Tag Archives: FIFA

Victimising criminals

OK, this is not the latest news. I got the news 2 days ago, but I was slightly too angry to deal with Zoe Kleinman directly. It all started with ‘My son spent £3,160 in one game‘, the headline was already an indication that I was dealing with a stupid person, which in itself is not a crime, yet when we are given: “I have a 22 year-old disabled son, who has cerebral palsy, complex epilepsy, autism, learning difficulties and the approximate cognitive ability of a seven-year-old child. He is unable to do any bilateral activities so relies heavily on his iPad and PlayStation for entertainment and educational activities

Yes, there is always some excuse and the dog ate my homework is right there on top reasoning here. ‘He has recently been playing a game on his iPad called Hidden Artifacts‘, yes this is part one and part 2 is “He has been charged £3160.58 between 18 February and 30 May 2019, clearing out his entire savings“.
It is an interesting excuse because the question: ‘How do I block purchases on my iPad?‘ is answered in three steps:

  1. On the iOS device, open the Settings screen. Tap General, and then tap Restrictions.
  2. Tap the option to Enable Restrictions. Enter and then re-enter a Restrictions passcode.
  3. By default, all of the apps and services are allowed. To disallow in-app purchases, tap on its button.

So, people can download free games, play free games, but cannot spend money to purchase. The fact that this is not a new answer but it has been there for years, moreover, I still have the very first iPad and the functionality is there too makes this a bit of a cry story. Unlike the previous story on FIFA (which I am about to get to), this was about a person’s savings and as the person is in the described situation, it could have been prevented if the parents were more on the ball, the fact that there is no casual investigation of his bank account on a weekly basis, to check if nothing funny was going on is also a parental failure to some degree.

The basic foundation that there is no ‘free’ in free gaming does not appear to sink in to the minds of people who think that gaming should be free, there is always a price to pay, it is either through captured data, or it will be through micro transactions. We can agree that many do not use that option, and they will stop soon thereafter as the frustration algorithm kicks in making the game harder and harder. Some will spend some cash and then there are a few that go overboard. Yet in all this the makers did nothing legally wrong, they should have set the limit to max spending to look better, but they did nothing wrong, the parents failed in this case and the parents keep on failing to a much larger degree.

It is the second part that is more striking. We are introduced to EA NBA, where we get: “He used my bank card and I didn’t realise until I had a payment declined. He accessed the app via Google Play. EA made no response to me and Google Play has a disclaimer about kids using parents’ bank details without permission“, so this 16 year old stole from his parents and the parents lets the other kid pay for it. OK, that was slightly unfair, but the case remains, this is a simple case of theft and EA has no blame here.

Yet there is another side, and it is found in the same article by Zoe Kleinman. Even as the stage is almost the same, in one case, the case of that dastardly Mini Golf King, we see an important fact that is important. The game was classified as PEGI 3, now we have something to slap the makers (and Google) with. The law could force a change that in game purchasing cannot be allowed to games that are below PEGI 12, so the games that are PEGI 3 and PEGI 7 should not have any in game transactions, other than rewards for watching advertisement. In this the Pan European Game Information failed its consumers miserably and that could have been avoided. Although I am willing to put some question marks at the quote: “this game successfully tricked him into spending £300 on in-app purchases“, the stage of deceptive conduct towards minors should be investigated by PEGI and Google, if it is supported the game should be barred and pulled, also, the change towards PEGI 3 and PEGI 7 should be made immediately. We can definitely argue that these two PEGI ratings (with a green background, to make it seem safer) should not have anything resembling in game purchases, other than optional additions that much be bought at a one-time price (like mulligan refresh every 24 hours), I am certain that parents will have no issue adding the £1-5 as a one-time expense. The truth is that no game is ever free and that should be advocated much louder.

FIFA

Yup time to go back to FIFA, there are two points, the first thing is that you cannot make EA guilty by victimising your little criminal. Although in this particular setting there is a sage of doubt whether they were fully aware, but it seems that they knew they did something wrong. As we see: “Mr Carter, from Hampshire, admits that he did not take full precautions to limit access to his Nintendo account: he did not use a unique Pin number and the emailed receipts were sent to an old email address with a full inbox“, I am on the side of the parent to some degree. Yes, this was an error in judgement and we all have them, I for one once fell for the witch Teresa Palmer until I learned that she married the actual original Scott Pilgrim 5 years ago. You see that is a guy who went up against the world to get one girl, I salute him, to the victor goes the spoils, and as I looked into the eyes of that witch one more time (they were sapphire blue, sniff sniff) I moved on.

We all make errors in judgement to the father I advice that never use a credit card, just buy some credit for the game, you can buy system credit for Nintendo Switch for Microsoft Xbox, and for Sony PlayStation, ranging from £20 to £50, you can buy in game stuff, renew subscriptions, buy DLC and at no time are your credit card details out in the open. All five (Apple and Google have that too) they had this option from almost the very beginning and it allows you to limit expenses and keep your details safe, a solution that works well, most articles never mentioned that part, did they?

Then there is the other part, where we see all the fire and hardship on kids trying to buy Lionel Messi, all criminals that are being victimised. And I particularly like it on how the BBC phrases it: ‘the contents are only revealed after payment is completed‘, it makes the BBC equally deceptive. When I see phrases like: “A 32-year-old FIFA player from the UK spent more than $10000 on FIFA in two years without realizing it“, I merely see a stupid individual that has no concept of purchase, no concept of value and no regard for credit cards (or his credit rating), he was his own worst enemy and he is not alone, in all that EA was not to blame, we are responsible for our actions.

Explain!

I myself am not a soccer fan, I always saw it as two monkeys in a cage and 20 fools chasing some ball, OK this is not my most eloquent moment, I admit. I am into real games (NHL) and the FIFA card setting is there too, yet like in the other games there might be differences between these two.

As I know it, FIFA gives a daily gift though logging in: “Every day you do it, you get free coins or a free pack. If you forget to log in you lose the offer of that day. The daily gift expires every day at midnight (UK time) and then it starts a new one“, it is different from NHL where you get a free pack every 8 hours. However, every pack has a token, and over a month these tokens give you a bronze, a silver pack and a gold pack. Every pack will have something and a random amount of coins between 100 and 1250 coins (largest amount I ever got). Within 3 months I had every NHL jersey (both home and away), every stadium, as well as all the NHL goalie masks and of course a truck load of players. Over time I got the jerseys from the Canadian League and a few more and I never had to spend anything. I could, but did not have to do that. On the other side, I have no real legendary players to speak off (I have around a dozen 90+ players), none of the Capitals (My favourite team). Am I upset? No! I have a great game that is fun to play, some parts I do not like, but plenty are great fun and NHL 19 is the best of them all (some dekes are just too finicky, I did not like that part), but overall a great game. I reckon that FIFA is similar. In addition, by playing the game, I unlock coins (no charge) and players, OK you need to get your game up, but those players come at no expense. Now there is a part I did not like in FIFA, you can buy an ultimate addition, which was $10-$20 more at the beginning, however it was digital only and it did include 2 gold packs a week for 20 weeks, each pack had 26 cards, 3 rare cards and a minimum of 6 players that times 2 every week for 20 weeks, so it is worth the extra, I merely hate digital downloads (this is just me), there is of course always a side to nag about and that is fair, but it is still value (for some) and more important it is not gambling!

How so, no gambling?

To explain this, we need to make two jumps, the first is to card games this entire concept was started by Wizards of the Coast with a game called Magic. In case of their other game Netrunner we see a box are 36 packs, each pack has one rare, 4 uncommon cards and 10 common cards. Consider that the game has 374 cards, 100 rare, 125 uncommon and 149 common cards. So in that setting 3 booster boxes, would make a complete set, the truth is no, but for the most it fits. 36 rare cards and three boxes means 108 rare cards, yet you will get doubles, so you need to find another person to switch rare cards and complete your set. The math also plays a part, you have one rare, but 1% of a chance (1/100) to get a specific rare, and in the end you get 108 times 1% (which is not 108%) to get a specific complete set. In this case the amount of uncommon and common cards you get will be completed 98% for certain (commons 100% complete). There is a chance you might miss out on 1-5 uncommon cards, but they are usually easy to swap, it is the rare cards that make for the difference.

So, why is it not gambling?

Because you always win, you always get cards and you always get the same distribution, so those with plenty of fellow friends who play will get their collection complete, it is not the one player buying the three boxes, it is the 50 players doing that who play the same game that level the playing field. It becomes gambling when the booster pack is empty and you only get a ‘thank you card‘, that never happens, you always got the 15 cards and the same can be said for FIFA and NHL. The packs you buy will always have a distribution, have certain content. the fact that it might not have Messi, Pele, Cruijf, Beckham or Bale, but you get players, players that you can trade, yet there will always be an issue, not every player will get a Messi, there are 211 countries connected to FIFA, 11 players per team, which gives us 2321 players. Now we get it that not all countries are in FIFA 19, but you are starting to get the picture, if every nation has 2 legendary players, or one player and one goalie, we are looking at one hell of a collection you need. And FIFA 19 is true to its word, it has 30 leagues and over 700 playable teams, so we have a setting of well over 1400 players that the bulk will want and desire. Now, we get that Scandinavians have no interest in some of the Latin teams, but you bet your life that they all want the classical Pele (nowadays Suarez/Maradona) card. This creates another mess on a few levels and even as it is not gambling there is a collector’s pressure in play.

