Value of original gaming IP

When my mind designed the sequels to a new Elder Scrolls game, Far Cry and Watchdogs I did not care about the revenue, I did not care about the revenue factors in gaming franchise, I was merely one creative mind devising new ways and new stories, because the story is everything, it really is. 

Consider the intro and staging of Far Cry 3 against Far Cry 5, the stage of Assassin’s Creed 2 versus AC Unity, or AC Origins versus AC Odyssey and you might get a glimpse of that setting. In all honesty, I never considered revenue in any of it, but I realise that it is a driving force of the houses that publish them. Lets face it, would Mario exist if we did not consider the value of the $650 million it represents? In that same light Call of Duty, GTA, FIFA and Zelda, they all represent a serious level of coins. As such I see the need to continue some franchises, yet  wonder when we test their push for the storyline, how far will some get?

Consider in all this that the Elder Scrolls represent less than a billion, Skyrim alone represents half a billion dollars and has sold over 20,000,000 copies. And let’s face it, we always want to do better than the previous one, which is what drove me to set the story design of Elder Scrolls: Restoration.

Yet even as we see more versions of a game, Apple and Google are driving the need for original IP, it is the larger drive in gaming, not because it is Apple and google, but because the makers see that the original IP can be the beginning of a massive drive towards a system. There is also the fact that when we get a new system we do not want to play the same game over again on that system. 

Yet there are exceptions and they tend to be System driven. The Last of us on PS3 and PS4. Skyrim xbox360 – Xbox one and PS3 – PS4. Pretty much anything involving Mario, and the list goes on, yet Google and Apple do not have that yet and they need to rely on original IP to get the people in. That part was shown all the way back to the Nintendo 64 and the first PlayStation. 

IP that is owed is easier to evolve and more important, when the first game is a hit, it tends to be easier on revenue expectations as well. However, as we look at Apple, we see the need and the logic to have the subscriptions, yet when we see a game like Pilgrims with a mere 14,000 subscribers, the path for Apple is still less than stellar. Now we can push franchises like No Man’s Sky (Hello Games) there, however if Apple is to make a name for itself, it needs original IP, an original RPG, and original racing game and so on. that will drive sales, that will drive longevity in gaming and in a $120 billion industry last year alone, it makes sense to carve a name for yourself.

Yet there is also the stage where the expected and the non-considered walk. When I started to first design an original IP, was it truly original? It was (for the most) and I even added a new game mode that none had considered. Arcade is the way we consider, yet who has considered ‘historically accurate’ as a game mode? 

In this I wanted a more original RPG were the stage is Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden mapped), where you start in the land and get a choice of three places to start, from there you grow your village, grow your interest on the terrain and grow, after which you need to plunder, need to destroy your neighbours and add to your place (and take it from there), an RPG where you can set the rune tone to one god and receive the back handed prayers in success. Yet how can we link ‘Arcade’ and ‘historically accurate’? Well there we get the test of how good a person can play and basically they play two games. Even as a person buys provisions (with real cash) to get an advantage, they buy more, because the purchase in an arcade also comes with a ‘boon coin’ in the ‘historically accurate’. So if a person buys a load of fish in Arcade, they also get a boon coin with a fish in the historically accurate, which sets the chance to find a fish shoal to 100% there. Get two for the price of one. The same for weapons where a kart is bought for one side and the other side gets the smithing coin, giving them a 100% chance of a quality forged weapon. I even set out the stage that an actual player in one village would influence the growth in the virtual version where another player is a neighbour (like choice of stone, location and direction of growth)

I also wanted to make sure that ‘historically accurate’ was there to show that life is not a game and when we slice and dice like in Viking: Battle for Asgard, yet I thought that the game was too small, it was too easily defeated (except the boss at the end) and even as the game had good points, I wanted to see this game in a much larger setting. I wanted compelling to translate to addictive and I wanted a lot more to stand out, I also wanted to make sure that the choice of a god rune had a much larger impact, so over time as people played the game, they would have a new experience if the village rune stone was not set to Odin, but to Loki, Thor, Balder, Frigg, Vidar, or Tyr. What benefit do you want to see? And when chosen in Arcade it will be the set stone for ‘historically accurate’ as well. As such as the history of your village evolves we see that people realise that the impact one would hope for in Arcade would have a different term in the ‘historically accurate’ (HA), we forget in playing that famine was a real think in those days, as was disease and that could go from village to village. We could push it to Greece on the same premise and see where this leads, yet Scandinavia where the weather would have a much larger impact seems to be a more preferred personal feeling in this. So how many games take that into consideration? 

Yes, games like Fallout have a survival mode and there we see “The only means of physically saving the game is to sleep in a bed, on a mattress or in a sleeping bag. The exit save function is still available, but is a temporary save that is deleted automatically upon loading“, it is almost like hardocre mode in Diablo, how many times did you have to die before you figured out that running into batle is as stupid as it could be? As such the HA mode will give the player a much larger consideration to what he’s doing, it is not intend to drive microtransactions, which is why you can optionally only buy stuff in the arcade mode and only the real gamers and winners will get through the game without ever buying anything, that is why I would add an achievement named ‘no purchase required’, how many games heralded the need to not embrace microtransactions? 

It was a stage that my mind evolved over a few days and that is the easy part of the creative element in a game, I wonder how many creative minds are out there in the gaming industry, because I feel personally that people like Sean Murray and David Braben are as rare as it gets in this industry (no insult to other game makers intended), for me it is a stage where I see where places like Apple Arcade (and Google Stadia) are and where they go, so far I am actually not that impressed, not when it comes to companies this big.

 

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In light of projected greed

This is an odd phrase, projected greed is not the same as greed, it is not. Projected greed is about speculated revenue, but greed tends to be a driving motive here, no matter how you stage your response. The salesman states words like ‘pipeline’ because it gives him a handle on quarterly bonus, he’ll tell you that it is about the continuity of sales, but it is not, it really is not. The CEO uses all kinds of terms for the ‘saleslife of his quarter’, but the stage of the quarter and their extra monetary incomes are linked to it. So how do we see this in movies? For producers it tends to be about the above break even point, even as it tends to be disrupted by visibility, but good visibility is movie momentum that a producer can push onto his next project. 

