Tag Archives: Google Stadia

The next challenge

Gaming IP is always a challenge. There is the iterative challenge of getting a sequel or a remaster into play. Even as the innovative charge does not hold up for too long, a great game remastered can fill the coffers of a software house rather fast and nicely. We have seen it in the past, we could optionally see it when someone decides to take SEGA Dreamcast IP to a new setting. I personally think that both Fur Fighters and Wacky Races are undervalued and cast aside. Fur Fighters has its own challenge and graphically on the Dreamcast it would be able to hold itself up against most of the IP we see today. It had the quirks that made us wonder what else would be possible, and that is a good thing.

There there was the Hanna Barbera classic Wacky Races. It was a race game that held up against Mario Kart and it was unique, a setting where the racers all had special abilities and overall each racer was gifted with all kinds of options, it was when the game was done against one another when it truly started to shine. There are of course more, but a lot of them were done in new ways and with new options. Yet these two were forgotten and in the age of play that is a shame.

When we look at the innovation station, the setting becomes oblique, there is a lack of clarity, in almost everyone and I am no exception. You see, we look at the games that exist and how we might do better or how we might change the way we play and that is hard, it really is, I do not deny it. I created several pieces of IP, yet I am also gifted with the weakness of looking to those who did make amazing games. I believe that is a problem, not a big one, but one none the less. I tend to look at the age that stands between the CBM-64 and the CBM Amiga (Including Atari ST). That era gave us so many games and so many could be upgraded and improved upon. Not  because the makers failed, they did not. But what is possible in 2022 was not an option in 1986, moreover there is every chance that the makers never considered it in those days. In this David Braben might have been one of the few to move Elite (1985) into Elite Dangerous (2014), it was great then and it became overwhelmingly amazing in 2014. It is one of the few games that made a multi generation leap and the best part is that there are dozens of games that could have that ability. I wrote about it in the past. The 1983 EA game ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’ could be the next thing. In this that it could be revamped, set to a larger stage and it gave me the idea to set the streamers (Google Stadia and Amazon Luna) to a new set of achievements one that could transfer into other games. Setting a new premise towards gaming and optionally trying new games. Yet that does not make it innovative. I believe my generation RPG, see previous story ‘Recap to the intro’ on September 25th 2021 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/09/25/recap-to-the-intro/) for details. The question becomes how many original new parts are required to move from iterative to innovative? I actually do not know. An RPG is not like other RPG’s and I avoided to copy the settings that Bethesda had, and I added options that Ubisoft ignored in the Assassins Creed. Sucks to be them! I ended up with more than 1 IP and a setting where Amazon could grow its population by 50,000,000 (not a typo). All settings that Microsoft just overlooked and ignored. The strongest console in the world? My ass! A ship is only as good as its captain and their board of directors are pushing ideas for self preservation whilst they do not understand what gamers want and need, as such they tend to lose battle after battle and it was Nintendo (the weakest console) that overtook them in less than half the time Microsoft had to grow its population. 

Yet the station remains valid. If we need more gamers, the need for innovation is adamant. Yes, we ca add iterative new games and that keeps the interest going for a little whilst, but it is long term games that a console need to gain real traction with consumers and that is why innovation remains key. Innovation is the next thing that drives hardware sales and that is what Ubisoft forgot about long before their 11th hour was up. And now that we see partnerships and all kinds of marketing messages (all whilst they lost another creative director), we can see that players like Ubisoft is trying to make their life last a little longer, all whilst the gamers know and see that their game is done. My prediction given last year was a lot more on the nose than most expected it to be and it matters. There is every chance that the headlines of Ubisoft that left become the new indie designers we hoped for and in this both Google and Amazon have a need to set that directive to their systems as fast as they can.

Time is running out and when gamers look around for a good game, it would be really nice if they are ready to support those gamers. Sony is ready, yet as a gamer I feel that a good gaming environment requires more than one platform and Microsoft is no longer a contender, so who will be the number two? Nintendo? Will the the people at Google and Amazon take this console war serious? We will let them decide.

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That lucky blow

Yes, these things happen, the point where luck is a factor and in some games they do happen, but the factor is not as profound as a Ravenclaw boy hoping he gets noticed by Emma Granger, or was that Hermione Watson? No here we apply the Skyrim principle. Instead of grinding, later in the game, I enter the embershard mine wearing dragon plate and before the bridge there are two miners, I walk up to them and let them have a go at me, with Dragon plate my armour rating is well above 550, so they can pound on me whilst I have dinner, read a magazine and at the end I am up 1-3 levels and my heavy armour is now legendary 100. A simple solution.