Media is guilty, EA too

The media is also guilty of propelling this pressure, not in the least with the accusations and pressing for a larger visibility of criminals being placed as victims, the game intensifies when you look at the hundreds of YouTubers adding pressures for their own need for visibility following and reputation. You merely have to search FIFA 19 in YouTube to see the mess it creates by the vocals of subjectivity on what they think is fair and not, what is sic and mundane. This all creates an unreal dimension of fake imagination. And in all this EA tries to create hype after hype and becomes the evil it should be preventing. In addition, we see a lack of exposure by the media on that part on a few levels.

So as we look at the origin of CCG cards, we learn from the very beginning that these games all have checklists, so that you know what you have, and what you are missing. EA never gave out that list; as such they are propelling the stage that works against them. Not one list of what cards there are, merely what is optionally in a pack. EA should have been clear upfront on which cards are in the game, and they have (as far as I can tell) never done that, yet when they propagate their 700 teams, they should have added digital checklists and on which players are bronze, silver and gold and we do not see that part. EA failed its fans!

EA should have set up a Wiki page from day one, giving us lists too download so that we can see what is what, but they also realise that the list will blow he socks off every player realising the daunting task and there for did not do that (as far as I could tell). That is perhaps the one deceptive part on the side of EA as I can tell.

So why the card reference?

The origins are important, it makes us comprehend where it all came from and in this specific case, Wizards of the Coast, there is also another side, it is seen with the game Netrunner.

That game was re-released as Android Netrunner with a big difference. The starter kits and expansions are all identical. So as you buy an expansion you got all the cards, no rare cards, no uncommon cards and no common cards, the base set has a set and the expansions (one box with 60 cards) ever month, so as long as you had the expansion, you had every card and you all had a level playing field, even as some tactics would never require any additions, having the additions allowed for tactical options you might really like. So as EA switches from one set to another, selling a factory set of KNVB (Dutch), AllSvenskan (Swedish), BundesLiga (German) and so on, the national players could get all the players for let’s say €5 for country and down the track for €10, European, Latin America, Asia, Africa and so on. Yet the money in this shape is too inviting and EA is unlikely to change, yet we can force on part, for EA to set up an open list of every card that can be acquired, consumables, outfits players and so on. When the player realises how huge this list is, it might temper spending and change the way these games are addressed. I remain on the fence and denouncing this as gambling, but the fact on how many cards there are should be clearly stated, so far I cannot see a real comprehensive list anywhere. The media failed us all by not looking at that part. Even as there is a FUT database giving us: “The EA SPORTS FUT Database is a complete catalogue of Players in FUT. You can search for Players by their nationality“, I want to see a pdf with a complete list (which will be hundreds of pages I reckon), so that every player see clearly what they are in for, not some implied number, but a complete list to browse, when they all realise just how large it is and how insane it is to think you ever get all the players, or a specific legendary one, at that point it will clearly sink in how much money is involved. The EA site (at https://www.easports.com/au/fifa/ultimate-team/fut/database) does give you the option to search the ‘gold list’ and that does merely give the total of 2189 players and 220 goalies that are golden cards that make up for merely that part of the list, yet a better visibility of exactly how large that list is seems absent in many places that are so bound to push for the gambling tag.

So tell me, what media gave proper light to that part of the equation?

I am not saying that EA cannot sell cards, I still think it is not gambling, but the completionist part will never be realistic and that too is a problem, we might not have all players at our back and call, not in FIFA, not in NHL, but pushing for a dream team in a $90 game, when it requires $12,000 to get every player is equally insane and not realistic. We should add the limelight to that too. Yet I do remain on the team that does not call this gambling and EA might consider to create a factory set of all these players (non-tradeable) after 6 months of initial release, if they truly want to be seen as a decent company, a phase that they are still in denial off at present.

So we have plenty of issues, but to a decent extent they are not the gaming baba-yega, at least not when it comes to FIFA and NHL, other games might require deeper scrutiny and optionally an overhaul.

 

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That Grrrrrrr moment

I have had my issues with the large corporations for the longest of times. I am not against their existence, I have nothing against corporations making wealth and having a great run of revenue, being against that is just lame and idiotic. Yet corporations should be held to account, properly taxed. So whilst politicians hide behind the coattails of economists like Thomas Piketty for all the most idiotic and self centrered reasons, how about we change a few other things first?

The article ‘Group led by Thomas Piketty presents plan for ‘a fairer Europe’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/09/eu-brexit-piketty-tax-google-facebook-apple-manifesto), needs to get a clue, and fast. In addition buying a few vowels from Susie Dent is not the worst idea either. this is a personal joke towards Chrononhotonthologos (a Scrabble hit) and the mention of “As you both behave to Night, You shall be paid to Morrow“, a different stroke towards consultancy for shaping ones economy. As I see: “A group of progressive Europeans led by the economist and author Thomas Piketty has drawn up a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe to address the division, disenchantment, inequality and right-wing populism sweeping the continent“, my blood goes slightly on the boil. How about properly taxing the members of the FAANG group? (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), or How about stopping the EU gravy train by at least 85%?

Two elements optionally bringing in billions and you know this! These people are given leeway in ways most people cannot fathom. ‘The Rotten Apple: Tax Avoidance in Ireland‘ gives us: “The European Commission found that Ireland gave Apple preferential tax treatment which amounted to $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes between 2003 and 2014. Due to Apple’s tax havens in Ireland, they have taken advantage of U.S. and Irish tax regulations” and that is merely the top of the iceberg. When we see the angering part with: “In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 per cent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014” (source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2923_en.htm), we see that the EU has failed itself and now we see the unacceptable quote: ‘€800bn of levies‘, whilst we get it set into some ‘tax the rich’ status, we need to be weary of the delusional setting of these “more than 50 economists, historians and former politicians from half a dozen countries“. So when we see: “by taxing corporate profits more effectively, as well as income and wealth“. In the foundation that step is not wrong, I am all for properly taxing corporations, yet the EU is part of the problem, it has given away the keys to banks and corporations to so as they like. I do believe that ‘0.005 per cent of profit‘ is ample evidence of that. It is the ‘tax the wealth that is an issue’, because that is where the problem starts. The wealth tax is 5000 times higher than Apple apparently pays. the first sign where we see: “an extra 15% levy on corporate profits, tax increases on individuals earning more than €100,000, a wealth tax on personal fortunes above €1m, and a tax on carbon emissions“, is the problem. These high paid wankers (pardon my French) is not about getting to the corporations, it is the ‘personal fortune‘ that they seem to be after. Now, before you think that you are safe, think again. Your house is part of that making many people considered to be multimillionaires; they now all get a levy on what these gravy train wannabes call ‘fairness’. How about holding all the economic advisors of all governments to account, for any wrongful advice that impacted the government and European coffers negatively for over €250,000, we fine these advisors with €25,000 euro, all of them. This is likely to impact all those economists that hid behind ‘it was a complex situation‘, or ‘carefully phrased denial of corporate facilitation‘. This is the easiest to see with the Dutch fiasco called Fyra (a high speed train) that impacted tax payers by €11 billion. When we see “The Fyra-story also demonstrates that powerful corporate interests (in this case Dutch Railways’ desire to remain the sole rail service provider in The Netherlands) can abuse their position and waste an unbelievable amount of taxpayers’ money“, on a short sighted and narrow-minded view of what the ego wants, whilst the coffers cannot ever afford a scheme that will never be cost effective, we see: “Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reported in January that the HSA never had the intention to operate a “true” high speed rail service; a strong piece of investigative journalism stated that a speed of 220 kilometers per hour had been deemed sufficient for the Dutch portion of the route from the git-go by the HSA executives (by comparison, high speed rail service in Germany and France exceeds 300 kilometers per hour)“, the setting of simple definitions where the different nations in the EU could not agree on that mere setting. So how about giving a fine to all decision makers costing the Dutch government 11 billion? How about making the bulk of tax deductibles no longer applicable? Any corporation can make a profit when corporate tax is one percent or less, it is time to set the proper stage of corporation tax and that part they imply to get right, but they cannot, so these individuals add ‘a wealth tax on personal fortunes above €1m‘. You see, they do not set it on personal fortunes over €15 million, and hit the truly wealthy, no they need a lot more, because properly taxing the FAANG group (and several others) is just too dangerous. I would in my least diplomatic setting offer that the entire economic fiasco could have been avoided. If their fathers had jerked off over the radiator, instead of impregnating their wives, the entire economic danger to all of us would have died with a sizzle, how wrong am I now? (OK, admitted I am totally lacking diplomacy here)

So when we see: “From a tax on personal wealth and assets: an additional 1% on estates valued at above €1m and 2% on those above €5m” accounting for over 25%, we see a dang3er to too many people all over the EU. Try to find ANY apartment or house for less than €700K in most European metropolitan area’s; it will hit too many people, whilst the truly rich will avoid disaster. This entire matter is as I personally see it a joke.