As I made mention before in ‘What is unintended discrimination?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/07/what-is-unintended-discrimination/) we need to see that recognition of revenue and the missing of unadulterated vision and attention which drives down movie revenue, the stage of projected greed gets bitten by being the biter.

In the last few days we have seen all kinds of people critics, movie stars, directors and producers give voice to diversifying the Oscars and Baftas. 

Bafta

This is actually the simple one, the ‘mission’ of the Bafta is stated as “The stated charitable purpose of BAFTA is to “support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners, and benefiting the public”“, all whilst the supported part is “Films must have been available to the UK public for the first time in the UK between 1 January 2019 & 31 January 2020. There is an exception for Films Not In The English Language (FNIEL) which are eligible if they have been made available to the UK public for the first time between 1 January 2019 & 28 February 2020” which we see at https://awards.bafta.org/sites/default/files/images/ee_british_academy_film_awards_1920_-_rules_and_guidelines_-_feature_categories_october_2019.pdf

As such a movie is eligible when it was available for watching in England, seems all very correct, does it not?

In 2019, a total of 786 movies were released in the United States and Canada, which implies that when we consider Bollywood and Nollywood that number goes up by a decent amount. At which stage can you diversify when we see that there are around 775 cinemas in the United Kingdom? Now we need to consider that some movies are in a cinema for weeks and that some movies are almost in every city for example, in 2019 Avengers: Endgame played in 682 cinema’s in the UK alone, as such when you see that there are 775 cinema’s, we see that ONE TITLE takes up a lot of space in the display area. As such there is no way that these 786 movies can be shown. And the British people want sensational movies (as do people in most nations), so tell me where does that leave a title like Lionheart?

 

Abacus

This was simple stuff that could have been figured out by a 5 year old on an abacus, it was not that hard and I like putting this out there as some critics requested the dismissal of HRH Prince Harry (or was that Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale?), ah well that person (the critic) will optionally fall over his on words of misinterpreted denial soon enough.

And I forgot about one part that was actually obvious and clearly out there, but just for jollies “Films are not eligible when they have been previously entered into the British Academy Film, Television, or Television Craft Awards“.

So in all this in 2019 when we consider Avenger: Endgame (Robert Downey Junior, Chris Hemsworth), 1917, Once Upon a time in Hollywood (Brad Pitt), Joker (Joaquin Phoenix),  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Boyega, Daisy Ridley), Bombshell (Charlize Theron), Jumanji: The Next Level (Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson) all movies in multiple cinemas for multiple weeks, it makes the remaining space not spacious, it is the drawback of more and more film releases. I left the Marvel movies and Cats alone for obvious and opposite reasons. I also have not even taken movies with Will Smith and Angelina Jolie into consideration. As such, when we see Steve McQueen (the director, not the actor) give us “BAFTAs risk becoming irrelevant“, we see an optional valid argument, but the stage to diversification is stale and now almost obsolete, the need for greed took care of that part. His view of “After a while you get a bit fed up with it. Because if the BAFTAs are not supporting British talent, if you’re not supporting the people who are making headway in the industry, then I don’t understand what you are there for. If (film-makers) are not recognised visually in our culture, well what’s the bloody point? It becomes irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance. End of“, when we consider the rules, we see that the deck is warped through the need for greed (producers call it getting their investment back), we can push to change the rules, yet the environment of being able to watch a movie is not in sync with the needs of those good enough to win. Lionhart was merely one example, there are plenty more and whilst the filling of cinemas is set around the release of Marvel movies (not a bad thing) we need to consider that time is also a factor, income is a factor. I went to the movies at least once a week when I was young, bills and payments have set this back to once a month and from there to 2-3 times a year, Also limits factors in movie revenue because each trip to the cinema is $25 at least and that is when I bring my own bottle of soda and a pack of lollies. As such can you deny that Netflix had become a gift from heaven to millions of people?

The final rule for Bafta that matters is “An entry can be made either to the Film Awards or to the Television and/or Television Craft Awards, not both“, as such how did the Irishman get in? It is a superb movie, yet which category did it get mixed in with? In addition when we see ‘Andy Serkis to receive top honour at BAFTA for ‘revolutionary’ contribution to cinema‘ and we see him getting all that well earned credit, yet we saw no mention of him being a cut throat mercenary in two Marvel movies, odd is it not? 😉

Oscar

Here we almost get a repetition of the Baftas, although what I did not know (never looked it up before “to be eligible for awards consideration, a film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission“, as such we see a small bewilderment, he idea that the voice of America is based on ‘a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater‘, in light of this we see a larger issue, from what I am speculating (I could not get the numbers) we see that the Oscars are likely based on a much smaller sample size than the Baftas, with the previous arguments in sight, as well as “Voting on all achievements shall be restricted to active and life Academy members“, which we accept makes sense, yet as the movie industry goes on, as it intertwines with HBO, Netflix, Apple and Stan. How much time will a voter get? The rules could be found at https://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/92aa_rules.pdf and even as it looks a little more ‘lawyeree’ than the Bafta rules, it is not unreadable. Yet in light of voters, how much time did they get (as well as interest) to watch 786 movies? Consider the personal diary of Adam Driver (or Tessa Thompson for that matter), how much time did they have to sit down and watch a movie they liked and a movie they thought had to checked out because the critics were raving about it? When we consider that, we see a shifting image and the movie list given earlier (we might think that Adam was biased seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), we need to consider a much larger stage. Oh and cutting down on Oscars and time on TV would not be a bad thing to consider either.

Yet how will that go over with the people cut from consideration? When we look back to the first Oscar, where the presentation ceremony lasted 15 minutes and had 12 winners, in this the most notable part is that Charles Chaplin lost out on three nominations, it is a big difference from the 92nd Oscars, is it not?

