Tag Archives: Bethesda

Chook chook thinking

Why? Because train of thought reads too boring, thats why! So this all happened, or better stated started happening a few hours ago. Someone stated that IBM Z Mainframes are in 96% of all mainframe places. Now, I have no problem with this, I moved out of mainframes 30 years ago, and I still respect what these things can do (they are just too big for my desk). Yet in this, my first question was, what do the other 4% use? A simple question. I got all kinds of answers, yet none of them answered my question ‘What do the other 4% use, in this it does not matter if it is known, but it is essential to look at.

Why?
Well, in this IBM has a luxury problem, they basically own 96% of that market, but the 4% can become 8% then 16%, at that point the message from IBM becomes 4 out of 5 use our mainframe. When the 96% is 120,000 mainframes it is one thing, when it is based on 960 mainframes it is a whole different story. The numbers matter, that has always been the case (even if Microsoft is in denial now they are shedding market share). 

Reasons
There can be a simple reason. For one epidemiology, if it is about real time numbers, the market is slim, massively slim, compared to that market a size zero model is a mere chunky blobernaut. Cray is one of the few players in that setting and it makes sense that a Cray is there where an IBM is optionally not. Still, I would want to know.

You see, in strategic thinking we have two elements we ALWAYS need to keep one eye on. One is threat the other is weakness. In this example real-time data management is a weakness. Now we need to understand that this market is set to billions and those who desperately need it, that number is not an issue, yet for IBM investing that much for 4% is tactically not sound, not until that marketshare is a lot larger. That makes perfect sense and let’s face it no one owns 100% of a market, if that ever happens we will have a lot more problems than we could possibly understand. 

Why do I care?
Well, for the most I do not, but at present I am not to involved with any SWOT analyses, and the ones I did lately was done for wannabe managers who seemingly only understand bulletpoint memo’s. The idea of any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analyses that is related to business competition, project planning and capability planning is more important than most people realise. We see it in intelligence, business intelligence and market intelligence. And now we see two new real markets emerging where it is important too. Gaming and SAAS/GAAS. Even as GAAS is still some time away, the need to actively SWOT in all three is there and I believe the players are not too finicky about that and they need to be. As the cloud is oversold and the dangers are underestimated their board of directors need to hold up a mirror where they can tell themselves that it doesn’t matter, and when we understand how completely those people are lying to themselves, at that point you might get the idea that there is a problem. The SWOT has more sides, it tests your capability, your software (Strengths and opportunities) but that needs to be levelled by weaknesses and strength. 

800 years ago
To understand this we need to go back to the good old days (Ghengis Khan). It was he who stated “It is not enough for me to win, my opponents must all fail”. Yes, I admit it is a massively loose translation but it applies to the now. When we stumble over sales people and their unnatural large ego’s, we tend to listen because they make the loudest claims, yet are they valid? Consider Solarwinds and what they enabled criminals to do, when you consider the news last week when we were given ‘SolarWinds hackers stole US sanctions policy data, Microsoft confirms’, it was a weakness and a threat, so when we how long the hack was active and that we now see that policy data is online and open for anyone to look into, what other sides are not yet known? It is not enough for SAAS vendors to look at SWOT, their customers need to do the same thing. So when I considered the 4% is was not because I need to know everything (which at times is still nice as a high executive CIA decision maker has a girlfriend that has size 6 lingerie, his wife is size 11), so who needed to do the SWOT, someone at the CIA or me? One could say both as I am his threat and he is my opportunity. 

The stage of what is what could be remains forever in motion. 

So where from here?
That remains open. For players like Amazon, the enabling of GAAS becomes more and more important, especially when you see the blunders that players like Ubisoft makes, they need to be aware of where their customers are, especially when Netflix becomes active in gaming too. They will have an advantage, but Amazon can counter it, yet there are sides that remain unknown for now and they should not be (not on that level) and there is the rub. Too many rely on external solutions when that solution needs to be in-house. And we can disperse with all the marketing BS that some give like “We are a better company now”, when you drop the ball to that degree there was a massive space for improvement and you merely are on par for not being where you should have been a year ago. An old IBM Statistics wisdom was “You’ll know when you measure”. This sounds corny but it is true, you cannot anticipate and adjust when there is no data and in all this any SWOT analyses would have been usable data. So where was the 4%? I do not know and the poster seemingly did not know either. It might be fair enough, yet when that 4% becomes 8%, when should you have known? It is a question with a subjective answer. Yet in gaming it is less so, especially as I am becoming aware (unproven at present) that Microsoft has one nice trick up their sleeve. There is partial evidence out there that Skyrim will be on PS5 in digital formal only. Several shops now have a ‘DO NOT USE’ for any physical PS5 format of Skyrim. Now, there might be an easy answer for this after all these lockdowns, but it is only 4 weeks away now, so you tell me. Is Microsoft playing its ‘bully’ card? Are they trying to push people to Xbox? It is a fair approach, they did pay 8 billion and change for it, but consider that their actions are set to a larger stage. A stage of millions of angry fans. I solved it for them by creating public domain gaming ideas for any Sony exclusive RPG game. I am not Bethesda, I am a mere IP creator, but when software makers are given a free ride towards Sony exclusives and even if one game hits the mark, the Bethesda market share dwindles to a lower number. Now consider what happens when that happens on Amazon Luna too? I might be a mere 1% factor, but if another one joins me I grow 100% whilst Microsoft dwindles more. For Microsoft Amazon is becoming a real threat and a weakness, for Amazon Netflix is optionally a threat and a weakness whilst Google Stadia is optionally the opportunity for Amazon. 

All SWOT settings that could have been seen from afar from the beginning. It is not everyones train of thought, yet in this day and age, I think it needs to be, the markets and our lives are changing in all kinds of ways too quickly and too large, we need to think head and having a clear grasp on how to apply SWOT in our lives might become essential. 