Yet what happens when we change the premise? What happens when the bad guys get a lucky blow as well? Consider:

  • Bandit
  • Bandit Marauder / Plunderer
  • Bandit Chief

There lucky blow rating starts at 1%-3%-5%, yet as levels go they can go up to 5% – 15% and 25%. Now that game changes a lot, but we can introduce negative influx. A 25%-50% and 75% protection through blocking and defence parameters. A stage that alters the game somewhat. So my approach of walking into their midst would no longer work (well likely a very limited version). It is the old battle setting that all attack without defence is pointless and all defence without attack is useless. A setting we all forgot about, or at least too many of us forgot about it. Oh, and their lucky blow is a blow that does 300% of the normal damage.

That same principle applies to sneak as well, we tend to see ‘a failed sneak’ as a side effect, whilst a failed sneak giving the opponent a free first hit is much more intense and optionally realistic? Many RPG games see a failed attempt at the stage of a loss of positive elements, whilst introducing no negative ones. That failing stopped the gamer from becoming clever at what they to, a setting that is a failing in the game because the game needs to contribute, always contribute. 

I believe that having a lucky blow element is nice for us, but it needs to contribute by being nice for them too (to coin a phrase).

We can never rely on more of the same, we can never rely on the easy path because it will undo gaming in the long run. And in this Skyrim is a perfect example as it has shown itself to be close to perfect for over a decade now. And the only way we get better games it to push that envelope. Did you think I was kidding when I stated that Amazon with its Luna has an option to sell 50,000,000 consoles? It isn’t that Google is not worthy, they decided not to develop games. And any clear and massive bodyblow to Microsoft is a winning punch for gamers everywhere. We gamers must stick together because Microsoft only stands for itself, it has shown that for well over a decade as well.

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See for creativity

It makes sense, it really does and it all started this morning when I was confronted with an article (at https://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/search-engines-try-to-rival-google-by-offering-fewer-ads-more-privacy-1.6286925), the CBC is giving you all ‘Search engines try to rival Google by offering fewer ads, more privacy’, yes that is one approach, but that is the iterative approach, it comes from ‘What else can we do with this?’ And that leads nowhere, it will not lead to true innovation. True innovation is different, it goes where no one has gone before. To give you 5 examples lets take you on a little trip this morning.

F is for Facebook
Yes, there is Facebook muddying right along, having a new setting soon enough coming from Mark the Meta man Zuckerberg, it is a natural station forward and as others are all about dangers and all about warnings, the story behind them is fear, they never saw that this was coming (which is fair enough) and they are afraid to miss out twice in the digital environment. I for one saw the massive potential that TRUE Social Media could have. There is Cocoon (at https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/26/cocoons-social-app-for-close-friends-gets-vc-backing-to-chase-paths-dream/) which refers to a private social media, for your friends and family. They can take it a whole level further, but it seems that the people at Amazon (Luna) and Google (Stadia) are just not catching on. But now I do see wannabe’s making a chat and message version of that. Fair enough, yet the stage could grow further, will the see it?  I cannot tell and I actually do not care. It is up to them, but the stage of ‘There is more’ is missed by too many. Whether it is from a ‘How do I get rich fast?’ delimitation, whether they cannot see it, I do not care, not my battle, but options are missed all over the place.

A is for Apple
There is not too much that we can say on Apple. I can see a novel iteration that they are missing (Not the same as true innovation) but it is out there and it is larger than anyone thinks. I wrote about it almost a year ago and I will push the image below, perhaps someone will catch on, perhaps they will not. 

A station where an Apple/Nintendo partnership might appeal to both, but Apple does have what it takes to go it alone, in all this the setting is not what more is there, it becomes (to some degree) where else can we take this and there is a much larger station that is missed, because the wrong people are in charge. It reminds me of a thought I had for the longest time. You see Steve Jobs was clever, was bright yet was not the greatest innovative thinker, Steve Wozniak was but Steve Jobs (unlike some overpriced CEO’s) did recognise true innovation and that brought Apple where it is now. Still there is more that Apple can do, will it? I do not know.

A is for Amazon
Amazon is perhaps the largest power player with growth potential. I saw a potential to grown the Amazon Luna by 50,000,000 consoles (a conservative cautious number), I saw the potential of them becoming a 5G powerhouse. They have the potential to equal if not surpass Apple not merely because they started as an online book shop. They are set in a station where they could become the one powerhouse in Neom City (Saudi Arabia). Amazon has the ability to grow a lot more because they have an interesting balance of Manufacturing, retail and services. Microsoft wanted to focus and get rich fast, they there for hired people who were clueless on several matters. They lost the console world (from Sony and Nintendo) and optionally Amazon Luna if I have my way. To be honest, I fantasise on handing Phil Spencer (who is not to blame) a wooden spoon with engraved (in gold no less) Microsoft 2023. The year that Microsoft ended DEAD LAST in the console world. Their people will spin that, but consider the strongest, most powerful console in the world is behind Sony (PS5), Nintendo (Switch) already and when surpassed by Amazon (Luna), perhaps the people at Microsoft will start thinking instead of boasting Azure (blue) and their hardware when they were for the longest time clueless and there needs to be a penalty for that. Buying Bethesda for $8,500,000,000 might dull the pain and leave the people with the imagination that some good comes from it, yet the station of loss will increase and increase and If I have my way (and fantasy) Phil Spencer gets a wooden spoon in 2023 showing the board of directors at Microsoft that Amazon beat them there too. And that is before the people realise that the decision makers at plenty of places merely had a BS (not BU) presentation and that is when they realise that some made a bet on the wrong horse so whilst Amazon takes the lead, Microsoft becomes a ‘Horse no show’.

