war-iran-influence-saudi-arabia-bombing-trump-weapons-houthis-rebels-a8661546.html) that the US and mostly its politicians seem to have lost their perception on the larger game. the quote “The US Senate, angered in part by the White House response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Wednesday voted in a surprise move to advance a bill that would cut American participation in the Yemen conflict“, the emotions towards a previously unknown journalist (and ignoring all those imprisoned and dead journalists in Turkey) is setting the stage of enabling the Iran agenda. Vetoed or not, it will up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and in all this, the populist pressure is one that historically has turned anti Saudi more often than not, increasing the larger issues towards Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in other directions as well.

In all this does America even know who their allies and enemies are? The question is more important than you think, as we see on the feast of Saint Nicholas that millions of children in Yemen are abandoned. So what did this have to do with games?

When you watch your child play some Call of Duty game and you realise that it is not Battleground 5, it is not Call of Duty, or Fortnite, but it is the game ‘Holy Defense’, created by Hezbollah to let gamers and players kill ISIS members. When we are treated to: “Hezbollah has developed a 3-D computer game to capture the minds of its youth, while showing them a good time.” When you see your children play this free downloaded game in Europe and America, how much safer was the Nintendo Switch with their family values to begin with?

I agree that this is not a fair remark for Sony and Microsoft and they are not part of this in any way, but when it comes to First Person Shooters, can parents even tell the difference anymore? And when it is getting to close to the factual truth, can they even perceive how many children are getting killed in the process whilst Yemen is facing delay after delay? Should that not be the central issue on the day of the patron saint of children?

 

 

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Those we needlessly fear

All others pay cash! Yes, that was direct, was it not? We have seen millions of articles fly by, all given the very same announcement: ‘Fear Saudi Arabia‘, as well as ‘MBS is a monster‘. Yet, what evidence was given? What actual evidence did we get?

Turkey played its innuendo game, we can also accept that the US is playing a protective game for Saudi Arabia and that too should be highlighted, yet NO ONE has taken an academic look at those so called tapes as have given the audience the rundown, what was there, what was proven. Is there even enough evidence that Jamal Khashoggi is on the tapes? Journalists are in their own corrupt little world of satisfying the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers and they all want Saudi Arabia to look like they are all guilty, all to the very top. In addition we see the G20 Argentina game that France played with their ‘confrontation’, conveniently enough staged to be caught on CNN. He was not that amateur like when he had to have a few words with someone high up at Crédit Agricole, was he? Where have they got that leaked conversation?

I see it as a simple operational premise to counter the fear that they have. It gets worse, at present the vultures are circling and we get to see more fallout. News dot com dot au are giving us (at https://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/saudi-friend-of-jamal-khashoggi-sues-israeli-surveillance-firm/news-story/b0bf9d501332df9ad31bede7de904b6c) ‘Saudi friend of Jamal Khashoggi sues Israeli surveillance firm‘ gives us ‘A Saudi dissident‘, as well as ‘Omar Abdulaziz, said he was friends with Khashoggi‘. Now people make all kinds of claims, I can make the claim that I am the lover of Scarlett Johansson; she just does not know it yet. Anyone in the media can contact frukan Johansson and verify that fact (or prove it to be wrong), we can’t in the case of Khashoggi, can we? Was there corroborating evidence that they were actual friends? If so, why was that not added? The news site makes no real effort to substantiate that friendship and that is not what this is about. You see, it is the claim ‘a lawsuit against an Israeli surveillance company, claiming its sophisticated spyware targeted him and helped lead to the killing of his friend‘. We have two problems here. In the first, is there any evidence to back that up? In the second, Jamal Khashoggi was an unknown person to 93% of the planet, yet he was a journalist for the Washington Post, and as such he was a lot more visible than most others. Also, the entire filing matter in Istanbul gave rise that plenty of people knew where he was, so the spyware seems redundant. If there was quality spyware in place he could have been killed anywhere and leave the optional involvement of Saudi Arabia almost completely out of it. Does that not make sense?

The last paragraph is the killer here: “citing news reports and other sources claiming that NSO Group sold Saudi Arabia the technology in 2017 for $US55 million ($A75 million)“. The first thing here is to look at those news reports; I wonder how much innuendo is in there. Then we get the stage that technology worth $55 million was bought when JK was very much alone, giving rise to the reason of purchase, last by not least is the investigation on the NSO group and their software and that is what I believe was the foundation, it does not matter where and how the NSO group software was used. I believe that Omar Abdulaziz got wind of a 2016 article not unlike those on Vice (at https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3da5qj/government-hackers-iphone-hacking-jailbreak-nso-group), and saw ‘Government Hackers Caught Using Unprecedented iPhone Spy Tool‘. so when we see (or saw) “Ahmed Mansoor, a 46-year-old human rights activist from the United Arab Emirates, received a strange text message from a number he did not recognize on his iPhone“, the brain of Omar Abdulaziz  optionally went ‘ka-chink‘ and his pupils turned to dollar signs, It was optionally his opportunity of a lifetime.

So who is right?

I am telling you right now that all I am writing from my opposition is pure speculation, yet is it less of more believable? Is the NSO group real? Yes they are and they have something that every nation on the planet with a decent technology level requires. Any government have people they want to keep tabs on, and that is what this solution optionally provides for. It is not a killing tool, and at $55 million it is not some tool you use for simply ending someone’s life, there are more convenient and more elegant ways to facilitate to punch out someone time clock of life. When you stage a $55 million solution when $50K in an account does it, that solution does not make sense.

Still, we cannot ignore the NSO group software and it might have been used to keep tabs on JK, that is optionally a reality we face, yet we all face that optional for a number of reasons and there we have the crux, knowing where a person is does not mean that their life has to be ended, the fact that we have tools, does not imply that we have to use other tools. The audience factor is trying to give us that idea, an emotional driven premise of events to set the stage of intentional international execution. There has been, and unlikely will be any evidence showing that. Not by some eager frog (an unnamed France governmental executive) stating to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘I am really worried!‘ worried about what? Conversations eagerly and ‘unintentionally’ leaked right in full view of the CNN camera, are people truly stupid enough to go for that bait?

Then we get claims in papers like the Sydney Morning Herald trying to up their game, yet at present I am not certain if the Saudi government would lose if a defamation case was brought to court and that is me merely contemplating two of the JK articles that I have read in the last two days.