I suggest:

Any government not being able to hold its budget within 2% over budget, its elected politicians will have to return 25% of their income, those who are unable to do so are removed from office and in addition will have to be incarcerated for no less than the full term +2 years of that government. Regardless, of this, in addition, the entire Gravy train comes to a standstill (and right quick). For these people travel and housing expenses are reduced by 60%, they should be ab le to find a cheaper solution. The Guardian gave us in 2016: “According to a European Union financial transparency system, commission staff spent €22,193 (£17,610) staying at the five-star Shangri-La hotel in Singapore and €54,677 at the five-star Stamford hotel in Brisbane in 2014. Other expenses listed that year include €439,341 on Abelag/Luxaviation, a luxury private jet provider, and €23,696 on chauffeur taxi services“, that needs to stop as well. It is my personal view that Thomas Piketty and his 50 economists (an optional new version of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves) should have stayed in their cave, and not come out at all. Now we have the setting to go over these 50 economists and seek all the things that they helped hide from their senior peers and that is essential now. You see as we are introduced to “a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe“, is also the optional setting to hold these people who cased all of this by facilitating to corporations and banks to account through prosecution. I find it tasteless and unacceptable that just like Greece, those who caused the mess get to walk away with a pretty penny in their pocket as well.

And this mess is not nearly over. When we look at a few parts, we get to start with: ‘The 1999 Santer Commission Scandal‘, you would think that in 1999, when we get “a devastating report on fraud and nepotism attacked the EU’s executive body for serious management failings. All 20 members of the Commission stepped down, in what was described at the time as the biggest crisis in the European Commission’s history” (source: Brussels Times), you would think that this is the end of it. No no, (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-santer-idUKTRE80N1UG20120124) Reuters reported in 2012 ‘EU draws fire over Santer return to EU post‘ “Prompted to defend Santer at a late night press conference on Monday, Olli Rehn, the European commissioner in charge of economic and monetary affairs, tried to make light of it, saying journalists only became critical of Santer after Commission officials beat them in a football match in late 1998“, politicians making light of the situation in a farce involving nepotism, and as such we can make certain levels of claim towards corruption. Forms of corruption vary, yet they do include: bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. So as such, the fact that we allow European politicians to re-enter the EU commission after being found guilty here is just too unacceptable. That by itself could also be a cost saving exercise, so does our Thomas Rickety Piketty warlock have a spell on all of us, by merely setting a facade to make thing better for all of us, or merely not worse for some of them? I think that the escalations in France are making people, people in power worried; they are facing the straw that is breaking the camel’s back. This is not something that they are making on the spot. This has been coming for the longest of times and even as I am not against taxing the rich a little more, we need to realise that the entire exercise is merely seen (by me) as a way to paste labels to mere traffic diversions for opening avenues of collecting others.

The primary objective of this survey is to understand the level of corruption perceived by businesses employing one or more persons‘ (at http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/flash/fl_374_sum_en.pdf), there we see that 38% does not regard nepotism a problem, 40% think that tax rates are a problem (in all fairness, that is a valid point of view to have for any business), and 45% considers corruption not to be a problem. In that setting, changes are not easy, correct changes are near impossible, as we see the setting where corporations and politicians can work together on a ‘compromise’ that will hit the lowly paid taxpayers a lot more than anyone else.

I actually presented a taxed solution in 2015, there I wrote in regards to the UK budget: “So, helping those on low pay is fine, but only if we change Basic rate to 21% and higher rate to 42%, which means that above the £10,600, the basic income goes up by a maximum of £318 and in addition, high income get an additional maximum of £836. This allows us a balanced budget, and if you wonder why not the highest toll bracket? Well, they also get the 1% of the base and the 2% of high anyway, that group is dwindling down and to seek even more to that smaller group seems a little unfair (the non-bankers that is). The second premise here is that this extra collected fee can ONLY be used to balance out the lost revenue from the basic rate group that had their annual income between £10,000 and £13,000 per annum“. The premise was to give the lowest incomes a little extra cash, so we raise the 0% tax maximum point a little; in that case these people will have a little more and we all profit there. As the non-taxable part goes up by a rough £100 a month, the second bracket gets an additional 1%, so they pay £318 more each year, and the second group (the much larger group) pays an additional £836 above that. It leaves the extra £100 without impact on the treasury, giving them extra and still having a stage to reduce debt (as long as Labour is kept out of the treasury coffers). In this case there was no additional impact of the wealthy, their houses not at risk and we would all be a little more social, no, not according to Thomas, the Rickety Piketty warlock. He wants an additional €800 billion, from what I can tell, because they cannot get their tax rules in order, getting the proper taxation in place and with the FAANG group paying as reported a mere 0.005 per cent of profit taxed, how can we ever get a staged setting of corporations in a fair playing field?

In ‘In fear of the future‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/03/16/in-fear-of-the-future/) I addressed the stage of the annual £43 billion interest bill, interest is cash lost and the economy that has to pay that much every years is running to keep in the same place, so adding the minimal hardship to reduce that amount, hopefully by reducing the debt to the degree that the interest goes down £1-£3 billion a year would be great, yet not entirely realistic. focussing on reducing the interest by £1 billion a year for the first 10 years is possible, yet it comes at a price and properly taxing corporations at a level that allows them continuance and growth (yet optionally not at opening a new super shop every year) is an option to seek. And even as we see ‘taxing the rich’ in the UK, the true rich is a group of no more than 6000 people, how are they coming up with these billions? So as I stated (in 2015): “If we can believe the 2014 article by the Guardian, this will hit 6000 people, which means that it only raise a few millions, so taxing the rich has always seemed like and always remains a hilarious act of pointlessness. It is the 1% from the basic rate that will truly make a difference. It will drive the debt down faster, it will lower the interest bill which will help lower the debt even more.” It is perfectly valid to disagree with me on this one. Yet Rickety Pickety hedges his bets by giving us: “a tax on personal wealth and assets“, this includes your house and car. Now consider the amount of houses and apartments close to €1 million, in addition, we cannot see if retirement funds are seen as ‘wealth’, in that case, of that happens, the entire calculation will change drastically. Whatever we are trying to create for a rainy day will be overly taxed because politicians and economists could not do their job properly in the first place. In that economists have been tools for politicians for the longest of times as I personally see it and they need to be taxed (read: fined) for all their failures between 2003 and 2017. Let’s make those losses part of the requirement to address, shall we?

I wonder how many of these 50 autographs will suddenly vanish (read: get retracted) when we see them held to account for certain projects in real estate, energy and transportation endeavours, I am merely speculating here.

A ‘hidden’ statement at the top!

In the current setting of budget and taxation, please explain to me how ‘Quadrupling the current EU budget to 4% of GDP would raise about €800bn‘, how does upping the budget 4 times over (including the gravy train I reckon) help raising cash? Is he hiding behind ‘spend a little to get a lot‘? Is the $3 trillion QE bond buying fiasco not enough of a train wreck at present?

In the article we are also given a gem. It is Guntram Wolff who questioned the need for a continent-wide project. “If the cross-border transfer element is only 0.1%, why do the whole thing at EU level?” he asked. That is indeed a very good question. I personally see this as some EU fuelled stage where we suddenly see the report being used as a QE prolongation project. We can see part of this point of view in the Economist where we see (at https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/12/08/quantitative-easing-draws-to-a-close-despite-a-faltering-economy): “an extension to its targeted long-term repo operations, which offer banks cheap funding in return for lending to households and firms. That would benefit Italian banks most. They are heavy users of the scheme and the stand-off with Brussels has pushed up their borrowing costs. But to help them would be to ease the market pressure on Italy that might otherwise encourage fiscal rectitude. The agony of setting monetary policy only gets worse when politics comes into play.” In addition there was Seeking Alpha, who gave us last week: “Forward Guidance and Reinvestment Policy will then take QE’s place“, you say potato, and I say tomato. From my point of view it is not merely the application to move coins from the trouser pocket to the vest pocket, it is (as I personally see it), to move coins on their suits, in whatever pocket the can to present some level of status quo, a status that has been non-realistic for the longest of times.

So my simple solution, to merely add 1% and 2% to the middle class (and thus the upper class getting both as well optionally with a mere 1% added, gives us the option on national levels to finally do something about these crushing debts. the entire Thomas Piketty and his 50 abacus users report is not merely over the top, it is (as I personally see it) some under the waterline agenda to make certain changes that will facilitate for corporations to a larger degree in the end, because if they pay 15% on one end, you better believe that they get 20% from somewhere else (it is the trouser and vest pocket strategy). In all this, the people having a decent house merely get an invoice with the ‘Pay within the next 30 days’ routine in the end which I find offensive here. In the same manner where I stated a decade ago (it could have been 15 years) that from the very beginning, making ecommerce businesses tax accountable at the place of delivery (the buying consumer) would have been fair to all shops and merchants, none of that happened and in the end shops can no longer compete and close down. Crushed between cheap online competition and ego tripping landlords (the second most of all), we see that continuance is not an option and this links to the EU, as it is trying to prolong a system that is not merely unfair, it cannot be maintained in its current form. More taxation is not the option, it never was, holding politicians accountable to the expenditure and unbalanced tax laws that they allow for is a much larger weight on one side of the seesaw and that is drowning the economic status of all.