N is for Netflix
Netflix is the hardest case, they started being first, being true innovation, but over time they resorted to invest heavily in more and more scripts. Yet is that enough? Will that take the cake? It is hard to tell, you see we can all make claims, yet Netflix gave the people Love Hard (Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang) a hilarious approach to a Christmas movie and to be honest, it has been a while since I had that much fun watching a movie, then they also took the cake with Red Notice (Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds) a funny movie that is filled with fight scenes and clever situations. To be honest watching a youthful 98 pound young lady (Gal Gadot) slapping Deadpool and the Rock silly will never go out of style and that is merely the tip of an iceberg of fun and excitement. With these two titles alone Netflix rules 2021. I am not judging of making claims against Apple+, Disney+ or Amazon Prime. It is how things go at times. But more is needed and there we see that the Netflix IP division needs to diversify. I for one saw that a place like Netflix could be a great place for the comic books of François Craenhals (de Koene Ridder). 

The intro from Comic books is one thing, yet the transfer as they get to the second book (Les Loups de Rougecogne) the stage could be set for a new legendary franchise. 

I read these comics when I was young, but these comic books can be read at almost every age and the larger stage is there where plenty could be spend on the production and not all on IP to get forward. The comic books have almost everything any successful series need to have and there is more out there. Will Netflix take a leap into the untrodden places? I cannot tell, I do not work there, but there is potential.

G is for Google
There is not a lot of criticism on Google, they have pushed innovation again and again and they are the party to show others how good it can get when you are the innovative player. They are also the one innovative player that a power player like Huawei fears. I reckon that Huawei has the one essential directive stamped in their minds. ‘Get there before Google’, and they are happy that American politicians are so stupid, those politicians are doing the work of delaying the stage of Google again and again, so there is every chance that Huawei will get to a few stages (not all stages) before Google gets there. Can they do more? That is hard to say, Google is too big, too many parties playing and there are larger settings. I believe that not developing software on the Google Stadia (by Google) is not the greatest idea. Relying on Ubisoft will bite and that is where Amazon has the inside track, but there is more in play, so my thoughts make sense but could be wrong for Google. Consoles is not where their strength is and the idea that is in the Apple part could equally apply to Google, but not as wide as Apple can hand it. And all this relies on a free hand to play, all whilst these players are committed to moves, moves that also needs to take Microsoft, IBM and Oracle into consideration. There is no way that me ( or most people) are in the know on all those elements and there is a stage that states that Google is too big. I said it but I do not totally believe it, I believe that Google is too widespread. Apple is too much hardware, Google is too many services and Amazon has seemingly a much better balance, making growth easier (for now). And in this Google needs to consider where Apple and Amazon are going so they can avoid some tug of war in the field that many occupy. It is a rather nasty stage and there is no clear answer.

So here is my view on the FAANG group and my response to the article that gives us “He bills Neeva as an ad-free, private search engine. Results won’t include advertisements, and the company says any information it does collect from users isn’t shared with third parties.” This is fair enough, but that is not the stage, the stage is: ‘What does the consumer need?’ The larger stage that too many avoid because it leads to elements that these players do not want to entertain at present. So you can either make claims that they (might) need it, or you can sail unsailed waters offering something entirely new that was never considered and the consumer suddenly realised that he or she never considered needing that (which I did a few times) and that is where TRUE innovation starts, the stage where a person states ‘That is so logical’ a stage that Microsoft had with releasing Windows 95, but it was forgotten soon thereafter. The idea is not to be complex, but to be simple and let the ship steer its course from there, and when it sails in the right direction without you interfering all the time, at that point you own the IP of an innovate game-changer.

