Tag Archives: Hello Games

Merely a year ago

I just looked at an article that made me a little uneasy. You see, I was contemplating a few days ago, as Facebook reminded me that ‘No Man’s Sky‘ was released a year ago. I had shared a photo, that’s how I got remembered. So much has happened in that year. I still love the game; I do not play it that often, mainly because the makers introduced a few ‘deadly irritating‘ glitches and screw ups in the game. For the most I have been highly protective of the game and the makers. The game remains awesome and I still believe that they are sitting on multimillion IP value here. Like all others, I saw the initial E3 trailer, I was seeking like most on what the game had to offer and that is when the legendary night with Stephen Colbert came. Most of us were hooked instantly. From that moment on, and from the moment that IGN had the No Man’s Sky month, I took a step back. You see, SEO’s started to ride the NMS-Express. More and more outlandish claims got on the internet and scores of gullible gamers just took it at face value. Even the Catholic Church sites used NMS to propel their websites. But months after that, the truth came out; we got to see the ACTUAL game. There were two that stood out on YouTube. I think it was Johnny and Ian who made them, I think that Johnny gave us the play through whilst showing he was pretty bad at playing this game from the moment he started playing it. Now, I am willing to accept that playing and live commenting is not the best way to get any hold of a new game, which is fair; the other amazing thing they did was starting the game 50 times, and turning that into a video showing us the massive difference worlds could have. This was the trailer NMS should have made, but OK. In the end, it does not matter.

Now we get to the issues. The amount of people who brought back the game was a little out there. I heard mountains of complaints. I had none. You see, these people walked on a hype, not knowing what they were buying and even Sony was ‘pro consumer‘ whilst most of the people did this to themselves. They all (read: most people) believed the hyping media whilst there were too many mentions from Sean Murray that were distorted. Now, the game has a few small bugs, so did Assassins Creed Unity, the difference? The patch from NMS was 65Mb; the one from Unity was 12GB. The difference between a glitch and a mismanaged game! NMS was not mismanaged. Now, the makers of NMS are not without some due scolding, and I will get to them in a moment.

Now, we get to the article. The first issue I have is the one with their comparison. My addiction to the other game goes back to 1984. With “not to mention dozens of minor tweaks that bring No Man’s Sky closer in line with a space simulator like Elite: Dangerous“, these are worlds apart. Making any comparison is like stating that Apples and Kiwis are the same because they are both fruit. I love both (Elite a lot more than NMS after 32 years), I would state that NMS is the artsy approach to the universe, where Elite: Dangerous is the scientific view. In Elite trading is serious business and even as you can live by simple rules, getting the big bucks requires cunning insights and a willingness to be dealing in banned substances and goods. All this whilst a few billion planets have an economy based on what they are and as such what is rare on their planet and what is in abundance, a game with a market with dozens of goods and commodities. In Elite you need to learn how to dock, in NMS you merely press rectangle. They allow both to exist in the gaming universe; I feel that you can appreciate both. With “Progress is still slow and inventory management is still a complete slog, lessened somewhat by a couple of tweaks that allow for quicker recharging of weapons and tools, but still cumbersome and annoying” Sam White does touch on a truth, yet as the game progresses and the multi tool evolves, you get loads more done. As your ship gets bigger you get to haul a lot more. More important, as you evolve your suit you get to do things for much longer able to find loads more.

Now it is time for me to scold Sean Murray a little. He added to the game, with bases as all, yet he also flawed in a few ways too. This is best seen in the ‘hard-core’ and ‘permadeath’ parts. Sean, you nice guy you, you need to realise that the ship you just fixed, ordering annoyingly to fly into space is getting them killed instantly. Did you realise that? An empty ship should not be interesting to pirates and in hard-core, your first fixed ship, getting that person killed because a wave of 4 pirates can never be beaten by any ship just repaired. Did you not consider that? Setting a freedom from pirates until after the second jump would have been better. Getting them to deal with one ship instead of 2 waves of 4 is no way to appreciate the game. I can go on a little longer, but you get the idea Sean!