The difference?
That is a much harder line to follow. It comes down to the word ‘Insight’ and it is a dangerous, a very dangerous word. Because depending on the person this can be Insight, speculated insight, expected insight, and adjusted insight and more than once they are all on one pile making the data less reliable. Insight is also subjective, we all see it differently and that does not mean that I am right and everyone else has a wrong station. No, it is all subjective and most CAN be correct, but as the insight is disturbed by speculated, adjusted and expected versions, the numbers alter slightly. And now we see that 4% was not 4%, is was 7% and 5%, 5% because there were other IBM mainframes in play (adjusted) and 4% was the speculated number and 7% was the expected number. Now we have a very different station, the expected moves us from 96% use our product, towards 9 out of 10 are our customers, which is now a mere step towards 4 out of 5 use IBM. So would you like to bring that conversation to any board of directors? 
They’ll serve your balls for dinner (see image). 

Still feel certain that you do not want to know? In reality most SWOT analyses are seemingly pointless and often amazingly boring, yet in this day and age they are an essential part of business and gaming at $130 billion a year is facing that side as well. So when you consider what I gave you also consider the impact that some shops have ‘DO NOT USE’ for Skyrim preorders, 4 weeks before release, lockdown or not, it beckons all kinds of questions. And to be fair, there could be a simple explanation for all of it, but that too is the consequence of trying to create hypes via YouTube without clearly informing the audience. It is a weakness Microsoft has shown a few times (Bethesda was never completely innocent, but equally never this guilty). 

So what has a game in common with a business setting? It is simple, they both need to manage expectations and that too is a side of SWOT, even as marketing often merely focusses on opportunity, there is a weakness and a threat. The lack of clarity and misinformation are both a weakness (angry customers) and a threat (churning customers) and in the world of gaming the churners are the real danger, they can get the flocking population of angry gamers to come with them and really make numbers spiral downward. In this day and age SWOT is an additional essential way to go, in nearly all walks of life. We simply can not avoid being that naive anymore, not with spiralling energy prices and more and more articles that can at present no longer be found in any supermarket, all whilst plenty of people are in a holding pattern for their incomes. 

It is a train of thought and it is up to you to decide if you want to do it or not, because that was always your right, the right to ignore, but it must be said that it will be at your own peril. 

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Until the lungs give out

I have been thinking of the RPG game that I set up as a free IP for Sony and Amazon developers, a sort of exclusive freeware IP for all except Xbox developers as a response to their Bethesda tactic. There were several parts set in earlier articles, but over time my mind got bogged. I had a new version of arcane characters, I set the stage to replaying the game in new and never seen before ways and as I looked at the past, my mind went to the future. I added different stealth parts and I added new elements to other sides of the arcane. Yet the fighter class remained. And now I add another part of ranged fighting. As you see in the image (I believe in emancipation, so both genders can be assassinated) yet even in the past there was a stage of armour, and precision. So as you see can see that there are to aims, the size of the circle is influenced by distance, by stamina (out of breath) and the stage is also hindered by people wearing armour, so we have a much larger stage of getting the ranged attack being successful, slightly unlike in Skyrim where I successfully expired people, animals, draugr, trolls and even dragons with my bow and arrow. The Green Arrow, Robin Hood and William Tell would be proud of me. It is a good feeling, although I do know that it is a slightly delusional one, if it was real the digital graveyard I filled would be greater than the city of Tokyo (10 years of Skyrim does that), and as I go forth I considered that we need new ranged weapons, not more of the same, so the blowpipe became a reality. Also there would be a stage to evolve the blowpipe, just a it happened in history. Different woods, different arrows with optional toxins to paralyse, sleep or poison would add to that impact. Than we get to the stage where we always run to a blacksmith, but the blowpipe is different. Several of them do not come from the blacksmith, the stage of that allows for more options in the game, it will also add to additional (read: different) skills to master. 

As we see in most RPG’s the bow and the arrows, this game will have the pipe and the darts, there will be additional darts and there will be an additional ranged weapon. I wanted the weapon to add to your abilities, not forced to set a stage for guided evolution, so I came up with an altered rungu, The rungu is still there, but there is a cup added to the other side of the stick opposite of the ball-end of the stick, making it a rungu able to throw with precision and much harder a stone at the head (or other body part) of any target. With the rungu we set a new need that we haven’t seen in a while, a ranged weapon that needs strength as well as precision. So as we add weapons and add choices the player can evolve more towards what he or she prefers and chose a weapon that fits the need. In addition to this, I want to make add a personal style. I want to add the main-gauche into the fight, not merely relying on sword and shield. I personally always loved the parrying dagger and the stage sets a new style of fighting and we get an altered level of fighting. It is essential to offer a different stage to what Bethesda has, it makes for a much more acceptable game that is a lot less of Bethesda like gaming, we need to up the game and change the game, so I opted for that. I am also considering altering the spear to be adjusted so it can work underwater, a sort of speargun (rubber driven) with a rope, yet in all this we see the need to add to weapons, not to set a stage where we have 15 weapons. A stage thought through so that we have a larger playing field that is new to those who prefer ranged weapons (me being one). The parrying knife gives an added side to stealth (especially when you are seen), and as I loo what I had wrought in the digital world, I see the need for graveyards, the setting of plants only found in cemeteries and optionally a few herbs that have arcane and alchemical uses, all sides that Bethesda never used, so I am adding them to the IP I create for those ready to make money in creating original (read: limited exclusive) Sony and Amazon games. 

A day well traversed and that is when I consider that this was the second article written, I had to make sure that gaming was not forgotten or ignored. And we can do this until the lungs give out after which the blowpipe becomes useless, so there is that consideration. 

Have a great day.

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As the shoe drops

Yes, there is a lot of anger in Bethesda land. As we take notice of “We have tried to be as clear as possible, not a timed exclusive, this is simply where the game is being made.” Starfield is a Microsoft exclusive and the fans are angry. I get it, I am not angry, it was a brilliant move by Microsoft, it is why I placed all kinds of IP on the public domain (here in my blog) for Sony and Amazon (Luna) so that their independent developers can make a totally new RPG game and the IP is free for them, it is my way to giving Microsoft the bird. These developers are not out of pocket for $8,500,000,000. And they deserve it (I hope). 

