Tag Archives: Apple

The delusional stage of me

Yup, that was always going to be a phase. Even if it is merely academical, the best setting towards a stage of balance is to reflect on the matter that I might be bonkers. To others this mean gaga, mad, insane optionally freaking bug nuts. Some people might be afraid of setting their mental capacity to minus 365, but I do not share that. There is the chance I have been correct on every count (I usually am), but to set that stage I must reflect on the chances that I somewhere to the right of insane and to the left of being bonkers to the umpteenth degree.

You see, it is easy to blame Reuters, but the merely propagate the news, do they not? So when I see “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said he is confident there will be effective 5G competitors to Huawei from Western vendors at comparable costs, adding that he believes Western technologies will come to dominate telecommunications” some could consider that I am not alone in the fashion house with the long sleeved shirts, but that is just them. When I see ‘Western technologies will come to dominate’ I see a clear admission that China is ahead in 5G and they are. This s further fuelled by “I am confident that there will be a cost effective deliverables from Western trusted vendors that can deliver the same services or better services at comparative cost”, there we do not see ‘trusted vendors that will deliver’, but ‘trusted vendors that can deliver’, it sets the stage to a presumption. The former CIA director is precise with his language, he is no fool, not by a long shot. This sets a different scope for me, to counter it, I will be pushed to offer my IP to either Saudi Arabia or the UAE, an alternative is Qatar, but that has its own issues and it might cost me in the long run. If the ‘person of patent calculations’ os to be believed, I would have a lot to lose, but there is no way that I can trust most of the governments, yet Google and Huawei is a polarised field, in this setting Saudi Arabia or the UAE could be the in-between to whomever bids next, and that might be Huawei, they have the advantage on software and they are a smudge ahead of Google in that matter. The Reuters article is limited and one of the smaller articles, it is like Reuters is merely setting out one paragraph of a memo. I see no questions, no rhetoric of even speculative settings towards what is and what could be, Reuters is playing this cautiously, which in light of the ‘revelation’ is interesting, but the stage is one that I cannot ignore. Dealing with Huawei is the safe bet on the value of the IP, yet the bully tactics of the US are starting to pay off, and now that the UK government has handed ARM to Nvidia, the stage will turn for yet another turn. In all this the media remains oblivious on delivery times by Apple that in some cases are set to 20 weeks, a 2 trillion dollar company with a delay of 20 weeks on their iPad air? That means that there is a shortage of unbridled proportions and this is not merely the COVID stage, there is more, there has to be. 

When you cannot deliver for that amount of time, yet you open more and more stages of shop displays (in other chains), the shortage is fundamental and as I see it, when chip shortages hits 5G hardware, it will be fun to see some people panic. This is not a given, and not speculatively, Sony already has issues with its SoC chip. They are expected to ship 4 million less PS5 consoles in the coming year. 5G also has a SoC chip (a different one) but if one has issues, the setting that others have it too is not too far fetched. Gizmodo gave us a little over a month ago ‘MediaTek supply for 4G chips run dry, fresh stock to arrive by 2021’, it does not matter how Mediatek voices it, if it cannot supply the world with 4G chips, it will not be able to keep up on 5G either, and that is what matters. Because the moment China has a decent alternative to offer, 100% of that stock goes straight to Huawei increasing the advantage they have and at that point, how many of them will go to the US? My speculative guess is 0%, and that is where the Middle East comes into play. Huawei needs to make nice and the EU is not ready, but the Middle East is, Egypt too, although not sure if they have a lot fo needs at that point. But the stage that I predicted months ago is still coming to pass, although chip shortage was not on my radar, merely the shortsighted actions by the American govern mental administration.

And me? My delusional stage? Well that is out in the open, either Saudi Arabia or the UAE can get hold of my IP for $25,000,000 upfront with shared patent ownership, as the investor they get 60%, I keep 40%, which would be an awesome payout, especially when the US has no options but to buy in. It was a choice and a risk to play it like this, but there was no trust with some corporations, as such there was only Google and Huawei and Huawei is becoming an international discriminated party, it will hurt me, so I am taking an alternative road and these people want to play on the 5G table, I had to make a choice and I have everything to gain and nothing to lose, in the worst case I make my IP public domain, if that happens it means that governments and corporations are so greed driven that engineers on a global scale will walk out and start for themselves, I wonder if I see that happen.