I do optionally not disagree with the ‘So White’ part of the outcry, but as I see it, there is a limiting factor in place that makes it hard to get distinguished here and in the 2020 Oscars we get to see Parasite, a South Korean movie (the distinction of South is important here) ending up with 4 wins and two nominations is pretty amazing. How excellent must this movie be to get that many awards (I did not see it yet), it is also amazing that it is the first non-English picture to ever win best picture. 

So until we change the premise of who is allowed to win, we will get a grey collection of movies that are in the running. In all this Parasite and Joker are already a larger step towards exceptional movies that are less mainstream than what mostly takes the slices of the cakes. And in light of all this, there is still the factor of projected greed; it is not the continuation of getting your money back. Avengers: endgame, cost 365 million, revenue 2,800 million. Then there is the real life Lion King with a cost of 260 million and a revenue of 1,700 million, two movies that took up exactly how many theatre rooms in Los Angeles County? That is part of the premise as well, because as they run, other excellent movies could not be set to the rules of being a nominee. Now I am not blaming these two movies, yet the premise of the Oscars is most easily seen when you consider that part of the equation. Projected greed might be the most dangerous part in all this, first of all because it is not actual greed, but it is closely related to its awful brother, and movies have become too much about projected revenues, in this, which studio exactly used to rely on ‘Ars gratia artis‘ (Art for art’s sake) before they (and all others) seem to have transferred it into ‘Ars pro reditus‘ (art for the sake of revenue)? It seems unfair on the directors, actors and actresses, yet they too are linked to their careers and they need to be the person who grows the income of the producer if they want to stay employed, in this I reckon both the Bafta and Oscar get to draw the short straw.

 

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It’s all about interpretation

It started late Friday for me when the Financial Post gave me ‘Fearing Huawei curbs, Deutsche Telekom tells Nokia to shape up‘, the article (at https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/fearing-huawei-curbs-deutsche-telekom-tells-nokia-to-shape-up-2) gives a few items and linking that to another post gave me a lot to consider. First we need to see “Deutsche Telekom has told supplier Nokia it must improve its products and service to win business installing the German group’s 5G wireless networks in Europe, according to internal documents and a source with direct knowledge of the matter“, the issue is twofold, yet the important part is not a given. Here we see the story behind ‘Nokia must improve its products and service‘, yet the story focuses on services, a little less on the product. So as we take notice of “the German group considered Nokia the worst performer among all suppliers in 5G tests and deployments“, yet because of the US bully tactics, Nokia is feeling a little too safe to be worried, which is nice for Nokia, but it is one of a few items hitting the European Telecom providers. The entire Nokia matter is shown with one simple statement “Deutsche Telekom’s willingness to give Nokia another hearing shows the difficulties mobile companies face over pressure from the United States“, it is more than bully tactics, the station we now see is that those giving in to the US are facing 2 larger ones, the first being the implementation by players like Nokia on a European front, the larger issue is not merely Nokia, the larger issues is seen in the IP Watchdog that gives us (as did the news a few days ago) ‘Huawei Sues Verizon‘, we are given that “Chinese telecom giant Huawei filed two lawsuits in U.S. district court, one in Eastern Texas and the other in Western Texas, asserting claims of 12 patents against Verizon Communications. The suits were filed after Huawei “negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time”“, let me explain why it is a larger issue. 

Firstly, the fact that we see ‘negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time‘ leaves us with the larger setting that this isn’t nothing, in addition, as the US was so proud to give the stage of 5G ready, we see that at least one vendor might not have been ready, no matter how this case slices and dices 5G, a dozen patents are in this, as such they can be checked and if so, the entire 5G bubble will explode (not burst) in the Trump administration face right in the middle of re-election. In addition, the fact that the US has not given one part of evidence setting the stage against the US at present gives a much larger scene over the optional backdrop of failing US equipment whilst they are trying to roll out 5G, in light of all this that earlier speculated 4-6 years delay for national 5G will optionally reach up to a decade, which means that the entire 5G setting is game over for the US (optionally depending on this trial). As I personally see it, the Trump Administration will have to rely on the brightest minds at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to investigate BEFORE the trial commences how big an issue it might be, if that is not done the Trump administration will end up with egg on its face whilst the 5G networking issue will hang around its neck like an anchor keeping them in place, it would be a global setback for them.

Now we cannot state that Huawei has a case or that Verizon is innocent, but a dozen patents will impede it as they need to be examined and the courts will take up to two years, no matter what delays are seen, if Verizon continues, all their revenue will go straight to China with a lot more in penalties, that was never in anyone’s cards.

Returning to the FP we also see: “It is well known that Deutsche Telekom is pursuing a multi-vendor strategy so that we are not dependent on just one supplier. This is an elementary part of our security philosophy,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom’s head of technology and IT. “In 2019 we have made many steps together with Nokia to make Deutsche Telekom’s networks evolve towards 5G readiness, including all network domains, from radio and fixed access to transport and core, and continue to do so in 2020 and onwards.” Federico Guillen, Nokia’s president of customer operations in EMEA and APAC, said: “We continue to work extensively with Deutsche Telekom which is one of our most significant customers, both in Europe and the U.S.”” this all makes sense, there is no hidden agenda (or is there), most larger companies will not be set to the leash of one large giant, there is no opposition to that, but in this case we see that for some reason Ericsson is not considered, a Swedish company that is supposedly ready for 5G deployment, now we can say that Ericsson is a large player and it is (to some extent) the pride and joy of Sweden with as far as I can tell a much larger state of international readiness than Nokia ever was, as such why is the focus on Nokia? In this stage of 5G and the need to grow where a telecom player can, why is Ericsson not regarded as a backup for Nokia? When we realise that “in 2017 Nokia was dropped entirely from that market segment when Ericsson was handed a 30% share of Deutsche Telekom’s spending on it, reports in the trade press said at the time. It was the first of several wins for Ericsson“, Ericsson is indeed the other player, it seems like a desperate setting to have merely to keep Huawei out, so in this, these so called cut-throat players are unwilling to play hard ball. I wonder why? I have seen some of these players play fast and loose and play hardball as well and seeing the optional failure by Nokia and the subsequence unwillingness to consider Huawei, we see a puch from Germany orchestrated by the US, the EU 5G solutions will take a firm beating at present making them (optionally) ahead of the US and optionally behind other players, players that were never in such a high place before and that was before the patent infringement accusations, now the mess becomes a much larger setting.