Yet in the original game (normal mode), where I have the punching power of a titan, all looks good. Most improvements are indeed that improvement. Yet the one part still a little off is the fact that a planer will for the most 2 of the minerals we need (apart from the red, the yellow and the green minerals). The fact that most planets need a lot more minerals (optionally not all near one another) is one that I never encountered, even by the long terms exploring on foot I did. The issues I mention might be small but they matter on the immediate players, who are actually missing out because you made the improvements for the people who have been there for a long time. Get one of them to go into permadeath mode, starting again and hear them scream in agony. Now, we all had that the first time and it forced us to be clever about things and that is a really good thing. Yet after hours, finding your ship, fixing it and then getting blown up one minute after take-off is a little too insulting.

The one thing me and Sam White will not see eye to eye on is “No Man’s Sky will likely never outrun the inevitable monotony that comes with procedural generation“. I saw this game as seeing what amazement the environment could behold. I accept that watching life evolved pineapples was a stretch, but still places that were fun to watch. There is a partial part that this game has levels of repetition if you are chasing to the centre of the galaxy, yet with ‘the inevitable monotony I tend to not agree. I accept that there is a truth in it, but the makers could evolve and add to the initial versions, oh and the fact that you need to play a minimum of 8 hours for one achievement, whilst the entire Tombraider game can be done in under 12 hours gives options to ponder what is actually inevitable. The monotony part does apply when you are merely chasing to the centre of the galaxy and getting your achievements (which for the larger extent is not that hard), yet when you see it what it hides, the arts and the views that so many combinations bring, we need to accept that the game it is not about the ‘prescribed monotony’ but the ignored art of getting the place to look the way it does when it runs. As monotony goes, take a look at Minecraft, monotonous or not it remains close to the most addictive game ever made. Still, NMS has options to evolve towards more options, more gameplay and more challenges. So even as I cannot deny that there is a level of monotony, the way it is stapled to the game is one I do not agree with. This was never going to be some fast game arcade game, which is pretty awesome, because Elite is not like that in more than equal ways, yet now both moving towards options and growth is what they both deliver, whilst no other game has been able to provide for is ignored. With Elite giving us now options in engineers and planetary landings, an option that the game never before offered. In the end, I still believe that No Mans Sky is still an awesome achievement. At times I see it as some version of Minecraft with actual awesome graphics. With the base building I can settle in one place and explore, yet the reality is that to grow I need to mine and acquire minerals, the fact that some are at times spread over planets is a little too unrealistic, but that is what the game gives us.

Still, as I see it, by many media No Man’s Sky is one of the worst clear covered games I have seen in a long time. From my personal view the game was too often reviewed in weird incomprehensible ways. In this Metro is one source that should be looked at. With: “The simplest description for No Man’s Sky is a space trader, in the style of the original Elite, with elements of survival games such as Rust or Don’t Starve. You start the game after crash-landing your spaceship, with no clue as to who (or what) you are and how you got there” (at http://metro.co.uk/2016/08/12/no-mans-sky-review-where-no-one-has-gone-before-6063429/). Is it a trading game? I do not think so! It has trade options, it has exploration options. They are true with ‘You start the game after crash-landing your spaceship, with no clue as to who (or what) you are and how you got there’ which can be seen as a blessing or a curse. You do get clear jobs to do, like fix your ship, find certain minerals, but yes, that part is fair. Yet, the issue that many of the media had was seen with “You’re then immediately given the choice to either explore the universe at random or to follow a story path at the behest of a mysterious alien intelligence named Atlas“. The fact that the reviews do not give the amazing differences per world is a little mystifying, the fact that life forms can be so outrageously different and that some see YOU as food is equally an issue, especially when you are out in the open and you are dinner. The upgrades brought good things and a few lesser items, yet overall NMS is still an excellent game for those who appreciate. It is very different from Elite: Dangerous and that is awesome, because that has a serious trading side and the exploring part is largely different and very little artsy in Elite: Dangerous. If it comes to fighting NMS compares to Elite like Need for Speed does to Gran Turismo. If you are a serious race freak, Need for Speed is not the game, merely a warm up entertainment and that is fair, it is not what NMS proclaimed to be, merely an option that it had (one that needs tweaking mind you).