Well, have a great (delusional) day.

 

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It was never about you

We get it, some players work on a multitude of levels. That is fine, but when a company makes hay through marketing that they are all about the consumers and we get ‘Apple delays new anti-tracking privacy measures’, we see how (what I regard to be) deceptive conduct is the alleged foundation between a company and a $2 trillion company. There is no upside for the consumer, there consumer was entitled to protection and we get “Apple said the changes were being delayed until the start of 2021 to give app developers and websites more time to adapt their services”, which makes us wonder why Apple designed the anti-tracking part in the first instance, a solution made and delayed to give trackers another way to do so, does that make sense?

So if it is a setting and we get “once the change is implemented in 2021, it will be off by default and advertisers will have to ask permission to access it”, at what stage is it in our interest to delay the change? I get it Apple needs a stream of incomes and my personal view there is one in betraying your customer base, that is the simple setting.

The other quote that matters is “Facebook has warned that Apple’s privacy plan could make one of its advertising tools “so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14””, which is fair enough, but I reckon that this will optionally cost Apple a few coins. The question becomes: what is the cut-off point and what is the trade off point for Apple and what ‘enhanced security’ will remain for the consumers? 

I reckon that there will be a massive decrease in free apps, it is mere speculation but yes, as mobile data becomes less available the pool for free apps and games will decrease. And let’s be fair, these companies did nothing illegal, but in the end, remember it is not about you, it is about the money you bring in and when was the last time you got that advertisement properly handed to you?

And in this it is Apple who states ‘Think different’, which is what we are doing, we want to see what deals Apple is making with the advertisers, which is NOT illegal lets be upfront about it. As such when we see “It is a world of consumers only”, “The market stands on the shoulders of consumers”, “A life of consumerism revolves around all that you want” and “Markets are built as per the taste of consumers”. We are getting misinformed, the world today is monetary based, so it becomes about the enablers and actively those who push it. That realisation is key in today’s world, the temporary setting of consumers is yesterday’s news and we only move forward when we learn that lesson, until then we are marketing tools and spending fools (an exaggeration I agree). To get ahead of the game we need to accept that marketing will happen, data captures will happen, but we also need to agree that our data is not a third party tool to be handed around the campfire. We might have woken up in the age of Cambridge Analytica, but this stage was not new. A Dutch entrepreneur and politician named Luc Sala already gave visibility to this setting 25 years ago, I was not the first (and I never made that claim). So as the haves and have not people are being segregated, we see a new form of discrimination, not on sex, religion or colour, but on the setting and longevity of your bank card (and the Credit Rating connected to this). Not your credit card, debt is not the equaliser, it is a timeline of how long you can service the organisation that wants you to service them. It is the power of the bank card that makes you a ‘Have’ in their eyes and that is where all the data is priming towards, because the firm who has the data most complete to distinguish the ‘Have’ people, that will be the winner and the US has been in the running the longest and now that China is surpassing them, now they cry in every direction, but as the remarked the ‘status’ of their reason for crying, we merely see the BS that they hide behind, just like Colin Powell and his silver briefcase (Iraq anyone?).

And the US has another problem, the stage was partially going smooth that is until the 45th President made a mess of the entire setting and the entire playing field, not only did he set the stage to a visible perspective, in his utter lack of intelligence he set the stage on ‘national security’ and ‘China’ whilst the evidence would not support it and as this is getting more and more visibility, Huawei is gaining momentum outside of the US and considering that there are less than 350 million Americans, and a growing customer base outside the US surpassing billions of ‘have targets’, that is the stage where the US is losing grip, that is where a lot of the Have’s are. And the stage to find them will soon change, the stage will be about uniting those who have and in this the US is behind, and the lag is increasing. 

There is no stage to make any kind of a reliable prediction who will win, but as far as I can tell, it will not be the US. The stage in the EU is still fluid, several banks were in the running. I first took notice of Credit Agricole in 2018 in that regard. The quote “Acting within the framework of a regulated activity, we offer you and provide products and services requiring the collection and use, as data controller, of the personal data of individuals related to you (for example: employees, shareholders, agents, legal representatives, beneficial owners, family members, third-party representatives, etc.) (the “Data Subjects”)” is set to a larger stage and it is important to realise that Credit Agricole never did anything illegal or against the European GDPR. Yet I took notice of ‘the personal data of individuals related to you’ and I found a little more than bargained for. So when we realise that there is more to life than being identified as a consumer and that the truth, but did you consider that you are optionally set to a different spectrum?