So whilst we take notice of “Hines went on to point out that Bethesda fans on PlayStation consoles might not be shut out entirely from playing future titles from the studio”, we do understand that the PS5 is outselling the Xbox 2:1 and it will take some time before cloud gaming is expected to become congestion free, and that is providing that you have a true unlimited account, as some give us the stage of Xcloud on about 3GB per hour, so someone with a new 200GB account will run out of data in about 65 hours, that is likely less then 2 weeks for average gamers and 1 week for what some call the true gamers. After that it will be $30 per hour to game. And that is if it all goes correctly, I feel certain that congestion will hit soon enough. You see some sources give me “Optus now offers unlimited data across its range of postpaid mobile plans. As with Telstra, if you go over your data allowance, you’ll be capped to speeds of 1.5Mbps.” so if it is unlimited, how can you go over your data allowance? And consider that capped data does not allow gaming, not at 1.5Mbps. So we are (for now) locked to our consoles and PC’s. Is it a wonder that Amazon gives you Ubisoft+ at $1? The end is nowhere near here and it is a lot worse in places where you are rural, especially the US, Canada, France, Germany and several others. And in that light we need to see Bethesda. And they do give clarity with “Certainly, there are going to be things that you’re not going to be able to play [on PlayStation]” that is why Microsoft paid billions. They had a bad setting an inferior system and they got the people addicted to certain games across. Even though it is not a given, I feel certain that the new none online Elder Scrolls is most likely going to be a Microsoft exclusive. It makes no sense to get angry, they paid billions and the people on Sony will have to make a choice and I helped them by handing the independent developers on Sony and Amazon IP for free. I will try to add a few more titles and it is up to the developers to create them, but at least I handed them an alternative and I did mention a few more titles for consideration to remaster. 

So whilst some people will get needlessly angry over “I want to be careful. I know it’s a question people care a lot about. It’s also a tricky one for us to answer because, frankly, it can get sensationalised on the internet”, I see it as a BS answer. It is not tricky to answer, it is the result of a $8.5 billion takeover, there was never any tricky setting. The only tricky setting was Deathloop as it was already a PS5 exclusive. At present PS5 is looking at 25 exclusive titles (until mid 2022) and that is not including a few titles that have no clear release date. In addition, the PS5 has crossed the 10,000,000 units sold line whilst Microsoft is nowhere near that, and as we see in some sources “the Xbox team has made it a policy in recent years to not disclose exact hardware sales numbers”, which makes sense when you are the number three console trailing PS5 AND Nintendo  Switch. So the Bethesda move was the only one that made sense for them and they had to pay a massive amount for it (because Bethesda is worth it), and yes, there will be a group of people who will switch as they are dedicated as well as bug nuts for the Bethesda games and that is fine, it is what Microsoft paid for, as such I handed my creativity to Indie developers so that they can make a new RPG on PS5 and Amazon Luna. Will it happen? I cannot tell, I do not know, but at least I did not resort to anger, I merely gave others the chance to take a slice of the RPG cake on two platforms. Perhaps that is not the right sentiment, I offered IP so that they could consider going there. And if I find my IP on these two systems I can raise my glass and give Microsoft the bird. 

No matter how many how many games Bethesda will make Xbox Exclusive (the right Microsoft paid for) it will hurt them to lose out of millions of gamers who will stick with Sony and that is the stage that they overlooked. When Sony gets a new RPG that is Sony exclusive and it does catch on (one hopes) Bethesda will lose out on a lot more and Microsoft will taste the sour grapes that come with a $8.5 billion investment, it was as I state before a brilliant move, and in this day and age as we are in lockdowns, I will add as much Gaming IP for Sony and Amazon developers (for free) and let that be the lesson Microsoft gets to learn the hard way.

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Presented choices

There is a flow in two directions, it is in most of us, it is stronger in the people who actively engage in critical thinking. It is often mistaken as ‘the devil’s advocate in us’ and I have made the same mistake. This is a dangerous place to be, not precisely dangerous, but hazardous. You see, we want to give ourselves time to mull things over and often that is good, nowadays with COVID, vaccines, lockdowns and other things happening at the same time it is hazardous. You see the media is no help, they are in it to create click bitches and stir flames, which gets them digital advertisement funds and traction. When you mull things over too many people are in a stage of making up their minds whilst the media is trying to cross them over to a field that benefits THEM and not the reader. Unless you are able to reject ALL media at a moments notice, that place you are in to mull things over goes from hazardous to dangerous and that is when things fall apart. The doubters get pushed into a place where they are slightly too uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to forcefully take a stand.

This matters as gaming is in a similar place, or better stated the gamer is in an RPG game and is left to mull things over in doubt on what to do. There is a correlation of inaction towards too much signals as well as no signals at all. The brain seems to find the stage of non-signals too unnatural. And that is the stage any new RPG will find themselves in.

In the past it was not an issue for the mere reason that technology was not ready, now that it is too many gamers expect there virtual life to signal them in a similar way and even as technology is there, the game makers are not. 

It is not a setting of what to do to make it fit, it becomes a stage of adjusting the gamer to the ‘new life’. I was reminded of that in the last two days as I was rewatching the Harry Potter series. In the third film we are given the choice between what is easy and what is right, which fits the storyline of Harry and his gang (plus owl). Gaming and real life tend to not have that question, yet I see a larger wave go towards ‘What is easy or what is pointless’ and that is not the bill, but it is a concept of the two choices seemingly given. The mind loves a choice, even a fictive (or virtual) one and that gets us in hot water. 

So whilst we await the Hogwarts Legacy game, we wonder what is in it. We tend to compare to the RPG games that were truly fantastic and there we see Skyrim and Witcher 3 being the larger stage. So will Hogwarts have the Harry Potter CCG as an element? It is extremely doubtful, but there is an internal need to get a new RPG with some Witcher 3 Gwent game. We would want to be able to have our own house decorated in OUR style of choice (Skyrim) and the list goes on. This pushes the needs towards pointless, yet where is the setting on what the line from gaming to pointless becomes and that line differs per gamer and that low range and high range of that line is a gap no smaller than the Gran Canyon and that makes for an awkward programming stage. The opposite side leads to easy and grinding which could spell an early death for any future RPG game, so where to go? Fable 2 had an awesome solution towards vocations (Forge, Bartender, gambling) but the stage becomes how to remain unique, have elements like mini games and larger ownerships without breaking the IP and that is not an easy task. Even Skyrim with its levels of grinding is so close to perfect that people still desire this game 10 years later. I myself had the game on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and optionally (hopefully) in 9 weeks and 3 days I will have the PS5 edition, optionally a little later as I face all kinds of budgets, but the message behind this is strong, a good game lasts a very long time and that is where the game makers need to be. I believe that the best option is set towards a trilogy solution. We can play, we can alter and we can circumvent. Alter is adding a CCG or mini game option. Instead of looting the same place with consistent time, we can have the CCG to make is smarter, the mini game to make us richer and a combination for investments. It takes the mind of grinding. The CCG element could give us cunning, intelligence and the cards we win could lead to unique items like clothing that are rewarding depending on the class we play. We could get rare items that we need to make special potions (like the golden cauldron in Harry Potter CCG), and the list goes on. In Fallout New Vegas we were given the useless Snow globes that is until we met a person who paid dearly for it. There are the Vault-boy bobbleheads in Fallout, so what can we do to create the part that adds value to the game?  That depends on the game maker, but the objective would soon become a race to avoid the pointless borderline. 

