Tag Archives: Call of Duty

ABC to the rescue

In this case they came to my rescue, I was wondering what to write next. I was contemplating a movie revival, an upgraded gaming revival and some IP I was contemplating. But as I was pondering the issues. I saw an ABC article, 3 days old mind you. I had seen it on Saturday, at least someone (aka trollrensics) showed me the goods on Saturday and I giggled. Yet today I noticed the Russian response to Canada’s corrections (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-18/russia-slams-canada-un-mission-after-ukraine-letter-edits/100920686) with the headline ‘Russia slams ‘kindergarten-level libel’ after Canada’s UN group tweets annotated letter’, in this I personally find that countering the acts of a monster, treating them like children is a decent solution.

You can bomb civilian target all you want, but that does not make it OK, it merely shows the monster in you. The setting of an illegal act and those who acted in that way will have to hide within the Putin regime for all eternity, because when the reality hit the Russian people, they will not be safe anywhere on this planet. 

My issue with this thought is that it does not help the Ukraine now, now as its civilian cities are bombed, as civilians fleeing the war hazards are gunned down, as they drive away from these issues, their cars are targeted by rocket fire. And these are not figments of my imagination, there are YouTube video’s and TikTok videos out there that show what a monster Russia is. I have some issues with the oligarchs getting hit, people who might (or might not) have some say in the current Russian government. And the ‘might’ stops me currently from opposing it, but on the other side we see Ukrainians getting labelled ‘Russians’ In the US and Canada and they are getting chastised by people who cannot see the difference, a more widespread form of McCarthyism. 

So as ABC gives us “Russia has accused Canada of childishly annotating a letter it sent at the United Nations seeking support for its draft resolution on providing aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine. In a spat on Twitter, Canada’s UN mission added multiple remarks to the March 16 missive from Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia.” And lets face it hen we are given “Our draft demands all parties to respect their obligations under forces that appear to international humanitarian and human rights law,” whilst that SAME nation is bombing civilian buildings, shooting civilians in the street, deploying butterfly bombs and violently disrupting people from fleeing war-zones is their anything less we should do then ridicule the people who do this and making fun of their false trumpet (aka Vassily Nebenzia)?

And the Canadian party was clear and correct, feel free to explain the bombing of a maternity ward and 200 schools. That is beside the setting that a person who is relying on ‘international humanitarian and human rights law’ denying these laws and these settings to the Ukrainian population, and as there is now more and more evidence the Russian population as well. To be honest, I am uncertain how people who set the gears in motion to shoot unarmed civilians and children can live with themselves. So as all my readers are now getting the three annotated pages through them thousands more will see the horror that was once a proud nation, a proud nation now descended to a group of nations like Nazi-Germany (1935-1945) and those military leaders hiding behind “these were my orders” they will hang in a Nuremberg trial like setting. As evidence is growing that ever the Russians will not stomach that level of actions, these people will one way or another be dealt with. My problem is that it does not help the Ukraine now. At 60 I am too old to play Call of Duty for real, but I can shine light wherever possible to show that it is Putin who has become the new Hitler (no disrespect to Adolf Hitler), a stage no Russian would ever had seen possible that the person they fought in the streets of Leningrad is now leading the Kremlin. 

So how should Canada have acted (at least they did act)? I reckon that when this does end, and in the end it will not end well for Russia, people like Vassily Nebenzia will learn that their legacy will be to be scorned by almost all nations on the planet. This letter was merely the start, I merely hope it will not be too late for the Ukraine and its people.

At present thousands of anti Russian works of art are gracing the streets more and more. I do hope that someone is photographing the art and making sure that a book will be created where the proceeds go to the Ukrainian people. You see most of the cities of the Ukraine are now in rubble and the auction proceeds of 100 oligarchs will not be sufficient to foot that bill. It will require the Russian coffers and its taxation for well over 30 years to pay for that. I just hope that enough Ukrainians can be saved before all that comes to pass. 

So as the article gives us “Relations between Russia and several Western nations continue to plummet to new lows since the Kremlin launched its invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin claims he is engaged in a “special military operation”.” I think I will put that pot on a fire and add my own resolution. You see on the 14th of December 2021 I wrote ‘Keeping my promise, part 1.’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/12/14/keeping-my-promise-part-1/) that and the stories after that were a conceptual design to melt down an Iranian nuclear reactor and it just hit me, it is Russian design as such this method will work on EVERY RUSSIAN NUCLEAR REACTOR. Yes a bit brazen, but if proven, Russia will now have to add protection to every nuclear reactor they have and the plans are online in my blog, so have a nice day Vladimir Putin, you should never just have been afraid of the military, creative civilians can make life a lot harder for you for an eternity to come as will the stress of the 38 nuclear reactors that Russia at present has running. Will it work? I hope it does, when that does Russia will face a much harder enemy then anything the Ukraine or NATO can throw at him, the Russian people can destroy Russia from thee inside out and those in the Kremlin will not have much of an option, its own armies will turn against them. 

This Monday might not be that bad for a change. I need coffee (we all need something at times).