 

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Jealousy

We all have it and I am no exception. Yes, I am keeping the IP I have to myself (for now), and I have been involved in video games since 1985, so when I see ‘EA Executives Blocked From Receiving “Exorbitant” Awards’ (source: Kotaku) all whilst we see “Earlier this week, investors shot down EA’s proposed payment plans for their executives” in the same frame when I proposed a version of Mass Effect that would undo the damage the previous one did and give the players a 400% boost in exploratory gameplay is set on a slippery slope. When a group of people getting millions of bonuses for making junk why would I bother helping them? (slightly miffed me), yet when we see the list of games coming out, we see a drove of remastered games (now also coming to Nintendo Switch), with a huge spoonful of sport games, which was always their core business, yet there is now a hole, even as we accept that there is a border to Sims, there is an edge to the Medal of Honour and there is a life expectancy of Dead Space, EA had good games and that is merely in the near past. Especially now in the Google Stadia stage, they seemingly forget Populous, Populous 2, Seven cities of gold. Yes, we get it these are old games, but so are a large group of remastered games. EA has a large opportunity, Google needs fuel for its stadia, EA has a whole range of games that likes players and with Ubisoft the way it is now, EA has the advantage. We might see the temporary influx of a gem like Battle Chess and we all see it, yet it became a game that was (for a while) liked and optionally loved by a whole range of people with zero interest in chess gaming. So what happens when the tutor part of Battle Chess increases a lot more, what happens when a whole new generation of players can get into chess, optionally with the added play online, set groups of players and so on. A categorical side of Elo, the chess rating. There is still the option to add Battle Chess 2, yet the question becomes how many people warm up Chinese chess (different pieces, different moves). When we accept that we are willing to engage into the side of puzzles that need solving, chess puzzles are there for all and in the stage that Google Stadia finds itself in, there is a larger need to get the gaming fuel going and the fuel they are all forgetting about is the fuel that is out in the open. And it is not about the identical port, but it is about what more the games could offer and these games have plenty to offer, all whilst the IP is still in the hands of EA (most of them anyway). EA has a massive advantage. Even as there is a lot of anti-EA people, the quality of games was never below the par line, not like the par line Ubisoft waves anyway. There is also the stage to grow, a game like Shadow Caster was not the great game it could have been then, but the stage now could lead to a lot more gaming and dare I say it a higher quality level of gaming? And they are not alone, Ian Bird created a game called Millennium 2.2 31 years ago. A game that I still remember playing on the CBM Amiga, The CBM Amiga had to deal with 512KB of RAM and a disc holding 880KB of storage, Any system can surpass that now, so we could see a setting where this game could be restitched at the tailor giving us a new style of clothing, in new colours with more versatility. That is the stage that I feel the most on with Severn Cities of Gold. Ubisoft makes us chase in game loot boxes, yet the origin of this comes from discovering things and Seven Cities of gold delivered. Nowadays it does not hold up to our needs, but what happens when we set the stage to a much higher level, yet the original idea was sound. Yes, I know, we hear all these people with ‘I can do this much better’, but where are they? Where is their product? 

I am not claiming to do any better, but I see what is and what can be and they are merely mulling it over with their ‘improved product’ and not showing anything. It is a shame because there is a stage where Google Stadia can surpass Microsoft and I have a vested interest in showing them how wrong their approach was, treason to gamers is a stage I take very seriously and I am driven to see them fall, if only to show them the error of their delusional stage of self preservation. OK, I admit that this is a little over the top, but to see them having to swallow their words ‘We have the most powerful system in the world’, letting them surpass themselves by the weakest system (Nintendo Switch) and optionally set the stage of the Google Stadia surpassing them as well is a nice notch on my 6 shooter. The fuel for gamers is games and adding a whole range of games that entice, reward game time and let them feel the joy of gaming is rewarding to me. 