And consider merely one side, a mere example from the recent past. Bloomberg gave us “Apple is leasing about 500,000 square feet (46,451 square meters) of office space at the new headquarters, and plans to move 1,400 employees there. Bloomberg News reported last year that the building’s developers were on course to achieve less than half of their original return target as costs rose and wider economic uncertainty damps demand for the most expensive homes.” I do not mind that Apple moves, that they look good and prestigious, it is their right. Yet now consider the part: “Apple’s new UK headquarters will be part of a £14 billion redevelopment at Battersea Power Station“, as well as “it will take up around 40% of the office space in the old power station“. So 40% of the office space of a £14 billion project? How much tax exemption will they get there? Looking good through non taxability is nice, but that is all it is, nice, it should not allow for tax exemption. And if that makes them decide to move somewhere else, that is fine too. Consider that social housing got cut in that building so in 2017 we went from: “Battersea Power Station is determined to deliver 15% affordable homes, equating to 636 homes“, to “they slashed the number of affordable flats to just 386, a 40% reduction from original plans“, by taxing these options, we will ensure in many places that these so called milking investors take a step back and consider what should be allowed. This example is in the UK, yet there are examples all over Europe, interesting how that part is not highlighted, even as it is optionally part of the ‘taxing corporations’ event, what they lose on one side, they gain in the other. It is seemingly in opposition with Germany where we see ‘Hamburg to seize commercial property to house migrants‘, I use the word seemingly as I have not seen enough data to see whether I merely saw one side of the coin, that part is important too, yet I have seen in Sweden that there are tensions as well as a much better situation than the UK had, so there is space for improvement all over the EU (and the UK mind you), this all adds to the tensions as housing is the number one requirement and keeping that cost down, as well as that value down gives rise to the decrease of hogging and hoarding rental apartments, giving a playing field that is much more level and gives a release of economic tension to the largest European population and as that tension goes down, it will decrease other tensions as well. It does not solve the entire non-budgeting ability to 27 EU nations and as such it is not really part of this, but it is a strong covariant towards economic living of the entire EU population, that is very much a factor here. It does take care of division, disenchantment, and inequality to some degree. That we consider right-wing populism is pushed though the vision of an unfair and unacceptable gravy train and can be addressed by taking that train out of commission (well at least 85% that is). In the end I think that the mention of ‘the EU’s so-called democratic deficit‘, we could consider making nepotism prosecutable with an added lifelong ban on ever returning to any political post, EU or national. Did I oversimplify the problem for Thomas Piketty?

You tell me, and when you think I am wrong, that is perfectly fine, consider Alain Juppé, and Jacques Santer. Consider how people have been made redundant and end up not having any options, yet these people have a shielding umbrella that allows for the return to high yielding governmental incomes.

There is a lot wrong in several ways in all this and it makes me growl (in a rabid way mind you), even as we realise when we try to tackle inequality, we need to take heed from the entire FIFA matter in more than one way and these failings have been ignored (as far as I can tell) by this so called ‘bold new blueprint‘, the stage of mismanagement issues, non-transparency (especially in the ECB) and a whole range of options not cleared before they all start looking for ways to tax more and keep one of the most inefficient logistic systems in the history of the world (as I personally see it) in place. You cannot win more by charging more, not until you fixed your internal accountancy department, should you doubt that, look at Tesco and the Danske Bank and Deutsche Bank, with the acclaimed €200bn dirty money scandal, especially as this is commented on with: “it remains to be seen if any individuals will face justice for the biggest money-laundering scandal in EU history” by the EU Observer (November 29th).

Taxing the rich? Rickety Pickety, you have much larger issues to address before you should be allowed to make a play for those who worked hard towards their homes and retirement, as in the end, that is wwhere this invoice ends up as I personally see it.

Have a great Monday!

 

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Warring consoles

There are a few wars to look at, but the setting for the consoles is one that is shifty as hell. I have been outspoken against a certain brand whose name starts with ‘M‘ and ends with ‘icrosoft‘ for a few reasons, but that is not what it is about. It starts with the Sato. A writer for Siliconera giving us the sales of consoles for last week. The systems that matter for the week of 10th to the 16th of September in this are Nintendo Switch that sold 38,738 consoles, down from 43,513 last week. The PS4 12,057 down from 12,281 last week, the Xbox One 58, up from 19 last week, the PS4 pro 4,959 down from 7,442 and the Xbox One X 159 up from 30 last week (Japanese sales numbers). So we can go with the fact that Microsoft is the only one on the rise. We can go with the optional truth that Microsoft consoles (plural) merely represent 0.5% of the Nintendo Switch sales. I did not even consider News Nintendo DS systems in all this, the number would become laughingly small (and blow away whenever you open a window), if it has not done that already. Microsoft Xbox One systems are a mere 3% of the PlayStation 4 systems and that is not a good thing either (for Microsoft that is). Yet we must also acknowledge that Nintendo is a force of nature at present. You see, at present the Nintendo Switch might merely be at 45% of all the PS4 systems sold (normal and Pro), the fact that they did this in under 2 years is an amazing achievement and there is no stopping Nintendo. I expect that they will break additional records at both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year (as well as the Saint Nicholas festivities in one or two places).

It goes even further when we see the Nintendo games exploding on the screens when it comes to the revenue. This year alone, the revenue for Nintendo went up by a cool 100% to a net value of almost 10 billion dollars, that is a massive achievement in gaming and their growth is still enduring. With online play being free and Fortnite still on the rise and with 30 titles still arriving before the end of the year. It seems to me that Nintendo figured something out and Microsoft is paying a high price for the wisdom gained (Sony gets hurt too but much less).

So whilst Xbox UK is still hiding behind what I would clearly define as ‘deceptive conduct’, they might think that it is ‘innovative thinking’ we are merely confronted with a once growing game maker that is now becoming obsolete in its thinking.

So why deceptive conduct?

You see, the people were confronted with a tweet a mere three days ago. The tweet: “Play 500+ Classic Xbox & Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One today… totally for free“, yet when we read down the tweets, we see the hitch. We see: “If you already own them – no need to buy again! Just download or put the disc in, and away you go“, news that is 2 years old and we are still confronted with a digital department that just does not get it. They did not tell us “We have upgraded our backwards compatibility program to 500+ games“, no that would be too honest. No we get: “Play 500+ Classic Xbox & Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One today… totally for free“, it is not merely deceptive conduct, it is what I would personally call an open blatant lie. You see: “totally for free” would have been the setting if pre-owning the game was not a requirement, so some purchase was required, giving the setting one that is a an outright lie, as I personally see it.

Getting back to the sales I mentioned earlier, we need to realise that this is not global. The numbers come from merely a Japanese source, sales in Japan. Yet the setting is still clear (to some degree), Nintendo is here to stay and it is growing its influence on a global scale and when we see the mere achievement of 58 Xbox One systems over a week in a nation that is around 130 million people, whilst some sources give us that 50% of them are into gaming. We do not have a comprehensive data file that gives us a more complete picture. Yet we see that there are around 700 million online gamers, which is well over 40% of the online population, when you consider that, we see that the numbers and the setting is massively important. Venturebeat gave us in the past that spend per person is Japan (#1) with $120 per person, the US (#3) with $62 the UK and Australia in 4th and 5th, whilst they are on equal footing with $62 and $55 per person. So at that point do you still think that all this misrepresented loot box mess is merely about gambling? So when we were given: ‘Australian Senate inquiry extended after study calls loot boxes ‘psychologically akin to gambling’‘ merely three days ago as well as both “The Australian Senate inquiry into micro-transactions is taking into consideration a large-scale study that claims “loot boxes” are psychologically akin to gambling“, as well as “The paper is the result of a paid online survey among 7422 gamers. Curiously, over 6000 responses to the survey were discarded because the answers were either not serious or incomplete“, which is interesting because I never saw that link in any place and I have been a gamer since 1984, long before the word ‘gamer’ was cool. The article is actually good and gives us one part that I can stand behind: “recommends adjustments to the current game classification system advising “parental advisories for games that feature loot boxes” as well as “a descriptor outlining that the game itself features gambling content”“. I would be willing to take it one step further. I would demand that there are two additional parts. The first is that there needs to a clear path where we can earn loot boxes for free (not unlike the Mass Effect 3 setting), in addition we need to see a clear sticker on the front of the box stating that ‘no loot boxes are required to play or complete the game‘ Several games have clearly stated that in the past, yet adding this on the front of the cover is not the worst idea.

I still disagree that it is gambling, yet having a clear mention that loot boxes are set to chance and optionally the chances of getting a certain rarity is not the worst idea either. And in all this, the console war is now setting to a much larger stage, even as they all (partially correctly) point their finger at EA Games. Ubisoft has unlockable content (at a price as well, yet they ALWAYS clearly stated ‘this item can be unlocked through regular gameplay‘ as well. So it is not immoral that they offer it as an initial unlock for $5, it merely shows us that that person is not really a gamer, merely a player.