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The new IP, the old stage

Yes, that is the station I found myself in this morning. It was not completely new to me, I did write about it in the past (too tired to find the exact article as I have written in excess of 2250 articles at present), but the stage is a little different now. Consider war (see the TV for specifics), we know it and it is now closer to many homes than it was months ago. But we nearly always played an EA or Ubisoft version with respawning NPC soldiers. What if the setting is staged finite and no spawning all over the place? What if the stage is London, Munich, Amsterdam or Paris? A stage where you get inserted into a random location and your war-zone is a 10 block radius from there. Google Maps has nearly every detail, so do other mapping solutions. And you could be defending, escorting local civilians and giving aid. You get no choice until you get to a certain rank. How long would YOU last? It is time to teach the gaming soldiers a little realism. And when you face that you think different on Call of Duty Beachhead with high realism. That is nothing! I think some people are catching on what it is like, somehow they take more notice on events in the Ukraine than they ever did in Yemen or Syria. I like games that have NEVER be done before. A lot of my IP is set to stages never done before and that is where we optionally see a side of gaming that is totally new and innovative. Others were there before you with other games (several examples in this year alone) and I believe that this is the way to go, whether it is a console or streaming system, innovation beats iteration EVERY. Time. 

And as these systems are more powerful, we get a setting where we can launch a game like that (or kart) in our own streets, redefining gaming realism acceptance on a few levels. I remember seeing Red Dawn, the Chris Hemsworth edition (I saw both editions) and when we see one of the kids state “We are living Call of duty and it sucks”, I heard someone giggle behind me stating that this would be cool. Yes, the response of a wannabe soldier. I however was in the Middle East, I saw what Hamas did, I saw the bodies. That wakes you up real fast and perhaps a game is not the worst setting to educate people. It has been done before and perhaps it is time to unite these elements. I don’t know, is it wisdom or folly to go that way? I honestly do not. On one side I am merely creating new IP, but I want something deeper in gaming IP, and amazing story (Horizons Forbidden West) is one way to go, when it goes to stories the game Portal (by Rob Swigart) is another direction and that can be equally fulfilling. Still there is a call, not one of duty, but one of fulfilment. We all have it, we want to plant our flag, set our footprint and leave some kind of legacy. When you are a dedicated gamer, we all want to be a Sid Meier, a Peter Molyneux or a Richard Garriott. Not everyone are driven to release mutant camels and that is fair, but where we will be going (streaming systems) and what is possible is almost at the touch and I personally think it is important to push Microsoft out of this market before there way remains the only gaming-less option.  The problem is that it would have been easier if Google had taken up some form of game creation department and with the fact that gaming revenue is predicted to be $138,000,000,000 by 2023 is something that seems overwhelmingly attractive, but that is me and for now my idea to sell 50,000,000+ systems remain under lock and key (on a cloud location far far from home). But it is merely one direction and there are plenty of other directions, the revenue speculation opens those doors and even as a large chunk is set to microtransactions, the people are seemingly fed up with the EA and Ubisoft stage of microtransactions. I also gave a few other options (go look for them) and they are largely set to streaming systems. So is there an upside to THIS IP I now mentioned? No, it is merely another road one could wander, and it is here because I cannot wander them all and I am handing my ideas for free use to Amazon and Sony developers. It is a choice I made as Google decided not to create games. The old stage is seemingly fading, or at least I think it is fading, and what is around the corner is almost within reach and it will be bright and exciting, that is what I think, you might think different and rely on great franchises (like Gran Turismo) to set your beaker of desire. That is fair, gaming is what YOU want it to be, I merely want there to be alternatives for you to consider trying.

That’s how I roll.

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Supporting Sony and Amazon

There is a time when it is not about the dough (aka money), there is a time when it is about the principle of protecting the game and the gamer. And when it is supported by a civic duty to kick Microsoft in the mouth (for civic duty and personal pleasure) the money issue does not add up to much. You see, we can toss and turn over. Few coins now, but when gaming is slaughtered by Microsoft, what does that add up to in the end? 

So in support of what I wrote yesterday in ‘At it again’ I have decided that all gaming idea’s on my site are now free to use for both Sony and Amazon. I do hope that they will give me a bonus if the 50,000,000 consoles for Amazon becomes a reality, but that is not out of bounds is it? So I already created the foundation of an entirely new RPG (as I wrote earlier), so now I need to come up with an idea for something to counter Blizzard. I reckon that the Activision problem will solve itself soon enough.

This is seen in a few articles like ‘CoD Vanguard players expose ‘pay to win’ Double Barrel Blueprint after nerfs’, as well as ‘Call of Duty Acknowledges Problems With Warzone and Vanguard’, a setting that shows that with “The publisher released a statement on the official Call of Duty Twitter account, acknowledging the struggles these games have had, and its intention to move things in the right direction. Activision plans to fix as many of these issues as quickly as it can”, this indicates that the troubles brewing are not resolved, more important, they have been going on for some time and that tends to be disastrous. Even as game makers ‘hide’ behind ‘best selling in the US’ we see another flavour of “most powerful console”, which was done away easily enough by Nintendo and its “weakest of all consoles” to bash it, surpass it in sales in almost half the time. Now with Microsoft buying software houses for a total of $37,000,000,000 (most of it for Blizzard and Activision), we are introduced to “The bigger worry is that Sony is no match against its far-larger rival as gamers look beyond consoles” (source: Reuters), yet but the statement is not correctly given, is it? With “as gamers look beyond consoles”, we see the article catering to Microsoft and its advertisement budget, but the truth is that gamers always look beyond consoles, they look for the best gaming experience and so far Microsoft has disappointed too much and too often, as did Ubisoft, as did a few others. Looking beyond consoles makes sense, there is a case for both the Google Stadia and Amazon Luna, but Google does not develop games. As such the Amazon Luna has the better advantage and handing them (as well as Sony) free access to my IP works for me as a gamer and works for gamers in total. And I have always been protective of gamers. Not to mention that there is a surprisingly satisfying feeling if my RPG idea gains traction, when Microsoft Paid $7,500,000,000 for Bethesda, only to see that Sony and Amazon can bring a new competitive RPG at a fraction of the cost, not to mention the undisclosed option for Amazon to sell an additional 50,000,000 (or more) consoles on an idea Microsoft never saw coming in the first place. The idea to surpass Microsoft left, right and centre on their shortsightedness is massively satisfying and as I am considering now a Diablo like game where the stage is a combined Gauntlet like game, as well as a first person action slice and dice game, we see (in the earliest stage) that they got an additional lemon at $27,000,000,000. A stage that makes me laugh. Microsoft has the ‘lets throw money against the shortcomings we have’ and I countered it by handing over IP to Sony and Amazon that is new, fresh and optionally grows to be the equal of what they paid for at top dollar. It might not make me rich (never a priority to me), but I can fall asleep with the biggest grin knowing I pulled the carpet from under the feet of one of the biggest software companies on the planet. 