And the stage of setting loose on the gaming world of amazing games is just icing on the cake. In this EA is a good start, they had excellent games, no denying that and a package deal there would be a larger win for Google. I believe that the games that enticed the previous generation can still entice the current generation when we upgrade and adjust the game to what we expect in today’s environment. Let’s not forget that most games were created in a pre controller age, as such the quality of game play will go up a lot, and I believe that this stage is one that Google Stadia as well as Apple Arcade would want to pursue. They cannot beat Nintendo or Sony, but they can catch up with marketing driven Microsoft and optionally surpass them, I would see it as a personal achievement. A setting where bullet point driven executives are shown the door by the gamers they set up to milk. So I admit, there is some jealousy when my evangelical approach to gaming is not rewarded and the inferior approach to gaming is, on the other had, they delivered a product and I do not deny it, I merely wonder why some products (the non-sport games) aren’t better, yet I also recognise that the umpteen versions of Sims allow for jewels like Unravel to make it, one hand washes the other and we let slide the disappointment that was Mass Effect 4, especially as there is a stage where the mistake can be undone. All whilst those who love the Sims get another influx of juice, Jedi juice is you like.

We can channel our jealousy, we can ignore our jealousy or we can deny it, it is up to you to decide on your view, your choice and perhaps your drive. I will leave it with you, and to give a little shot to your drive, gaming revenue represented $120 billion in 2019, if you want a slice of that, get to work.

 

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The tech is out there

Even now, as the larger players (Microsoft and Wall-mart) are starting a bidding fight for TikTok, we see the flaw on several levels in the digital age. I illuminated it yesterday, in my previous article.  We are in a stage where everyone is shouting that they have Digital Media Managers , Digital Marketers, Account Managers, Social Media Managers and so on, and so on. Yet, where it counts, we see (at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIGOV/bulletins/29bf2b8) the statement on Kenosha and the shooting, but when I looked at the site in ‘Self destruct initiated’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/27/self-destruct-initiated/) there was no mention at all and that was at 02:57 on August 27th, whilst the shooting was on August 23, it took 4 days for the digital media manager to wake up. Yet the police section in the news of the City of Kenosha website is still empty, so why do they have a website and who manages it? It is nice to have politicians and captains of industry hide behind the Internet of Things, digital media and digital needs, but where it counts, are they even aware that they flunked the pooch? 

A second set is given by the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53930775), here we see ‘Facebook says Apple ad-blocking settings could halve revenue’ where we get introduced to “Apple’s plan to require all users to actively opt in before they can be tracked “may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it”, Facebook said”, whilst we also get “In the upcoming iOS 14, apps have to explicitly ask users’ permission to collect and share data, meaning ads will no longer be able to just “follow” users to apps outside of Facebook”, all whilst everyone is ignoring “way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps”, lets be clear, FaceBook has every right to advertise on its site, it is the price of getting a free service, yet where does it state that the people have to agree to be followed “into other mobile apps”? In that article, where does it state the need and rights of the consumer? (I am not attacking the BBC or the writer of the article), we overlook technology to the mere shallow assumption related to it. We see the attack on Apple from Epic games (Fortnite) and we see Microsoft supporting Epic games, yet thee fact that the rule that Apple relied on is pretty much the same rule Microsoft has in place, so how did that make sense? It only looks clear when we see the path Microsoft has in play and they mobile XCloud is relying on the millions of iPhone users. I mentioned that in ‘The stage pushed by Microsoft’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/24/the-stage-pushed-by-microsoft/), so again we see a tech setting that is getting a shallow treatment and in this case I do not attack the media (even though I think they fell short), for the media it is all the emotion, as such we see the BBC giving us ‘Apple Fortnite players left behind in new update’, yet the stage where Epic games would be allowed back if they remove the external link in the game, which is against the developers agreement that Epic games agreed to when they got on the Apple store, a rule that Microsoft has in play as well and the media pretty much smoothed over with what I would personally see as ‘applied ignorance in action’.  