All whilst we consider “Deutsche Telekom then suspended vendor talks to await the outcome of a debate in Berlin over the security of critical national networks, where senior lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party back the U.S. call to bar Huawei” in this I believe that the US has set the fate of Angela Merkel as well, when the US stumbles even once, and the beginning of that was shown 5 days ago (at CNN) with ‘Angela Merkel lambasts her party’s cooperation with far-right AfD‘, this 5G anchor is not merely around the neck of Merkel as well, it could limit the actions of the CDU and give power to the AfD. Even as we take notice of ““It’s a very big deal … the consensus amongst democrats that there would be no cooperation with far-right parties ended yesterday,” Kai Arzheimer, a professor of Political Science at the University of Mainz, told CNN. “So it was a historic day,” he added“, the impact is larger, when the US bully tactics are seen for what they are, and as the US remains debatable in not presenting any evidence against Huawei, there is every chance that the far right in Germany will get to shout that the CDU has reverted to being a puppet of the US and they will point at Deutsche Telekom, a group laced with cut throat profit makers as evidence, the moment that is accepted, the US will not merely lose Germany, at that point it needs to consider France, the Netherlands and Spain lost as well, Italy is a larger problem (for Huawei) but it is too early to shout on that. In addition, as 2 of the big 4 change course, especially as the patent infringements fire up the others will take money for promises and full steam reverse whatever plan they had, the waters will be too shallow and too dangerous to sail in the US domain.

All this remains an issue when we see the Huawei stage of affair as they give the world “Huawei negotiated with Verizon for a significant period of time, during which the company provided a detailed list of patents and factual evidence of Verizon’s use of Huawei patents. The two parties were unable to reach an agreement on license terms. “We invest heavily in R&D because we want to provide our customers with the best possible telecommunications solutions,” continued Dr. Song. “We share these innovations with the broader industry through license agreements.”“, this does not give any details of who is in the right, but if the Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. is anything to go by, the court took almost 5 years and in the end “On December 6, 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided 8-0 to reverse the decision from the first trial that awarded nearly $400 million to Apple” in this there is a larger stage to patent infringements and in this it was a global impact, in the Huawei case it is more than merely infringement, if the US has a 5 years setback there will be a much larger stage and even as the US wants to push through this case, the world is watching. Not only has the US given accusations against Huawei without clear evidence for the world to scrutinise, the Patents will be open to read for all and this changes the stage to a much larger degree. The fact that the Apple issue went past Dutch, Australian, British, German and Japanese courts give rise to that, the Huawei case could be an equally large and for the US a much larger consideration towards indiscriminate judging of American values, the world will scream for evidence in the middle of an election campaign, it does not sit pretty to be part of this administration. OH and the Apple trial was merely about a phone, a 4G phone, the Huawei stage will be about 5G and the infrastructure, the stage where the US is screaming on Chinese intervention whilst Verizon is delivering all over the US equipment allegedly based on Chinese patent transgression would feel uncomfortable in anyone’s point of view.

There is however the other side, Verizon is still on the ‘There’s 5G. Then there’s Verizon 5G‘ horse. I get it, it is their marketing, so when we see ‘Not all 5G is the same‘ where their hype creation department (read: marketing) gives us “Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband has the power to deliver speeds more than 10 times faster than some other 5G networks” here we see a dangerous tune, that is when you disregard ‘Ultra Wideband‘, the stage becomes that they are about to go to court with a dozen patents linked to their name, patents owned by Huawei. And as we were treated last Thursday to ‘Verizon sticks behind ambiguous 2020 DSS rollout plan‘ (source: FierceWireless) we get the stage where their entire marketing needs to sit on their hands, the moment this gets to court and the Patent lawyers will go over every word and punctuation, when the Patent IT people will investigate the claims and this hits the news cycles 24:7, Verizon will need to steer in different directions and the US administration will push them, the last thing this administration needs is a global expose on Chinese patent infringement all whilst they are pushing non-Chinese hardware on a global scale, the entire Verizon issue, whether true or not will be tested in courts and that is a large bone to pick, even today the 9 years old case between Samsung and Apple is on the minds of too many people, this was a setback the US could have done without.

It does not matter at present who is in the right, this will drag on for years to come (as court cases on infringement do) and it will hinder 5G growth in the US and 5G deployment  in Europe, in all this Huawei has too much to gain and the lack of evidence on Chinese government interference claims will not help any, not until clear evidence is presented by the US administration, which is unlikely to happen.

This will be a new technology in waves of interpretation, it is so because the US never gave the rest of the world evidence on Chinese government dangers and that is about to backfire. When this hits the media, it is more likely than not that Verizon shares will plummet, it will plummet to below values they had on August 14th 2019 ($55.72), which would make it a 15% drop which in 5G terms translates to the first coffin nail that Verizon will have to swallow, I reckon that at that point corporate reorganisations will be the talk of the day at Verizon for weeks to come.

Can it be avoided?

That is hard to say, we need to see that interpretation goes both ways and the patent infringement accusations are a larger issue, until we see them investigated by qualified senior Patent lawyers (like the USPTO has) we are merely speculating and even after that, as the court starts it will impact and impact larger than expected. Avoiding that stage would have been the issue to a much larger degree and the talks that ended in no resolve might require a push from the US administration to get those resolved, still the accusation is in the air, that had to be avoided (as I personally see it), no matter what deal is struck, we see the accusations against Huawei whilst Verizon was optionally (and allegedly) using Chinese technology in their hardware. That part is now in the open, and questions will be asked internationally, if not by the governments, it will be a good stick for their opponents to use with any of their upcoming elections. 