The second borderline is less visible. Metal Gear Solid got there and it was not their intent because the last game was magnificent to behold, yet they got there, the game had gotten too big and soon in the game you felt like you were in a stage where it felt pointless (it was not) the game was too big for its own design and even if you consider revamping the stages, at some point (ACT 3) you started to wonder what it was for. I got there a few times and I loved the game, so we need to design carefully and become weary of what signals we give the player, too many and the gamer seeks the easy route, that same route gets trodden on when there are no signals, so there needs to be enough signals to make it worth your effort.

I believe that we are due for more time based stories and the best way is to let the conversations with NPC’s progress that, but there too too many of those and the game gets to be regarded as pointless. So how to go about the presented choices? One option is to limit NPC’s to optionally give quests in a set of two parameters. The first is the day of the week and the second is a correlation of conversations with other people in town. It gets so that each town has optionally 2-3 side quests a day, so beside the main quests and storyline quests you can score new quests each day in one place, to throttle the over-quest danger we limit the chances we get to the pointless border. By having enough signals we also limit the dangers of people heading for the easy line and on top of that, if we create a random partition that directs all the quests to a day at the beginning of the game there is a chance that two players end up having very different experiences making all players more and more curious on what more is there and how to find it. 

There are more things to do, but this is enough for today, today was to address the dangers of the pointless borderline and that borderline is a lot more dangerous than you think. 

If you do not head that line you could prematurely kill your own game in month one, an eerie setting that no game maker would ever want to face. More importantly, it also shows how we are treated by the media in todays events and that tends to reverberate in us too. So when we escape towards games we really need to get that signal stopped as soon as possible, it is perhaps the one danger any RPG faces, we tend to push ourselves into our RPG games the way we were before we started that game, emotional baggage and all, we cannot really hope to stop ourselves, but we can demand that whatever RPG game we play takes that feeling away within the first 10 minutes of gaming. I reckon it is part of the success of Skyrim.

Have a great day!

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Mix and match

I was having a few thoughts on the matters that I have been writing on these last two days when a thought reappeared in me, I thought of it before, but now the idea was forming in a few ways. As my thoughts go it is best released in streaming games first. Others can and will have it too, but this is something that will take a few attempts to get right. You see, I love RPG games. Yet in all the years none of them EVER mixed the setting of Simulators with RPG’s, not that the RPG needs to become a simulator, but a setting where we train people around us. So in case you own a castle, you get to improve the ‘programming’ of the NPC. So as I see it, the approach is towards the use of deeper learning to ‘educate’ the guards. So you can imbue your bow and arrow skills on the guards on the high walls, you can imbue your weapon skills on the patrolling guards and so on. It has never been done and it could open up a lager playing field. Consider that we can train our troops, but the skills are also transferred to 75% of your skills, or the maximum they already have to all other NPC’s? So it is no longer merely about the level of the opponent, their skill level will up the game for all gameplay in an RPG, so why did no-one think of this? Perhaps they did, I do not know. Yet with the evolution of deeper learning (what some erroneously call AI) this is no longer a thought, there are several ways that NPC’s can evolve in any RPG and it gives us a much better game to look at, so why was this not yet done? I am not accusing anyone, merely asking. If I can come up with a TV series, a mini series, a movie and several games, I remain amazed how the others are empty of new ideas and they are merely hiding behind sequels. OK, not all, Guerrilla games is one of the few exceptions. We see remastered games (I am happy about some of them), we see sequels adapted for the next generation consoles, which is nice too. Yet real new IP remains largely absent, a circular movement surrounding 2 decades of gaming. I do not think it is all wrong, I myself opted to a few parties to remaster their old games, actually it was remaster and upgrade severely towards the new systems and there is a lot that is available out there. Yet how many real upgrades have some RPG’s received? Again, not an accusation, yet when you consider that we know Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. Now consider that I got the idea of empty holo-tapes that could be used to add to the story and the functionality of the character before Fallout 76 was released, which was almost 4 years ago. So am I the only one thinking out of the box to increase the level of games and gameplay? One would think that if you pay a group of people well over 7 billion, one would imagine that they would be far ahead of me, but that does not seem to be the case. 

Yet this is not about pointing fingers, or blaming people. It is merely an idea I was having to increase the value and power of a game. We are all gamers and some of our ideas are whacky, some are brilliant, some can bridge a massive gap between the game maker and the game player, we cannot blame the maker for not thinking of EVERY corridor, that’s where we come in. And this stage is more easily adapted in streaming, because streamers are in a stage where they have one environment to consider, the one that goes to ALL players, so they do have a few advantages and I reckon they need to home in on those advantages. There is no real benefit to have the same Ubisoft game on all four consoles, yet a streamer and a console? That could pan out the be a very different cattle of fish. 

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To serve the gamer

Yup, that is a topic that is open for debate, but in my case it comes from a different angle. I need to explain how I got here. You have read my ‘displeasure’ with Ubisoft, they bungled (again and again), yet I also clearly stated that AC Origins is one game they got right. I actually disagree with the high 80’s scores the game had been receiving, I believe it to be low 90’s, but that is my view. The topic rose as I (due to lockdown time) decided to play it again and get some of the achievements I missed out on, I got half a dozen so far and I finally got to the Curse of the Pharaohs. I had the DLC, but my PS4 crashed to death somewhere in 2019 and as I had a little manoeuvring (covid retirement savings) I ended up with a PS4pro in 2020. And until a month ago I had no time for it, but in the last three weeks with being locked down I decided the play it again. So whilst gunning for ‘Old Habits’, I stumbled on ‘Where’s my Black Flag’ and a few others. But it was the Curse of the Pharaoh that made the difference. The first time I entered Aaru my jaw dropped. It was amazing, the field of reeds, the places, it was amazing and the boats made it all slightly surreal. The makers outdid themselves here. But this is also the place that gave me an idea. It was the side mission ‘Love or Duty’, the mission does not matter, the interaction does not either, but the mission clicked something in place. I had some similar ideas for Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, but as it was not considered, it could be set to other RPG’s and even the one I designed. 