We see two versions of limited tech insight. This entire setting also applies to Huawei, the accusations and the lack of evidence is centre to all this. We get ‘Huawei’s networking equipment has not been detected spying’, in a Sky article last July, and it is the driving part in all this, we want evidence and we keep on getting bitching American politicians, one after another all emotions and no evidence. All whilst last week in the Australian Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/technology/is-huawei-too-big-to-fail-20200824-p55ont) where we get the repeated “shot down by an announcement from the US government that it would use the global dominance of American technology to cut off all supplies of semiconductors to Huawei”, which is stupidity on a new level. It seems that it is not and that would be fair, the short term solution is met as semiconductors are not available. Yet in this for over a year Huawei was ready to that stage making (read: designing) their own semiconductors. When that happens, the US will have a Chinese competitor in another field and the US will lose even more ground. So whilst the US is in denial that Huawei grew because it had a good product, slightly cheaper but a lot better, in all this they rely on “Driven by the belief that Huawei could enable the ruling Chinese Communist party and its military to spy on other countries and their companies, undermine their national security and steal their commercial secrets, the US government used every option open to it”, where ‘could’ is the operative word and the additional ‘undermine their national security and steal their commercial secrets’, and guess what, there is no evidence on any level and the situation merely becomes worse when you consider ‘Critical flaw in IOS routers allows ‘complete system compromise’’, a part that ZDNet gave us in June (and before that, at https://www.zdnet.com/article/ciscos-warning-critical-flaw-in-ios-routers-allows-complete-system-compromise/), it is a simple situation, the Chinese government does not need to use Huawei to spy, they can use Cisco equipment (an American company based in San Jose) and download server by server on a global scale. When did the media give you that part? That weakness and a few more have been out in the open, and we hear nothing. This is not on Cisco, as it warned the users and is working on fixes, but the media is blind to the flaw, why is that?

Both the tech and the flawed tech is out there and there is a growing issue for a lot of people that we get limited and one sided revelations, who is served better to that? I am going with the personal view that the setting of the media catering to Shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers remains firmly in place.

The tech is out there, but who is taking a good look at it and who is using it to the maximum that would be required in the digital age? I’ll let you brew on that for a little while.

 

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Games on two levels

The BBC set us in the light of games being played, they are played n two levels, the first one is seen (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53888148) where we see ‘‘Creepy men’ message women on Scrabble Go app’, now in itself it does not raise flags, these things happen, but we see a lot more when we consider “When enabled, players will only receive chat notifications and messages from players they already know and are connected with as a Facebook friend, favourite, or via their synced contacts”, did you pick up on that little part? ‘or via their synced contacts’ is a dangerous step, some people want to play scrabble and not having to deal with the BS, so why did the game not include a mute ALL speech from the very beginning? I will hazard a guess that synching your contacts will be pleasing to the makers of the scrabble game for a few reasons, but that question is not coming from the BBC is it? And “it had also received two about the previous EA app during the first half of 2020” is perhaps a little giveaway. It is all about our contacts. Basic personal security does not see to be the stage gamers are considering when they are offered free games. So even as the BBC ends with “Lisa Forte, from Red Goat Cyber-security, said: “As individuals, we really need to start treating unsolicited online contact with people we don’t know as suspicious until it’s proven otherwise”” and in all this the questions on gathered data is not coning from the BBC, so I am asking it. ‘What data is gathered and who profits?’ It is an essential question, but it is not asked, is it? I see this as a failure to protect consumers and as such there is a failure from government and media to take it into account. The government has a pass. It is not their responsibility to protect people who blatantly install stuff at their own leisure, but in the same side, we see that Apple and Google could be held to account to make sure that NO and I mean NO data is to be gathered via apps in their store, is that the case, or is it not? It is not the app maker that worries me, it is the hacker who uses the app to gather data for their personal needs, that is the larger setting and if the uses would be kind enough to wake up and smell the data they are giving up we might have the start of something sane. Yet the larger issue still plays, the stage of muting ALL from the start would have solved the issue, so why is it not in the app? The story gives out that this is not possible, why is that?

The second level is a little more serious (or so I hope), it is seen in ‘Danish military intelligence head Lars Findsen suspended’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53889612), well on one side, I was looking for a new job, so I’ll take his, but my Danish is really bad, my Swedish is fine though. But back to the reality, when we see “the Defence Intelligence Service is accused of failing to investigate allegations of espionage in the armed services. It has also been accused of obtaining and passing on information about Danish citizens”, we see the repetition of a two edged sword, the first story implies that the people (including the Danish) have no problem handing over their security and data to any app designer, so when we realise that, what are we doing inspecting the actions of Danish Intelligence? It sounds nice that they have an Intelligence Watchdog, but with data being handed over left, right and centre, the setting is a larger stage and we need to see that we are measuring events to two different standards and we need to wake up because this has been going on for years now and we need to wake up. Oh and by the way, why was Danish Intelligence doing what it was doing? Perhaps it was to keep the Danish people safe (an assumed  speculation), all this whilst I am decently certain that the apps do not have anyones safety in mind, if so the chat would have a mute button from the very beginning, not on the required need to synch contacts. 