In this there is more to Ubisoft; it is clearly seen in their Assassins Creed games. Going back to Assassins Creed 2, they had the Ubiclub. You can buy things there. Unlocking premiums and extra’s (skins, backgrounds, outfits and weapons), to buy them you play the games and when you get to a stage, like completing a set of conditions, making it to a certain point in the game you get points, these points re kept in you profile and you can unlock them for any Ubisoft game you have, giving you more and more by merely playing. It opens up the need to complete, the drive to achieve and the option to get cool things. Here I clearly state: ‘Well done Ubisoft!‘ and this is still an ongoing stage with badges and cool stuff with every additional game that they release. So as I state that loot boxes are not gambling, I am for the most not against the setting: ‘Study urges games with Loot Boxes to be Restricted to Players old enough to Gamble‘, which is not the same. The question is not merely on how to check it; the issue will soon be that abuse is harder to check. Even if they cannot be merely bought online, even when the loot box cash needs to be bought in the store, we will see the irresponsible act of the parent giving in to ‘junior’ buying more and more loot boxes. It is important to raise the issue as more and more consoles are confronted with games that depend on loot boxes, and that is not nearly the beginning. We see part of this in Eurogamer (at https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-07-23-fifa-player-uses-gdpr-to-find-out-everything-ea-has-on-him-realises-hes-spent-over-usd10-000-in-two-years-on-ultimate-team), when we are given “Michael was sent a data dump by EA via two PDF files each over 100 pages long. This amounted to a huge number of files, which include engagement data, FIFA 18 stats, device information and more than 10 audio files (these are recordings of his calls to EA support). It also included details of every player Michael bought and sold over the past two years in FUT“, so beyond the setting of “EA also provided data relating to how much real world money (in dollars) Michael had spent on FIFA Points, and he told Eurogamer he was “gobsmacked” to discover he’d spent over $10,000 in just two years“. Apart from the fact that you are losing your screws, the mere fact that you are not aware wasting cash to such a degree is one part, yet in this, the part that everyone ignores is “30 days later, Michael was sent a data dump by EA via two PDF files each over 100 pages long. This amounted to a huge number of files, which include engagement data“. I never played FIFA, yet when Microsoft remained in denial that 5 GB in 10 days was uploaded without my consent or knowledge into the Azure cloud, they merely pointed at the internet provider and stated that this is their responsibility (whilst I had not played any multiplayer games), and now we see what EA collects, in all this, the collected data is not an issue in any of this?

And the console wars are not done, not by a close margin. This goes beyond which system is popular, with system has loot boxes. This is about data and with all these systems being online and optionally ending up collecting personal data, there is a larger for not merely gamers and players. It is about classifying people and the setting of how bankable have we become? We saw this a few months ago with ‘Esports streamers and gamers are among the most bankable influencers, pitching to a new generation of consumers that don’t track traditional‘, it is about finding money people, those who propel the brand and when we realise that we seem to have a few additional problems and the fact that no attention is given to that part in the equation is equally a problem.

 

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A short sighted Senate?

This was always going to happen. Whenever there is a political setting, it will always be about the money. In this, I will be trying to have a field day. So, a paper will be drawn, demanding that the Australian psychiatrists and researchers will have to sign; they will not get a choice in the matter. They do not deserve a choice in the matter. It will be fun for them to openly condemn Telstra, Apple, Amazon, JB Hi-fi, David Jones and a few other places, because in the end they are all linked in this, even though they do not even realise that yet. It is as I see it, the consequence of a biased setting and we need to make sure that these people will not merely get the limelight, they will, in this setting be responsible for the economic fallout. That is as I personally see it the consequence of greed driven bias.

You see, it is clear that this is about money. The fact that we see the flock gather around a person, who is so stupid that I equally demand that this British person, who is clearly too stupid for his own thoughts must be barred from credit cards for life! If he cannot control himself to that degree, we must protect him from being that stupid ever again.

You see, you think that it is an emotional part, but it is not. Even as I accept “Video games have generally been considered games of skill rather than games of chance and thus are unregulated under most gambling laws, but researchers from New Zealand and Australia, writing in Nature Human Behaviour, concluded that “loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling”“, a setting that I do not agree with (explanation to follow), the quote coming from Aaron Drummond and James D Sauer, which was published in ‘Nature human behaviour‘, I feel uncertain to comment on, or oppose that part as I lack the proper psychological education in this.

Why is it not gambling?

That is the important part. Yes, there is a setting of luck, but ever loot box has a similar setting. We see one rare element, 2-3 uncommon elements and the rest will be common elements. So how did this come to be? For that we need to look at the father of loot boxes, the game Magic the gathering. Consider that on a piece of paper (size A0) cards are printed. An A0 page (841 x 1189 mm) will fit 12 cards per row, and 12 rows. The cards (usually 63 x 88 mm) get 144 cards on one page. In this setting we work with 288 cards, and if printed on 4 pages, we get 576 cards. So here we see the initial setting where we see that on these pages, the rare cards would be printed once, for example, two columns of 12 per page, in total 96 cards, the uncommon would be there twice, which gets us 192 cards and the remaining cards three times getting us the 576 cards, a set of 288 cards. So we always know that we get a certain combination, but we merely cannot tell which one. So this Australian government that allegedly is ruled through law, sets the stage (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-02/crown-casino-pokies-maker-aristocrat-court-decision/9387168), where pokies are not deceptive, whilst loot boxes are?

Am I digressing?

No, you see, in the CCG we see that there is a physical part to all the cards, with the virtual loot box it is not entirely the same setting. So even when we consider the ABC Quote “It argued the Dolphin Treasure machine, which is manufactured by Aristocrat and available to players at Crown, had been deceptively designed to give players the impression they had won, when they had in fact lost money“, yet in that same light, we see that a loot box, always gives a price, yet is it the price the buyer wanted? In this case I revert to the previous setting, now we add what is called a booster box. In a box are 35 packs (can be 30-36 depending on the CCG game), so we could argue that when we buy 3 boxes, we should have the complete set, yet with the 105 packs, we do get 105 rare items, but in that same setting, over the 96 rare items needed, if only 10% is double, we no longer get the complete set and we will have to swap with others. With physical cards that is an option, with virtual items that is not always possible. This is indeed the trap, yet is that gambling? When we know that we get a rare item, yet we cannot guarantee that item is that gambling? That is the question, yet in the case of the Crown Casino, the judges stated that that there was no deceptive conduct, and neither is there in this case. With Loot boxes you are ALWAYS a winner, but is winning and winning the price you want enough difference to warrant it gambling?

The economic setting

That is also part of this, because some power players are all about facilitating towards casino’s (go to Barangaroo if you doubt me), and we are also treated to “This is a win for 140,000 Australians who have jobs because of poker machines,“, as well as “Every year Victorians lose more than $2.6 billion on the state’s 27,000 poker machines that operate outside of Crown Casino“. This hypocritical setting is about money, plain and simple. This is a setting where the loot boxes are funds that go directly to the makers of those games and they are not in Australia. Unlike the other setting where we see “The State Government receives more than $1 billion in tax revenue from pokies every year“, yes all things are definitely not equal!

Are there issues?

Well, the quote “Games with loot box mechanics have long proven controversial” is actually true. There are two settings. Loot boxes you can earn and those you can buy. We will forever hear the argument of the game Mass Effect 3, for all, the golden standard. They could be bought, or won, the same loot box. Earn enough points in the game in multiplayer mode and you had the option to buy a golden box with earned points, instead of purchased credits. That was the best of all settings. Now we have these boxes that can be bought only, yet the foundation is that the game can be played and completed WITHOUT EVER buying a loot box, so those people are merely buying the boxes to get the insane chance of getting an over the top powerful item, which is weird in some ways. In support of some we must also acknowledge that EA Games as one of the players in all this decided to cut themselves in the finger and that is all on them. End Gadget gives u that (at https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/13/electronic-arts-loot-box-mea-culpa-e3/), so when we see ‘How EA talks about loot boxes depends on who’s listening‘, which might be good business practice, but it is really really stupid. You see, with “EA wants you to know that it has changed; that it isn’t the same company that put pay-to-win progression systems and loot boxes in two of its biggest games last fall. “We are always trying to learn and listen, and are striving to be better,” CEO Andrew Wilson said before closing out the keynote address“, we see one side, and with: “He thanked the investor for his question, saying that EA was working with “all the industry associations globally” and talking with regulators in territories where loot boxes had been deemed gambling, without naming any specific regions. He said that his company and the regulatory bodies concluded that Ultimate Team wasn’t gambling. Since players know they’ll get a certain amount of cards in each pack, and that the distribution of each pack is the same (i.e. one rare footballer, three uncommon, two common in each) it doesn’t break any laws“, here we see the part that I partially agree with, but it also shows that EA Games is all about the money and the ‘FIFA Ultimate Team‘ part of all this represents billions, billions that they do not want to lose.

There are two big parts in all of this, that is aside for that one person who could optionally be the most stupid person in the United Kingdom, especially when he ‘discovers’ he’s spent £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards (source: Daily Star 29th July 2018). The first is that FIFA is a game played by non-adults, so they will desire to optionally spend on these cards. The fact that there is no limit set is optionally an issue, if EA Games has set the stage where per month no more than £25 would be spend, that is close to half the cost of the full game, so it might need to be lowered. The second is the chance to swap any double won, so the fact that you are missing a Beckham, but have two Pele’s, you can seek someone who had the opposite setting. That could have saved a lot of issues, possibly all issues and EA Games merely made it harder by (as I personally see it) being stupid. That evidence is seen (at https://www.fifauteam.com/best-packs-fifa-18-ultimate-team/), Yet is also gives us that EA Games has free packs and they also give us “FREE PACKS. Not available to purchase on the store. They are assigned to you in the beginning of the game, as daily gifts and as draft, SBC, FUT Champions, objectives and seasons rewards“, so if free packs can be won, why is the entire matter still an issue? We also are given “Jumbo Premium Gold pack and Silver Upgrade pack both cost 15,000 coins but the first one may be purchased with 300 FIFA Points while for the second we only need 50 FIFA Points. Players should also pay attention to this aspect“, Yet I am also given “You can earn FUT Coins by playing FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and trading within the Transfer Market, but you can’t buy them. Buying coins from a third party, promoting coin buying, or coin distribution is against our rules“, so we can transfer? Then again, why is there an issue, when there are so many factors that are not funds driven?