Your home is your castle
In nearly all RPG games, we are confronted with a house, unless you had Oblivion and you completed the Battlehorn Castle mission, in that case you have a castle. And there is the crux. In the light of Magic Carpet I want a castle with archers protecting what is mine. I had a few idea’s like the Magical armoury (a very different mission). And now the idea comes to add servants and more important make them a lot more useful. Consider that a person (a he or a she) is driven by needs, so if you can make one person happy (really happy), the others will pick up on it, and increase the power of your place.

Happy Happy, Joy Joy
To get to this stage consider that you have servants, some through concern and protection, some bought (yes in fantasy games slaves are real) and the proper treatment of them makes them more useful, yet if we can give one of them real happiness, an elated feeling of achievement or recognition they will become a sort of Uber-servant, a person that infects the people around them to be better and more productive. When we take the Battlehorn location, we see the Forge, the kitchens, the walls, the stables, we see a person in charge, but if we can fulfil the personal needs of one servant in that area, we get an area that is twice as productive. The house is cleaner, thee is more food, the weapons are better and the list goes on, it changes a 100% castle in a castle with 150% resources and optionally 150% defence (250% defence after the magical armoury mission). 

In RPG games it is all about us doing the missions, but a setting where we influence another to be the better person and set a non directive, a automated directive is almost never seen and that is a pity, because a game can become a lot more rewarding that way. Consider the old classic Dungeon Keeper, the monster we had fought for themselves, we could train them, we offer options, but we cannot set the marker on them, merely on the area. That element is often missing in RPG, it is not a fault, it is not a flaw, it is a choice and it is not used often enough, too many are about giving ALL the power to the player, but the world never goes that way, we forgot about the fact that we are not the deciding power, we tend to be merely influential. There is the thought that the reward is not 100% plus, but it is a random number between 150% and 200%, making it optionally a stage where we please a second person in that area, but the game also denies a red line approach, so the missions are not given directly, they need to be found and they depend on the persons we have, implying that we might never get more than one option, or even one setting. It is the second flaw on RPG. The ‘we always have an option’ clause. At times we should not have one, it is the hand dealt to us, and optionally it is a hand that sucks. That is the RPG we need to see but were never given. In an age where consoles will in be surpassed by streaming systems, the need to evolve gaming in general and RPG games specifically will become more and more pressing. To be another version of a game we have known for 20 years will soon come to an end and then? That will be the cruncher and streamers with one central game hub will have a lot more manoeuvrability than any of the consoles, the consoles will not phase out, not for the next decade, but when we do get to 2031, the field is highly debatable who will be in there. Because of stupid decisions in the 5G field, there will always be a need for consoles, as such there will be a Nintendo and there will be a Sony PS6/PS7, but streamers at that point will be a much larger field and optionally there will be a streamer next to a console in well over 50% of the cases. 

And in that light the need to evolve RPG’s (and a few other game forms) will become essential, it will show for the streamers, yet those who evolve gaming will survive (Nintendo and Sony for sure), the rest will be close to forgotten when we get to 2031.

Doubt me? Fair enough, just remember I said it first, I was the one stating it a decade earlier.

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Two to plenty

I have had enough of looking at covid numbers, and I have had enough of several things. As such, I feel the most at ease giving service (I did it for more than a quarter of a century) and creating new IP.  And as I was playing a personal favourite, I realised that Microsoft was holding two massive trump cards and to overthrow that, the other makers need to consider taking a leap, a leap that will make the Microsoft position shaky, very shaky indeed. This solution will optionally fit Amazon the best. Netflix has a chance, but if Google does not change its position, then they are up at the mercy of the developers. It is a choice they made. 

So what is out there? You see, I always knew that our lives revolved around creating places to live, kill things and eat (let’s not forget about the food). Minecraft drilled into that brilliantly and as Markus Persson, Jens Bergensten, and Stephen McManus played on that brilliantly, they sold it to Microsoft in 2014 for two point five billion. Then there was Bethesda who created Skyrim on 11/11/11. A game that for a very long time avoided (not completely) the levels of grinding. And Microsoft offered $8,500,000,000 to the makers. Yes a brilliant move, but it also implies that if someone makes a game like these two for Amazon, the Microsoft gaming share will drop by a decent amount. And it is a tall order, to make something alike and different enough not to be seen as a copy. It can be avoided to some degree. For one, the building materials can be set to marble sorts (Romans and Greeks), giving us all kinds of other challenges and achievements. In a lot of ways Minecraft was brilliant and close to perfect, but it can be done in other ways too and the Minecraft setting will require a streaming solution, which get us to Amazon Luna. But they are not the only player, anyone picking these ideas up can design something for Google Stadia. And it matters, with the massive amounts of revenue to be seen in the next two years, would you turn away a billion dollars? I wish I had been more pressed as a programmer in my youth, I would have done it myself. Alas, I made choices, I have no regrets, but if I was a decent programmer, I could have had more (not in a greed driven way). And now I get to spout other non 5G ideas to the world giving them a chance to take a slice away from the Microsoft pie. 

I will leave it to you, but consider that Skyrim has over 15 million players, Minecraft has 126 million players. Do you still think it is a bad idea? And as the gaming frontiers are changing, as Microsoft is trying to sell THEIR Microsoft Cloud all over the place, the gaming dimension polarises, Microsoft only respects what their board of directors tell others what matters and I have no intention of seeing my devices being overrun by some Azure thin client. As such I see the need to set my dreams and non 5G IP considerations towards public domain, to let you all grow on non Microsoft fields. Azure might have the advantage, but that does not mean that Google and Netflix are out of the race. It is merely a speculative idea and I will let you consider where the race takes us all.