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Upgrades

Upgrades, we all know them, at times we desire them or we hope to be around to see them. For the most, no upgrade was every loathed (except Windows Vista). So where can we take gaming? We have one stage, w have more stages and we have the ability to connect stages. Now, lets take Skyrim. The anniversary edition was a welcome edition, beside the glitches there is not much to tell, and focussing on the glitches with a game this big is utter BS. For the most I have had a hell of a time. But the mind keeps slipping, and it is not needed, I want to wait until Hogwarts Legacy is released to see what else is possible. So far I have created two new gaming IP, yet the mind is struggling to find a third. This matters to me, because that IP will focus on a separate station. Something that might not be unique, but this version has never been done before. A Greek RPG, that focusses on the three Olympian gods. You must choose between Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. You align with them and as such you will be instilled with the powers that align to that god. So we get basically several worlds. Olympus, Earth, the oceans (earth too) and Tartarus. A world where the gods have missions, they play games and you have to steer your ways into diplomacy, battle and conquest, and subterfuge. You will need to resolve issues, collect evidence, clean messes up and at all times you are rewarded with Ambrosia. Very small items and you need three full cups to become a genuine deity. So could you do that? It is not merely can you do that, can such a game be made? In this it makes sense to look at Skyrim. Now consider that I had the setup for TESVIII: Restoration, that setting had the map of Cyrodill, but now at 9 times the size, connected to that was Skyrim (about 50% larger) and for the main story Valenwood AND Elsweijr. Now consider that the map for Όλυμπος would be well over three Times the size of Όλυμπος and it would encompass the entire Mediterranean, Spain, Italy, Greece and north Africa. That is beside the setting that Tartarus would be massive as well, and mount Olympus would not be too shabby or small either. 

Why so big?
This is easy, to create a biodiversity, a larger setting for natural combat and survival, the need for interactions. The larger the map the more natural could feel. So this ends up being not a console game, but a streaming game. This leaves us with the Google Stadia, the Amazon Luna and optionally the Netflix console as well. And the game needs three main quests (three gods, three paths, three main quest lines), that is bedside the side quests that will take up a massive amount of time, there are two versions, the one you have as an aligned player, or an unaligned players. So you will need to consider what you can get away with and what you need to drop. That is the part we forgot about in Skyrim, is it not? We can do everything and there is always time to do everything. So what happens when time and alignment becomes a hindrance? We forget the oldest setting, we need to consider that some things cannot be done and that is before the people intervene. 

Not everything can be done, not even as a god, doubt me, then ask Hades. He’ll tell you when you die and he always has the same joke “So where is your wine now?” And that is before you see the impact that happens when the game-map is not static, it is actually dynamic. The Mediterranean map that goes from the beginning of the game 4500 BC – 2000AD, and the map will evolve and you can watch, travel or participate. A game setting that has never before been done. There would be a real consideration that this generation of streaming consoles cannot deal with it at present and that is fine. Yet should we stop developing to the fringes of hardware in the future? I believe not. 

And this is not a small project, it has never been done, so it is appealing, the stage where we can traverse this area over 6500 years, and as a god you are immortal, but the stage is still finite (reason classified for now). Consider mapping out the Roman Empire and the impact it had, an impact you can watch yourself. A stage where we need (beside the quest lines) well over 300 quests per alignment, well a lot can be replicated and aligned challenge versus unaligned challenge. And as you become more olympian and as you lose your humanity you might lose options and you might lose links but that is part of life and we forgot to add life to the RPG’s of the last decade. There is no blame, it is no ones fault. It is a mere setting of what the computer can deal with and now that we have the hardware that can deal with it, ignoring that much of a leap seems trivial. 

A game that is a challenge and educational in several areas, a game that has never before been made, because until recent there was no hardware to support a stage that big. 

So what do you think, would you try such an upgrade? 

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Chook chook thinking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Time slice or lemon tart

That is indeed the question, but the question is not that important at present. It all started with a weird dream. In this dream I was in Montreal (Canada), now let’s be clear. I have no connection to the city, and apart from the fact that they have a good hockey team, I know next to nothing on the place, I know it is in French speaking Canada, but that is all. So in this dream I saw someone, it might be a reflective me, it could be anyone. They saved a hawk, or falcon from their balcony. The animal was shivering and clearly afraid, the person put on an oven mitt and offered his hand. The bird jumped on the hand with the mitt and carefully the bird was taken in the house. He placed the bird on top of a chair and got the bird rare roast beef (it seemingly really liked the rare roast beef) and gave it a bowl of water mixed with a lot of sugar. The bird was no longer seemingly afraid, but it was nervous. The person was looking at the clouds and wondered. He then moved what was drinkable and eatable into the bathroom, the bathroom and this is important was one of the innermost rooms in the house, no windows and no direct outer wall. He also placed a chair and a small table (it was a large bathroom), moved the goods into the bathroom and walked around the house pushing the heaters up everywhere, yet not to the highest setting, setting 4 was used on knobs with a 6 setting, I think that mattered somehow. Then he carefully moved the bird, now aptly named Horus with the mitt again and took the chair as well. He then got into the kitchen, took several items and moved to the bathroom where he set the radiator to high. 

Then it started to happen, Montreal was hit with a cold snap, it was only October, or November, but the cold-snap happened and well over 50% of the people in Montreal froze to death. 