The gaming world needs both games because science without art is tedious; merely art is at times aimless. It is how you personally see it and that is great about both games. These two games are not what they tell you to be, they allow you to let the games grow to what you would like it to be, which is ultimately extremely rare in the world of Gaming. The fact that Hero Games still rolls out parts in this game is also awesome and shows commitment to a game that I refuse to see as a failure, merely a game that was largely misunderstood as I see it. Now, many gamers are not into these two games, just like they have no patience for games like Fallout or Elder Scrolls. That is fair enough! They hold life in their hands and they believe that a game like Forza or Fifa is the fulfilment of their gaming life and I believe that is fine too. Gaming is so personal, what you like, dislike or evade is all yours to decide and none of your reasons are invalid, it is merely what pleases you that matters and some will still decide on merely one title like Zelda, which is good too! Yet in the case of NMS, the largest blow was by the media to cover what they did not understand, that is the part I still find a bit offensive. In this The Guardian has not done this, Sam White has his own view and even as he do not agree with certain parts, he is not misinforming you, which must be pointed out as well. In this one element every player of the game should love is the part where we see “30 hours of new story content”, so a free addition, which amounts to 2.5 Tombraider games (valued ad $229), so as we see the push forward, getting No Man’s Sky is turning out to be one of the best buys for a long time.

If there is one mismanaged part on the media side, than it is the fact that the media at large basically did not understand the game, or is that comprehend the gameplay? To cut it short, the wrong people looked at the game and valued it wrongly, that is just what it is at times and there is no coming back from that. We could give the example that the media was saying that they ‘found inspiration in cooking their family and their dogs’, whilst it was about that they ‘found inspiration in cooking, their family, and their dogs’. It seems like a small difference but in one case (the wrong one) you’ll be eating alone for the larger part of your life.

It might be seen as a failing by Hello Games, which is not an unfair assessment to some degree, yet in that same light, something like NMS had never been made before, which is important because this game is unique, it will remain unique and I doubt if anyone can repeat something like this to the degree that had been achieved. This is merely my view and you need not agree with it, I am not trying to convert you, merely giving my view. So try the game, do not try the game, I merely hope that you remain true to gaming and embrace the games you actually love to play. The joy of gaming is pretty much that simple.

 

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Games in Motion Review?

It seems that there is a lot of polarisation going on. If it isn’t the mudslinging on those opposing Brexit, showing what a bad losers they really are and if it isn’t those crying over commerce whilst the bulk of those so called managers won’t put in an honest day’s work. Then there is a collection of people playing a game, not comprehending what they are doing (go figure).

It is the last group that gets my attention today. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/05/no-mans-sky-perils-infinite-promise-sean-murray-hello-games) had an article called ‘No Man’s Sky and the perils of infinite promise‘, and because Sydney is now 3 weeks away from the EB Games EXPO it matters. You see, if you are a casual player fine! That’s OK and as such you might have missed a beat, which is not any criticism. It starts with the utter misconception we have nowadays on what we buy “Clutched in a crinkly bag we held the perfect product“, that is what a true fan will say regardless. This is how we felt when Assassins Creed 2 came our way. When we started a game called Ultima 4 (on CBM-64) and when we started Elite Dangerous. Those who knew had a reference of feelings, we played it, we ‘completed’ it and we desired to get it. This could never have applied to No Man’s Sky, or Subnautica, or Horizon Zero Dawn. Yet it might apply to Mass effect Andromeda! You see when we know it, it has reference, just like buying that album. We heard it, and we want it!

Then we get the quote “The reputation of Peter Molyneux, a veteran British video game designer, toppled after he habitually promised alluring features (knock an acorn off a tree and over the course of the game you’ll be able to watch it grow, he once claimed of Fable) that never surfaced in his games”. Again, Peter’s reputation is very much alive and on heights at my address. I met him a few times and he has delivered time after time again, and as for the ‘Acorn’, he did deliver that too! When you decide on a path in Fable 2, where your actions decides the fate and the look of Bowerstone Old Town.

Now we get to the goods. You see No Man’s Sky very much delivered on its promise. I even rewatched some of the aired clips and shows on YouTube. In this part the Stephen Colbert show had one of the best presentations (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqeN6hj4dZU), of course a few things changes a little (the way naming works), yet what we saw there, we are seeing in the game we play. The only thing not there is the galactic view, yet that is pretty much the only thing. What I don’t get are some of the weird gamers. You see, I get it, I understand that this game might not be for you. You gaming preference might be limited to FIFA, or NFL, or Call of Duty. That’s fine! So many games, so many choices! I love Minecraft, yet many of my friends do not. Again, we all have our preferences. So why are those people, who hate the game so much not sending it back to the shop? Instead of whinging and whining about a game they do not like they could perhaps exchange it for a game they do like.

