Tag Archives: Google Stadia

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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Moon Shine

I wish we were talking about that home brew alcohol, but we are not, this is about Amazon Luna and their counterpart Google Stadia. Now, I am telling you this from all kinds of selected sources, I did not play either myself, I feel that this is not as important as the setting round it. The first thing that I have to say right now is that I am pretty amazed with the second wave quality that Amazon Luna offers, from the early Alpha stage that some reported on as well as the second wave that several subscribed to, Amazon Luna is way over and well above standards (to a larger degree). I would think that Google Stadia had the upper hand, but that is not the case, they are surprisingly even, yes Google Stadia has an advantage, the load times of games is decently faster than Luna, but the rest, whilst in the game they were on par and that is a surprise I initially did not see coming. Yet overall they both fail in other ways. They are both relying on Ubisoft to bring the great titles, yet that is the largest danger when we see the stage that Ubisoft provided for and at this point, there is not a whole lot of faith that they will be around by the end of 2022 (they did this to themselves). 

My issue is with the Amazon 4K gaming promise. You see my YouTube has all kinds of lag and latency issues when I go above 1080p, so does Netflix, I do not even bother with 4K, merely because of congestion. That is not a setting that everyone faces, yet they will when larger cities get over 100K users streaming gaming via their internet, it is almost unavoidable, the infrastructure is at present too weak. Yet in 2-3 years if 5G comes through to a much larger extent and a much better bandwidth and speed, yes, it would work without hesitation. Most rural places will have this issue off the bat, so France and Germany can pretty much forget about it outside of their really big cities and I wonder if Spain, Italy, Greece and a few other nations are ready for that level of congestion. It makes both Google Stadia and Amazon Luna a USA Big city setting, OK, I exaggerate, yet in all I am not that far off. 

There is a second setting, each system is missing out on exclusive titles, it worked for Nintendo, It worked for Playstation and even Xbox, the exclusive titles have always pushed platform and neither has an overwhelming set of exclusives, which is a shame, yet that might be become the hunting ground in 2022-2023, yet not for now and some of the critics they all seem to agree, Luna is for now seemingly the winner. I agree with their assessment. Google is not showing skin in the game, no commitment, if they stop, the user is in nowhere land and there is no indication that Google is committed, that signal is more clear with Amazon, even as load times are not as fast as with Google, that might merely be a temporary delay, in all I personally had expected more from Google, so to see Amazon win this was a bit of a surprise, and if Amazon has its own share of exclusives, the streaming service might become set and match for Amazon, but let’s be clear, it is too early for that verdict at present. 

It is however a thing of the future, 5G will make it clear and when your local internet provider is upgraded to something serious, it will be a real horserace and to be honest, Amazon is doing a lot better then expected with its stallion Luna, it is close to equal to Google, a level of equality I had not expected, so as I personally see, the one having the more and the better exclusives will win the race, they both have Ubisoft games, so that is not an overwhelming advantage, just like the previous war, the exclusives set the race when the hardware is too close an equal, a stage we saw between Xbox360 vs PS3 and again Xbox One vs PS4, yes personally I see the Sony sides to be superior on a few sides, but for the gamer that was not clear and from that point of view they were close, and in both cases the stage of exclusive games made Sony a winner, a war that Google vs Amazon will see soon enough and whilst we see a level of melancholy with Sonic and other older games, it is the exclusive games that will give a system the game, set and match signal, and I wonder if Google is willing to commit to that, that was voiced by a few critics and I see their point of view, I am not sure if I completely agree, but their points were valid, I reckon that by the end of Q1 2022 the stage will be decently clear, at that point the people will more strongly commit to the
Moon, or to the stage, will I? Not sure, I am happy with my PS5 and in this the exclusives will push me in one direction or the other, as will it be with other gamers as well. 

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Yo clodhopper

Yup that was my finest hour in diplomacy, we’ve all been there. Although I just woke up and I just had a great idea, well, I sort of had the idea before, but it took shape and it is now 03:30, so it must be good. 