Now, none of this is a mystery. I saw the Day after tomorrow, I played AC Origins, so all the elements (all except Montreal) fell into place, no real mystery or divine intervention.

Then I remembered every time I played a new game of Minecraft. Did you play it? The first day is important, because you need to create a safe location before the sun goes down. That part is important because too many RPG games are a service where it is at your convenience. Whenever you get around to it, and Bethesda has used that setting since I started playing it in Oblivion, in that same setting Fallout 3 onwards has the same stage. Yet what happens when that is not an option? When a house is on fire, it does not help to hand the bucket to the owner of the burning house when you get to level 13. He (of she) needs it now, or really soon. This is a stage we forgot about, the time slice. There are two issues.

  1. Do you have the minimum skills to cater to a time driven need?
  2. Should such a stage be set and always be achievable?

These two setting are important, there are gain two stages we must contemplate. In the first we cannot always be there, that is a mere fact of life and programming around that element is often folly. The second is that if we have a proper RPG, we have houses (guilds), but what if your first guild is not a mage or a tinkerer? So early in the game you see a setting where you can only watch, be that famous Monday morning quarterback and watch others do the job. Then we get to the important part, we need to set these parts to some level of randomisation that instigated when you START the new game. Not when you get there. So we see the need to have 20-40 missions with a decent rewards, but we need to be partially lucky, so that the internet cheater miss out as well. That is setting a larger story, especially when success unlocks a larger side quest. And the second part in all this, it enables and fortifies the replay of a game. So in the dream we can see that Horus was the trigger, but what happens when you never noticed that bird? Would you be ready? Would you make it to any shelter? And most important, without resources you will go hungry, thirsty and optionally will continue with decreased stamina and health (a day without food makes a person weak, try it for yourself if you doubt me).

So is the approach of having time sliced missions a hit or a lemon? I cannot answer that, I think it could be great if you program this properly and it will take proper programming to get it done. Programmers could ask Anunnaki (god of fate), but there is a chance that you will not receive any help from that direction. It will be a challenge on several levels, but should you pull it off you will be the one adding a new dimension to RPG gaming, a dimension that has been lacking for close to a decade, before that systems were just not strong enough.

In this I merely remembered the settings I came up with in Mass Effect Andromeda 2, Base of the pillar. And yes, I will admit that I had some overlapping ideas that I had for Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, but I think that a good foundation (as long a the story is completely different) is not a bad thing. I saw the massive mass driven mistake that Andromeda was and there was a setting to fix it and regain credibility, but in that setting ME Andromeda would pack the second game with the first game, and even as a lot was the same, it was added with an enormous amount of changes and different storytelling. One needs to be faithful to the original trilogy. 

Yet all these settings cannot be more of the same, there needs to be a level of evolution. Yes there are plenty of gamers that do not mind more of the same, but they will soon realise that they are stuck in the past and that is as I personally see it never a good thing. And is success a guarantee? No, it is not. I do not offer guarantees, I merely dabble in ideas that can make the next generation of gaming special and enticing.We all might come up with a Nintendo WiiU, and that is fine, but it is not that system, it resulted in the Nintendo Switch and the few who are able to make THAT leap will make it big and that ups the level of gaming for everyone, that I the setting that players like Amazon Luna and Google Stadia (they a little less) get to look t and there is the larger station of play, a setting we have not seen before, not a game that exists everywhere. This is not about exclusivity, but about a totally new level and dimension of play, I think too many are forgetting that we need to push that part and not enough of us are making that leap. 

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COMPUTE BigTechPlotGoogle = ‘Lost’.