In addition, the article has the claim ‘and helped lead to the killing of his friend‘, which is actually very clever as in this way stated we have a problem, or do we? Is there any evidence that the solution was or was not used? If there is a way to check the usage of that software then Omar Abdulaziz opened an interesting door. You see at that point, under the US freedom of information act, close to two dozen claims can be made regarding the NSA (the San Antonio location) on how they have been keeping tabs on people. In the January case of Sherretta Shaunte Washington, her attorney might optionally (with properly applied intelligence) be able to overturn any given sentence against her. There has been the rumour that the NSA assisted in keeping tabs on a dozen burner phones. You see, it is not the sim card; it is the mobile imei number on EVERY phone that is the issue. The NSO group seemingly figured out the algorithm to take this to the races and that advantage is worth well over $55 million. That is exactly why the Mexicans wanted the solution too. Most Mexicans are still believing that without the sim it is nothing, yet one call gave away the imei number and that number is a lot more useful than most consider.

And in the end it is Forbes who gives us the missing diamond going all the way back to August 2016. Here we are treated to: “looking at the domains registered by NSO, they determined Pegasus could have been used across Turkey, Israel, Thailand, Qatar, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Morocco, Yemen, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Bahrain, though there was no clear evidence“, in all this the one logical step, the one thought that no one has been willing to voice for a number of reasons. Turkey is on that list. So what if this was Turkey all along from beginning to end? Turkey, who had the solution to keep tabs on thousands of journalists, reporters and bloggers, and jailing hundreds of journalists, do you actually think that they are beyond killing a journalist? I mentioned a few yesterday, so you there is evidence all over the field and so far no actual and factual evidence has been given on any involvement of the Saudi Royal family, yet everyone is playing that card as often as possible.

I am not in denial, I am not stating that they are innocent, I am merely looking and hoping to see real evidence, and so far the absence of that investigation has been astounding. There is enough evidence on the involvement of Saudi’s in all this, yet the proper vetting of Turkish evidence by the media has seemingly been lacking. The press (and the media as a whole) merely pushed that same button again and again and it makes me wonder on the premise in which other ways we are (seemingly) being deceived. That is the clear consequence of orchestration, it makes us all doubt all the other evidence, and in light of the USA playing their silver briefcase WMD game in regards to Iraq, that has made us distrust a lot of other evidence, evidence that might have been valid, but we are in a stage where we no longer trust the messengers in all that and as the media and newspapers lose more and more credibility, we have started to treat most news as fake news.

That is the price of orchestration and the players remain in denial that it is happening. That is the part we see form a source called Foreign Policy dot com. The article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/03/how-an-internet-impostor-exposed-the-underbelly-of-the-czech-media/), gives us: ‘How an Internet Impostor Exposed the Underbelly of the Czech Media. When politicians own the press, trolls have the last laugh‘, the article by Tim Gosling gives us: “Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis—and expose just how easily disinformation can slip into the mainstream press, especially when politicians control it.” It is a mere introduction to: “In September, the Czech broadsheet Lidove Noviny published an op-ed by Horakova expressing support for Babis’s refusal to offer asylum to 50 Syrian orphans, as was proposed by an opposition member of parliament. Playing up to his populist pledge not to allow “a single refugee” into the Czech Republic, the prime minister said the country had its own orphans to care for“. It merely gives us parts to ponder, the amount of pondering increases with: “In tapes released by unknown sources onto the internet last year, for instance, he was heard discussing stories damaging to his political rivals with a reporter from Mlada fronta Dnes, which alongside Lidove Noviny is controlled by Agrofert—the agrochemicals conglomerate that is the centerpiece of Babis’s business empire.

I have written again and again against the media facilitation for the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers, here we see the impact when the media and the shareholder are one and the same. That article from a freelance reporter who seemingly contributed to Foreign Policy, The Telegraph, Politico Europe, Deutsche Welle, World Politics et al. He shows that there is a much larger issue and that the difference between those bringing the news and fake news bringers is almost indistinguishable. We might give passage to the LA Times, the Washington Post, New York Times, the Times, the Guardian and several others, yet after that the mess becomes no longer trusted, mostly because the source is too unknown to us. The media did this to themselves through facilitation and until that changes fake news will have too many options to gain traction with the people influencing a populist political nation on a near global scale.

It is one of the reasons why I refuse to merely accept the view of people blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for it all. There are too many intelligence gaps, too many parts of merely insinuated conjecture whilst the intelligence was not properly vetted and it happened for the most in Turkey (the consulate is Saudi ground). We might never ever get the answer of what truly happened, and to a very large extent it is because of the games that the media played from the very beginning. A game staged in innuendo, unnamed sources and people talking on the promise of anonymity. It is not the fact that these elements exist, it is because to a much larger extent too many of them were used at the same time, pressing the same directional button, most of it not scrutinised to the degree that was essential, and when contra dictionary evidence was found, those issues were ignored by the largest extent by all the media, that too is the foundation of fake news, we merely chose to ignore it, it is our emotional side and that is the bigger issue. People are no longer adhering to innocent until guilty, the media has become a ‘guilty until proven innocent machine‘ and that drives the populist agenda more than anything else, so I oppose them all by stating: ‘The Saudi government is one we needlessly fear, until we have conclusive evidence of their action that is the only way we should be‘. We have become puppets in a world where tyrants (Robert Mugabe), alleged mass murderers (Slobodan Milošević), criminals (shooters who were granted indemnity from prosecution) and paedophiles (Catholic clergy) get more consideration than any Muslim ever had, how sad has our world become?

 

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Heating at what price?

We all know it; in winter it is about the heating, in summer about the quality of the fan, in addition, we need to make sure that apart from food, and drinks that we have the proper attire. We have known this for almost a lifetime. So even as this is known in the US, President Trump decided to have a conversation with Saudi Arabia to increase production to keep prices down. It seems really nice that Saudi Arabia came forward, yet they had no practical reason to do that did they? Not in an age of bullet points, business cases and maximised profit.

Oil is a commodity, and in the professional world of business, you have to go for the buy low, sell high equation if you want to be in business. So I was surprised to the extent that Saudi Arabia was facilitating towards America.

Yet this is seemingly coming to a halt when Bloomberg treats us to: ‘Putin Says Russia and Saudi Arabia to Extend OPEC+ Oil Pact‘. In itself the title does not give the US the warning that they need to read, the text does however give us: “OPEC, which pumps four-in-ten barrels produced worldwide, will convene in Vienna on Dec. 6 to discuss output cuts after oil prices in November suffered the largest monthly drop since the global financial crisis in 2008” the article also gives us “an advisory group to OPEC told ministers the market is oversupplied, with a need to cut about 1.3 million barrels a day from October levels“, apart from Bloomberg, there were several others showing the news, adding their own political flavour towards facilitation and that will be discussed soon enough. The shape here is not merely that there is oil in the Al Saud family, it is the fact that they are (as any good business does) trying to maximise what they have. People seem to forget that. It might seem a buyers’ market, but that is merely the presentation, once production stops for 12% or more that balance will change really quickly. Let those who want it somewhere else, go somewhere else. The direct impact is that it merely drives prices faster. Even as there is an oversupply, the entire setting seems to be focussed on getting past this winter, the players are in error not to focus on the next winter, for that part will be impacted and it will be a large impact.