You see, I have worked on several parts of the free RPG for Sony (as a response to the act of Bethesda), yet I now have a larger stage for the map, the map is not one map, there will be 5-6 maps, yet with every iteration of the map, the map evolves the map changes the presentation of where you are and what is there, but it does not change what is there. Consider the maps from 14th century and the maps we see now (not Google Maps), there is evolution and I set a stage where we have larger differences. A geologist and an explorer have their own versions of maps, that is how their trade set it up, it is how they evolved their maps, yet in gaming we never did that, so I am making a larger change, and in support of that, I also came up with the option of a new game, or a new game plus, making the game a larger evolution stage. Why?

No one has ever done it before and in that regard the larger stage is set. There will also be a cartography shop, run by no one other then Miss Beth Esda (sorry Christopher, I just had to go there). I will tell you later about New Game Plus, because this one is one that is also new, but the stage is that it still needs a little work. 

So as we barge through the land (clodhopping), and as we look towards the sky on where we have to go, I see options I had never contemplated before. We can push boundaries on what we perceive we know, but what happens when the darkness is actually a void, a place where we merely stop being? So as we step in and out of the void, we set a new registration, one that Skyrim but not to the degree that they could have seen it, and my vibe merely picked up on the missed opportunity. It will be some work to set the stage to a larger frame, and it will take a decent amount of brooding, but I think I have an idea how to proceed on it and I will keep you informed. Still there is more, I wrote about it earlier, and as I considered the ideas I had in a new version of ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’, I considered a different stage to the game, yes it is based on that game, but so different it is no longer the same game, and as I considered the game Clue, perhaps you have played it, so what happens when the corner rooms no longer have secret doors, but on a higher level they have doors that lead to another part of the Hindenburg? In addition to that, there will be a stealth and a deception element to the game. Linking that game to achievements in another game. If the new ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’ is an evolution of Clue, we could also have an evolution of Hotels, or Monopoly. If this is a Google Stadia setting, then the people would have access to both games, so what happens that relics found on the Hindenburg will unlock new options in Hotels, and Hotels opens up options in ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’? The options are all cosmetic, but they are nice options to find. It is not completely new this approach, but it was seldom trodden and as such, I think it is important to set that stage. The gamer loves any game more if we offer something that they never had before and a cloud gaming solution like Google Stadia (or Amazon Luna) will need to reconsider and re-evaluate what they have, what they think they have and what could be made possible. You see cloud gaming can only exist if people have long term commitments to that setting, a new Ubisoft game is not going to do it, Nintendo is figuring it out, as I see it the long term commitment that gamers have with Animal Crossing: New Horizons show me to be correct, and the amount of gamers that are ‘addicted’ to that game doubly so. 

There is even a larger stage to the RPG that I am only now trying to figure out, it is a new setting in conversations and in localisation, and the setting that it has never been done before is making me happy. Consider that Ubisoft lost 15% of its value over a period of 30 months, and I now show that I have the inside track on solutions that they never were able to innovate, I think that I am on the right track, now, that does not mean that I am better than them, I am merely more willing to drive innovation, is that not what gaming was all about in the past? 

Why have we become so driven to ‘highest graphics’ and ‘coolest effects’, look at Nintendo and watch where that happens (it does not) and still they beat the most powerful console in the world (the Microsoft contraption), as such we need to consider what we could be able to achieve, not merely what some marketing type tells us what great is. We can decide for ourselves what great is and it tends to be the game that baffles us (God of War for example) and a long list of baffling games, and in all this where are some of the creator? They are merely pushing out more of the same and they market it as innovative new, but tell me, which franchise has truly delivered innovation in gaming? 