Yes, we all have to create variables to set a larger stage. We know that age gives us a lot, but the 15 people of age 18, the 7 with age 19, the 3 with age 20 are useless, yet when we group them in an age classification of 18-23 we get a lot more information out of our data. This is not new, this is. setting that market research has walked on for decades. Even before some programs added ‘functionality’, the people behind programs like Quantum were already on top of mentioned groupings. So when I see Google 9 to 5 giving us “Google is adding five games to Stadia Pro for August 2021”, I wonder if they have any clue what thy are doing. Apart from the fact that we also get “Killer Queen Black, inspired by the hit arcade game, Killer Queen, let’s you fight for your hive with three ways to win. Will you claim your victory by hopping on the snail, hoarding berries, or wiping out the enemy’s queen?” As well as “Stadia Pro is Stadia’s premium subscription service and your gateway to the best that Stadia has to offer. With an active Stadia Pro subscription, you get a variety of perks, including free games, exclusive game discounts, and top-tier visual and audio quality”. Here we now see a setting where Google is not merely fumbling the ball, it is giving the court to Amazon. There was always a risk of that, but to do it in such a direct way is rather silly. There is no Google Stadia without decent games and by confusing gamers by giving them “there’s Killer Queen Black ($19.99), Valkyria Chronicles 4 ($49.99), It Came From Space & Ate Our Brains ($14.99), and Epistory – Typing Chronicles ($14.99)” we see a stage where Google will not be part of any gaming stage soon enough. Any platform needs traction, any platform, especially streaming systems will need a cluster of gamers, that like grapes suck your soil dry for EVERY game possible, the numbers and exclusivity decide the winner. So when I saw this last Friday, I had to ponder what this means, not only does the setup implies that Amazon Luna will rule the streaming environment, it also implies that Google would fall dead last behind Microsoft. A stage I had not expected to happen. Not only should Google be first, it should be way ahead of Amazon, which is apparently not going to happen, so when we get “The count now stands at 29 titles” leaving us with the implied setting that at present Amazon Luna is wielding a games list three times the size of Google, how was that EVER a good idea? It also leaves us with the implied stage that Amazon will soon be the number 3 system behind Sony and Nintendo and it gets to be better, in that setting there is a larger stage where the Luna could be seen as accepted NEXT to the Playstation 5 gamer and Nintendo Switch gamer, optionally we will see households with these three systems. This changes the future for Amazon in a few ways, should they think this through, they can offer a new level of social networking, offering a link to Sony and Nintendo players, so that they can partake on the social scene, they can offer a much larger stage that would offer the Kindle to a large population who have ignored it (for whatever reason) and set a new level of consumer staging. In this there is an optional chance that a new Triumvirate could be created. In line of the old version where the world was ruled by Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey. This version will be one that gamers want, because they are getting hat THEY want, not what makers think they want. Sony, Amazon and Nintendo will get a larger stage to unite and perfect gamers needs, the rest will merely watch on the sides as they are trying to figure out what gamers (according to their marketing department) need. It will set their agenda’s back for close to a decade and in the mean time these three will excel in giving us gamers what we truly want. This is not a given, but when we unite the news from different sources, there is every chance that we go in that direction, and it would make me happy, especially if that puts Microsoft dead last in that field. Serves them right! Huh!

OK, that might not be called for but my ego took over for a moment. And there is a larger stage, a stage that goes beyond what we merely think can happen, there are options for Amazon to make it happen, will they? That is hard to say, streaming needs a good internet connection and there is time, but in the next year this war will be settled on the streaming winners and Amazon does seem to be in pole position here, I am not writing off Netflix, but I have no idea where they are at and how they want to offer services, in addition Netflix is also seen as a competitor with the Sony streaming services, a setting that Amazon does not have, so Sony would be eager to add to their functionality without impeding the Playstation and Luna is no threat there, more interesting the Luna, Switch and PS5 can easily sit next to one another and that would sit well with all three, a triumvirate in the making and that is where the others fall away.

I have no idea whether this will really happen, it largely depends on the actions by Amazon and their Luna to show it can be done, but the other two will happily accept a brother in gaming that is not taking the wind out of their sails and Google forgot to see and centre their view to the larger ocean instead of calibrating to whatever coastline they are ogling. That setting of wrong focal point is more likely than not, the stage that will cost them the streaming gaming war, it was up to them and they chose (very) poorly as I personally see it. To be honest, I thought that it would take until early 2023 when 5G is more widely spread for the streaming consoles to set their battle lines and now it seems that at present, with the information given to us, Amazon Luna is all but a decided winner even before the race is off. Considering that they were up against Google and Microsoft, it is an achievement that should not be underestimated. 

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Refraining

It happens, sometimes we need to stop ourselves from acting, from jumping, from engaging. It is not that the action is wrong, it is because it is wrong at that stage. I do not know what pushed the act, yet the stage is larger and as I almost decided to trot on the novel I am still working on, optionally by giving away in another setting what comes afterwards, I was able to stop myself from doing what should not yet be done. 

It might also be the impact that Dracula (the Claes Bang edition) has on me. It was probably the first time that marketing drove me to watch anything. The ad (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIEr1Pcu03Y) and it is not merely the billboard (which was all kinds of perfect), it was not merely the cast Claes Bang and Dolly Wells are beyond believe, it is the way the story is set, it is a new and novel gander into the path of the undead, all whilst exposing us to all kinds of fears and in this the vampire fear is actually not the worst one. It pushes the envelope and it pushes us all to  surpass ourselves. Yet whilst doing that, we need to refrain from overacting on our impulses. It is a sort of balance between 2 innovations on one side and 4 iterations on the other. We want to be the 2 innovation side, but over reacting, reacting without some level of self discipline and we become mere iterations of the same. 

In this I created an approach to one game in my article ‘Electronic Entertainment Expo 2019’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/10/electronic-entertainment-expo-2019/), yet there I merely considered the approach to one game. 