There is an interesting video on this (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=25&v=Igs5Ca9Nw4M), the man talks too fast for his own good, but it is very informative, giving us a clear view that there is a clear way to get items and players making it weird on how someone would have paid £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards. I do not doubt that this was done, yet it asks a few additional serious questions on the mental status of some video gamers. In all this I see several issues on both sides, but for the most, the entire setting is gambling and with the options for free packs and transfers, there is less and less a setting of gambling, merely the oversized need of greed by a government wanting non-taxable parts to stop. Yet at the bottom of the FIFA team page is also a comments section and we see the most interesting part that was also on the video.

Q: You say that we can buy coins directly?

A (Admin): My main suggestion is to trade. Buying low and selling higher is easier than most of the people think.

All given actions based on common sense, a part that someone paying £7,500+ for these cards is the setting of a person lacking common sense in spades, diamond and in clubs, basically the buyer was seemingly without hearts and common sense. Reverting to overspending and hiding behind gambling statements when there are trades and free options is overly unbalanced.

Yet I agree that this is all mostly based on FIFA, so how does that fare in other parts? With Overwatch (at http://overwatch.wikia.com/wiki/Loot_Box), we see that they are bought, yet they are also awarded.

  • One Loot Box is earned every time a player levels up.
  • One seasonal Loot Box is earned for the first time accessing the game in a seasonal event.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the first time winning some game modes in the Arcade, for example 1v1 Mystery Duel or 3v3 Elimination.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the 3rd, 6th, and 9th winning by playing Arcade game modes within the time between 2 resets. This cycle resets every week whether or not you win 9 games.

So these are options that do not require funds (yet can also be bought). It merely requires you to be a decent player. A decent player will have the option to three boxes a week by winning enough times, in all this, we see skill based progression.

This is the setting that we are faced with, and in this I wonder how thoroughly is the issue investigated, or will this merely be a senate exercise on lost (read: non-taxable) revenue?

In the end, when we move back to the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/aug/17/video-game-loot-boxes-addictive-and-a-form-of-simulated-gambling-senate-inquiry-told) and we see no mention whatsoever that loot boxes could be earned, or are optional (under the right setting free), what other parts is the writer Patrick Lum not informing us on? In addition, when I see “Australian psychiatrists and researchers have called for greater regulation of video games that encourage players to purchase chance-based items“, whilst there is no mention on the earning option, or the initial free options that pretty much every game seems to have offered. When that part is equally missing, how fair will this inquiry be?

The article has two additional issues. the first is seen with: “The Office of the eSafety Commissioner estimated that 34% of young people made in-game purchases in the 12 months before June 2017, while the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling and 5% of young Australians would develop gambling problems before they were 25 years old“. When we see ‘estimated‘, it should be made clear that this is not factual evidence, more important, what was the estimation based on? We are unlikely to get clearly informed on that part. In addition, the part ‘the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling‘, is under scrutiny, because in that regard, I would want those so called ‘Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia‘ to produce the evidence and the raw data on how the ”around 20%” was obtained.

The second issue is seen with “Dr Marcus Carter, a former president of the Digital Games Research Association of Australia, argued that “predatory” practices were “pervasive”, citing potential variable odds manipulation, push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics“, although I find his setting a much better one, there are still issues with the use of ‘potential’ in that, without evidence it is merely highly speculative and even as I would accept the danger of ‘variable odds manipulation‘, that part can be addressed clearly enough. The requirement is that there needs to be evidence that this is happening and a pre-emptive setting of making the optional issue of ‘variable odds manipulation‘ unacceptable in legislation is not wrong, yet requires proof. In addition, the entire setting of ‘push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics‘ is equally valid, but can be stopped by an opt-in setting, in addition if that is addressed, we need to accept that all ‘limited-time offers’ in advertisement on media and TV are to be equally banned, because we could optionally get a ‘buy a new pair of shoes’ addiction (for a limited time that is). If that is to be accepted (cheating small time businesses out of advertising as well as taxable advertisement funds go right ahead, Or perhaps make it illegal to have ‘limited-time mobile offers‘, and we leave Dr Marcus Carter to explain that change to mobile providers, who will be crying over lost revenue. You see, when all players are equal there is no setting of fair play at all, merely the setting of expedited needs, in this case the government. All that when it was made aware of lines like “EA earns $1.68 billion in micro transactions in FY2017“, that whilst Australia’s biggest super villain (read: Taxman) never got a cent of any of that.

That is the actual setting and that got all those trying to set this all to gambling. Including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and now Australia, they are all about getting a slice of that micro transaction pie, all that could have been prevented 15-20 years ago by them using their brains. Yet at that time ego and greed got the better of them and they were unwilling to kick Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and all other e-store players where it would have hurt, they were in my personal view mere cowards letting actual physical shops fend for themselves, as their business was pushed online and away from them. Now we see patch upon patch, all players trying to get as much of the cream as possible whilst trying to hide the fact that they had no backbone in the first place, all merely equipped with paper backs ready for recycling.

The mere setting of ‘All online items are GST set and paid for in the country of the purchasing consume by that nations legal setting‘ would have sorted 98% of all this, but the politicians in those global nations were, in the end merely as ‘solid’ and morally strong as wet tissue paper.

So in all this there is a huge issue with the loot box and gambling setting, merely from the point of view that I have that this is not about gambling, it is about non-taxable income, a very different issue to say the least.

 

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Oman’s neighbour

You might remember the state of Oman, capital Muscat. There are several reasons to remember Oman, the fact that they got into the news last March with: “The Central Bank of Iran has allowed lenders to issue guarantees for Iranian businesses planning to invest in Oman or those who seek to take out loans from Omani banks” is merely one reason. The fact that they are next to Yemen is the actual reason to mention them. You see, when you look at Amnesty International, you see (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/yemen-the-forgotten-war/) the quote “On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict. Over the following three years, the conflict in Yemen is showing no real signs of abating. Horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country by all parties to the conflict, causing unbearable suffering for civilians” is the issue. Now, let’s be clear, Amnesty International is not lying to you, but the setting that led to it is equally important. The missing part is: “Houthi forces controlling the capital Sana’a and allied with forces loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden“, the setting is ‘former president Ali Abdullah Saleh‘ versus ‘deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi‘, deposed by the Houthi’s who had instigated a Coup d’état. I will admit that it is more complex than that (or better stated there are additional unmentioned facts here), yet the forced deposing of the then president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is still an issue; he went for help towards his allies.

That part is an important part that is missing. After that things went from bad to worse with on the frontlines Iran using Hezbollah enabling the deniable launching of missiles on Saudi Arabia, that is a clear setting and this escalation has no sign of letting up or slowing down.

Now we get the setting that Bloomberg is giving us. the setting (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-26/yemen-rebels-say-they-attacked-abu-dhabi-airport-with-drones), with the headline ‘Yemen Rebels Say They Attacked Abu Dhabi Airport With Drones‘, the issue is not merely that they have access to drones, the setting of the Iranian missiles and the fact that the Houthi’s are attacking both Saudi Arabia and the UAE (which is denied by the UAE) gives rise to other parts. with the quote “The source confirmed that the drone, Sammad 3, begun its operations by targeting Abu Dhabi International Airport with several raids, in response to the UAE crimes against Yemen” gives rise to the setting that this is no longer merely a Houthi versus the world setting, the entire premise that not only was there a new Drone developed, the Sammad 3 is also actively attacking the UAE, the question becomes is this done via Saudi Arabia, or via Oman, not merely transgressing on their sovereign land, but is it done whilst some in either government was aware? The direct path via Saudi Arabia makes more sense as there is a whole lot of nothing in that region. The second question becomes: why strategically deploy in this way? We might accept that whatever the Yemeni have is nowhere near what the US has, so it will be less than $12M per drone, but how much less is it?