However, there is a growing group of people who seem to get pleasure into releasing hate reviews of a game. I seem to prefer to take time into reviewing games I do like. Try to transfer my interest in a game, it seems more natural and functional than just vomiting hatred, which is just an idea from my side. The issue I have is that the anger is just so illogical. Yet the quote “In an expansive New Yorker profile, Raffi Khatchadourian wrote that Murray feared the game had become “a Rorschach test of popular expectation, with each player looking for something that might not be there”“, a not inaccurate but flawed. You see, there is a side that has not been exposed, not by any of the publications. Places like The Christian Times one of several who were trying to get some traffic to their site as were a lot more, yet those pages have now miraculously vanished. All making claims that could not have been supported or seconded and as such people suddenly got a dose of info that was not substantiated. Quotes like “The update will also add more diversity to the universe by adding new creatures and alternate galaxies“, so as we see some of the outrageous quotes, claims never made by Sean Murray or Hello Games (as far as I can tell). The quote “When former Sony employee Shahid Kahmal Ahmad criticised some players for requesting refunds, even after, in one case, playing the game for 72 hours, he became a target for online harassment“, which shows just how delusional some gamers tend to be. Yet the article has another side, it does not illuminate it, yet it does mention it with the quote: “Video game-makers struggle in unique ways when it comes to raising audiences’ expectations and then matching them in reality“, which is not the video maker, but its marketing department or the publishers marketing department. The issue was never a given in No Man’s Sky, it created the hype, by merely showing the game. Many games are not anywhere near the uniqueness that this game have and it is up to the marketing departments to create a wave of interest. Many might be able to recall Call of Duty : Ghosts, what was hyped the be the beginning of next generation gaming became the one game that showed that bad planning and good marketing that is, until people started to play the game. Another game that had to rely on hype was Watchdogs. Now, here there is another matter. For one, the development was hit with delay after delay. It was supposed to be the PS4 launch day game and became the game that screwed PS4 players over and gave birth to its own game 36 weeks later, which was just about the delay it had.

You see, I have bashed Ubisoft and Electronic Arts more than once in these matters. What is very much centre to this discussion is how marketing and press seem to smooth over the disappointments that the large players are bringing, whilst Hello games and CD Project Red as small development houses are bringing epic achievements in gaming. The fact that some (me included) regard Witcher 3 to be the perfect game, the perfect achievement in gaming of this kind is probably accepted by all (even those who have no love for that genre). The fact that the unfounded anger towards Hello Games is coming, whilst one of the most guilty parties is the press and the wannabe press reiterating news cycles with added insinuation to lure traffic to their sites as was happening on a near daily basis in the 3 months leading up to the release of the game is left unmentioned. I ended up giving ‘An Early Verdict‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/08/08/an-early-verdict/), because of some of the unacceptable rants I saw passing by and because a person named DJ Angel put up an actual decent review of the game and I stand by what I wrote three days before the release and now after well over 50 hours of gameplay: “No Mans Sky exceeded my personal expectations!

Now we need to get to the gritty, because this is going beyond just this game and mere reviews. There is an issue evolving, the issue with this issue is that there are no set standard, there is not limit or barrier that could be regarded as valid. It’s is the job of any marketing department to create a hype, to create interest and it is the job of the reviewer to cut through this all and give a correct reflection of what he/she has played. Yet there are recently two issues evolving. The first is that the game sites seem to encourage hype creation through advertising for example. Yet the reviews are not given until several days after the game is released, leaving the gamer in a vacuum.