As the conversation between Russia and Saudi Arabia continues, whether or not it is some OPEC+ setting, the setting that is evolving is one that I mentioned in ‘Two issues in play‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/20/two-issues-in-play/). The day after we saw Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) giving the statement that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”. So as we were treated to ‘Putin says Russia, Saudis agree to renew OPEC production cuts‘ mere moments ago. How much reserve is there? How long until the prices are raised, optionally just before Christmas as a speculative Ebenezer Scrooge bonus to your household?

The entire matter was just waiting for an opportunity to happen, as we see this unfold over the next few days, we will see additional parts too. The best example that anyone who served knows is that there are three people you do not mess with. The first is your Supply officer, the second is the payroll officer and the last one is the cook. These three are sacred and you leave them alone. So why push the person who is a supply officer, that impacts your payroll officer (as you end up with a fair amount less) and that in turn unbalances what the cook gives you as you cannot afford a full meal. As the price of food goes up, as we see clear data from several sources (Washington Post and HILDA) that larger groups of workers have been on stalling incomes for years now, have I made a clear enough point? When the total income is the same and food prices go up, what would you surrender to the currents of loss, once you realise that fuel prices will be on the rise as well?

In anticipated opposition, don’t give me that ‘ethics regarding Jamal Khashoggi‘ routine, because the bulk of the US senate and US congress have not made any noise regarding all those journalists (well over 240, with over 140 wanted) in Turkish prisons, several of them for life. Not much noise is there? The fact that Turkey isn’t getting slammed for being an ally of Iran is still a mystery, yet there might be some European need there, especially around some ‘nuclear accord’.

Even as I anticipate some reaction in all this, we must also heed the opposition in this. Here I call for Oilprice dot com. Martin Tillier gives us (at https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Oil-Output-Cuts-May-Be-Coming-But-Dont-Bet-on-It.html): Crude oil has been in freefall, with both Brent and WTI having lost around a third since hitting highs in early October. There are some demand related worries involved as trade wars threaten to slow global growth, but the biggest reasons for the drop are supply related. A couple of months ago, those highs were achieved in anticipation of a disruption to global supply as the Trump administration’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal with Iran and the resulting sanctions took effect. Since then though, a few things have become clear. Firstly, U.S. production has been stepped up by more than imagined. In addition, the Saudis increased their output to help offset the expected loss from Iran but, most importantly in that context, that loss doesn’t look likely to materialize“, he goes on giving us the tough talk part and he is right. Whether we see it as political windbags or perhaps merely a storm in a cup of tea, the impact is not merely some good needed, it is a larger issue that goes beyond supply and demand. Just like the predicted shortage of concrete for the building of Neom city. Those who saw it have been upping their ability for production. Several have doubled it and there is a chance that the UAE will have its own large concrete facility soon enough. As Saudi Arabia could decide to cut production, it could in addition merely seek to seel part of it elsewhere. The end result is the same, yet that trajectory will be much slower. For the current administration it is about getting past this winter, with the next winter being a larger impact on the elections, so it will also impact the cost of living all over the US.

CNBC gives support here (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/28/expect-a-saudi-first-policy-on-oil-production-cuts-regardless-of-trumps-demands-analysts-say.html). It is early days and what we anticipate or expect does not usually happen, yet with “Analysts believe that despite Washington’s geopolitical leverage over the kingdom, after its staunch defense of the Saudi monarchy amid accusations over its alleged role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh will still pursue its own economic interests rather than abide by the wishes of President Trump. The pivotal question hanging over oil markets remains that of production cutbacks. Who will tighten their taps, and by how much?” This is the game for now and even as it is all set in common sense, the one part we cannot anticipate is ‘by how much?‘, I predicted a rough 12% a week before this article came out and so far, the fact that it is still likely to happen before the end of the year, optionally before before Christmas, it does remain to be a the speculative part for now. I expect Russia to try and get a consensus with Saudi Arabia to go well over 12%, optionally closer to 20%. It is essential for Russia, it will be good to the super wealthy oil friends that President Putin has and it will also bring joy to the coffers of the Saudi Monarchy. The question is who can pick up that slack and how fast. The US has its own facilities in it, yet could they keep up? Leave it to the US to piss off 3 of the top 5 producers, which leaves Iraq and they do not have the working infrastructure, moreover, volatility is still their middle name for now, as well as the fact that they merely produce 16% of the other three that the US insulted (more than once I might add).

So will oil prices go up? If the US is set on its current policy, the issue of oil prices is a given certainty, the fact that they will go up before winters end seems more and more likely, yet by how much is not to be anticipated. In this Saudi Arabia, merely needs to have a ‘technical glitch’ and the pumps go down twice for 2-3 days, and the damage is done. At that point, Saudi Arabia merely has to drop production for 15%-20% until the technical matter is ‘resolved’ and all the US can do is pray for Saudi Arabia to accept the assistance of their engineers. Although as Saudi engineers go, their knowledge might be (vastly) superior in all this, they have had plenty of time to get ahead of the curve for some time now.

Should this happen, what will the US do? Throw a tantrum; throw a curveball? I am eager to find out, because the entire journalist part is still a matter for discussion. You all seem to know Jamal Khashoggi. Yet how many of you know Mehmet Topaloğlu, killed by the Turkish police, as was Metin Göktepe. Then we see Önder Babat, Serena Shim, Rohat Aktaş and Yaşar Parlak. The Turkish authorities have shown less than 0.5% effort here when comparing it to Jamal Khashoggi and the silence from the US in these deaths (a few of many) have been deafening, we can ignore the European Union in all this as they seemingly do not care. So when I made the claim that Jamal Khashoggi is merely a convenient puppet to hit Saudi Arabia with, I knew what I was talking about. When we see that inaction is the natural state, the entire Jamal Khashoggi was a game of political players, emotions used to drive an audience, an audience giving Google search currently well over 72 million hits when we see for that JK journalist. Try that with one of the other murdered or imprisoned journalists in Turkey, they are not even a blip on the radar. It is my speculative thought that Neom and the future drive by Saudi Arabia scared the US as it did several European players. It is the first time in history that a Middle Eastern nation has the ability to put the US and EU to shame with their lack of technological progress. They claim to have it, yet Saudi Arabia is making a move towards ‘showing to have it‘, changing the game for both the US and Europe.