So when we look at “Microsoft will be looking to gradually lure PlayStation gamers to its own console with new content down the line.” We see subterfuge. And I feel 98.3245% certain (roughly) that my creativity can trump their subterfuge. So when we see the two parts namely “the huge bet on Activision signals the company is serious about building a virtual world beyond a console or device”, as well as “Sony is doubling down on games exclusive to PlayStation. It may have the air of a David and Goliath match-up, but Microsoft looks to be on a whole other level.” We see the courtesan move towards advertisement. Consoles have for the longest time aimed for exclusives, the Sony exclusives have proven to be exquisite masterpieces again and again. You see, THEY might tell you that gamers want “a virtual world beyond a console or device”, yet it is not gaming, it is a world of cheats, cheating and hacks and in that world there is a larger benefit for the maker to set the ‘pay to win’ environment by selling weapons and other micro transactions to fill the war-chest of its board of directors. At some point (sooner than anyone expects) the gamer will have had enough and dump these games. With the Sony games, with gaming on a console, the only cheat you get is on yourself.  But that part will not make the media, will it? Gamers will too often feel the need to chill and play the story, enjoy the world they are in, a setting that the Microsoft games will not offer. They will make lofty promises like “Activision has announced the worst punishment yet. In short, if you’re caught cheating in Call of Duty: Vanguard, you can be banned from every CoD game in the franchise.” A statement made in
November 2021. This in response to “Numerous players reported running into blatant cheaters on Vanguard on the very first day of the release.” And no one is asking the question why cheating was made so easy, so easy that it was ready on the first day of release. But I cannot find any media asking that part, and then the response ‘you can be banned’, not ‘you will be banned’, a subtle but unmistakingly difference that they are considering action, not promising that action will be taken and when the gamers get a few more of those issues, they will walk away. A good spending of 27 billion. So whilst we cannot deny that there will be a desire for virtual world combat, until you deal with the cheaters that world will be as appealing as a tax form. In this with the cheater active from day one, it seems to me that a lot more fixing is required. Darn and I was having so much fun surpassing Microsoft with creativity, all whilst common sense might defeat them before that. Because in the end it will be common sense. The common sense that gamers want to have fun, they want to exchange blows on an honest field so that s gamers they feel enabled and the last time I checked in a game filed with cheaters no one feels enabled, merely insulted and attacked on a false premise. 

So I do not disagree with Reuters on “Microsoft looks to be on a whole other level”, especially when that is set to the stage that the Microsoft level is an inferior one. Now, you are free to disagree, but consider if you go into a virtual world and there are a dozen cheaters waiting for you, how much fun will you have as a gamer? Not that much I reckon.

Enjoy the day! I am going to mull the new Diablo station a little more, the idea is taking form, but I do know it will not be easy to offer a Diablo alternative, that franchise is a really solid one. 

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The mobile reward

We love the words ‘free’ and ‘rewards’. In this I am no different. This setting all started when I was taking a look at some version of ‘merge life’ iPad game. The game starts nice enough, challenging enough and I saw the warning ‘absurd amount of advertisements’ yet initially when I started that was not really the case. So after 10-15 minutes I had reached stage 2 and the game was oddly satisfying. It was then that the advertisement wave hit me. Close to one advertisement EVERY 30 SECONDS. Yes, that was absurd and after 2 advertisements I deleted the game. But the mind took a wander and I remembered something from the AC Brotherhood time. Yes Ubisoft did do good things, even innovative things. But the idea got twisted in my mind to something more. I wrote in a previous article about games for Amazon Luna, not sure if I did this (I have written over 2000 articles). There are two stages in this.

Stage One
Board games. Most forgot about the power of board games. They are simple games, but a setting we always return to. We do not need to kill everyone (I mostly do). There is tranquility in a game of chess, a game of checkers, a game of Monopoly, a game of Backgammon, a game of Shogun (and so on). But what w forget is that most people prefer to play alone. Now, there is some need to connect to like minded people, people who just want to play a game. For them there are three options. Set up the Luna to facilitate for 2-4 players, connect to up to 3 online players and play alone with computer managed NPC’s. The powers behind consoles and streamers forgot about that, didn’t they? Now the optional connected IP is separate and for another day.

Stage Two
When it comes to rewards, Ubisoft forgot a side (it was fair enough) but when we have mobile games they could lead to a lot more visibility. For the example I will use the Fable Pub games. You play the games and you get the rewards. In the mobile game it might be about money, yet the goal is to get to the 5 star (might have been 4 star) point. When you get there you will get 2 rewards. So each game there (Keystone, Fortune’s Tower and Spinnerbox) will result in a direct reward, a weapon, or an outfit that is linked to Fable in Amazon Luna (just as an example), the second reward is a Luna Key. Each board game will get a Luna Key, so if you play 4 games, each of the 4 games will get a key. And the Luna key will open a special option. So in the examples given Chess will give you a new board and a new chess set, Backgammon will give you a new board and stones (there are Indian, Egyptian boards and stones), Monopoly will give you an NHL, NFL or other city board, Shogun has additional colours and Japanese family crests and so on. Additional rewards that can grow the interest in other games and that is beside the setting that could be offered. All stages forgotten or ignored and why? Is the setting of a Luna Key so complex? Is the setting of offering the player something more not enticing? I would think that with all the bugs Ubisoft introduced they might go overboard pleasing the customers they so often disappointed. 