So when you are creating YOUR version of a sandbox game, you can focus on building (and you need to), yet the stage of that can be done in various ways. You can focus on how the Greeks and Romans did it, so you need to create a place create income and become part of an economy. Anything else and you face the dangers that it is too much like Minecraft. As you grow your status and economy, you can opt for one side in game one, the other in game two and every iteration opens up the free game to a much larger extent. If you are in Volos, Larissa or Ladochori (Greek places) you will have to employ different solutions, but in a sandbox game, location is not the key, it is the surroundings you face. A setting that shapes all your decisions. You can only go with the flow and create, and seek, and pillage, and murder and explore. And in all this pillage and murder remains open to addition or choice, but in a sandbox game you make the decisions, you set the tone and you become your own legend (sanctified by Amazon, Google and/or Netflix).

If I feel up to it I will draw out a much larger setting towards real social media for gamers, not marketed messaging for large corporations.

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Clouds with a change for gaming

Yup, I started it yesterday, and part 2 is today as I had a few ideas on the subject. These ideas can be used as public domain by Amazon (Luna), but Microsoft will have to pay big time (if they can hand over $7,500,000,000 to Bethesda, they can pay me at least 1%).

Changes (by David Bowie)
The first thing I will do is to introduce Milestones, it is for the most part merely a name change to ‘Achievements’, yet over time it will be a little more. The second is to add a second tier to this, I will add ‘Discovery’ to this, yet all you Susie Dent boffins can clearly see it is a Synonym, yet the function of Discovery is different. As you discover something in one game, it gives you a token that can be spent as YOU see fit. For example if you find a ‘golden chess piece’ in a game like Clue, or a ‘Golden Revolver’ they will become Discoveries that wield the token of a revolver, or a Chess set. In a game like Battle Chess (in normal or battle mode), the Chess token will unlock a Greek Chess set, The golden revolver could unlock a weapon in another game and so on. This is one of the nice parts of the Cloud, we can add a lot more over time and give the people a reason. David Bowie sang:

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes

I think it is time to take a page from that, we see gaming chances in perspective, but never remove you from where you are. I am setting a stage where that is possible, where games have a longer lasting appeal and I am offering the stage where the player tries something else as well. Most gaming options outside of the console and singular streams do not offer you this, merely an optional DLC and an optional skin, I want the token to take on new life and a much larger stage. This is about gaming and this is about making gamers happy. The nice part is that there is no guarantee that the token is there at game 1, I thought it through, yes there are some internet driven completionists, yet it is time for them to smell the reality of gaming.

We have largely ignored the masters of yesterday because they were 8 bit, yet some of them with today’s graphics and better intelligent response mappings could become the heroes of tomorrow and the nice part is that the groundwork is already done. Consider Millennium 2.2 with an upgraded map of this solar system, with additional information, more options and a larger stage, can we truly think it will not matter? I wrote about Murder on the Zinderneuf, Seven cities of gold and a few more in the past, close to a dozen games ready to be ‘captured’ (if the IP was abandoned), and the early bird that hesitates grows its own worms, so let’s get cracking. 

Microsoft throws money at everything, wouldn’t it be nice for players like Amazon (optionally Netflix too) to show them how silly that idea was? You see, I love Bethesda products, I really do, yet I also believe that gamers like the next fresh (and original) game. Consider that the top 100 of all time (by Metacritic) has a top 10 with 3 games older than 20 years and an additional 4 games that are between 10 and 19 years old, giving us that the 70% of the top 10 is 10 years or older, these numbers are in front of everyone and as far as I can tell, none of them are Electronic Arts or Ubisoft and 30% of the top 10 is Nintendo. So I have a clear case here, so why are the different board of directors pushing for some game every year, cool graphics will do the trick or perhaps having the most powerful console is the solution. As I see it, without a really good game they will not continue and that evidence is all over the place. 

So where to go after this? Well that is up to I reckon the Indie developers, they will need to choose an optional winner and in that platform create their original or remastered and revamped game. Consider that Elite was released in 1985, now the revamp called Elite Dangerous has 500,000 active monthly players. Ubisoft has plenty of successful games not being that busy, as such we can see that the old games still have appeal. OK the difference between Elite and Elite dangerous is larger than the Grand Canyon, but the foundation remained the same and that is the pull we need to consider that close to a dozen games released in the last decade could have a great revamped and remastered life on streaming even if they were not that successful in an earlier life. The difference is to truly look into a game and see what is possible. Like a sculptor to take that block of marble and chip away what is not needed and reveal the Torlonia statue and yes, it is not merely about chipping away, in some cases it is about polishing, upgrading and adding which we cannot do in a statue, but the statue could be given a shield, a sword (or trident). All options and streaming will give us a larger and adjustable stage as well. A stage where your game will be in the streaming stores for close to a decade. There are clearly options for streaming and it will not hinder consoles, the console gamers will most likely choose an additional streaming solution on the side.

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Thought for imagination

Consider the next setting, I am in the Harrods foodcourt, I feel the meat-pie as my right hand caresses the side pf the pie, I see two small basins of ketchup, I grab the knife in my left hand as I slowly use the sharp knife to cut a part of the left side of the pie. I cut through the pastry and the what I think is minced meat. It looks a little dry, but the overwhelming scent of fresh and warm meat enters my nostrils. I add a small bit of ketchup to the pie. The slice is cut in half and I slowly eat the part on my fork. My senses overwhelm with the spices in the meat, the pastry and it does not taste dry, it is an amazing experience and this is merely the first bite.

All what you saw before is true, all came from my imagination. You see I have had meat pie in the past and I envision what might be the perfect meat pie. I have been to harrods twice, but I never set foot in the food courts. Not for any particulate reason, I just never got around to it. I hope to do so in the future, but that will be part of the future that I see, or it might never happen. This is life. So what was this about?