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Add one more

This started a week ago when I wrote ‘8 missed opportunities’, I had been pondering a few issues and I was wondering whether it was a fair call what I wrote (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/11/28/8-missed-opportunities/), and whilst I was pondering that, my mind being slightly preoccupied with “The Aeneid of Virgil”, I suddenly had this brain twist for an idea that might work on the Apple Arcade, the Google Stadia and the Amazon Luna. I named the game ‘Kick the Arcade’, a game optionally 2 players online (in co-op), a side scrolling game, not unlike Streets of Rage (SEGA Megadrive), but there is a difference, this game grows over time. An idea that the game has 20 levels, every 5 levels a boss and in each set of 5 levels an arcade, where one machine can be kicked (hence the title) and you can free the hero in that machine. At that point, you unlock the hero and after defeating that boss of these levels you can switch to one of the unlocked hero’s and continue the fight on those levels with different enemies. I was thinking of one little complication. When someone joins you that person can only select one of the unlocked hero’s and at that point, it might be your levels, but the enemies are the ones of the second player hero, it would be a whole new level of challenges. Consider all these great side scrolling levels, Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, Green beret, Ghosts n Goblins, Golden Axe and the list goes on, there is still the issue whether the IP is locked, yet this idea basically washed over me in minutes, so what is keeping them making new games? Yes, Google Stadia at present has an interesting list of games, but lets face it Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (2014), Hitman (2016), Destiny 2 (2017), they have originals, but they need more originals, a console is defined by what others do not have, not what others ALSO have. And this is happening whilst 7 announced titles are apparently no longer coming, so if Google is all about being googly, be Googly!

Set yourself apart, because no matter how the presentation looks, there is every chance that most people will not be able to tell the difference between Apple Arcade, Amazon Luna and Google Stadia, when that happens, there is every indication that Apple would win by default, is that truly what we want?

I am not stating that Apple is bad, but I expected more from the out of the box thinkers (aka people at Google). No wonder I have the 5G IP that Google does not have, ah well, such is life. 

Even as we see ‘opinions’ like “Google’s Stadia was always going to fail, but a new report claims that the issue isn’t missing features or a tiny game library. It’s Google. … “Google didn’t offer them enough money, and they don’t trust the mercurial company to stick with gaming in the long term” and here we see two parts the important part ‘they don’t trust the mercurial company to stick with gaming in the long term’, it is the long term part, yes it is a fair call, but it comes with the dependancy on others to fill your chest with treasures, the selfish corporate settings we see all over the place gives a clear signal, they bring something that is exclusive and unique, or you are forever in a stage where you are not the first focal point. We have seen this a few times over (Bethesda anyone?), and as such the fickle state that Google tends to be on at present is partially forced upon them (corona viral distribution and change) and part from within, they are spread too thin and they are in too many places, as such Tracker smurf (Sundar Pichai) is optionally losing oversight, or he is too many places too often, take your pick. But the critique offered is not all empty. I do not care too much for ‘Google didn’t offer them enough money’, either there was no real commitment on the $$$ price or someone didn’t negotiate too well, no matter what the reason is, I find it lacks focus. As I see it, the old games would be an optional saviour, 1-2 dozen games rewired in better graphics, optional additional sides to the game and the stage is soon a different one, but does Google have the drive? The idea that ‘the long term’ would optionally translate into Google ending third in a three man race (with Apple and Amazon), it is the one outcome I would never have seen coming and perhaps that is also what Jeff Bezos is expecting with the Amazon Luna, the idea that he ends ahead of Google must be absolutely intoxicating to him. 

So in the end, I didn’t merely added one more idea, I have added a setting where Google is not leading the waves and that is a little weird, but if that what the googly people have decided on, that is how it will be, and if they do not want that one part, they will see other parts see a reduced setting soon enough as well. Consider the people expecting top notch from Google, when they take their market to Amazon the game changes and I would never have expected that to happen, yet that is what we face, a setting that is no longer imaginative, something that comes with anticipating expectations, options that are offered away from one and towards a player that started as an online bookshop. I will be honest, I never saw that coming a year ago, but that stage is now getting a little bit too real. For if the Googly people turn down the innovations, what else will they abandon?