The stage of giving a player more is important (and growing in need), especially now. There are the bugs the glitches, yet when you add the congestion it comes down to the choice of limiting yourself to urban players, or give rural players options to play when there are too little. There is also the need to feed the beast (the players), they need to go to work, they need to be somewhere else and setting a stage where the player can optionally play a fitting mobile game (like Ubisoft did for AC Brotherhood) where the player can play to get a new unique 5 star blade, pistol, outfit or whatever. A stage that adds to the game, not replace it, or circumvent thresholds. Offer more, offer unique and they will love the brands they embrace even more. Machiavelli stated (in some form) “There is such a gap between how people actually live and how they ought to live that anyone who declines to behave as people do is schooling himself for catastrophe” it gives the setting for leaders to adhere to needs, but there is a hidden side here. “There is such a gap between how people expect rewards and how they should see them that anyone who declines to lead as people expects them to do is schooling himself for massive setbacks” It comes down to the stage of what exactly is a reward, if it needs to be earned (not paid for) it will grow in value, and gamers are all about earning showing that they had the goods to play the game. As an example CDPR (makers of Witcher III) created an in-game game named Gwent, we got to play for extra’s and it became a separate game too, now that game makes well over a million dollars annually. People got into the game and now it is a separate game that is leading gamers to more and the gamer has become willing to pay. The setting is that it is free and as people get into it they will spend the few dollars they need to get more cards and expansions. For streamers it is not that easy. The enticement of a monthly fee needs to be there, so as games add more value, the threshold for gaming THERE lowers and people become more eager to play and will play for all the free rewards, which is an oxymoron. As gamers get more by playing, they will play more and call other people to their cause. Yet we must not forget that at times the player needs a solitary moment and as systems accomodate that, the gaming borrow will become ever more comfortable. Consider the board game Man, don’t get angry (Indian: Pachisi). A 1914 game that so far has sold more than 70,000,000 copies. Yes most in an era that is pre IBM PC XT, yet we have always returned to places of comfort, for nostalgic reasons, for the simplicity of play and for the stage of pure randomness. You see too many games are all about changing the setting of what the dice do, too many are seemingly less random than we think and within ourselves we see that, even if the brain is not detecting it yet. You think it is chance that you are one square away from winning when the ‘computer adversarial pig’ throws double six? We automatically feel that it is bad luck because we see ‘dice’ but we forget it is a computer animation and that setting is starting to bite more and more, so the power of real randomness, of a real chance to win is becoming more and more important. In this as Amazon is developing games and Google is not, they have the advantage (I do not know where Netflix stands at present). And it is up to Amazon to create the most comfortable burrow (read: man cave) we can have before the competitors catch up. For now they are all about ‘Let Ubisoft do the cool stuff’ (glitches included), it is about comfort levels, especially in gaming. Niccolò Machiavelli wrote about this in 1513 (yes over 500 years ago). The greed driven seem to ignore it, the lesson was quite clear and whilst the greed driven come up with more versions of some form of Antón Castillo we can just investigate the list and see that games like Call of Duty did make $20 billion, but it is a mere 20% of what Pokemon made and Pokemon for the most is Nintendo only. There is an upside to tailoring to fun, it is what the people want and it is a lesson Microsoft (Sony too) have forgotten to much, too easily and too completely and it makes Nintendo the real threat to Sony, Amazon could go a similar route and surpass Microsoft more easily than they think (the fact that Microsoft is often in denial helps too). 

As I see it the consoles (streaming or not) is one, yet the ability to correctly connect a mobile or tablet has a lot more going for it than most realise and as that link is more and more visible the connected system (console or streamer) will reap additional rewards as well.

Just a thought, enjoy the day.

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Between fact and speculation

There are two parts in all this. The first is fact, the second is speculation, the facts come from what we know and have seen. First fact given by the BBC is that the PS4 has so far sold 108 million worldwide, the Xbox 49 million, which is 3 million less than the Nintendo Switch, The PS4 and Xbox both started in 2012. The Nintendo in 2017, surpassing the Xbox in half the time. As such, that so-called strongest console was surpassed by the weakest console and in 4 hours we get to see what the new PS, the PS5 will bring us. In all this there is no surprise for me, I saw this coming in 2016, and as the Xbox One X showed us the face of Microsoft and their short sightedness, I saw how they would lose the market more and more, even as Microsoft is trying to create hype after hype, selectively giving us missing information, the consumers are waking up to the colossal error that Microsoft has become and I firmly believe that it is about to get worse. If it was up to me I would direct Google and Apple towards alternative paths making Microsoft the system in 4th or even 5th position. I am that mean at times. 