Yet in the larger stage we create a very new kind of sandbox. Where every coloured ball is a new addition, a new DLC if you must that is added to the game, making the game a lot larger over time, so what I started with the teaching of Islamic religion using Medina as a centre stage, could evolve into another direction, a sandbox game that allows your person to evolve, to increase into a larger game where religion now becomes a segment, as we added new forms of gameplay, we didn’t alter religion, we merely enlarged the stage, a side of exploring, a side of economy, allowing you to get a house (in the game) and interact with others, whilst exploring the knowledge that is given to you, teaching you history and economy in new ways, altering what you know by letting you see what others saw. But in this, refraining becomes a much more essential stone. It is not like some Americans do, adding and adding. Sometimes more is not more, it is merely clutter and the overall experience is lessened. But how to go about it?

This is where QA becomes the essential side of developing any game, in the streaming world we will be able to create more, but it becomes a lot more important to create better and that is an essential lesson a maker like Ubisoft never figured out, not over at least a decade and I have no time to hold their hands, but the right people can take lesson from what I say, they can create and optionally create the right way. And my bonus is that Microsoft is equally not on the learning side, they are all about their azure and it will cost them, the sales of their latest Xbox One series X-file is so far proving me right. Between all the ‘hidden’ numbers, we see that the PS5 has well over 250% more consoles sold than its Microsoft counterpart and that difference is merely increasing. Yes, their golden boy talks a good talk but they are faltering in the field, all about cloud gaming now, optionally deserting the gamers on what they call the most powerful console in the world. There is an acceptable understanding that games need to evolve and that exclusive games take the cake (one Microsoft cake versus 15 Sony cakes), and we see that streaming will be the long term battle, but there they are falling hopelessly behind Amazon all whilst Google remains a player in that field and Netflix is yet to show it serious intent. And as we look at the options out there, they are also optionally restricting their stage and setting. All whilst I (mere little old poor me) came up with three games, one with the optional stage for up to 1,000,000,000 interested players and one stage where I redesigned three AAA+ games in new editions. And why is Microsoft failing? They have seemingly no alternative options to show in any direction. One UK newspaper gave us three hours ago “GAMES with Gold subscribers are getting closer to the official reveal of the free Xbox games for August 2021, but will Microsoft add a new Xbox Series X optimised game to the lineup?”, with all the careful leaks we see, this list is apparently more secure than the Windows source code, odd, is it not?

And these races are important too, you see, these races show the essential gaming experience that streamers can have, the consoles have too many ‘more of the same’ titles, all of them, even as we accept that there are markets and exclusives, but they are not the full range, mere icing on the cake, in a world where the three big cakes are the taste makers, two are too much alike and that is the market where the streamers and cloud games can rule. This why the Google decision on Stadia made no sense and I reckon that Amazon is loving that approach, it gives them a massive advantage. To be honest, I am a little shocked, 2 years ago I had no view on Amazon Luna, they were mostly one of the lot, a position 3 or less, now there is a decent indication that the Amazon Luna could evolve into the second best system in less than 4 years, that is impressive, they have a chance to overtake Nintendo by 2023, Sony will take longer, but if they push innovatively, they could be the ruling system by 2025 a setting I would never have anticipated in January 2020. That is the second marvel of gaming, true gamers are always on the edge of technology, a setting a few makers forgot about. Amazon apparently did not, is it a given, no it is not, but the fact that this stage is entertained implies that Amazon got a lot further than anyone anticipated. 

Is this till about refraining? To some extent it is, Amazon is not alone, even as the story of Microsoft can be dumped overboard, their story remains the same in the end, Google could change if they alter their current course and Netflix remains an unknown for now. So, Amazon Luna has the stage, it is what they do over the next 6 months that will decide how large their cake might be. Google sees (in their search) that refraining is merely another word for abstinence, a big mistake, refraining is halting action, stopping to act, it is also a setting to pause and reconsider, a tactical move to oversee what can be done, what is the best path to go and an optional form of balance between the fastest road and the shortest road, because these two are not always the same. I will need to keep my eyes on Amazon Luna for now, I wonder how close they end up getting to what Sony has achieved. 

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Two to plenty

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

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

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

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

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

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Shadows are Us

It is almost 20 years ago that me, myself, I, my playstation and controller took a gander into the world of Tenchu. Even as I now shiver on the graphics that were then amazing, the gameplay is something I missed. This came to light when I got a dose of Aragami 2 on YouTube. Proper sneak games are a rare commodity, and as we look for the next sneaker (Splinter cell, Metal gear solid, etc.) those who love stealth games, we all have a fondness for Tenchu, 

I personally do not think that there is an exception to that rule. And for some reason, even as we all love Thief and its versions, it feels a little more amazing in Japan around the 1600’s. Japan in that era was a fun place (a little superstitious), but fun none the less. So Tenchu was a lovely step into the past. 10 years after that, when Microsoft still knew what it was doing, Tenchu Z was launched and the thump in my heart was as happy as it could be. 