I once stated in an article “reviewers should investigate is what I would call a ‘redundancy level’ of gaming. To ‘accommodate’ the marketing divisions to optimise their path, some companies have done away with massive levels of quality control. Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Far Cry 4, Assassins Creed Unity and the list seems to go on, all have the same problem, when you buy the game, you are again forced online to download a day one patch, many of them well over 1 Gb“, the issue that seems to originate through a massive failure of quality control. I would accept a day one patch from Hello Games and Project Red because they are in fact small development houses, they tend to survive on massively cramped budgets. Yet when we see this level of failure form EA and Ubisoft, where they are supposed to be ‘billion dollar companies’ one would imagine a much better prepared track. Often setting almost impossible goals for release and hen coming up short. The fact that the reviewers are giving those larger players all the leeway is perhaps a larger concern then just the games, because once the trust is gone, where will gamers find the information they can trust? The review of games is a field that has been in motion for a very long time, yet I feel that the overall trust of reviews and reviewers is perhaps on its lowest level ever. It seems that that beside printed reviews, the ones online should always be carefully regarded, regarded in a way, of being very precise in what is written (also known as the Murdoch insinuation approach to writing). Whilst some of those outrageous reviews we saw in the past months of No Man’s Sky seems to have vanished, magazines cannot vanish that easily. It seems that the words tend to be less innuendic (is that a real word?) in nature.

So for those who felt let down by No Man’s Sky I ask, did you see some of the video’s on YouTube? Specifically the DJ Angel one? Perhaps you saw the launch video from Eurogamer. The first one (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdJnpf7uXaw) showing 50 planets in 7 minutes. They started the game 50 times and showed just how different the planets were, which was indeed a promise that Sean Murray made and kept! The second one shows 3.5 hours of gameplay (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eASULWu2Ups on launch night), here we see how Aoife Wilson and Johnny Chiodini, comfy on the couch are getting through the initial hours of the game. There is close to no chance that 30 minutes into that gameplay won’t give you a decent idea of what you face even more so than a mere online or printed article.

There are cases when the people have a real reason to complain (remember Assassins Creed Unity), yet as I see it, there is no validity with No Man’s Sky. In addition, the patches we got (4 so far), they were all less than 100Mb if I remember correctly, so whatever patching was done, it was at less than 0.9% of the space that AC Unity needed whilst offering well over 18 quintillion times the gaming space (OK, low blow, I admit that).

So in conclusion I say:

 1. Research the game you are getting hyped about
2. Put question marks to games that have no quality reviews before release dates
3. Stop whining, the first two points should have prevented you from buying a dodgy game.
4. Realise that game videos could get you to guy a game you never expected (it is how I got recently Subnautica)

Make a game about what you want to play, not what other gamers proclaim to be ‘cool!’, you might actually become the cool gamer others proclaim to be!

 

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Media against the Law

When it comes to events within the law, the bulk of the publishers tend to remain in the dark as to what matters and what does not. Which might be fair enough when you consider the fact that they are more and more about numbers in circulation, not about the clarity of reporting. So when I saw certain reports on how there are issues with Hello Games (read: No Mans Sky) and the law, I tend to get curious fast.

There were to instances. The first one was regarding Sky TV. Because the issue was settled, there is not too much official news in play. As far as I was able to tell, from the various sources. We get “The root” of the “secret stupid legal nonsense” is down to Sky’s belief that it owns the word “Sky” in the context in which Hello Games planned to use it”. Can anyone explain to me why any judge would not throw this out of court in an instant?

The fact that this is of course linked to Rupert Murdoch in some way, means that plenty of people are too scared to go against that fossil (I hereby apologise to all fossils who feel offended by their media categorisation)!

In law however, there could have been a case and there was a case and in consideration, beyond the academic parts of Trade Marks law, there was, as I see it never a case. In the case where we see that action brought against the decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal of OHIM of January 30th 2013 (Case R 2398/2010-4), there are three players.

On one side we have

British Sky Broadcasting Group plc & Sky IP International Ltd

And on the other side there is Skype Ultd.

One issue is and has for ever been, more alike than not. Which is one that Sky versus Skype (hear: Skaip) would win, yet, one could argue that British Sky Broadcasting Group plc and Sky IP International Ltd are not alike Skype Ultd in any way. Yet it is the service Class 38 that works in favour of Murdoch again. These are Telecommunication services and as such, there could possibly be a conflict. Of course the non-legal academic mind realises that the Sky services is there for people who contemplate suicide, whilst Skype is about communicating with others. There is no overlap at all (unless you’re talking to your mother in law).