Speculation

Speculation is another path, yet that is not about the hardware, that is set to the business practices of Activision and Ubisoft. To give you the example, I have been an Elite fan since its release in 1985, In 2016 it was on early release on the Xbox and it was pretty much the ONLY reason I got it. The game is still fantastic and since that point, over 3 years, the game has had a speculated 53 updates, the last one 3.4 GB, Ubisoft released AC Odyssey in 2018 and has a speculative 54updates, the last one 24 GB, almost 800% of the Elite Dangerous one. Activision seems to have a new record, Call of Duty has seemingly a 85 GB patch. That is way too massive and games on the PS5 will end up being larger, a lot larger. Under that given situation, the entire patch system needs to change. Ubisoft especially (Breakpoint 38 GB, AC Odyssey 2 GB) is a setting that gamers will no longer accept, it is a little bit ridiculous that Ubisoft cannot properly test its games. The AC series especially has shown a lack of proper testing, yet that will dwarf in both the PS5 and Xbox X series life. Under the new setting, the makers can hide behind ‘everyone has broadband’ and ‘there is unlimited download’, yet it is clear that rural Germany and France are not on the big internet page and the entire Coronavirus work at home part with congestion all over the place, in the same setting whilst players like Netflix is pushing 4K series more and more, the entire mess of congestion will only increase. Players like Ubisoft will not survive the quality they have brought so far and there is no doubt in my mind that both Sony and Microsoft will have to protect their player sooner rather than later. This is the speculative part and we will hopefully learn more in 4 hours when Sony gives us the works on the release of the PS5. The time of  release is nearing more and more. As I see it, it is a mere 22 weeks away and some will have to save up for both a 4K 125Hz TV as well as the PS5. As I see it, Sony is extremely likely to have a massively great 2020 soon enough and an even better 2021. None of this matters to Nintendo, it will work great on the new TV and they have already surpassed Microsoft, who will need the largest part of 2021 just to break even with the weakest console. They are not in a good place and whatever hype they create, it will not look good, yet that is still speculative of me and I hope to be proven right no later than March 2021. 

Gaming is about to change and we are only hours away from seeing it ourselves. 

 

 

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Open Targets

We all have that point in time when we see a person we know, and when we see that person, we wished we had a paintball rifle, that person is the target. That person optionale did nothing wrong, it is a variant to “Slap your annoying coworker day”. I feel certain that more than one person had me in mind and that is probably why my title as ‘certified psychopath’ gets me out of hot water. Iget it, I tend to be goal driven and I have zero regard for diplomacy (most of the time), yet it also works in opposition. I get annoyed when some boss gives me the run around instead of giving me the direct message. There is nothing as hateful as a manager keeping you on a leash instead of giving the bad news up front, which he has had for 3-4 hours. So wasting time on long rides whilst the short message would have changed the dynamics towards the goal. 

Yet the larger issue is not the manager, it is me. I am aware that I have flaws and faults (we all do), yet I present the flaw as a strength, and that is where things get dicey at times. I feel that I am on the right path, but I also understand that those drowning in diplomacy have a case. In this setting we look at Ubisoft, it is hit hard by the Rainbow Six clone (I would call it a rip off), and Apple and Google are actually in hot waters over the entire setting. This is nothing less than copyright infringement. This is a lot more than a clone, this is more than some copy lookalike. Several people, or better stated, several gamers could not tell the difference ad that is a bad thing. Ubisoft has many flaws, but in the titles they believe, they have pumped cash into them and Rainbow Six is an important IP revenue for them. As such the game Area F2 is a much larger concern and the impact on Alibaba will also be significant. It is my issue here that I fail to see how Area F2 even made it onto the App sites in the first place. And that is before we take a look at the Nintendo app store. There is a larger flaw and even as I enjoy slapping Ubisoft, I am also protective of games and Ubisoft does deserve every bit of protection here. There is a larger stage, not merely of what is missed, but of the things we see that require a larger consideration, apart from Alibaba getting every bit of software scrutinised, before it is allowed online. The larger stage is how can we prevent this larger stage exploding. In today’s stage we see that videogames get the initial 30-60 day joust for revenue and that leads to a 60-120 day revenue boost. Basically Area F2 screwed that up for Rainbow Six and they should pay for it, optionally using the Alibaba credit cards. In today’s stage it will be a massive invoice, and as I personally see it, Ubisoft is entitled to those funds. The stage for Alibaba changes even further when we consider the historic stage that Call of Duty and Medal of Honour had, they looked alike but were different in several ways and it kept both alive. In this stage where people cannot tell the difference between Area F2 and Rainbow Six siege there is a much larger and a different stage. Copyright infringement is not new, not even in gaming, but the fact that people cannot tell the difference is pretty new and very unique, and I wonder what play will be set in motion to stop this from happening again, in all this, I do believe that Alibaba will take a large hit to their value, I personally believe that Ubisoft has all the rights it can to divert damage to its IP and let it all be paid by someone name Ali Baba

It reminds me of an old publishing joke, you see the book ‘Ali Baba and the 40 thieves’ was politically incorrect, it was republished as ‘Ali Baba and the 40 fighters for the Palistinian cause’. I wonder how it sounds when the third edition is staged as ‘Alibaba and the 40 game programmers’, yet in all this it is still early days, I will keep my eyes on the court case, because the impact will be a lot larger than most of us can imagine. The only thing I wonder about is how they got it looking alike so fast, there seems to be a factor of intent in all this, so there is every chance that Alibaba will go to court against the people who made Area F2. 

 

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Value of original gaming IP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Can you figure it out?

Let’s play a game, let’s play the game called ‘Can you Figure it out?‘ In this case a very numbers worthy game has been called to attention twice before, so let’s have a look especially with Black Friday coming up (in about 4 weeks). Let’s play it shall we?

Breakpoint, normal PS4 edition is $37.88

Breakpoint, Steelbox Gold edition XB1 $95.68

Breakpoint, Gold edition PS4 $59.56

Breakpoint, normal edition XB1 $62.77

Breakpoint, XB1 digital code $59.99

 

Can you figure out the 5 prices? And they all come from the same vendor, Amazon! This is a game that had the enormous flaws, the design weaknesses and the discussion issues, Having two bare prices would have been enough, one for XB1, one for PS4, although they too should have been driven across the fold, and what is that about a code for downloading? Why is it priced differently? OK, that latter part is fair enough I think, yet it shows just how unremarkable the Microsoft download is. A game that should be 100% prices until the end of the year no longer is and it will be getting worse up to Black Friday, now 4 weeks away.