The train of thoughts started a little while ago and that train entered the station again when I stumbled upon same article today ‘Netflix reportedly plans push into video games market’ by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jun/02/netflix-reportedly-plans-push-video-games-market). The thing that got to me was “Streaming company said to have approached game industry executives with project at early stage”, one could argue that they kill their own project by approaching Ubisoft, Ubisoft has another setting of needs and their product is what I personally would call ‘faulty at best’. Yet it is not all bad news “Netflix has been approaching senior game industry executives about joining it to lead the creation of a subscription games service, according to reports from the tech news site the Information and Reuters”, is the right sentiment, but as I see it, the safest route is to take the route Apple is seemingly taking. Games absent of in app purchases and absent of advertisements. These two elements will spell a much larger stage of doom on the industry than you know. Places like Android and iOS are now filled with phrases like “These ads are driving me insane, every level again”, and it will not be long until people have had enough. Then there is the stage of deceptive conduct in advertisements, a decently new approach to getting people to install your software. But these two elements will have a disastrous impact on gaming soon enough, and it will hit Apple as much as it will hit Google. Then there is the competition, Amazon did a lot better than I expected it would. I (personally minded) thought that it would be an easy win for Google, a tech maker if ever these was one. And it is ahead of Amazon, but I never expected Amazon to be this close to Google in the first place, as such the Amazon Luna remains in the race and there is an element that might not make Google the winner in the end. Google’s approach to exclusive games is not that impressive (as far as I can tell, they have none), Amazon Luna has acquired the knowledge it needs to make that difference. And the article repeats my thoughts towards gaming, with “However, the new offering is at a very early stage, with executives focusing on Apple Arcade as the potential competition. Users of that service, exclusive to Apple’s iPhones, iPads, Macs and AppleTV, pay a flat monthly fee of £4.99 for access to a library of downloadable games, spanning genres and target audiences. Apple sets strict rules on developers, banning them from monetising their games through in-app purchases or advertising, in order to try to keep Arcade a premium service” is the right move, but they made one mistake, a big one, there is no mention of the Amazon Luna and the Luna is in a primed spot to become the number three system behind Sony and Nintendo (yes, I have written off Microsoft to remain a competitor), so even as Netflix has the advantage of a subscription group that makes the head spin of all streaming gaming solutions, good games is where it is at, innovators and makers of original creators that is the winning combo and Netflix (might or might not) move into a field where it is not certain it will become the third position player, or what they classify in the Tour de France, the polka dot player. On the plus side (from my point of view) it will soon thereafter reduce Microsoft to the 6th position, behind Sony, Nintendo, Amazon, Netflix and Google. So as I see it, their investment $7,500,000,000 investment in Bethesda goes tits up and Bethesda is not to blame, the board of directors at Microsoft is. 

I remain a Sony person, hence my Playstation remains on its pedestal, I would say right next of the shrine of Panigale, a Ducati shrine where the executives of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati come to pray for inspiration, OK, there is no Panigale there, because I could never afford one and I am not a racer, but engineering perfection can be recognised by plenty of people, so there! Yet the stage is given, inspiration comes from excellence in creativity and that is what a good gaming provider offers. I wonder if Netflix is considering what they need to do to get there. Microsoft merely bought the IP out there hoping it would thrust them there, but they had too much against them, like the most powerful console in the world that has nothing to offer (at present). They might in the future, but with all the bad decisions haunting them, all whilst Amazon is already on the run towards an upcoming third position, they might not be in time to make a real difference anymore. All this whilst they are trying to bash xCloud streaming everywhere. They become their own worst enemy and when it happens, the people will not trust Microsoft, I see elements of that everywhere and they, what I personal regard as a push towards whatever influencer they can muster is more than a bad call. 

Microsoft (as I personally see it) forgot that good games come from the mix of imagination and creation, they used to know that, yet it seems that they forgot, I have no idea why, the wrong board member, the sentiment of revenue over substance, it could be a boatload of things, but there you have it. And Netflix? 

Well the article gives us the important stage “One key decision that has not yet been finalised is whether a game subscription service would also require Netflix to develop games itself. Apple Arcade is filled entirely by third-party developers, but other gaming subscriptions rely on first-party exclusives to drive signups.” They are hitting the nail on the head, it is the exclusives, Microsoft forgot, Google never embraced and that is the stage why Amazon Luna is in a good place, Netflix could be too. One of these two needs to get these 2-3 exclusives that no one thought about that they are locked into third position and in an industry that is about to have a relevance of 90.7 billion, with a stage that has an annual increase of 24%, it matters, the difference between third and fourth position implies the stage representing several billions, when you consider that good AAA games cost (according to some) $500,000,000 to make, but that result in a God of War with a 97% rating, it is the price of an original masterpiece and it sold over 10,000,000 copies, implying that the game close to a billion. In streaming land, that setting will be a nail driver, 2-3 games like that and people will jump on that bandwagon a lot faster than you think. So as Microsoft gave us (via sources) that they will build native games for the cloud, why would anyone buy one of those overly stated powerful Xbox’s? And in that stage, would you trust a provider who dropped the ball three times in a row to provide you with original games, all whilst they bought the talents and are trying to grow through that premise? So far Netflix might make it, but as far as I can tell, Amazon Luna is most likely primed to get there at present.

And that too will set the indie developers off into a direction, where they end up I cannot tell (it will be their choice), but there are a few indicators that it will not be in a direction Microsoft will like. As I see it, outsourcing gets you a labour force, hiring creation and imagination grants you a universe of opportunity. I will let you work out the rest.

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Vindictive eagerness

So is a person eager to be vindictive, or does that person seek vindication through eagerness, they are not the same but at times we cannot tell the difference within ourselves. Yes, there are a lot of people who are angry because Bethesda games are not coming to Sony Playstation, it is the consequence of Microsoft paying $8,500,000,000 for Bethesda and all that is around it. I get it and even though we find it a dick move, if I owned Bethesda I would have done the same. Strategically speaking it was a pretty brilliant move. So as we took notice of quotes like “Bethesda’s SVP of global marketing and communications Pete Hines offered an apology to PS5 owners, claiming that he understands the frustration, but there’s also very little that he can do about the situation. At the end of the day, it seems that the exclusivity is just part of game publisher politics!” And the man is right, it is the trump card of a system, we feel stricken because millions of gamers embraced Bethesda on their console and that got me thinking even more. I had already handed out free IP to any Sony exclusive game, but what if I add Amazon Luna to that list? You see, the idea came when I saw “Microsoft outlined the future of the Xbox platform. It was a quick focus on how we’ll be playing games rather than what we’ll be playing. Part of this new design strategy was outlined in a Q&A with Xbox head Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella” in the PC Magazine that was headed by ‘Microsoft Expands Xbox Cloud Gaming, But Streaming Won’t Replace Consoles’ and PC Magazine is right, but if we give IP to Amazon Luna (Google Stadia made a few wrong decisions), which was seen 3 days ago with ‘Ubisoft keeps Google’s ship afloat as exclusives dominate the show’, yes, if Google wants to embrace gaming mediocrity it is their choice, and even as they see it as a valid one, I do not think that relying on Ubisoft will help them that much, as I personally see it Ubisoft dropped the ball too often and has become slightly too unreliable. So it seems that the Number three spot after Nintendo might in the near future become Amazon Luna. Microsoft will remain around in gaming ranking, but it will be 4th, or 5th (more likely) position. So as I have a bit of free time, I will try to make the $8,500,000,000 invoice to seem like it was a $28,500,000,000 one, and by handing out free IP to Sony and Amazon exclusive games is one way of doing it and as I am creating novel and never seen before gaming IP, Microsoft will have to counter and that is the funny part of a vendor that buys ideas, they more usually than not are utterly incapable of creating their own (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk). 