This is where we see the difference. China and Russia see this as an opportunity, whilst Europe and the US are seeing it as an inconvenience. In Europe it seems that only Salini Impregilo is taking the charge of that future, having scored already well over half a billion in contracts, the rest of the players are either under the surface or not there at all. Is that not odd either? When we see close to a trillion dollars in opportunities in Saudi Arabia, the noise should be deafening but it is not.

How does that matter?

Well, if oil fuels the coffers, the daily input is more than enough to warrant actions, yet I see not activity anywhere, not to the degree it should have. In all this, within a day I found a way to revolutionise information using 5G (designing a new device in the process), and there we see opportunity, a pilot the size of a city that could have global repercussions and no one is there. I cannot be the only player in town, my ego would never be that delusional, yet there is not activity at all. It makes sense that it is not out in the open, yet some people would have to file for concepts, optionally for patents and I see the light of at least 4 of them right there, yet there is no visible action, and believe me, as a Master of Intellectual property law, I do know where to look.

Karma kicks greed’s ass

We have all seen the news when it comes to Huawei and the list of those banning them is growing, there too we see that China has a vested interest in making a local company a true success and there we see the options too. So when we consider the Verizon offer: “As part of a 10-year agreement, Verizon will expand its wireless small cell infrastructure to build out its existing 4G LTE network and prepare for 5G deployment, with streamlined permitting from the City of Boston. TV licensing will also be amended to support an expansion of Verizon’s Fios TV service to more neighborhoods“, it came in 2016. So consider the actual wording ‘as part of a 10-year agreement‘ and ‘prepare for 5G deployment‘, by the letter, it implies that Boston will optionally not have 5G before 2026, in this it could optionally have been in the foundations of Neom by 2021 (depending on then the first buildings are completed). It would be a kick in the nuts for the US to have something operational after Saudi Arabia, does it not?

Karma bites like Piranha if need be.

This all impacts the oil price, because the Saudi Crown Prince is driven to get Neom right, it also impacts the coffers so whatever is done regarding the oil, would optionally not be allowed to endanger Neom. I cannot prove that, yet I am decently certain that this is the case. We can see this as an opportunity, that as the US seeks options, it can make other offers to offset the optional ‘loss’ to Saudi Arabia. If enabling can be done in money or goods, offering goods is still an optional path to take for the US, yet they too need to realise that the overly visible acts of playing the ‘Khashoggi blues’ whilst not making any noise on the ‘Turkey newspaper shuffle’ is going to be a debate soon enough, especially as there is enough evidence that Turkey has been facilitating for Iran.

In the end

In the end it is about the oil prices and I expect them to go up regardless of what happens, yet there is leverage to a small extent, the amount of price increase is one that could be under negotiation. The question is, will we see proper actions by the US and Europe to limit the price increase and the impact on their citizens? I expect to see an answer to that part within the next two weeks.

Have a fun Monday!

 

 

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War lines and Battle lines

We all know them, we all personally have them. Some are founded on the realism of professional life, In thee we see the person who works well with others, there is one that is off. You see, that person also wants the senior position you have been working towards and there are two paths trodden at the same time. Your opponent is working as hard as possible to be better and in that same stretch equally is working to make sure that you look worse. The acts are trivial, a little block here, a little delay there and it seems all friendly, it seems corporate, yet you know better, you know that this person is after your future goal. It is corporate politics. You both work towards pleasing the larger shark, you both work to get the amenities to gain favour and play whomever you can to end up being first. It is the corporate environment and we have accepted that for close to a quarter of a century, if not for longer.

It is seen everywhere and this same setting is now in a stage for the conservatives and Brexit as well. Here we see a growing list, a list that currently includes Suella Braverman, Shailesh Vara, Esther McVey, Dominic Raab, Jo Johnson (Boris Johnson cleverer brother), Guto Bebb and now Sam Gyimah. We could go on and point out on how the connections are with places like Goldman Sachs, but that is merely stupidity to the max, Brexit is much larger than that.

And the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/30/sam-gyimah-resigns-over-theresa-mays-brexit-deal) gives us oppositional goods we should not ignore. When we see the quote: “In these protracted negotiations, our interests will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come. Britain will end up worse off, transformed from rule makers into rule takers“. We see a partial and an absolute truth, we could argue that they are both partial, yet that is actually influenced by the economic powers like Goldman Sachs.

Britain will end up worse off‘, I never denied this. The issue is not the temporary ‘worse off’ part, because it is merely a temporary stage, the actual issue is the unaccountable acts by the ECB and people like Mario Draghi. Three trillion all pumped into a stage that was never going to work. That evidence has been clearly seen, yet the overspending goes on and on and on. Being a member of a group where simple book keeping and budgeting is lost again and again due to a two party political game (national party members versus EU party members) is costing the nations dearly and for the most they are all playing possum, it’s not a good thing believe me. The additional issue that all places (like Bloomberg) where we see: ‘Draghi Says ECB Still Expects Net Bond Buying to End in December‘, yet the operative word here is ‘Expects‘.

It is the larger problem in this. Even as the last month has set in we are not given that December is the end date, gives rise to the setting that they want to continue this bad plan. That and a few other parts give rise to walking away. I would personally add that unless nations get the right to targeted killing the heads of the ECB, both present and past (Mario Draghi is about to leave), we should not give any confirmation of talks in any direction. The taxpayers have been given the bills of the high, rich and mighty for too long. When this game collapses (and it will) Europe faces a civil war level of unrest and so they should. They key points in Bloomberg: “The end of new bond buying won’t mean the end of stimulus, Draghi said, in light of the reinvestment of maturing assets, guidance on interest rates and the 2.6 trillion euros ($3 trillion) of securities purchased by the ECB so far. Chief economist Peter Praet made the same point earlier on Monday” gives support to my view (as well as some consideration that we might have to resort to targeted killing at some point).