 

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The stage pushed by Microsoft

It started recently with a setting that is now evolving into ‘Microsoft says Apple’s move against ‘Fortnite’ creator would hurt its games’ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-epic-games/microsoft-says-apples-move-against-fortnite-creator-would-hurt-its-games-idUSKBN25J0K2). In the first a person (like me) would state ‘Who cares?’, yet the state we see ourselves in is becoming less transparent. In gaming, there is nothing like branding, branding has been the centrepiece of gaming for 30 years, does that mean that there is no room to manoeuvre? No, it does not, but to understand the setting we need to take you back. Even as Microsoft would love to push the stage via “Microsoft Corp on Sunday said in a court filing that Apple Inc’s threat to cut off the creator of “Fortnite” from Apple’s developer tools would hurt Microsoft’s gaming business, as well as other game developers” to THEIR advantage, as they are in a stage where they lose the gaming business due to their own stupidity. They tried to change the business and they were willing to do this at the expense of the gamer, the consumer, so how exactly is Apple hurting their business when they are doing it to themselves? Yes that is a decent question, but to understand the stage, we need to understand the larger setting.

There are PC gamers and Xbox gamers, both with Microsoft in a larger form of power, yet they are about to lose 50% of that (Xbox), the issues is not where you play games, but the stage where Microsoft wants YOU to play. The stage is further pushed through ‘Microsoft Research has prototyped Xbox controllers for phones and tablets’, the big issues is that Apple gamers and iPad gamers consists of well over a million players and to get them to embrace Microsoft controllers, they need games that are under their control, and as such they need access to Apple hardware, revenue drives them at every turn and Apple users are a massive source of untapped revenue. In light of this, does the title part ‘would hurt Microsoft’s gaming business’ make sense? Fortnite is but one title, it is owned by Epic Games, which is part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. So how does Microsoft fit in? Well it doesn’t but access to Apple is essential for the failed business that is laughingly known as ‘Microsoft’s gaming business’. Now, Microsoft can do in its own realm whatever it wants, and for that reason I dumped the Microsoft console, but there is no way that I would accept their stupidity on Sony Playstation, Apple, or Nintendo systems. They are loudly protesting because Epic Games has about a quarter of a billion gamers, so by stating that they are here for Fortnite is interesting for them, and the fact that Fortnite exists on nearly all systems works out well for them. And as we can see how they (as I personally see it) betrayed their own gamers base, so how can they state “Microsoft’s gaming business” when their setting is ‘revenue’, and whilst we also get to see “Apple has said that it will reverse its moves if Epic resubmits a version of “Fortnite” that complies with its payment rules”, so Epic can undo the damage when it adheres to the Apple rules. To be honest, I am on the fence on those rules, and Epic Games enjoyed the benefit in the beginning, but now they want to avoid the cost, and this is the weird part when we look at Fortnite we are given: “V-Bucks purchased on PlayStation 4 or Switch cannot be spent on other devices. Any Fortnite content you buy with your V-Bucks will be available on every device linked to your Fortnite account, regardless of which device the content was bought on”, and as I see it, why is Apple not mentioned there? In addition we see “V-Bucks are not transferable between Epic accounts”, so in that regard when we look back to 2018 where we see “Starting today on Xbox One, cross-platform play, purchasing and progression are available between Xbox One, PC, Mac and iOS.  Support for Android is coming in the next few months. As always, cross-platform functionality is a completely opt-in experience”, so  in this, there is no cross for Nintendo and Sony, as such why push Apple? All whilst Epic did this to themselves by ignoring the Apple rules (Google rules too). Whilst we see that these rules were circumvented, why do Facebook and Microsoft want a piece of it? We can start Facebook in any apple and any safari browser, yet they are limited to the data they can capture, when these games are directly added and outside of the store we will never know what security issue is circumvented, and personally, it is my opinion that Microsoft has no real credibility left, so why would I allow them there? And why are they so against the ‘rules’ that Apple set up when both Apple and Facebook had no issues forcing their rules down our throats? #JustAsking

And in finality the best cherrie of them all, straight from Microsoft (at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/publish/store-policies#108-financial-transactions):

10.8 Financial Transactions

If your product includes in-product purchase, subscriptions, virtual currency, billing functionality or captures financial information, the following requirements apply:

10.8.1

You must use the Microsoft Store in-product purchase API to sell digital items or services that are consumed or used within your product. Your product may enable users to consume previously purchased digital content or services, but must not direct users to a purchase mechanism other than the Microsoft Store in-product purchase API. 