I expect Breakpoint to go down a few notches in price, the initial price setting has become that much of a debate, with Ubisoft it has become a buyers’ market, they decided not to learn. Then there are the lightning errors, to see through the window of a bunker has a better light differential, then to just be outside. There are a few more that I noticed, but there could be an alternative approach to events, so I keep my cool.

However, one of the posters on YouTube gave an interesting view (for PC) that he had to lower the resolution to 1080p to deal with the performance of the game, so this game might not be actually playable (on any decent resolution) on anything but a PS Pro, or a Xbox X version (mere speculation by yours truly).

And still, beyond all the facades, beyond all the versions and mapping issues, this as well as the later far cry versions are as close as a playable version of Midwinter as this is going to be. Yes, for some that title is a revelation, but it is what it amounts too, a version that is as close to as the original in a version that is as crazy as possible. Yet in all its shape and all its flaws it is what the player is willing to pay for it, that is the game that Ubisoft invited, that is what ‘failed to complete‘ enticed. An AI that is esteeming below what an AI should offer, and that is merely in game vision, apart from that the colliding parts of one person against simple events like a barricade, or a wall.

In the end, the game that should have been a whopping 75%-90% was merely a 56% by metacritic; PC Gamer (probably because of the resolution issue) gave it a mere 40%, that is the consequence of not properly testing a game before release, if the entire Call of Duty path is part of their decision, the entire matter becomes a larger hoax. And that is not even the largest issue, the larger issue is that we stopped anticipating a 85%-95% game from Ubisoft, so any Ubisoft game will have a lower expectation, from the lower starts of -10% to a maximum of -15% away from the 100% of a near perfect game should be regarded as. That is what they are now fighting for, with Watchdogs: Legion being a game with a rating no more than 70%-85%, the revenue that it should promise will abstain, people will wait for the 50% discount, that is what Ubisoft will be fighting. The eternal fight against average, in case of Ubisoft it will be most likely a rage against average and avarice. For a lot of ‘fans’ it is a rather large problem, I was looking forward to Legion, so the anticipation of that game being within certain levels (an 80%+ game) is rather important and I am considering that Ubisoft will try to make it a game that is over 75%, the problem is that to understand this slide of quality is to expect us to figure out what Yves Guillemot will do.

No matter what their decision will be, it will be out of our hands and in the hands of a reacting population of gamers that have had enough and that is the part that is still willing to consider Ubisoft and do not go directly to Activision’s Call of Duty.

From this point until the end of the year will be intense for Ubisoft, but they did this to themselves, no one can tell us any different on that.

 

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The Saint’s parcel

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

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

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

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

Well they didn’t!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Drop the Mike, Ashley!

Welcome to the issues on a man that I do not know. This is not the most straight-forward of starts, yet the man who has been valued more than once and that verdict is several thousand stacks of £1,000,000. The man who owns Newcastle United, which means he gets the swanky seat in the stadium. Now, we can understand that this man founded Sports Direct. When you get enthusiastic about sports, you can bet that it will be part of your life. There is no denying it and as it became a good success, I would state ‘good for him’. Yet, the focus on him started in an entirely different way. It started with him getting in on the videogame action by getting a near 26% stake in the franchise ‘Game‘. That brand did not go well here in Australia, yet I always found it to be a decent store and the people working there knew their games and consoles. I have seen them in the UK as well and a similar feeling remained on that experience. Here it did not go well as they were up against EB Games (who grew aggressively at that time) and JB Hifi that was an established chain of quality stores, so they had a murder competition, they did not make it (for the most). Yet all this is now in play when I read “Mike Ashley swoops on video games retailer after profit warning forced by shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles“, this is a weird issue. We get ‘profit warning‘ in regards to a situation of shortage. Basically the story becomes, we are short on revenue/profit because we can’t get any more consoles, they are sold out, and everyone wants one! Which at present is pretty much the truth of the desire of people and their need for the Nintendo Switch, it is actually THAT amazing.

The result was “Game shares rose by more than 15% to 28p on the news, and later traded at 26.5p (up 9.3%), giving it a market value of £47m“, apart from the 28p not sounding like that impressive, it is the end result of +9.3% that is staggering. You see, I have issues with the entire part where ‘profit warnings‘ are labelled in the way they were. You see, the entire mess (as reported) gives no clue on the actual situation (well, the one as I personally see it), I do not care how people quantify one way or the other; it is the addressing of profit warnings.