Yes, there is an unfair issue here. Because there is in no way any clear overlap from a consumer point of view, there is as I see it no chance of mistaken service here, but the legal point was made by Sky. It is the issue at [17] where we see “the risk that the public might believe that the goods or services at issue come from the same undertaking or from economically-linked undertakings constitutes a likelihood of confusion“, which is unlikely, yet not impossible and as such Skype lost the trial. The support was found from case Laboratorios RTB v OHIM — Giorgio Beverly Hills (GIORGIO BEVERLY HILLS).

So why bring this up?

You see, there is one part where there is a relevant part in the more likely than not as well as more similar then not. This is however not the case for Hello Games. First of all, this product of service is not telecom, it is a video game. In that regard Rupert Murdoch has a lot less knowledge of video games then Robert Maxwell, you know the other tycoon who took a swim on November 5th 1991. I know that to be a fact! In defence of Robert Maxwell, he was visionary enough to see that video games had the real future (he was the man behind Mirrorsoft), he would be proven correct less than 5 years after his death.

So when we consider British Sky Broadcasting Group plc. Sky IP International Ltd or Sky, there is absolutely no similarity between the one and the game ‘No Man’s Sky’. That case should have been dismissed of the bat. In addition, if Sky did not start a case against the following movie titles: ‘October Sky’, ‘Fire in the Sky’, ‘Iron Sky’, ‘Island in the Sky’, ‘Castle in the Sky’, ‘Red Sky’, ‘Sky Captain and the world of Tomorrow’, ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘Sky High’, can we contemplate that if these cases had not gone to court, the injustice against Hello Games should be trialled for against Sky IP International Ltd?

You see, for Hello Games, the initial case could have been decided against them if the game was called ‘Sky of no man’, this is not the case so the dissimilarity is there. In addition, this is a video game and unless there is a clear sky game ready for the office, I am better of not getting close to it. As I see the likelihood of confusion would have never been a case so I am getting the idea that there is more. Yet, without the court papers there is no way to tell for certain. What is known are some of the facts in play? You see, the part “Too close is determined by whether the relevant consuming public would likely be confused by the second mark“. I can state with 100% certainty that those buying the game will never be confusing the mark of the game, with the mark of a Murdoch corporation.

In addition we can raise the following cases:

Jockey International, Inc v Darren Wilkinson [2010] ATMO 22, where Jockey was sufficiently different from Throttle Jockey and Chris Kingsley v David Scott [2011] ATMO 20, where Rebellion was sufficiently different from Soul Rebellion. As such, Sky should be seen as sufficiently different from ‘No Man’s Sky’. Yet, I will accept that without the full court data elements might be missing from the case. So I am keeping an open mind to some extent.

Now we see that Hello Games is in another situation, yet now on an optional case regarding the feat of patents, or is that the alleged featured use of a patent?

Dutch company claims No Man’s Sky Uses Its ‘Superformula’ without permission‘ (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/dutch-company-claims-no-mans-sky-used-patented-superformula-create-its-massive-universe-1571747), the news now three weeks old gives another side of the entire universe. Wherever there is a true innovator, there is a vulture trying to get on the gravy train! In nearly all countries we see the application of it. In Belgium Law we see “De machine is patenteerbaar, evenals het proces van de aanpassing in functie van het draaimoment van de motor of de kracht op de snijkop. (voor zover dit voldoet aan de 4 voorwaarden voor een klassiek octrooi, maar laten we dit even aannemen).  De wiskundige formule die gebruikt wordt om deze functie te berekenen niet.” (Translated: A machine can be patented, so can the process of adjustment in function of the rotational moment of the engine on the power of the cutting head, the mathematical equation to calculate this cannot). You see, this is at the heart of the matter, in academic reality you could patent the universe, the methods of how it was conceived was not in addition, as the game is unique, Hello Games now have the copyright, yet not on the formula.

In addition, I need to show you the article by Eurogamer, who did some of the legwork (at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-07-21-why-no-mans-sky-fans-are-worried-about-a-patented-superformula), they make a few references, more important is the fact that they got through to a few of the connected parties. Now we get to the gritty part of it. You see, there is orchestration in the wind (not by or through Eurogamer mind you).