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A company for an apple & egg

This is the setting I find myself in today, I have been harsh on Ubisoft for several reasons and after Watchdogs: Legion, I thought they had learned their lesson, but no, they never learn and I reckoned 1-2 weeks ago in my blog that if Yves Guillemot would run off with 10 cents on the dollar he would be lucky, the negative setting of AC Valhalla is however adding up and up and up. Its reliance on questionable reviews, NDA’s until day 1 of the game and a misrepresented setting of ‘early release’ is adding fuel to the fire that I see Ubisoft degrade it value to a mere 250 million company, for a firm that used to be valued at 2,000,000,000 a mere two years ago, this is quite a leap and not a positive one, even as Elon Musk is set to twice that, all whilst his value will soon rocket to 1,200,000,000,000 soon enough, Ubisoft goes in the other direction, it goes from bad to worse if we connect ‘Ubisoft’s newest game in Japan censored’ (at https://www.mccourier.com/ubisofts-newest-game-in-japan-censored/) a week ago. There we see “Ubisoft responded, stating that removing blood stains was essential for the game to be validated by CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization), which is responsible for classifying video games. However, CERO declines all responsibility for this choice and confirms that it has not been consulted by Ubisoft”, I am not judging here, but it seems that either CERO or Ubisoft is misdirecting the gamers and if it is Ubisoft, that is a really bad move, in light of squandered options, especially in light of ‘early release’ all whilst the bugs and glitches are adding up, Ubisoft missed its target by miles. Even as some claim that “Cloud saves have also been renamed to Manual Save Cloud to differentiate them from standard offline saves. A notification has been added as well for when cloud saves fail to be pulled from the server”, whether fixed or not, it is again shoddy testing by Ubisoft, will they never learn? A save game is the gospel and bible of the long term player, not properly testing that is an issue , and when we go from a level 0 issue to the several levels of glitches, one so hilarious (unless you are the player), where a Drakar (a Viking boat) is flying and put flying in a video of dragons, that is the stage Ubisoft find itself in, they have regressed towards the level of joke and it will hurt Google as well, its stadia is depending slightly too heavily on Ubisoft games with its new Google Stadia, in that stage with not enough alternatives it could find itself in all kinds of hurt, giving the Apple Arcadia a massive advantage over Google, something they will not be happy about.

And when we see “Visual bugs relating to Eivor’s cloak have been addressed, while player and NPC animation problems have also been improved. Audio, lighting, and texture clipping issues could also crop up, which Ubisoft said it’s addressed. For PC players, shadow resolution set to high will now work as intended”, we see a possible return to the age of AC: Unity. Is that what Ubisoft has regressed to? 

A stage of failure after failure, improper testing, hype creation, boasts and non-delivery. Each of them a massive hurt by themselves, combined they are the nails in the coffin of the cadaver once known as Ubisoft. And they had created an optional safe harbour with Watchdogs: Legion, what a day a software company can make. 

I am not happy, I am actually a little sad, from a decent company, they moved unto legendary, only to squander it away with massive failures, so as I see “a successful start for Ubisoft, but it hasn’t been without its problems. Users across all systems have reported problems with corrupted saves, performance issues, and other in-game glitches”, I see the hand of Ubisoft marketing, a set stage that could only fail over time and now that they think they got a reprieve, I am here with the personal view that it has ended for Ubisoft, all whilst the owners of PC and consoles they are all looking forward to a 45GB patch, I had to download a 50GB patch for Miles Morales, but at least it came with a second complete game (I had the Ultimate edition). So how many games and patches will it take for rural players (which add up to millions) to use up all their bandwidth? We all seem to focus on the cities with unlimited downloads, but consider that Rural France, Rural Germany, non metropolitan UK, Rural Australia, a stage with tens of millions of players, they will feel the brunt, merely because Ubisoft refuses to learn its lesson? How is that for value of software? And this was merely the day one patch, for the latest, optionally fixing your save games you will need to download 4GB more.