I offer in evidence the following pieces

Part 1, Sony (at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2017/01/03/uk-2016-sales-chart-2016-game-sales-down-13-infinite-warfare-the-2-best-selling-game-of-the-year/) gives us ‘UK Sales Chart: 2016 Game Sales Down 13%, Infinite Warfare the #2 Best-Selling Game of the Year‘. In this we see: “The major titles of 2016 also disappointed when compared to 2015’s, with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (the second biggest title of 2016) lagging 31.5% behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. In other comparisons, Watch Dogs 2 fell just short of the 500,000 copies Assassin’s Creed Syndicate sold in 2015, Steep performed worse than Rainbow Six Siege, Gears of War 4 couldn’t reach the heights of Halo 5, and Final Fantasy XV was outsold by Just Cause 3.” For those who do not talk games, let me boil it down to the first item is that overall less games were bought. In my personal view, the overall quality of games was not great. Even as Watchdogs 2 was a good step up from the previous game, yet many gamers felt too burned by the first game. I believe that the second game was good, it has online and offline options and people were not forced to go online here. Regarding the other title, I am not a fan of Call of Duty, I know many are. the fact that a game like that became ‘the’ game is not entirely on the fact on how good their Infinite Warfare was, it is more that the other games were way below the line. The fact that the last four larger releases this year alone could be bought for 50% down, including the special editions with figurines is also a changing trend. People are less willing to just shell out the cash for games, reviews are more competitive and even though there are really good reviewers, there are a lot more really bad reviewers and they tend to get plenty of exposure. Yet in the end, the games were for a larger extent not up to snuff. The reviewers ‘deserve’ extra attention as some are more and more about the larger players, whilst some of the true gems have been largely ignored by plenty of people. Nioh is perhaps one of the most visible ones. Like Infinite warfare it is a specific game. I actually like this game, but I loathe the challenge it contains at times (they are really hard games). Some saw that is was some Dark Souls games and plenty of people ran for the hills as this is a game for actual gamers, not for wannabe’s. In my view there are several similarities, yet the only thing that the game Nioh truly has in common with Dark Souls III was its graphical excellence.

So here we see two elements that would push any revenue down.

Part 2, Pushsquare. At http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2017/01/ps4_physical_game_sales_increase_as_uk_industry_suffers_blow, we see more confirmation: “Overall sales down 13.4 per cent“, the mere subtitle and the direct impact that matters, less sales overall, this is not entirely correct, but I will get to that in a moment. The next quote is, as I personally see it wrong, but still essential. With “Bethesda’s Dishonored 2, for example, couldn’t come close to matching the success of Fallout 4, while Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV somehow failed to outsell Just Cause 3.” My issue is that no matter how you slice it, Dishonored 2 is a little bit of a niche game, more intent for those who love stealth gaming (me being one), it is graphically superb, the game is a little steampunk in a very good way, but for the most, it is highly original and exquisite in quality. It is not fair to compare it to a game that has millions of followers and has been revered since its original release (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC) on 11/11/11, the date that some will carry with them for all time. An established success that was bought on the console be new players as well as nearly everyone who had the previous version. The game is good for months of gameplay, so a game that sells itself due to 5 years of raving reports. The second is equally unfair. I myself was never a FF fan, but I have always admired the originality and scope of the stories and the near perfection each game brought. Even I am surprised that Just Cause 3 outsold it, perhaps merely because of the over the top explosions and things you can do with the game? I cannot tell what the exact reason is, yet the second part implies that the gamers are diversifying in different directions, changing the gaming requirement. It is almost like there is a new generation taking over the baton of gaming and it has different tastes.

Yet he best is left for last, in part 3 we see Retail Week

The mention (at https://www.retail-week.com/sectors/entertainment/game-issues-profit-warning-as-uk-sales-falter/7022184.article), where we see “The specialist retailer, which posted a slump in its interim profits in March, said anticipated supply in the UK of the latest Nintendo console had failed to meet expectations, negatively impacting overall sales“, is a first issue. In this the mention ‘anticipated supply‘ beckons the question, so did you order enough or not? As the experts, you should have seen the impact it would make. The E3 and other events clearly showed that Nintendo was blowing both others out of the water. In addition we see “alongside ongoing poor sales of Xbox and PlayStation devices“, now we can argue about Xbox for several reasons, so let’s take this out of the equation, the PlayStation part gives the issue. Overall sales of the PS4 and PS4pro are still up by a decent amount, so it now becomes a shifting focus, but I will get to that soon.

For now I will end with the quote “The group continues to actively implement its UK action plan, encompassing improved supplier arrangements, enhancements to the customer experience, further operational progress including cost reduction programmes and disciplined cash management“, yet will not address it yet. Let’s take a look at three more elements.

The first is from the Business Insider which gives us “Sony sold 10 million PlayStation 4 consoles between early May 2016 and December 6, 2016. That puts sales in the neighbourhood of over 1 million sold every month, which keeps it locked in as the fastest-selling PlayStation console of all-time

The second is again from PlayStation Lifestyle with “Taking a deeper look at software last year in the UK, Games Industry points out that nearly 80% of all boxed games sold last year were either on PS4 or Xbox One (up from 66% in 2015)

The last is G24/7 where we see (at https://www.vg247.com/2016/11/14/ps4-console-sales-have-tripled-in-the-uk-following-the-launch-of-the-ps4-pro/) “Sony’s PS4 Pro launched at the end of last week and has had quite the impact on PS4 console sales. According to MCVUK, PS4 sales for the week ending Saturday, November 12, were up 204%. 65% of the total PS4 sales last week were for the PS4 Pro, while the final sales figure for all PS4 consoles was 44% higher than those for the Xbox One.

Now we put the whole together!

We know that sales were massive end of year 2016, especially with a new console and Christmas coming up, all that makes sense. We can also clearly see that overall, the consoles represent the bulk of all game sales. This partially makes sense because that is what we see as flagships in pretty much any gaming store, PC owners have a lot more options to buy in other places and at times a lot cheaper and there is Steam to consider, so that part remains an unknown and as such a much lesser impact to these stores (apart from the selling of steam credit). The fact that the PS4 is surpassing the previous consoles, is debatable (PS2 sold over three times the amount in its life time), yet the overall market trend is that games should be on par and were up by a fair bit last year. So when we go back to the initial start with “Video game retailers have been particularly badly affected by the broader shift away from the high street in recent years, with developers moving to increase their own profit margins selling games as direct downloads“, which we get from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/172c3ba1-e880-35e8-9273-957e325cd7f4?mhq5j=e3).