our interests will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come‘ the second part is the consequence of banks losing power and momentum, because 68 million consumers walking away will hit EVERY book there is and the banks and power players will become vindictive little children as their need and desire for Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll can no longer be met. Salespeople in a growing economy walk around like the (Pea)cocks that they are, in a recession and shrinking economy the become blaming little bitches, just like every other corporation. I have seen it too often. Making deals they cannot hold and when the facts are laid out they go into the blame game throwing it on the others ability not to be able to communicate. Cash is king, bonus is sacred and the rest can get fucked. That is the world we created and the UK will get hit by it, yet there is also another part. You see, the quiet number two elements in that venue will see it as an opportunity to rise and people like Sam Gyimah know this, he was at Goldman Sachs long enough. For almost five years the UK and Scotland did not consider the power place they had to assist India to become much larger European players and as such get some of that cream. But some were too busy facilitating to Pfizer and not considering the position nearly every NHS in Europe has and the ability for India to become part of the solution here. I saw this opportunity as early as 2013, but the others were too busy looking into the mirror, considering which DJI logo would look better in their photo frame of a long term sustainable life of wealth. During those 5 years Wall Street has all been about setting the stage to build fortresses to protect IP to their wealth. It is the stage of Jonas Salk versus Pharmasset & Gilead Sciences. Jonas Silk walked away from a $34 trillion payout and saved the American people, as well as many millions all over the world. His action caused the eradication of polio, the other two have the solution to Hepetitis C and is set in value to well over $11 trillion, and these patents are still highly protected for another two decades. America only fights protectionism when it suits them, interesting, not?

There is a third part, a part we all (including me) seemingly ignored. The distinguishing of ‘rule makers to rule takers‘ is a path we need to consider, even as the EU gravy train is in full motion, we see that rule makers are only there in the stage of presentation, to keep asleep the masses. If that was not the case there would not have been an Italian Budget issue, but there is ad even as we see: “Rome could ultimately face a fine of up to 0.5 percent of economic output — or some €9 billion“, should we see it for what it is, a joke? The Italians will add the fine to the debt; they will do whatever they please and in that, Europeans are in a Europe where the rich and the ignoranusses do whatever they please. How is being part of that anything but a joke?

  • The unaccountable actions of the ECB
  • The unmanaged ability to keep budget within the EU
  • The lack of transparency in EU politicians (travel expenses anyone?)
  • The lack of long term thinking
  • The lack to innovate parts that need overhaul

The UK has failings there too, yet by themselves they can make amends over time, in this European Union there is no chance of that happening. So, as the UK pushes Brexit, there will be impact, there will be cost (it was never denied), yet as the UK improves its own standing, whilst the EU keeps on going spending trillion after trillion on ‘stimulus after stimulus‘, it is at that point where the flaccid economies (France and Italy) will impact the others and the ‘rise’ and bettered economies all over Europe to the smallest extend, will not undo the overspending to the much larger extend, we will see presented bettering, followed by managed bad news in that same fiscal year. The entire issue with Mario Draghi and the G30 bankers group is merely one visible example of many. If you think that there is no impact, guess again. How long until we learn what happened in the G20, only after it passed the consent of the G30? The Europeans are about to be diminished to empowered consumers versus disregarded collateral. Some went as far as the early 80’s to make statements in that direction, yet the 90’s was too enabling, only now, only as we see that the entire large corporation setting can no longer be maintained, now we see a much larger change and for all those players it is important to sink Brexit. A true independent monarchy is a danger, because whatever step forward the monarchy makes, the other path will have to take two steps back, and you tell me, when was the last time that banks were willing to do that? For that to succeed all European nations will have to be ‘reduced’ to rule takers, and who elected them exactly?

And right there, we see the final part that opposes the quote of Sam Gyimah. With: “It has become increasingly clear to me that the proposed deal is not in the British national interest, and that to vote for this deal is to set ourselves up for failure. We will be losing, not taking control of our national destiny“, you see, in this EU, the British National Interest is merely a presented one, a PowerPoint page in a stage where the EU parliamentarians and ECB dictate the stage without transparency. That part is seen in two headlines in the last month alone. The first is Bloomberg, giving us: ‘Draghi Defies EU Criticism in Attending Group of 30 Meeting‘, the second one is the Financial Times giving us: ‘EU bank stress tests should be redesigned, says watchdog head‘. The second one (at https://www.ft.com/content/868f2dfc-e842-11e8-8a85-04b8afea6ea3), also gives us: “The comments by Andrea Enria, who is set to become the eurozone’s top banking regulator, were made two weeks after the latest stress test results, which saw British lenders among the worst performers while Italian banks largely sailed through“. As we were treated to the Italian issues over the last month, with Reuters taking the Cheesecake with “Italy’s third-largest bank Banco BPM will discuss an up to 8.6 billion euro bad loan sale at a board meeting on Thursday, picking one or two bidders to continue talks with, three sources familiar with the matter said“, I would really like it if someone would have that conversation of applied logic with Andrea Enria in the near future, especially in light of certain facts openly available. When performance is weighted on the absence of bad loans, I reckon that we get numbers that make no sense at all, optionally making the European economy 0.2% better than it actually is. It could push Italy, France and optionally Spain form a positive to a negative economy, when two of the large four are negative, how much trouble is the EU actually in?

I have never trusted any group that demanded continued membership at any cost. If the EU was so great, people would not want to walk away and now we have two members one who is trying to leave and the second one (Italy) is seriously considering walking away. In all this the third player (France) is in a stage where a positive economy is not likely to come soon. Strike after strike is making that an almost dead certainty. I wonder what the numbers would have been if we had removed Greece (not withdrawing support from them though), as they had less adherence and more options to seek solutions, things might actually be less dire for the EU. The fact that once in never out is the standard gave (in my personal opinion) rise to politicians doing whatever they pleased no matter who got hit in the process.

There is one upside, those who have been placing battle lines are now out in the open, so we see a stage where we start identifying the opponents, the question becomes will there be actions, long winded speeches, or denial? Each has a separate disadvantage and none seemingly have advantages, that is also the impact of a ‘once in never out state called European Union’, for all the benefits are merely given in a memo, with bullet points and is redundant the moment that the next memo is released.

Did anyone realise that?

 

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It’s about time, slappers only

Even as we look at games, play games and even improve games, we all tend to have our own idea on how things should be. So I decided to take a look in another direction, I decided to look at the Unreal Engine (Unity too), on how to make a game. To be honest, I have no plans to create a game, even though I have a few ideas on at least one original IP, I feel out of my depth on creating the game myself.

So why look at these engines?