As such what is Microsoft exactly bitching about? 

 

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Light of creativity

In creativity we normally see a theme, or perhaps better phrased, some (like me)( are thematically driven, it might change per project, but in me there is a drive to think thematically, it is how I set the the stages of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, Watchdogs 4: Refugee,  and Far Cry 7: Timing

In this I have spoken about the Elder Scrolls and Watchdogs before, but not too much about Far Cry, in this game the stage is a little bit different. The game has two sides, a day side and a night side, yet that is not really made clear in the beginning, The game is stages in Japan on the Island of Amakusa, the man is in the city as it is today, yet when he falls asleep he becomes the boy or Girl named Sage. For the kid its 1945, for the adult its 2010, and the stage is different, the man learns skills that the boy has when he falls asleep, the kid finds things and places (and avoid US troops) the difference is that this is a game without guns, the US troops have them, but the boy/girl cannot fire them. The man learns to be better and more apt with knifes, and it helps the other one, but is only deadly to animals. The story starts in 2010, the man is evicted, he lost his job in the meltdown, he is making it on his own and when he gets to an abandoned house, he finds an engraved phalange, and as he holds it, he falls asleep. 

At that point it becomes morning 1945 and the boy takes over. 

It is the foundation of the game, in this we see the entire island twice, once as the boy in the midst  of an American occupation, with lose combats against the Imperial army, we see the game starting in one stage in July 1st 1945 and July 1st 2010 in the other stage. The idea of having two stories that intertwine is interesting, the 2010 story sets the stage of what knowledge is gained in 1945. This stage is depending on stealth, that is often not important in 2010, as we try to gain the treasures and rare items to pay the debt, as that unfolds, we see two stories unfold as well as two needs to be scored in a single night, and as the stage unfolds more and more we get to see a WW2 story from a Japanese side, yet the Americans are not shown too evil, but they are scary to a 11 year old child. 

That is merely the beginning of the setting and it took no more than two hours to come up with it. So when we see “a small team at Visceral also worked on a pirate game code named Jamaica. That game wound up being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and EA wound up with a bigger a bigger priority for its “genre” studio: a Star Wars game”, a quote a mere three days old, yet I was able to (semi)create three games in a week, so where is their creativity? I came up with the setting of the game Evolution which was came from an Idea I had when I was playing the game Mercenary on the CBM64 and was based in Amsterdam, The centre of Amsterdam was completely mapped and I came up with a map change which I got from the documentary Zero Hour, as I see it, the lack of creativity from some of these large software houses baffle me, it really does.

Well, its fine as I see it, I came up with 6 games (completely) original in its foundation, as such the entire stage of ‘being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’ passed me by completely. And in that regard, we see that even their version is not that original, Sid Meier set that stage with Pirates, as such I wonder what they will create next, and beyond that, which of them will actually make it to the consoles, because that is another setting.

As we see all over the place ‘Apple clashes with Microsoft, Google, and Facebook over cloud gaming’ no one is asking the question, who will hand us original games? In this the setting that only Sony and Nintendo remains is not the weirdest idea. So as the others are fighting on how to gain the largest slice of pie in the GaaS game, some will focus on originality and make the largest gains. 

So what games will you play and which system will focus on original games? Is that not important too? 

 

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The Ai setting

Yes, we have all seen and optionally commented on the blunder that was Mass Effect Andromeda, yet consider that we could undo the damage? Even now as the rumour mill goes on about a remastered Mass Effect. I personally wonder what power Apple or Google consoles gained if they owned the Mass Effect IP (or Bioware). Consider a new console with one of the most revered IP’s in gaming history. This is not some ‘what if’, well actually it is, but consider tens of millions of fans now in a stage where they are confronted with one of these systems holding onto the console so that they can play this game. It is not unheard of, we have all been in that stage before and consoles used to get ahead with this level of creativity in their exclusives list.