In addition, what is the operational ability of the Sammad 3 (the speculated drone in question)? When you look into the timeline that one announcement comes after the announcement of the Sammad 2, whilst increasing the operational support 10 fold is also suspicious on a few levels. You see, every system increases as becomes better, but 1000% increase is a little much by any standard. Even as we accept that some strategies are better than others, Middle East Eye gives us: “Since the Saudi-led coalition launched its war in Yemen in March 2015, the UAE has been a key player. Yet, while Riyadh’s goal has been to restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power and crush the Houthi uprising, Abu Dhabi has focused more on the south, training security forces to secure its own geopolitical ambitions“, in this we might question some actions, and they are to some extent, yet the overbearing issue is that there is an Iranian finger in this pie. Only 14 weeks ago we were treated to: “The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, Riyadh said it shot down two drones in the south of the country and intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi forces in Yemen. The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally””, this not directly contradicts the Bloomberg news by Mohammed Hatem. You cannot erect a drone solution in this short a time span, not even if you had all the Viagra in the world, so the tool erected setting of Iran trying new tools in the political and escalating statement arena regarding ‘drone strikes’ is more than an issue. When we see the news given from Almasirah Media Network with ‘Air Force Unveils New Drone, Sammad 3‘, are they the tool or, was the statement by The National who by their own words are ‘committed to serving the local UAE community‘ misled and they are misleading the UAE community? You see one of the two is true, not both. No matter which path is the real one, it is my personal opinion that none of this existed without Iran, they are in the middle of this and the other media sources are trying to steer clear as some are trying to ‘save’ an illusionary deal with Iran that was never a real prospect to begin with. No matter which one is true, the Yemeni population remains in the middle of it all. there is a second side to this, the events in the red Sea where a tanker was hit is now stopping transfer of oil via the Bab el-Mandeb strait, potentially upping oil prices. It is a clear intentional push for the US to get involved, especially after we were told “A huge tanker with a shipment of oil from Saudi Arabia bound for Egypt was damaged by a missile attack from the northern Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, armed and financed by Iran, were responsible for the attack. It happened in the wake of the renewed exchange of threats between the United States and Iran, which could also hurt the oil market” (source: Haaretz), in addition we got “Iran’s Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani said on Thursday that the Red Sea was not secure with the presence of American troops in the area”, so there is a much louder setting that Iran is willing to escalate towards direct outspoken war. I reckon that as Europe is becoming meaningless, the direct involvement of Iran will turn defeat to victory. That is not only not given, there is every chance that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will make a united front, in addition, the naval actions could be bad times for Egypt, so there would be additional support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The questions will soon become, where does Qatar stand in all this and what are their options. They have their own worries as accusations more and more ridiculous are hitting the media. It seems that the Sydney Morning Herald is becoming the joke of independent journalism, whilst merely parroting that idiot Martin Ivens (as I personally see him in all this) on “In article published by The Sunday Times alleges the Qatar bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia“, whilst the Sunday Times still has not given the people the millions of documents he stated he had with the previous accusations, so we can all optionally agree that Nine Networks is now wearing the pants in the new merger. That matters, because some are not merely tailoring to the needs of places like (censored name of sponsor), they are setting the stage for unsolicited change and through these events they are adding needlessly to pressures in the Middle East.

Pressures that need avoidance because the expression ‘If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat‘ is a role that Qatar could be pushed into. I actually prefer the Dutch version of that expression which is ‘A cornered cat can move very unpredictable‘, that is more worrying, because the unsubstantiated accusation are an actual issue on a few levels now. so when we see “the alleged smear campaign included paying a professor $US 9,000 to write a damning report on the economic cost of a US World Cup, recruiting journalists and bloggers to promote negative stories in the US, Australian and international media, and organising grassroots protests at rugby matches in Australia“, we demand to see that report, as well as all other evidence; we need to be shown clearly where the lies in that report were as well as the other evidence. Is that not simple? Show us the ACTUAL evidence!

All these settings are important. We can vocally set the stage against Iran (like I am doing with both evidence as well as a comic look at the two images earlier), and I can look at the presented and i am using the published details available to me with all the settings that are open to the audience at large. I never proclaim to have all the wisdom in the world, yet hiding behind ‘unnamed sources’ and ‘unpublished evidence’ like the Sunday Times, whilst I regard them because of that as nothing more than a mere courtesan to sponsors, that is how I see their actions, when the need to investigate FIFA was there, these media buffs were all about the hooker in the bookcase, the entire setting of the media had become questionable. The setting of the Garcia report, whilst the newspapers and media failed to hammer down on Hans-Joachim Eckert, so when we got the ‘refused to publish on various legal grounds‘, who went after Hans-Joachim Eckert? the entire matter also involved the Qatar 2022 cup bids, so as it stands, we need to make sure that places like the Sunday Times and the SMH are now also optionally the spreaders of Fake News, but that is apparently not the case when they have their unnamed sources.

Even as I spoke out in the end against Qatar 2022, it is only because of the stage that Qatar found itself in. It is not up to me who got them there, some was all their own doing, but a larger part was the act of smear campaigns that we see now. Almost four years of smear campaigns. If we are to actually do something about it, then EVERY newspaper is to offer the 350-page report of Michael J. Garcia from September 2014 on their website with a full page 3 summary of the report. That is the first moment that we can start taking journalists serious again (possibly with the Sun as the one exception). It is my view that anyone who was part of misleading regarding Qatar, or in the other direction supporting in falsehood the Qatar bid should be barred for life from every official sport event. It is the only way and that is merely the one side-track that the Yemen situation now calls for. With Iran upping the stakes in Yemen and with alleged drone strikes on UAE and actual attacks on Saudi Arabia, how long until one of them sees a reason to lash out against Qatar? You see, the plot is also thickening when we see the Iran increasing non-oil trade with Oman by 136% in the last quarter alone. That is half a billion in value, now we can agree that every nation has and needs trade, so I would be the last one to state against it, yet there is every indication that Iran is trying to set the mood fir additional change. Some will remember the setting last year when we were offered “Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran will resume their operations in the Omani capital Muscat which had halted during the sanctions that cut off Iran from the international financial network“, this is now seen against the news from March when we saw ‘Iran, Oman resolute to grow banking relations’ with the additional quote “Drafting an operational and practical program with opening joint accounts based on the national currencies of Iran and Oman, independent from foreign currencies, should be considered as one of the requirements of developing banking relations“, so what happens, when the setting of the national currencies becomes the foundation of a credit swap where oil is the determined value? It is merely one step away and the US crying for cheap oil is that one element that could make it happen. The US not acting against Oman, whilst knowingly allowing for the swapping of Iranian originated oil based CDO’s is not that far stretched, is it?

Now we have billions in funds, an operational drone team and additional Hezbollah populists trying to set the stage in Yemen. there is support for that view (to the smallest extent), Arab News two weeks ago gave us: “Yemen’s foreign minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia“, whilst in addition, whilst the National gave us last week: “The UAE Embassy in Beirut has denied claims made by Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper regarding an “Emirates Leaks” report that says Abu Dhabi is applying pressure on Muscat over the Qatar crisis. The embassy has called the leaked diplomatic correspondence from the UAE Embassy in Muscat “false” and said that it was aimed at creating tension with Oman“. We need to realise that the two are unrelated articles are merely that. One has apples, the other pears and the fact that they both represent pieces of fruit is no evidence, changing one of them into oranges does not behold additional truth that should be clear. Yet the stage where Iran decided to increase trade by 136% is a shown fact and Iran has been doing something similar with Turkey which has not given Turkey an additional amount close to $5 billion in the last 6 months alone. Iran is setting a trade stage where in the end, in light of their devaluation and monetary value can soon (or already) only be honoured with oil, how quaint!

It is not merely the plans in place, it is the funding that these projects require, that is where it seems to make sense, but it is not a given that those are the only paths that are being trodden. You see, there is still the Uranium enrichment program that is worked on. With those in the works, we see the need for serious amounts of cash, skills and equipment, all that from a setting where the infrastructure was no longer able to meet the financial needs and the commitment from Iran towards Yemen by the Iranian commander in chief shows that the next step is not that far away, they will need resources and there is now at least a partial setting in place where the facilitation is close to complete. From my point of view, lowering the pressures on Qatar allows Qatar to walk away from Iran as far as possible limiting the options that Iran has, and that is an essential requirement at present.

Even as we see several sources give us lines like: ‘Oman and Kuwait has taken a neutral position in the dispute involving Qatar‘, I am actually less and less convinced that Oman is completely neutral in all this. Is the trade merely growing sympathy in Oman, or is news from places like Sarfayt and Dhalkut changing the sentiment that the people in Oman have? I actually do not know, but something seems to be stirring in Oman, perhaps it is not a pro-Iran feeling, merely a lessened anti-Iran sentiment, they are not the same. What does matter is that all this is escalating giving Iran more options in Yemen, to counter that outside of a full scale event in Yemen is to take away the available fuel that Iran has and I think that removing pressure from Qatar is a first step in all this. Should this be successful, we might see a setting where Oman feels less comfortable having strong ties with Iran, which seems to serve everyone’s purpose (except Iran of course).

 

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The Qatarian debacle

There is no denying it, we sometimes take the most stupid steps, even though it was for the best intentions. Yet when we are confronted with the reality, it becomes a different thing, especially when corruption and corporations intervene. First we were confronted with the prospect of Qatar 2022, I was actually pretty happy about it. To bring the enthousiasm of Soccer into the Middle East is a good thing, it opens all kinds of dialogues between Middle Eastern nations and as Europe has one universal event in common, soccer could have become the bridge between the nations in Europe and the Middle East. That’s how I naively saw it. But it took merely a week or two until suddenly the accusations of corruption came out of the woodwork. More and more news outlets have become the ‘whores’ of shareholders and stake holders, all in fear because it wasn’t merely about Qatar, it was the fact that it would be held in winter overlapping the normal soccer season, leaving us with the clear set that clubs could not play with their stars representing the national teams. With all that advertisement opportunity gone, they are all screaming like bitches. The biggest of them (Martin Ivens) is part of this (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/plot-to-buy-the-world-cup-lvxdg2v7l7w), and when we see “revealed for the first time this weekend in a bombshell cache of millions of documents leaked to The Sunday Times“, the editorial has a clear duty to inform the public showing the evidence. The fact that ‘millions of documents‘ were parsed is close to impossible, but that’s going to be another story. Yet since June 1st 2014, we keep in getting more and more speculations, yet no evidence was presented. In the end, the FIFA corruption was merely parsed aside, no clear imprisonment, merely ‘a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities‘, the corruption and the facilitation to the stake holders and shareholders have gone that far, yet no one presented clear evidence at any level to the public, partially my setting for demanding Martin Ivens that he gets the hell out of journalism.