I noticed whilst I was observing someone else making a ‘game’ and introducing people on how to make a game, I noticed that my mind wandered into how that applied into my own IP. It also gave me the additional ideas on how to evolve gaming (my IP) and give the player something new, something they have not played before; more important, a version of view that has not been done before, which in light of all the games out there is quite the statement to make. Even as some effects seem familiar as we have seen different visions in games like Splinter Cell (night vision, thermal vision), what can you do to gaming when you do not get to have a choice? What if your evolution also brings with it changes in how you see things? It was an interesting view that we saw (read: read about), in Infocom’s Suspended. It was my first Infocom game (CBM64) and also the only one where I actually had to buy the hint guide for (came with a marker to make invisible statements visible. So as we took control of Iris, Whiz, Waldo, Auda, Poet and Sensa, we saw something different as all of them looked at the same thing. That idea was pretty interesting to read about, yet what happens when we ‘see’ the difference? That was the first foundation of a new title. The second part came from a memory of a game called Mercenary (Novagen). There were the Palyar and the Mechanoids, now what if they were one and the same (a Dark Chrystal reference), what if we have a game where the environment forces us (not allows) for evolution from one to the other, yet also with the setbacks that one or the other has. A game where you can choose to go one way, go the other way, yet gives us the puzzles and challenges that does not merely make it a fun game to play; it would in addition also give us a challenge that makes the fun of replay much higher. As an RPG fan, the option to replay a game is important to me for the mere reason that if I am able to buy a game at $100, I would like to be able to play it several times, or as they say in Fintech, if you can squeeze a $10 bill and you get 11 $1 coins, only then have you maximised your currency. I can do that to games, so hence the stage to create something that is a great return on investment.

So as I am looking at these Unreal Engine presentations, I am seeing all kinds of changes that could make the game even better, more challenging and more fun to play. I am now also seeing a few things that I had not actively considered to the degree that I needed to consider it. After merely seeing 3 hours of presentations, I saw half a dozen items that added to the thoughts of the new IP I am ‘creating’. So what happens when you are in one stage? You want to be in a stage where you can have two challenges without repeating the methods. It is almost an Alien versus Space Marine part, but not the same, the difference is still there, yet in another way. The best example is seen in the original Daredevil with Ben Affleck. So what if our view is based on some version of: ‘sonic plus’? This was merely one of several iterations my mind was going through to set the stage of the game. And just watching the run through gave me additional idea after idea and as such, my version of this non existing game kept on evolving.

Why do we care?

Well, you might not, yet consider the elements I came up with, it seems that it is not entirely unique, yet the version I have has to the best of the knowledge never be seen and if I can come up with this, why de several development houses work with a new version of that same Franchise again and again and we see a total lack of actual original new games. What makes for a game to be squeezed in repetition with a larger lack of new IP? It seems to me that certain houses have been lacking in true new IP and that seems like such a shame. If a gamer is depending on something new, not something relaunched, we see the flaw that is out there, and in that same light we see the growing desire of golden greats like System Shock. Do not get me wrong, I loved that game and I hope to play the remastered edition when it is done. More importantly, it also gave me other ideas on how to resolve play value. You see, in System Shock, what was working had to be destroyed (camera’s) systems had to be switched (VR Cyberspace level parts). Yet what happens when you have to get it fixed. Not some blatant ‘repair tool’ that shines on the object. No, what happens when you have to scrounge systems to find parts to rebuild a server, strip tools, strip consoles to get the keyboard, the display and the processor system? Get to the router and then get to the server? We seem to think of such elements too easy. So what value do you get when you play the game in hard core mode and you have to set the stage to repair network access systems? You might only have to do it once, but there we get the additional choice of fixing a system, versus stripping systems to create a mobile version. Now what additional solutions will we see when it goes beyond merely network. In System Shock it is on a space station, so water, environment and other elements would optionally be broken and that is how I saw my new IP, not merely fixing and scrounging, but the fact that in any biological disaster we see the impact and limitations of a dangerous zone. Now, what if that is not set straight, but could alter from game to game? New routes, now solutions and other options would need to be found to get to a certain stage, in addition, as we change those parameters, the steps to do certain things will also alter as to where and when we choose to make changes and that too adds to the challenge.

A next stage

So what happens when we take that to a new level? What if we consider Watch Dogs 4 (three is being made now)? What if the setting of the stage is completely out of our comfort zone? What if we impose limits on ourselves? How willing are you to go into true survival RPG when it is not some irradiated mess (Fallout series) or Post-apocalyptic (Horizon Zero Dawn). How ready are you to be a real gamer and in the game you ended up in Korea or Japan and that game is all Korean or Japanese? Will you fold or rise to the occasion? In my view in Watchdogs 4, you and your sister/brother escape from people smugglers and you swim ashore to end up being in either country. Having no knowledge of the language, in Seoul or Tokyo and the introduction leaves you with a clean smartphone and Google glasses. Now you have to get the software, use the glasses to translate signs on the go, you need to learn language and you need to figure out how to get another party free (who is still captive somewhere). You get to choose on a criminal or non-criminal lifestyle all with its own challenges of work, odd jobs, a place, food and other elements. Can you complete both sides whilst also freeing your parents and not set of the alarms that running to the police will get your parents killed? Now consider doing that in a completely set city (a 900% version of the Watchdogs 2 map), also consider the elements that can be added, additional challenges and a true evolved NPC stage of interactions. I got part of the idea when watching the YouTube channel Only in Japan * Go (at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDsvL48jluG3tvlyurB4K3g), what if the interactive part is truly AI driven and it has a lot more responses than we have now (like 5,000% more). A stage where time is more important, not merely a day rotation where 30 minutes represents 24 hours, but where time is closer to actual and the game will have constraints in time management. We have seen elements of what I described here and there, yet for the most we have never seen them all united and when you are in a game that should last you 100-150 hours of gaming to complete. Taking the stage forwards by adding long term playing challenges, with the essential need to avoid grinding we see a new stage in gaming, a new stage in RPG, even as we see the truck load of people being anti-Bethesda for now. They did make a huge change and even as there is an essential need to patch the 34,554 bugs and glitches (a mere speculated rough estimate), we are looking at a game that is more about survival than the series have ever added before. We see the option to push a similar evolution into the Watchdogs series, where survival becomes an issue when we are no longer in our element; also we are no longer in a place where we can just walk around. The option to show new technologies and add technologies in a new light, where a device like Nudle Glass, could translate any sign we see in the game by adding a text balloon with the translation. where the phone will do voice translation and we add mobile technologies where we start getting the ability to hack, the ability to interact and the ability to emboss the storyline and challenges. A place where you need to get the odd job (on a food market, a market or just some courier job) where you get the cash to get by for the daily cycle whilst still having to find a way to safe your parents. More importantly, a stage where you have to get it done within a certain time (250 days for example) before their health gives out, these are all stages that we have seen before, yet never all at the same time and not to this extent. We need food and water (the one real fault in Subnautica), yet when we are given hours to get things done, we see options to stretch a game in more meaningful ways. the need to get transportation and to get on public transport as we cannot run from one end to the other (like in Watchdogs), as we have to get from one place to the other in Tokyo (or Seoul), yet when we have to get by 13Km to do that, time becomes a factor and that is the part game makers ignored because they lived by the act that all of it had to be fast and dynamic, yet the longer RPG game could benefit from the additional challenge of getting transport and learning to find your way by public transport (time skipping). It is not merely for the challenges and the storyline. You get to be part of the environment; you will need to clearly think on your feet. We might have been able to forego sleep in Fallout 3 for 200 days, yet the need for sleep will be here (even if we skip it in a few seconds wait time), we impact the other elements and when time becomes a deciding factor in the game we get a more true survival game. In opposition of Elder Scrolls (Oblivion or Skyrim) where we loaded up al every mission we could, making time a factor means that we need to focus on a mission. Even as we need not consider time for everything, we get to have a time driven to do list, affecting the way our NPC’s regard us, as we miss the deadline for jobs.