Settling this beforehand was the larger economic need and it was not done (not judging whether the cases will have merit at present). That is what a lot will remember in the end, especially those who needed a big stick, Huawei just gave them a bat to end most matches.

 

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What is unintended discrimination?

It is a question that came to mind when I saw a piece by David Cox on the Baftas. I missed this year’s Baftas, so I watched some of it on YouTube, we all have these days, 35 things to do and we cannot change the rotating speed of this planet, so I remained in a setting where I had 24 hours to get things done. As such I missed the speech by Prince William (and the rest of the show).

I do not believe that I would ask for any resignation, especially a royal, that is how I am wired, but I was still curious. When I read that part I wondered if there is an actual issue. I understand the position that David Cox gives, but let’s not forget that this is about excellence. Diversity will be hard to achieve in excellence (for a few reasons).

To clear my mind I went back to an event I always wondered about. It was 1986 and a legendary book got made into a movie by no one else than Steven Spielberg namely the Color Purple, then I got a small shock, I had forgotten that Kathleen Kennedy was part of that too, the recipient of the Fellowship Award. And there we see the first part, excellence is about perfection and even as I see the Color Purple as sheer perfection, those who are in the field and judge perfection did not see it my way, and in addition to that, 1986 also produced Ran, Out of Africa, Prizzi’s honor, Jagged Edge, Brazil (a personal favourite), the original French movie that would result in the making of Three Men and a baby, Witness and Kiss of the Spider Woman. A year full of greats and only a few make it to become winners, the Color Purple did not make it, they did get 11 nominations, no wins. In that same light we see Kathleen Kennedy, as a producer she has a massive list of achievements, most people are revered when they only deliver on 50% of what Kathleen delivered, and I have seen most of her work. Yet I see that a lot of them would never be best movie material. Is that bad? No, it was not on her plate as producer and she was part of flawless gems too. Raiders of the lost Ark, the Color Purple, Jurassic Park, A.I., Munich are a few extracts of a list that is well over 10 times larger and this year she got the Fellowship Award. So when I see ‘Prince William’s Baftas tirade was insultingly misdirected – he should resign as its president‘, I merely wonder what the angle of David Cox is. 

Does he have a point?

From where I am sitting we see that 871 movies were released in 2018, and in 2019 786 movies were made, as such I wonder how many were seen? I am certain that the account of best feature-length film and documentaries of any nationality that were screened at British cinemas in 2019. will give the sitting that not all have been seen, and the limitation that I am merely looking at the movies, I have not even gone into the documentary setting. 

Then there is ‘that were screened at British cinemas‘, a limitation from the get go, as such is the call for scrutiny that bad a thing to ask for? 

As such when we get to ‘Is the Duke of Cambridge sabotaging the voting system? Or simply saving face by attacking an acceptable – if innocent – party?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/feb/06/prince-williams-baftas-tirade-insultingly-misdirected-should-resign-as-president) I am not sure if the stage is warranted. Consider the Nollywood movie ‘Lionheart‘, it was not regarded in a few places, just like the Irishman, oh wait! It was not released in the cinema, it went to Netflix. he Irishman did go to cinema’s as well, as such we see the first level of discrimination, discrimination through the paticipation rules. So was Lionheart ‘screened at British cinemas‘? I actually do not know the answer to that, as such we see a larger stage, do we allow for a larger group or is the stage ‘screened at British cinemas‘ a final point?

So as I see “What can he have meant?” as a asking rule in the article, I wonder if that was considered in the right stage? When we see the limiting factor right there in red. Yet then we also see a larger point that I reflected on “when compared with the competition, I don’t think any of these constitutes the year’s “best film”. Many of these titles were well-directed, but they tended not to require the outstanding directing skill required to snag the director award” this is how I see it, there is a larger stage and I would not have elected some titles and elected others, yet I am not a movie expert. I would have elected the Color Purple over Out of Africa, but that is my personal view, and it has nothing to do with winner Sydney Pollack, it is a great picture, but i prefered the other one and I believe that I am not alone, as 5 movies were elected as nominees and all 5 were worthy to become best picture, which is unlike 1982 where I merely liked Raiders of the lost ark. It is no reflection on the other nominees either.

Was the speech of the Duke of Cambridge wrong?

I personally do not think so, the stage where all factors are under scrutiny is a good thing, especially these days, and lets not forget that most of these are awards based on votes, and the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-51345085) gives us ““There’s definitely a problem,” said actor Daniel Kaluuya referring to the diversity row engulfing this year’s Bafta nominations (all shortlisted actors are white, all shortlisted directors are male)“, in this I have a slightly different view. If we look at the graduated directors list by gender over the last 20 years, how many women made it? No one debates that Kathryn Bigelow is a GREAT director (Hurt locker and Zero Dark Thirty being excellent examples), yet how many female directors are that good? I am not posing a point, it is an actual question as I do not have an answer. 

I am for the most (unlike the past) more into watching blockbusters, not because it is what I want, but like many others our budgets have shrunk, and as such I have limited choice. there is another part, it is shown in the BBC article “Berry said she thought it was because the film wasn’t very high-profile when it came out in the UK, and that a lot of her members didn’t know about it and hadn’t seen it.” the quote comes in response of “Amanda Berry, Bafta’s chief executive, appears to be aware that her members are not seeing all the films, which obviously affects the nominations” there is the crux, because 786 movies were made, I reckon that 500 made it into the UK (a mere guess) as such how many were seen? If the stage is ‘screened at British cinemas‘, how many were not seen and as thus not considered? Did David Cox consider that? 

Perhaps he did and perhaps he did not, as such we see a different stage, there is only so much that a person can watch and there is the discrimination, only those we see get considered, it is not based on colour or faith, it is for many merely the limitation of time to the equation. And that gets us to the BBC gem “The assumption should be that Bafta voters are knowledgeable and curious and above being swayed by the big movies with the big stars and the big marketing budgets. The implication from Berry suggests otherwise.” I believe that this is the issue that we currently face. 