In this there is debate, yet he part no one touches on is how the expectations were set, what they were weighed on and on the given image that sales were down, which had been an upcoming known for close to 2 quarters of a year. The part that the Financial Times gives us is that direct downloads are playing more of a role nowadays. It actually impacts the industry in 2 ways. Apart from buying directly, the additional issue is that consoles have a premium service; most gamers take that because of online gaming and the fact that both systems offer at least 2 free games a month. Microsoft was initially really bad with that (lousy games or games everyone had), they are still not great, yet this month it includes Lego pirates of the Caribbean, which is actually a nice and decent game (and not a large download in console terms). Sony beats Microsoft here hands down with titles like Until Dawn and Life is Strange. In all this both offer decent free games, with a bonus for Sony people as their account will also enable them to get free games for their Vita handheld, all that for around £50 per year, the premium service sells itself to both consoles without any difficulty. All elements that shows the impact of a bad year of games, not consoles, the overall quality of games gives rise to people deciding to just download an average game instead. The interesting part that even as Ubisoft lagged in a few ways, the one game what was awesome in many ways, ‘For Honor’ actually did not do that well, which is a mixed signal that multiplayer games are wanted, yet without a strong one player side, it tends to not make the cut in a top 10, which would be unfairly devastating on the makers I think. All elements that the analysts in this case should have known and realised and as such, when we see ‘would not meet expectations‘, my question becomes: “the expectations of whom and on what foundations?” Now we get to the part I skipped.

With “The group continues to actively implement its UK action plan, encompassing improved supplier arrangements, enhancements to the customer experience, further operational progress including cost reduction programmes and disciplined cash management” I wonder what we are being served.

  • Did they call short because they did not keep an eye on running costs, what arrangements would be needed with suppliers? Were they not up to scrap?
  • Even more customer experience? Were the current settings and anticipations of the competitor not up to scrap?
  • Disciplined cash management? Is cash not managed correctly?

The feedback we got from Game, directly below the image of a sort of smiley ‘Game CEO Martyn Gibbs on the merits of in-store gaming arenas‘ is one that leaves us with the thoughts that Game is going down because they are not on the ball of the game, and the game is passing them by? So in all this Mike Ashley merely flying in to pick up a bargain? In this he better realise fast that Game has an issue and more than one potential issue in play, he also needs to realise that the Games market is a shifty one and in the years before the publishers see clear to push a bigger load to online sales in the next 5 years (depending on where you live), we better consider that top games is a market in motion and it is likely to see a shift that Microsoft and Adobe made some time ago on PC’s, it is not a change that gamers are currently happy with, but it is one that the next generations of consoles will likely face, the game shop is seen as the middle man and they are trying to cut it out to maximise it for their own need to please whatever stakeholders they report on. It is early days now, but in 5 years it won’t be.

In the aftermath we actually need to look where I normally do not go. It is the Telegraph, in this case the business section, where (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/30/game-warns-profits-will-substantially-expectations/) we see the generic parts like “following its third profit warning“, we know that Christmas was weak (to some extent), yet in equality when you consider the previous information, the issue is not entirely just ‘weak Christmas‘, it is merely a much stronger competition to some extent and the fact that the cost of living in metropolitan UK seems to be ignored by analysts and those who speculate on how it would (read: should) be. The issue that is stronger is “The shares nosedived to just 21p on the back of the profit warning, valuing the business at £35.6m only two years after it was floated at 200p a share by US hedge fund Elliott Advisors” as well as “Elliott cashed in £101m at the time of Game’s stock market listing by selling a stake and made a further £59m by dumping a further 10pc of its stake just three months afterwards, despite agreeing to a lock-up period of six months” which now also implies that Game got played and not in such a nice way. Yet the bulk of all the sources do not give any clarity of the part that Elliott Advisors was playing, even the Financial Times steered clear of that part. In this, I am now also questioning the setting as given to Game and its senior management. Even as CNBC is giving the notion that Paul Singer, CEO of Elliott Management is just the best invention since Frozen Yoghurt (if we are to believe places like Forbes, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal), I wonder what price we can see the UK pay for getting played to the extent it is getting by the US Hedge market, in that regard should we allow for any US company coming in under false pretences and flood the market so that they can drain the profit quickly and walk away? It seems to me that they tried that in the Netherlands with Akzo Nobel, which had the great benefit of Elliott Management failing (for now), but it shows the extent that as a shareholder Elliott Management will go to get their profit, it seems to me that Game was not nearly as lucky and the fact that the different levels of publications left that side seemingly in the dark corners of ‘them not printing that part‘ is also upsetting (to me even more upsetting is the part that the Telegraph actually did get that info out). The fact that Game has been seemingly under exploitative attack does not diminish the issues as given by some of the publishers by the quotes, Game got caught out, which under the current size and the possible level of possible losses is a dangerous place to be in.

In all this, I am aware of things, but not as much as a person like Mike Ashley would be, so is this his triumph with Game, should we see this as a mere quick victory to see if he can get more out of this than Paul Singer’s place did, or is it an actual rescue and grow attempt? I am not implying one or the other, but as you see the presented evidence, there are a few issues with Game and I believe as such they were set up as the weak runt in the market, whether this will happen twice in a row is something I have no way of telling and I am not implying anything wrong, immoral or illegal. The entire mess is not completely shown by some players and that is what seems to be the actual issue. I remain in an attempt to be protective of the places that feed my need for gaming and there is a positive in having a diverse and competitive market. It guarantees to some degree I get the best games at the sharpest price, which is what every gamer wants, there is no exceptions to that rule.

 

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