In all this, Qatar has remained the battered victim (in this instance) and I thought it was good for those shareholders and stakeholders to feel the consequences of diminished value for a change. Yet that is not happening. Still, we see is some olive branch towards soccer by setting the news as we saw it in the Washington Post with ‘FIFA could expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule‘, either it is a 50% bigger strain for Qatar to keep up with the changes or it collapses and the torch quickly gets handed over to another soccer nation pleasing all stake holders involved.

Yet the issue is now escalating and not in a good way, it is also not on the soccer side that things are becoming a mess. In this case it is not about the article (at https://www.thenational.ae/world/britain-warned-over-qatar-s-london-intelligence-network-1.749819), where we see the quote “A group of Arab countries demanded action from the British government to restrict an expansion of Qatar’s intelligence activities in London, including surveillance operations as well as political and propaganda activity“, I am not sure if this is actually happening, but it is one part that increases the pressures going on. The actual dangers are coming from two siders, the first is seen in Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/how-qatar-is-warming-ties-with-both-trump-and-iran-at-the-same-time-1.6247714), where we get ‘How Qatar Is Warming Ties with Both Trump and Iran – at the Same Time‘, it is the Iran side that is a worry. We might take notice of an old fact given in “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of fomenting regional unrest, supporting terrorism and getting too close to Iran, all of which Doha denies“, yet that is not the danger (at present). In addition we see the actions (the clever actions) from Qatar with “A review on Monday of Foreign Agent Registration Act records show that since May 31, six U.S. companies or individuals have registered new Qatari lobbying contracts with the Department of Justice. That number includes the major firms Ogilvy (which is being paid $10,000 per month) and Portland PR ($20,000 per month)“, in addition, Ogilvy gives them full access to the Commonwealth, so London (as mentioned earlier), Canada and Australia are part of the setting to change public opinion, a task Ogilvy is very good at. The second part is different, when we look (at https://en.mehrnews.com/news/135396/Iran-1st-quarter-export-to-Qatar-quadrupled-year-on-year), we see something that seems harmless enough, yet the fact that “In the first quarter of the current year of 1397 (March 21, 2018- June 21, 2018), 74 million and 61 thousand dollars of goods were shipped from Iran to Qatar, which has increased by 214 percent year-on-year“, seems innocent enough, yet it also gives us that with over $300 million of trade goods before the end of the year, a large amount of people go back and forth, which also optionally offers military advisors as well as people of the Hezbollah persuasion opportunities and now it becomes a very different game, now we have a setting that allows for the settling of units and their sole reason for playing possum the next three years is to go out with a bang in November 2022. Consider this setting against the Washington Post of April (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hacked-messages-show-qatar-appearing-to-pay-hundreds-of-millions-to-free-hostages/2018/04/27/46759ce2-3f41-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html) where we see ‘Hacked messages show Qatar appearing to pay hundreds of millions to free hostages’, the operative word is ‘appearing’. When we see both: “with a half-dozen militias and foreign governments jostling to squeeze cash from the wealthy Persian Gulf state. “The Syrians, Hezbollah-Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Iraq — all want money, and this is their chance,” Zayed bin Saeed al-Khayareen, Qatar’s ambassador to Iraq and chief negotiator in the hostage affair, wrote in the message. “All of them are thieves.” And yet, the Qataris were willing to pay, and pay they did, confidential documents confirm“, as well as “they appear to consent to payments totalling at least $275 million to free nine members of the royal family and 16 other Qatari nationals kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq“, there are issues that do not add up. Now consider that such a large group of dignitaries was too unprotected as well as the fact that this event did not become world news on every level!

Now we have a series of players like Kata’ib Hezbollah and Hezbollah-Lebanon ready for the next event. This they will play really clever, with $150 million ready, they have the time to prepare and truly make the beginning of Qatar 2022 go badaboom (big badaboom); Qatar gets to play the wounded victim and whatever happens will be in the news for years to come after that. The fact that this threat is actually growing and no longer unrealistic is also part of the issue now for considering the relocation of Qatar 2022 to somewhere else. That setting was not there in 2014, or not as far as I would be able to tell. What is now a given is that not only is there an actual danger here, the fact that this setting exists, is an additional threat to Saudi Arabia, if they will be able to attack the stadium as well as fire missiles on Riyadh, the stage changes as Riyadh is now a mere 449.23 Km, very much within range of several missile solutions. Tactically speaking they would come into Qatar into parts, like as spare parts for engineering equipment, most could be hidden in several ways and with $300 million in goods, the chance of finding even one part is close to impossible. They will have 3 years to assemble it all. Saudi Arabia is not alone, as this situation unfolds, we need to realise that the UAE and Abu Dhabi is a mere 200 Km away, an equally appealing target for Iran. You might think that it is not an option, yet the ‘goodwill’ that Iran bought with missiles for Hezbollah is exactly why it is an optional reality to face; it is the cost of doing business.

So, as we consider the cost of doing business we can only hope for the places like Ogilvy that if this happens that they have all the right paperwork ready for their presentations on what they facilitated for. It’s not like it might actually impact its parent company WPP plc, is it? We can only watch (and smile) from the sidelines when its £55.56 billion value starts fading like snowflakes in the summer sunshine. Should you think that I am kidding and my view is far-fetched? Consider what happens when 200 countries filled with an estimated 3.5 billion devoted soccer fans go berserk. I will be selling tickets and popcorn to that event and make a killing (figuratively speaking).

The Qatarian debacle was poorly set from the very start, it was a non-issue and whilst people filled their pockets we saw close to no concise actions against FIFA for decades. Now that the world stage, especially in the Middle East is polarising and escalating on several fields, we see that the allowed setting is becoming more than merely ‘optionally hazardous‘. The actions on several sides give a clear danger that no matter how you slice it Qatar 2022 is a clear tactical target, not only for the players, but the amount of dignitaries attending are now are set in a stage where the tiger gets offered a pound of flesh and everyone on the sidelines is considering that the tiger might be a vegetarian whilst it all gets aired in prime-time to every part of the world, you tell me who the short sighted player in that stage is.

 

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The play of the Sponsor

I have had my issues with sport and the enormous setting of corruption on several settings; we merely have to look at FIFA to see just how bad it can get in any setting. In equal measure I have had several issues against Iran; the corruption does not even come up to high as we see the interactions with Hezbollah and the shipping of missiles to Yemen.

Yet, when I see the news in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/06/09/nike-will-not-outfit-iranian-world-cup-team-due-to-sanctions), it is my personal belief that certain political parties have gone overboard. When I see ‘Nike will not outfit Iranian World Cup team due to sanctions’, it’s gone too far. We have always accepted that sports needs to remain outside of all political scopes. If the spirit of the Olympics was: ‘During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their cities to the games in safety‘, so that one moment was a time when there was no war, no discord and those players had the freedom to travel uninterrupted. To suddenly get them in a setting without an outfit has all other kinds of interactive issues and touching on that is the beginning of the end. I personally consider it a really bad call on nearly every level to set the stage that the providers of such an event would be prohibited from supplying one of the teams. Politicians have the options to shout out to exclude sports and official events of inhibiting any international support. I personally never gave a hoot about football, but the option to open any level of dialogue at a sporting event could be the beginning of options that are usually not a given. I have always believed in keeping channels of communications open, even if it would be a mere ‘Oops! I apologise for sinking your fleet!‘, or perhaps something less drastic, yet the option to have it is still important and the Washington Post  gives us that Nike, by its own actions or not has closed that door. It becomes a little less nice when we see: “Some teams allow players to select their own cleats, including which brand, for competition. Some players, for example, may have sponsorship with Nike. Those deals, according to CNBC, will not be affected. Other teams are sponsored by a particular brand — the main players in the international soccer scene are Nike, Adidas and Puma — and require players to wear a certain shoe“, so when I see ‘sponsorship with Nike. Those deals, according to CNBC, will not be affected‘, so if people are paid for, they can still be supplied? It feels like an uneven game and makes football and other games merely settings for exploitation, how does that help in keeping any level of corruption out of sport? OK, that is a different topic, but the setting that we see with “We call on the U.S. Government to take immediate steps to address this shameful situation and that Nike actively seeks a resolution. FIFA should also take necessary steps to address this issue and ensure that none of the teams in the World Cup are subject to double standards“. In this I actually side with Jamal Abdi, the vice president for policy of the National Iranian American Council. It is important for politicians to take the politics and these economic settings away from the sporting events like the Olympics, world cups and official international games. If equality is the only way to finding common ground, and should Nike to shy away, I hope that the Germans with Puma and Adidas to pick up the baton, so that sport events like the world cup will keep on having a level playing field, so that it remains about the game and not about the sponsored players and the politics.

 

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