Even as we saw some repetition in the levels, the levels themselves were amazing. And there was the second setting where you wanted to live in the levels you were mastering, the house, the inn, they were all amazing. There were off course issues, there always are for those who do some of the levels again and again, some of the parts that Tenchu 1 offered did not happen in Tenchu Z, yet I was not upset, after 10 years I got to tenchu again. 

So what happened? Why did the PS4 not have its own Tenchu, or whatever it would be called. A Japanese set stealth game, I know there is a sizeable population that wants one. Even if we see an upgraded remastered Tenchu Z, it is a stage that could propel the cloud consoles (Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and whatever Microsoft has) forward and yes, Microsoft does have the advantage, but only if they act, if not it is up for grabs. Microsoft does not have IP on Japan or stealth gaming. I wonder why I had not missed it sooner. Perhaps I had hoped that Ubisoft got its act together. Perhaps I hoped that some would remember the great games. 

Yet if Aragami 2 (due out in September 2021) delivers, we will feel happy and after such a long silence it should optionally receive a large following. Yes, the first Aragami had flaws (a few) but it felt much closer to the original Tenchu than many other stealth games. Styx and Thief are good games, they have their own niche and they are quite good, yet it is not sneaking in 1600 Japan. The era speaks to our imagination, it has pretty much since a man named James Clavell wrote Shogun in 1975. The age of Blackthorn and Toranaga. It spoke to most people and the image continued in gaming. So now, when we see the Sony PS5 and Microsoft alternative, we see a system that can render an entire village, one would hope that Tenchu gets a new lease on life in gaming, optionally in a much larger setting. We learned so much over 20 years that this is all possible and cloud gaming might actually end up with a larger advantage.

Options
Cloud gaming has its own stage and its stage is a lot larger than any game. I staged that play in a previous blog when I coined the return of Murder on the Zinderneuf. The cloud consoles will have an option what I call ‘cross gaming tokens’ Something found in one game can be used in another game, or better stated becomes an unlocked item in another game. Consider that you find a house ceramic in Murder on the Zinderneuf, that could unlock the steampunk version of Monopoly, When you play Tenchu, you can unlock a weapon that is an additional weapon in Clue, and so on. It is a stage never contemplated before , or never acted on, but in cloud gaming it becomes real, as we embrace subscriptions and therefor we need long term gaming. As such long term gaming is found in adding to games, but what makes the addition? By adding games, other games will optionally be enhanced, or even added to, all because you played Murder on the Zinderneuf and you examined the chess set in a room, a new chess set is added to chess. And there is no end to the options you can unlock making a long term connection. Now consider that setting in a game like Tenchu. As the enemy is there, it is also possible that a game like Anno 1600 will unlock more powerful enemies in Tenchu. 

Remember that evil Dutch Merchant? Well, if you played Anno 1600, he will become a VOC representative, complete with two bodyguards yielding a ‘Donderbus’ (the Dutch invention that would later become the shotgun). When the stage is adjusted the game becomes again enticing and rewarding. A simple stage of adjusting, and players like Ubisoft never went there, why is that (equally other players did not go there either). 

So whilst we can argue that we must move forward, we have a ton of options that have not been acted on, as such there are years of exploration in sight and there Cloud gaming has the option to offer more, not merely another version of a game, but a much larger game, if only the developers had that in sight when they thought that one platform is merely a port of another platform. 

In all this we can lie in the shadows awaiting what comes next, or we can adjust the lights and create alternative paths. So whilst we all await a new game, what is wrong with replaying a game we forgot about, only to see that it has been enhanced by other games we have played in the meantime. I believe that there are a lot of developers and they do not realise the impact of long term gaming yet, they seemingly forget that soon we get to a point (in 6 months) when some people will have played the same game for 10 years. There are not many games that are worthy of that but Skyrim pulled it off, so what happens when on 11.11.21 the game offers the players something new in the same game they played? In opposition, what happens when the ‘patch’ will unlock a whalebone dagger in Dishonored 2? These are options that cloud gaming can offer, or perhaps a Skyrim board in Monopoly, an Axe in Clue or a Skyrim style chess set? It is not merely cosmetic, consider that over time you get additional rooms, people and items in Clue. The standard formula you had in your mind will no longer work, it needs adjusting for the different items optionally altered items. The game suddenly becomes more fun to play again. A stage many forgot about but Cloud gaming enables it and suddenly the stealth games all get an upgrade and that is what we like a challenging game that offers more over time. So whilst we see Aragami 2 coming in September, what happens when some of the guards have crossbows? Do not laugh, the Japanese had crossbows as early as 230 AD, they called them Shudo, they also had something not unlike a ballista, but that came 400 years later, still ahead of Europe though. History provides a whole range of options and opportunities. And the coming of Argami 2 made me consider that. I wonder what Google and Amazon are doing. Most likely relying on a deal with Ubisoft, I wonder how that goes over time. 

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