We also get to consider how we survive, not only is making the wrong enemies a much larger concern, adhering the game to, for example, Japanese law where they have ‘No one shall possess a firearm or firearms or a sword or swords’ gives new needs for being creative. The Thunder ball in WD2 was extremely innovative, in WD4, we might resolve to set the stage for a walking cane, or perhaps a belt (strangling). By adding the locations realism in practise, we also create new solutions towards game play. We can still use the WD hacking weapons, yet now we add new elements to the challenge. We might think it is not cool to be unarmed, however when we consider the reality of ‘Japan has some of the world’s strictest gun control laws with punishments that even scare gangsters‘, when we see that, the need for creativity makes the entire enterprise more rewarding too. I hope we can all agree that opening vents via remote in WD2 was as lame as it could get, the challenge can still be met in other ways. So when it is no longer about the killing, but now it is about creativity (like collecting data) we create a new kind of survival game, an entirely new challenge and is that not what gaming is about? When it is not about dropping bodies; when the stage becomes about paths that are about industrial espionage, true surveillance and getting the wealth that could purchase freedom, or perhaps the paths that will expose the people holding your parents, we see applied creativity in another way. We open the door for people to find another way to get to the end and that journey is open for anyone, yet by making time a new constraint and a more truthful constraint we see that people will try to adopt ‘glitches’ when that fails (and it should), we end up getting a real gamer and the game that does that changes the dimensional view of anyone playing a game. When the silenced scope is not available, when the knife gets you years in jail (parents dead, end game!) we can start looking at what we can do to give the challenge of a watchdog. You see, a watchdog is a person who ‘warns members of the community when potential or actual problems arise‘, we saw that to some degree in WD2, running all over San Francisco, yet we can take it to a much larger scale. When the game allows for the criminal side by data invasion, corrupt journalist devices and hack police terminals, or do the opposite by resolving hacks, by deleting criminal data bases and transmitting video of criminal activities in the game, we can become rich, famous and well known or have both worlds by getting a second identity and do both. If we can set the stage of double dipping and we can also create the stage where we can be found out playing both fields and as such impede progress, angering both sides of the social isle; we get a much larger scale to play with and a much bigger challenge. It makes the game more rewarding when we replay the game.

Is this a good idea?

Most likely in this shape not. It needs work and we now have the resources to take it to this level, yet most software houses have not shown the willingness to take it this far (exception Ubisoft- Far Cry 5 and Bethesda- Elder Scrolls), and a lot more is possible. You merely have to look at Horizon Zero Dawn and how much further it could go is a clear indication of what might be reached. Having the map online is one solution (Fallout 76), yet when we realise that in Horizon Zero Dawn is in a scale of 107.5:1 (in miles) compared to real life. What if we see a game where it is less than 10:1 (1:1 being the optimal solution), what other parts will you open? Not merely a place like Tamriel with suddenly the space for 24,999 additional locations, but the stage where we actually need to keep mind on mapping to find the location of Telepe, we see a new challenge added to it all. The nice part is that we can still scale according to level of gameplay, having from easy (90:1) towards hard-core (1:1) we get a game that is not merely more challenging, we get a game that no one has seen before, it needs a true new approach to skills, levelling, completing and time that changes the game. The nice part we saw in Fallout, is where we in Survival (hard-core mode) we see the one life part as well as the absence of fast travel. We see them all as interesting challenges to try, yet when we add them all together we create an entirely new level of gaming. The PC has been there for some time, and with their drives installing it all to the drive is a breeze nowadays (one Blu-ray for the map, and one for the game) For consoles it is a different matter and one that needs work, optionally requiring an online connection for single play, where all the other players will work from an ‘image’ of the same map. No matter how we slice it, the players and gamers are all ready for a new level of gaming.

The downside?

Well, there is no real downside; there is an additional challenge of avoid the mistakes we see in AC Odyssey. Several sources give us: ‘Lots of level grinding‘, ‘Repetitive missions‘ and ‘Long load times and stuttering‘. The last one is a technology issue and should be resolved; grinding needs to be avoided at all times, yet at times will be there. If your daily routine requires income, we get grinding to some extent and food and rent, yet when you pay rent every month, we need to find the week to get through, whilst getting paid in the process. The challenge is to keep grinding to a low. when we see the comment ‘Simplistic combat’, we accept that in some cases, yet when we are in a game where combat is to be avoided and reduced to slappers only (pugilism), we still get a decent challenge if the AI is good enough. In addition, as I see it I want the gender to set the stage for entirely different play throughs, As the girl you have retail options, and also a stage where invitations to the right party places could offer all kinds of opportunities, yet on the criminal side of the game, it might not be so rewarding. To overcome (in a creative way mind you) on how we can add no less than 5 dozen ways to get income (two dozen of one and 36 of the other), we have the setting for not merely an achievement, depending on where it is, we might set a financial stage, as well as a social stage that opens up location (housing opportunities) to shift the range of time requiring to be spend doing one or the other.

When we approach that part, the game becomes bigger, not more tedious. Some might say that if there is no kill score, there is no game and perhaps those people would feel better moving to Detroit, yet in light of any RPG, is violence required? I never did it myself, yet some have played and finished the game in pacifist mode. I admire that as I never considered that in the first few play throughs. Those are defining moments in gaming, when you go out and try that one option you never tried. When you are merely left with the MacGyver placement to get the dough you need for next month, how can you apply it in enough ways to avoid getting the ‘grinder’ label?