So as I was pondering a few ideas I suddenly realised that cloud gaming comes with another benefit, games can take new directions in a much larger field. It is like handing an artist who grew its art through drawing on A4 pieces of paper, an A1 sheet. In the beginning, he might think of how much bigger his art is, then he will see that he can place 15 additional pieces of art on one sheet, yet when you combine the two thoughts, you get a very different stage and that is where cloud gaming can take you.

I created in the past a game IP (situated in Amsterdam post apocalyptic) that had a wink towards Mercenary (a very old Atari ST game), but what if we change the premise, what if the sandbox is not merely one we create, but what if we can move from sandbox to sandbox? So what if we create the algorithm that can give us Europe around 400BC, 500AD and 2700AD and 3500AD? The same for a sandbox in China, India, South America and America? Not the people, but the lay of the land. So you end up with 20 sandboxes and the gamer can try and master them all. As we set the stage to a larger frame of mind (and a larger sandbox) we now can use that same sandbox in a few stages and in several games. So far none have offered that option, because it was not part of their setting, but they never considered the advantage of a much larger piece of paper, yes you can use it for larger art, but how many considered the ability to change that one piece of A1 and turn that into 16 pieces of A4? 

Yet that was merely the land, so what next? Well that is where it takes a shine to other fields and for that I need t remind people of something called Zoids, but with caution. I never saw the manga, I only saw the toys in a shop, but it was presented to me in a different fashion, two pieces make a larger third piece and even though I thought it was novel and nice for the kids, I never gave it much thought after that, but the idea stuck in the back of my mind somewhere. So what happens when the gamer is such a Zoid and by exploration the gamer can find and salvage more and more parts evolving over time and adding abilities, requirements and staging a much larger area. There was seemingly (never seen by me) something called ‘Zoids Saga DS’, it had the right idea, but like so many other things it was seemingly a really nice idea, but it was ultimately limited by gaming and that was 25 years ago, in this stage something like the Amazon Luna or the Sony PS5 can turn that idea into something serious and as we detach area from gaming premise we can add game after game in the same sandbox, the gamer can select which sandbox he plays this on, like an adaptive RPG, the stage will no longer be depending or limited on where you are, but what you become. Gaming as far as I could tell never took that sideway towards a larger highway, so as  we are dumped in what would become Madrid, Paris or Oslo, the adaption takes a different turn and we will not have seen that part before, cloud gaming allows for that and if we can bitchslap Microsoft marketing around on what they present to be innovation compared to actual innovation we might wake up whole scores of gamers as well. In this there is an old saying: “The analyst will show you what the best direction is, the politician makes you look forward to the invoice that follows”, yet the business world has more and more adapted from actual analysts to storytellers and now they have a problem, the politician adjusted to the storyteller, yet as I offer materials and foundations to others, the storyteller can adjust for what they have, not what others get. They can merely watch it happen and that puts the politician that the company relies on in a precarious situation.

Now this is no indication that all is bad for Microsoft, they will have home-runs and they will have plenty of good days, and they are entitled to those too, yet within the next year Microsoft and their  Azure work desk will add limitations and they will set the need for gamer data and as gamers will realise that always online means something different for Microsoft as it does for a cloud game, people will catch on, they are to some degree merely a revenue asset and that is where Sony, Nintendo and Amazon can shine and win. They always treated the gamer as a gamer and they gained the revenue, Microsoft and Ubisoft saw the gamer as a revenue piggybank and as I personally see it approached them as such, the moment the larger group of gamers catch on these two will take a dive and that is why my view of Google Stadia relying on Ubisoft gets hurt in the process. As I see it, should Amazon Luna embrace the qualities of Sony and Nintendo, they will end up in third position of the gamers list, with Google and Microsoft trying to catch up. I wonder if that is what Microsoft aimed for the whole time, spend $8,500,000,000 to end up in fifth position. I do not know, I am merely speculating and created a few ideas in the process. So as I left an (intentional) gap in the thoughts I offered, have you figured out what I am seeing all whilst Google Stadia and Microsoft Xcloud rely on Ubisoft+ titles? When Ubisoft+ becomes a separate vendor, something we have seen in streaming more than once, what will become of Microsoft, Google and its gamers? Amazon Luna has an advantage and over the next year it could evolve into an impressive amount of forward momentum, a stage that could degrade Microsoft in 4th position, so the maker of the strongest console in the world is basically a year away from moving from 3rd position to 4th position in gaming. I wonder if they consider that part when they handed over $8,500,000,000. I would not be surprised if they offer PS5 gamers Xcloud and Microsoft software on PS5 in some near future. I doubt Sony gamers will trust Microsoft, but you never know. 

So as we accept that we see “Xbox has roared to life at E3 announcing 30 new games for Series X|S”, we think it is a lot, and when we see “it laid out two years of exclusives including Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and Starfield from Bethesda”, yes over two years, implying 15 a year and more important, the big guns relying on a Bethesda game now need to create a hype that is staged for November 11th 2022. 11 years after Skyrim and it is still 511 days away and a lot can happen in that time, more important, their big guns are presented a year early and we saw that happen when Bioware did that with Mass Effect Andromeda, how exactly did that end?

The old expression: “You never know how the cow catches the hare” (answer: with a fishing rod)

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