It was still good to read the point of view that David Cox gave us, but I do not believe it to be correct, or at least it is inaccurate. The BBC gives us the goods that have the impact we need to consider and I got there even before I read the BBC article. Even as people like Steve McQueen states that there is a risk if talent is not recognised, we need to consider that the amount of movies made largely outstips the ability to see them, to see all the movies of 2019 I would have to watch 2 movies on most days and remember them all in the end, I wonder how many are up to that task, as such the stage that the Duke of Cambridge brings has a larger footing and becomes a truth by itself “In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more about diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age.” In this the Duke was correct and David Cox was wrong, the mere acceptance of one element and the direct impact of simple metrics brought this to the surface and I am a little surprised that David overlooked this, I wonder how many movies he watched for the 2019 election and which ones they were.

Perhaps he saw them all, perhaps not, I cannot tell and when we look at that part especially in light of what was ‘screened at British cinemas‘, will we see a dissenting voice of titles that were overlooked or forgotten about?

 

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Feel free to disagree

I stumbled upon an article bashing Ubisoft this morning, it was an article that got published by CCN on January 18th (at https://www.ccn.com/ubisoft-finally-realises-how-bad-most-of-their-games-are/), yet as I was reading it, there was also this nagging feeling that I did not agree and I felt, especially after all the bashing (which was fun mind you) to partially disagree with this article. 

Even as today is all about ‘Ubisoft has acquired a majority stake in Kolibri Games‘, the people behind all the idle click games, we need to see that there are two sides in all this and even as bashing Ubisoft is high entertainment, it should be done for the right reasons.

It starts with the headline ‘Ubisoft Finally Realises How Bad (Most Of) Their Games Are‘, they aren’t that bad, even some of the franchises that are hit with all kinds of issues, I see that their basic problem is the lack of proper testing, in addition to that, I fear that marketing within Ubisoft is too powerful forcing release of software before it is ready (like the day one patches that are 7GB or larger), it is at times a time management issue and as we see that CD Projekt Red is stating that Cyberpunk 2077 is delayed, the gamers do not mind (they are a little upset) that is because they know that the final product of CD Projekt Red delivers, they always have. 

Then we get 

  • Ubisoft’s most recent games have suffered from some pretty bad reception.
  • Their editorial team is getting a much-needed shakeup to help fix the lack of variety in their line-up.

The first is very true, bugs glitches and a total iterative way of playing has that effect on people (Ubisoft buying Kolibri) implies that iterative gameplay will continue for some time. Then we get the second part ‘the lack of variety‘, I cannot agree to that, we can see that there is a repetition within a franchise, yet For Honor, Assassins Creed, Far Cry, Watchdogs and the Division are different. If it is about lack of variety because the Division, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six are shooting games, then we need to see that this is what buying consumers wants.

When we look at Assassin’s Creed and that in the past there was too much ‘Prince of Persia’ chase sequences than I would to some degree agree and other games have this crossover to some degree. Yet I feel that ‘lack of variety‘ is a bit of a stretch.

This is easiest seen in Far Cry, when Primal came, it was a larger surprise, and yes we know that it was based to some degree on the Far Cry 4 map, but I did not have an issue with that part (and the game is different enough to not notice it to the degree that some claim. The game (as many others) is largely repetitive and preventing that is a big issue, yet in Far Cry Primal getting a bird fly over going ‘Squeek Squeek Squaaa’ and then attacking almost every 5 minutes gets to be tiring real fast (Far Cry 4 had that down the road as well). Such an event was also the case in Far Cry 4. Then there is the collection part, I like to get an almost complete set of achievements, having to empty loot boxes in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is nice in the beginning when you have nothing, but consider, if this is the Victoria age, would you really find a £50-£500 in almost every chest out and abounds? You gotta be kidding me, I think that there are around 25 per region and there are 13 districts? (I forgot how many there are) but it amounts to running to 300+ chests for the achievement. And lets not forget that this game was an improvement to AC Unity and the Guardian still gave it only 2/5. That is the behemoth that Ubisoft fights, that and to some extent massively shody testing (see Breakpoint for that).

Then we get: “The fact that 100 Parisians basically controlled their entire output for years in the first place seems like a poor move“, I completely disagree with that, Ubisoft has had great achievements (AC2, AC Brotherhood, Far Cry 3, AC Origins, For Honor, Ghost Recon, and Splinter Cell Blacklist), for the most decent games, if only that pesky part ‘testing’ was properly done and a testing division that can override the word of Ubisoft Marketing that would be nice too.

Then we get “Ubisoft games are pretty rubbish these days. You might think that a blanket statement like that needs qualifying. Honestly, their games are all so similar that it barely feels like I’m talking about multiple games. Over the past decade, they’ve managed to homogenize their entire catalog into the same murky paste” in the first they are not rubbish, but they are at times too much below average. then we get the one statement that is true as I see it “they’ve managed to homogenize their entire catalog into the same murky paste“, I believe it comes from a feeling that they imbued during one of their E3 events ‘This game will please everyone!‘, I believe that this expressed feeling is their greatest flaw. If you create a game that pleases all, you end up with a game that pleases no one. I believe that to be true. I can see the brilliance of For Honor, but I personally dislike multiplayer games and their single game campaign was lousy. So it is not a game for me, do I care? No, they had other franchises, and I did recognise the brilliance that For Honor delivered. They also reinvigorated the AC franchise with Origins (and then screwed it up with Odyssey, for me that is), yet Origins is a piece of brilliance and the differences to the previous AC line makes you want to play the game. also the first game in 4K was overwhelming too.

This is a stage we recognise and to see other games become the ‘same murky paste’ is to some degree true when we see Far Cry, Ghost Recon and the Division as one (they are not) but they have too much of each other and that gives a consideration to a larger degree (especially when you have all these franchises). a Franchise needs to distinguish itself from all others, not hand out to each other. That is perhaps the larger flaw at Ubisoft, iteration never goes anywhere, it merely holds you in place. 