So as I (re)designed the Mass Effect concept I did the one thing that had not been done before in gaming EVER. Mass Effect 5 is not merely the fifth game, it would be games 4 and 5 together, yes some things will be the same, but the stage is larger and also has a lot of changes. In the first, the Nexus playing area is at least 10 times larger, and the stage is a combinations of additional and new gaming settings. Of course each of the sister ships of the Hyperion would need to be found, Habitat 7 does not change, it is the introduction to the story and to playing the game. Yet the planets of 4 (Elaaden, Havarl, Aya, Eos and Voeld) would also be there and they would be larger, each with additional missions and additional tasks (making replaying acceptable and challenging). In addition to this  the other parts are mostly there, except for the memories, they can only be on the hyperion (how they could be on planets never visited before is just weird). As I see it, every planet has stages 1. Arrival stage, 2. Post Remnant Vault activation, 3. Phase one of repairs and adjustments 4. Phase 2 of repairs 5. Phase 2 of adjustments

It sets a stage where the planets need to be revisited and in that light each of these planets gets a second area to land and to set up another base, so as one base is scientific in nature, the second one is military in nature. Apart from the Kett presence, the second base will be a lot more about flora and fauna. There will be some Kett, but not to the first area levels, and in addition to that, the player will need to set the stage of building the cars and factories so that they support the nexus best. It will be around choices made, but it will depend on the player. For example in the 4 planets staged (Aya is off-limits), Food will be staged on every planet, yet the return on one is 100%, yet the others will give you 70%-80%, so the need to make the choice is essential, but you have no real choice in location, making the stage of food different, for example Eos is the first planet you reach, yet to give the player choices, we get a different setting, a such finding the right places to grow food and mine for minerals becomes a little bit of a challenge, however we can level the playing field by setting the percentage stage to random (70,80,100 or 110), add to this the nexus and the stage where waking up the right people becomes important, as well as reenergising the nexus so that labs can open up as energy becomes available is a larger stage. 

Most elements that can be compartimentalised in the game could set a growing stage we can adjust to, it also sets Mass Effect to a much larger stage, one worthy of a successor to the first three. For the fifths game we should look deeper into the Kett, we see them as the great evil, but what happens when that is not the case? What happens when their existence is part of a crucible? We need another 4 planets, in this, we should try to set a larger stage and a different stage. So what happens when one planet is aquatic? What happens when one place is like a gas giant (not unlike Cloud city in the Empire strikes back)? A stage where we interact in other ways, as such 2 remain, one should be toxic in origin the other one I leave open (someone might have had an idea), with the stage in that regard, the larger stage to revisit meridian and a stage where we apply a new stage, a stage of resources shared and politics gained. There are a lot of options that a game like Mass Effect allows for and in this we haven’t even looked at the stage where the nexus is attacked and a fight in the corridors, not just that, the damage is ‘real’ and debilitating depending on where the station is damaged, so repairs need to be made (to some degree) before the station is back on track. All these options overlooked in the initial game, the nexus was supposed to equal Citadel, but was less than 10% its size in gameplay. That has to change, and the game is in a much larger setting if the new approach is taken, a game that revisits feelings on a game published and becomes better and stronger because of it. As such no matter where it ends up initially (Google Stadia or Apple console) they would have the setting to add a few million fans right off the bat, when we see the initial hype for Andromeda, that stage can easily be surpassed if the result is properly tested. I wonder if Electronic Arts ever considered that their product could end up deciding who the third most sold console could end up being, the stage is that certain at present, and of course, there is no reason why it should not be on other consoles, yet the financial power that a timed delay for other consoles is could fund a massive part of the development cost and that is when the larger profits comes in (for Electronic Arts), especially if a game like Mass Effect Andromeda sets the gaming bar to a much higher level. We have seen long term gaming in several ways, yet until Bethesda released the Elder Scrolls Online, long term RPG was a little in a corner, now you are given the light where they are no longer alone in this, it sets a different stage for Google and Apple, one they could only have hoped for and it is within their reach to set this stage to their system.

 

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It is more than a ban

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

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

 

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Reflections

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

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

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

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

 

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