In light of the AC Odyssey reviews that might be the larger challenge, especially when you want to equal or even surpass the 150 hour game challenge. I particularly like the Watchdog setting as we get to explore new ways where technology is pushing the envelope of gaming, not the hardware, but the devices in the game. When we need to evolve the software in the smartphone used to get better at hacking, get more in receiving and skim more from people, how can we do this in creative ways? As the locations change and we see that in ‘richer’ places we see more NPC’s with RFID protection, how can the player still get by? In WD2 we merely got the apps and that was it, it was an opportunity missed. Several apps had the potential to be upgraded to a ‘better’ version. When we see that in action, we can contemplate what foreign refugee life in that new place could be. Push beyond the apps and elements like health tags, domotics, smart monitoring, entertainment hacking for students (extra income in game), so many options to add to the game. At some point the question becomes, will that much data break the game?

The other way round

The largest issue we see in many RPG games is that linearity is an issue; Infamous Second Son is the best example. It starts truly great, yet when you get to Seattle it becomes as linear as a ruler and even in hard mode it is not a real challenge (apart from the third boss). To avoid that we can do what they avoided in Horizon Zero Dawn. There (in my personal view) the Tallneck had too much information; it is an equal flaw in the AC series. What if we change it so that some sets have some types of information (not unlike the server hacks in WD1), yet other information like food, shops, are found in other places. What happens, when we need some version of Yelp for one and a WD version of Lifull (Japanese rental app) for another part? Why did they not use a much larger App Shop tool, where apps had advantages and disadvantages and you can only use one, giving a new challenge in the game. You see we can use it as a benefit and a limitation. We get the benefit of one, whilst losing out on the other (luck becomes a factor) and if every game tweaks these elements (like rental prices, income per hour) we take a risk in using the same solution, diversifying the choices we make, enhancing the replay option.

Every time the ship sinks

It is an old joke, yet did you imagine in 1997, that watching Titanic (preferably in IMAX) had a different outcome when you watched it the second time? It might not work in the movies, in gaming it will. When we are confronted with a new challenge and we can reset the parameters, we can add a chance that some actions happen, making the rush towards a goal more urgent and by moving from easy to normal or even survival some chances increase. It gives two parts, the benefit that you are truly challenged and the stage where there was no chance to win (like in Shanghai, when you end up having two identical stones on one another), we can try to avoid the chance, yet should the chance be zero?

RPG & Realism

I added the no guns part earlier not because I like it that way, but because I admire the option of the pacifist path, it adds to a game, so we can still have weapons, we can still use them in the equation, making the penalty and danger a lot larger if caught. Yet having a weapon and especially in the far east where we all think that life is incomplete without Katana or Geom, we see all kinds of options to enhance the game and gameplay. Yet in my mind WD4 should be much stronger on technology, hacking and devices, maximising what we can do with them. It was pathetic in WD1, yet in WD2 we saw a really nice boost, we can however do a lot more than it had and we should push for that. At present there are a whole host of actual hacking apps. iRet, netKillUIbeta, iWep Pro, Myriam iOS Security App, iSpy, Hopper App, Cycript, Frida, Firecat, Highster Mobile, et al. What if there is a Watchdog version of some (or all) where we have to rely on other means to get information to get further in the game? We can have one to three apps that have these abilities and as we get access to another app, we can evolve one of those three to give us more hack power. In addition, the merging of app and stealth gives us more time to get what we need before we are blocked (an income limitation). So as we go forward we get challenged more. We could just go Fred Flintstone, bash the person hack the phone an walk away. Getting more initially, yet also getting loads of infamy from the boys and girls in law enforcement blue.

All options that would have been available, yet the present RPG lines never truly pushed the envelope, it seems a little bizarre. There is no way of telling how popular any RPG game gets, yet when we see that the greatest foes are ‘repetition’ and ‘grinding’, it seems odd that some of my ideas were not there in WD2, as it was something we could have seen coming a mile away.

This might not have been interesting to anyone but gamers, yet when we see how the US is seemingly angering Iran and Saudi Arabia to an equal degree, do you really want to wake up and drink coffee, or play a video game and hope that after 4 hours it was all merely a bad dream? When we consider the dozens of additions that took less than a few hours to add, against the fact that some of these games have been out since 2014 and sequels in 2016. Is it not interesting that so much of the same is shown to gamers? Not merely Watchdogs (Ubisoft), Fallout (Bethesda) could have made additional usage of terminals, writeable holotapes and other bits as well, between 2008 and 2018, we saw 3 products and we see forward momentum to a decent degree, no one is debating that, yet how much more could we have seen? When we see in regards to Far Cry 5 ‘it’s very much More of the Same‘, should we fear the beginning of iterative gaming? I can tell you now that this would be a really really bad thing. We went from Forbidden Forest (1983) to Tekken 3 (1997), which shows a 1000% improvement in all directions, yet when we consider Tekken 6 (2007) and Tekken 7 (2015) we are for the most merely confronted with better graphics and the list of games with a similar issue is growing rapidly. A truckload of gaming leaps all ignored for a few reasons I gather, so in my view there is too much wrong and the fact that we are confronted with Forbes asking “is it fresh enough, or is this just another Ubisoft open-world game checking off all the boxes?” and the fact that Metacritic gives us 78% rating for the game. When you consider that the game had a budget between $80 and $130 million, and a 78% score, we need to worry. Ubisoft might not care as some claim that it made over $310 million in the first week. Yet, if we consider that it could have been a 90% game, is this a stage where Ubisoft missed out of an additional $150-$200 million? There is no way to tell and it is highly speculative from my side. In this I am not hammering Far Cry 5, merely using the most visible example. Is one a sign of the other and as such is it also a sign of iterative game development? It is an important fact and one that needs investigation as the game in gaming is set for more and higher budgets. As gaming was set to a $108.9 billion stage in 2017, and as the predictions given to us, that in 2020 $20 billion more will be made, is it not important to maximise that as much as possible? Especially now in a stage where too many are on a tight budget, relying on Black Friday and Week 12 discounts, getting it right as much as possible will be adamant in getting the larger chunk of that $120 billion pie.

When we (speculatively) see that ‘more of the same’ is part of the 78% rating, a diversified game is becoming more and more important. Some might not care, others might oppose, yet when we see that GTA5, a game (not my style of game mind you) that some regard as perfect as a game can get, that game made $6 billion, my case is, as I personally see it made.

If some are to be believed, there is the idea that 2020 would be the year of GTA6, with the view as is, there is every chance that every owned of GTA5, will get GTA6, implying that all the other game makers will vie for the additional budget left for gaming. In that stage, as I personally see it, they will not spend it on a game that is more of the same, so the other game makers will have to consider upping their development ante by a lot.

Whatever comes out then will also require extremely serious testing, as the people are getting mighty annoyed with the amount of huge day one downloads they face.

 

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