Personally I agree with “While we’re at it maybe follow Sony’s lead and do a game without any online elements either“, although for the most many games allow for that, you do not need to play AC online (unless you want 100% achievements), in Black Flag I never needed the online element, but for the blue chests it was essential, I had mixed feelings but not one of pure negativity. However, having strangers jump into my game of Watchdogs 2 and screwing up my stealth part by shooting all the cops in the neighbourhood is something I could have done without.

I am not certain whether shaking their editorial team fixes things, As I stated, it is the testing that is a larger problem and even as we accept that the editorial team will come up with the story and adjusts the programmers perception, the issue of repetition needs to be adjusted as well, I believe that too many fans have complained about those parts in the past, as such I hope Ubisoft listens. We see Watchdogs:Legion and what we got to see is a huge step in another direction, yet that is optionally not a bad thing, I merely hope that it gets properly tested and in the second part, I hope that Marketing does not push it before it is ready, a hype on a flawed game is a lot worse then an early hype on a delayed game for all the right reasons. CD Project RED showed us that part.

If Ubisoft does go under, it is by embracing the flaws they had and not taking a larger effort in fixing things, when we consider that the AC III, AC Black Flag, AC Unity, and AC Syndicate have certain issues that repeated over the games (like the AI, the control glitches you face and the repetitiveness) all whilst there was no real fix until AC Origin, we see a much larger failing and I have always stated that it was on the desk of Yves Guillemot (that is why he gets the big bucks).

And AC is only one of a few franchises that had issues. And for a gamer I have the weirdest mindset, when I see a 60% game that could have been an easy 80%+ game by fixing the issues I feel sad, because if I saw it, the bigger wigs at Ubisoft saw it too and they did not speak out when they could. It was a sad state of affairs!

So as such, Ubisoft might be in a predicament, yet I had some issues with the CCN article and I just could not resist taking it into a corner and bashing it a little.

 

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And so it begins

Yes, it is beginning and the quote is not from me, the phrase was used by King Theoden in the Lord of the Rings movie “The Two Towers“, right before the major battle at Helms Deep. It is not the first time it was used, but there is where most get it from. As we were treated a few hours ago ‘The US is making its own 5G technology with American and European companies, and without Huawei‘, in this I have no objection, but the larger image is ignored by those less intelligent individuals in the White House. 

What I predicted is coming to pass and big tech companies are about to face the larger setback in the US. So no matter how this gets warped by players like the Wall Street Journal. In my personal view this step now gives us a clear view, the US will be lagging by 3-5 years in 5G as per now. When we see the article in the Business Insider (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/5g-huawei-white-house-kudlow-dell-microsoft-att-nokia-ericsson-2020-2), we forget a few items, in the first the US is nowhere near ready for 5G, in the second Huawei is already fully ready for 5G and any nation embracing either temporary or long term with Huawei will get the jump on American Big Tech. Even as “sic infit” (so it begins) goes back to The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, we need to understand that the reference to ‘The Golden Ass‘ might actually apply to certain players in the White House, we need to understand that the push for anti-Huawei sentiments was never doused in evidence, merely non-US paranoia. The world to a much larger degree has demanded evidence from the US, who actually never produced it. 

So as the Wall Street Journal gives us “the White House is working with U.S. technology companies to create advanced software for next-generation 5G telecommunications networks. The plan would build on efforts by some U.S. telecom and technology companies to agree on common engineering standards that would allow 5G software developers to run code on machines that come from nearly any hardware manufacturer. That would reduce, if not eliminate, reliance on Huawei equipment.

And here we see a few points. First there is ‘create advanced software‘, which is only partially true, the hardware is a larger part that is currently incomplete when we look at non-Huawei players, as such the presentation given is one that is debatable on a few sides. Then we get ‘agree on common engineering standards‘, a statement which would have been a given long before any of this started, as such the presentations we will see will be doused in ambiguity and in that format it implies that the US will be being whatever it was +2 years as it will not fill the gap it currently does not. Then we get a larger issue ‘run code on machines that come from nearly any hardware manufacturer‘, which should not be a 5G issue in the infrastructure, they would need to pass on anything on the system, this is a mobile setting. It is basically telling the stage that Apple and Android should have the same code and optionally set the stage to bar Harmony OS, so is this an actual 5G setting or a filtering setting to keep unwanted players out?

Yet this setting is one that is massively dangerous to the US, it relies on Big Tech (Google and Facebook) to enter a new stage where they cannot gather data and merge data in a global stage which would redefine their global data settings and such a delay would be monumental for these two. 

So we get all this because the US cannot provide evidence of optional Huawei wrongdoing? How weird is that? It is actually not weird that the data gathering tools are on the Chinese side now, the US is about to learn that being 4th in a place where they were alone is not the place to ever be, not in this economy, as such setting a stage for segregation now would give them a larger benefit down the road and that is where the shoes get to tight to dance.

There is a decent chance that Huawei is not the player that will be disregarded on the global stage, as such several EU countries are willing to entertain Huawei and with the Middle East and Asia already there, we will see Huawei getting a larger share of data than the US (with 325 million people) represents and that is what the US fears and that fear through the White House will be pushed onto Google, Facebook and Apple, and I am guessing not with their approval, they will have to adjust their models by a fair bit and feel the brint for a year at least (that is if hardware manufacturers agree on standards) and good luck with that part. 

Then we get to look at “the White House is working with US companies, and potentially European companies, to deploy the United States’5G architecture and infrastructure, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow who spoke with The Wall Street Journal’s Bob Davis and Drew FitzGerald“, so not only are they 3-5 (or 4-6) years behind, we now see ‘the United States’5G architecture‘, so not only is it their 5G, but based on their standards and when we consider the stage of AT&T and their 5G Evolution we saw last year, the US (and those who sign on) are in for a really rough ride that might never be 5G, merely a reset 4G+ standard. Of course the latter part is not a given, but time is the one part that the White House does not have and the hardware setting in the US is nationwide too far behind. In this there will be no national 5G in the US for a much longer time. 