Yes that was the early release of AC Valhalla and as I see it a CEO that cannot contain its marketing needs, a sad situation for any firm and those around them are hurting, merely because (as it seems) hypes seemingly creates the need of Ubisoft, not excellence, and when did we applaud mediocrity on that? So whilst McCourier gives us “In light of what CERO said, Ubisoft seems to have underestimated the tolerance of the Japanese authorities. Ubisoft has also apologised to Japanese players, and a corrective patch should address this issue in the coming days or weeks”, gamers will see another patch and optionally more glitches coming their way, I wonder how much more a gamer needs to download before they realise that Ubisoft is done for?

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Deadline or death line?

I said it before, and I stick to my view, Ubisoft is in a large stage of near death, they might be denying that part, but their setting is not good, or is that was not? Let’s be clear, today I went through Watchdogs: Legion and I am decently impressed, it is an absolute jump forward from Watchdogs 2, To be fair, this looks really good and after an hour, it still looks good and plays well. As I stated, the next two games define the future of Ubisoft and at present it seems like they got this one right. I saw issues in earlier editions, but as this was before beta, it does not count and I have every intention to take another look. No matter how we try to slice it, a few things show up, first of all, those angry (read: anti) game reviews are not as present as before, some people had plenty to bitch about Watch Dogs 2, yet I enjoyed most of the game (a few weird parts), the story was decent and the intro to WD3 is a lot better than the second one, the game has a few issues as I spotted them in WD3 that is, but it is not a disabling one, some of the conversations are really too unreal, but that could be a US view on British accents, I do not know, but it flaws there, yet two elements, the first is that this is a video game, second any voice can be regarded as flawed, it is how you look at it and does it hinder the game? I think not. One review I liked can be seen (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9kEuTyKufo). It gives a few things away, but not too much. In light of my earlier statement (regarding Ubisoft), it is important to note that this game shows a first sign that Ubisoft is addressing the stupidity we saw in earlier releases. I believe (at present) that AC Origins is still the best game that Ubisoft has released in the near past and this game is making a serious approach to breaking that achievement, something we had not seen for much too long. I might add more on the weekend as I progress through the game, yet so far I have to admit: “Well done Ubisoft”, which in light of my earlier views of other games is important to notice. 

I have nothing on AC Valhalla, What I saw earlier turned me off, yet I will admit that it was an early beta version, so lots to fix and even as some parts seem nice, there is a more apparent stage of addressing, which I believe is flawed, but it is based on incomplete views, as such I am refraining of actual criticism against the game at present.

Even as I still believe that Ubisoft is optionally on its last legs, the fact that the systems that WatchDogs: Legion is released on the big two consoles, with additions to PC and Google Stadia should not be underestimated. At present it indicates that Ubisoft could get its footing back and if the game turns out as good as it seemingly is (I honestly cannot say at present), the fact that a title like this is making it to Google Stadia as well is important. It could end up being a desired taste for EVERY Google Stadia player and that is important to Ubisoft as well. For Google it matters as it is not out on the Apple Arcade (as far as I can tell), and that will matter to Google in this upcoming race. It actually got me to one (small and insignificant) flaw at present, if I am wrong, I will be the first to apologise. When you consider that this game is in London and it was made by Ubisoft Toronto (that village in Canada), it suddenly dawned on me that the game is lacking NPC backpackers. London is filled with them, you know people with backpacks speaking in a Canadian, American and Australian accent (and plenty more dialects), they could have made that into a game achievement ‘Getting around: possessed a backpacker from every commonwealth nation’, just something to consider down the DLC road. Still, the fact that I am thinking of things to add, is important, as I am not thinking of things that required essential fixing. I might be too early in the game, but I have not felt this invigorated since AC Origins and that is a good feeling to have, Ubisoft is seemingly getting it right, if I attack them, I must also acknowledge that they are doing the right thing, it feels important to do that too.

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