As such were these steps even considered by Big Tech who relies on billions of users, not merely the 325,000,000 Americans? With the UK starting now on Huawei and their 68 million people, will that stop Europe? No, it will make them switch against American paranoia and Huawei gets a much bigger boost and this will have a larger impact, as these places go ahead and gain speed the rest of the EU will find themselves in a bind to accept other standards faster and leaving the US in a stage of isolation which will impact the US in several ways. And if you think that the restrictions will work? Yes they will but only to show that those not on the Huawei pool will lag in several stages and there will be a screaming to get Huawei in a larger pool soon enough. From there we will see Germany who is partially  on board and when they see the impact in the UK, Spain, France, and Germany will sway and that means that three of the large 4 will get the fourth on board, that is what we will see in 2020 and optionally 2021 when stubborn people delay, in that stage those who are early on the 5G path they will get a much larger commercial slice of that cake and there will be a massive amount of governments blaming the US for paranoia, in my view I would state that it is all their own fault. 

And whilst nations have their own policies in place are now in a stage where the option to buy the 5G technology and develop their own national cores would be a perfect solutions for these nations whilst Huawei will enjoy the financial benefits it brings, in this their pool of talents and showing a stage of training that is much larger than expected, training these nations in making their own national 5G developers on a Huawei core is a larger play and that is one that brings in the revenue and then some.

All this was a path that the US could have committed to but they do see that the data is the future currency and they do not want to share, the US was the only one efficiently gathering data and their value is based on all this, all that whilst their prospect was ludicrous all the way to sieve based routers on a global scale. The NSA and GCHQ aren’t the only players in the field, the US merely wanted to limit the data drain value and 5G makes it a non place, ata will go nearly anywhere, you merely need to ask Amazon (Jeff Bezos) and ask him where his data has gone to and he cannot answer that question, neither can former FBI agent Anthony J. Ferrante (an FTI consulting joke), as such we see a 4G failure and it will merely get larger in 5G, more data will go anywhere and the US is on board with limiting this as long as they get the data. That is the stage we see and it is not idle speak, there is too much information out there. 

So as we see the events unfold over this year we will merely see that non US success stories will take the limelight showing us just how far the US has fallen behind in 5G. That is the stage we are sailing to and we will see large players in media remaining in denial of that, that is until the evidence of data will open all over the place, at that point the carefully stated denials come out, as well as some claims that 5G is so much more complicated than anything else. Yet, it is a stage where we all see the impact without it hurting us too much, at least not more than it is hurting us now. 

In finality we see a first case where a lack of evidence is still enough to warrant a level of discrimination, did you consider that? We are getting short changed on cheaper phones and internet because the larger players have their own bonus to consider and we do get to pay for that part, we will to a much larger degree than ever before.

 

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Choo Choo Ego

Before we get to the article ‘Can the cost of HS2 be justified?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/03/at-307m-per-mile-of-track-can-the-cost-of-hs2-be-justified), I need to take a step back, you see when I was young, stupid, eager and sceptic 6 years ago (I am still all that except young), I wrote on August 16th 2013 ‘Political ego and their costs‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/08/16/political-ego-and-their-costs/), there I wrote “As reported by the Guardian in July, there have been voices that the high speed North-South line, which will cost to the scope of 40 billion Euro is going in a not dissimilar direction. Even though the UK government is claiming a 20% nett return, the additional factors might have not been weighted enough. Consider that the current issues involving price hikes for train rides are growing between 4% and 9%, the group that can no longer afford these kinds of prices is growing fast. More important, these price hikes are now pushing people away from rail and towards buses for the sheer cost of it. This is an entirely opposing reaction to what the UK government needs it to be.

Those in favour of HS2 claim in the quote “This is a massively misleading oversimplification because it doesn’t take into account the significant financial returns that will be generated from an investment in high-speed rail.”

There was already a clear path of non-affordability and I am happy that people almost 7 years later give us ‘At £307m per mile of track, can the cost of HS2 be justified?‘, there is hardly an economy, there are spending sprees all over the place and the infrastructure needs serious fixing, yet some MP’s thought it was a good feeling (their ego) to give out 40 billion on a train ride that has more problems than fixes. 

The idea that the required budget has more than doubled requires a few more investigations of those trying to push this project. So even as we go with “Allan Cook ordered a “chairman’s stocktake” when he arrived at HS2 in December 2018 and last September came up with £72bn-£78bn in 2015 prices, or £81bn-£88bn in 2019 prices.

Nils Pratley informs us on the The official Oakervee report, which concludes that if problems are not fixed, the outstanding bill will increase with an additional £20,000,000,000. So there is that to look forward to. As such as we consider “Every escalation in costs has dented the economic case for HS2 – £106bn equates to an astonishing £307m per mile to build 345 miles of high-speed track.” I was of the mind that a clear case could not be made when it was still a mere £40 billion. Even as we are given “Government studies used to say the full Y-shaped line would generate benefits of £2.30-£2.50 for every pound spent.” It is not merely disputed, I wonder where the actual data on that model is. You see, if we take time into consideration between Leeds to Birmingham, how much time gain will the traveller see if we compare normal train versus high speed train and is that person willing to pay for that difference. In light of the Oakervee report where they give us “put the benefits at only £1.50 for every £1 spent. Lord Berkeley, the dissenting member of the Oakervee panel, reckons 60p is more like it“. The argument from Lord Berkeley is important. He gives us “running 18 trains per hour, as assumed in original projections of HS2’s revenues, is impossible. No other high-speed network in the world achieves that“, which amounts to one train every 3.5 minutes. In what reality do we have that many people travelling from one end to the other? Even when we accept that 14 trains is possible, the entire matter is set on trains that will never reach 50% filling (personal view). In all this we still need to consider that this is a train that merely stops at large cities, in all this I have some serious questions on the entire project and the stage of how many tickets will be sold, for as I see it at present, we are sold a bag of goods (optionally containing one High Speed Train) with a lot of problems that could have been seen in 2013, all this to feed the ego of politicians?

 

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