Consider the quote Jeroen Sparrow gave Eurogamer, as stated in the article: “Genicap is working on a project to create revolutionary software based on the superformula that can be used likewise by indies and the major game studios. Using the superformula to generate natural objects enables you to create endless varied and original objects such as trees, rocks, beaches, planets and mountains. Currently most of this work is still done manually. We are still in the conceptual phase. We expect to be able to tell you more in autumn“, which is, as I see it a load of bollocks! Consider, that initial publications of teasers of No Mans Sky started in December 2013, it was introduced at the E3 2014, now we see ‘We expect to be able to tell you more in autumn‘, how is this even contemplated to have any kind of value?

You see, part of all this is linked to the patent claim EP1177529 (A1). You see in Patent Law, whenever the first element fails, all subsequent elements fail too.

So consider the first claim: “1. A method of creating a physical form, comprising: programming a computer with a computer application for computer graphics or computer aided design or the generation of physical waveforms, with a representation of the following formula r = 1 1 a · cos m 1 ·φ 4 n 2 ± 1 b · sin m 2 φ 4 n 3 n 1 <img class=”EMIRef” id=”188164907-ib0037″ /> where r is a radius value at an angle φ, selecting values for the parameters a, b; n 1, n 2, n 3, m 1and m 2, at least one of n 1, n 2and n 3and at least one of m 1and m 2being variable; generating a pattern via the computer based on the selected values input into said formula; transforming said generated pattern into a physical form.“, here you might be confused, but you need no math, just plain English “transforming said generated pattern into a physical form“, here is the simple crux. A virtual representation, is not a physical form. A supporting thesis can be found (at https://unfoldingform.wordpress.com/about/), if there is one upside then it would be that this all introduced me to the work of Kris Henning. The abstract quote “a design investigation exploring the transition between the virtual representation and physical fabrication of folded forms” gives the goods: ‘transition between the virtual representation and physical fabrication‘, they are two different dimensions. Whilst we could argue that Jeroen sparrow is finding new ways to fund a tax party and here the quote “transforming said generated pattern into a physical form” does not hold the bacon, because this is not what Hello Games are doing and as such, we could regard Genicap as a simple vulture trying to get scraps from someone who was able to create. You see, Dutch patents are very similar to those in Common Law nations “De vinding moet gaan over een product of productieproces, en je moet kunnen aantonen dat dit technisch kan functioneren. Zo kunnen diensten, ideeën zonder concrete uitwerking, natuurwetenschappelijke theorieën, rekenmethoden en esthetische vormgeving niet beschermd worden door een patent” The invention needs to be on a product or production process and it must be shown that it technically functional, services, ideas without concrete solutions, natural theories, calculations and aesthetic shapes are not protected by a patent (translation), so as we cannot fault Eurogamer for  lack of Dutch, plenty of Dutch sources did not give this the attention it needed to have. This case is likely to go nowhere!

So we see the collection of people lacking innovation and applicational genius and trying to weasel in on their flaccid approach of inability (perhaps I am oversimplifying the issue?)

When we look at the final part of the Eurogamer article (which is quite excellent), we see “If Hello Games used our technology, at some stage we will have to get to the table. We have reached out to them but understand they have been busy. We trust that we will be able to discuss this in a normal way“, whilst, as I see it, there is enough to debunk the patent claim, there would still be issues of copyright. Yet, there is an issue there too. For this we need to take a step towards Forbes, who published on May 19th 2014 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnvillasenor/2014/05/19/how-much-copyright-protection-should-source-code-get-a-new-court-ruling-reshapes-the-landscape/), where we see “Consider a programmer who writes source code to implement a complex weather forecasting model. Models for weather forecasting are not subject to copyright, but the programmer (or, if the programmer is an employee, his or her company) may nonetheless have an enforceable copyright interest in the specific code written to perform that task“, which actually gets us pretty close to the heart of No Man’s Sky. the mathematical model has no protection (if it was used), but Johan Gielis could have ‘an enforceable copyright interest in the specific code written to perform that task‘, yet that part is stopped, because that part was built from scratch by Hello Games, so even if the superformula is in whole part of No Man’s Sky, it seems to me that the application was re-engineered and as such, Genicap has nothing. Nothing is as I see it should be, because they come up with “the superformula to generate natural objects enables you to create endless varied and original objects such as trees, rocks, beaches, planets and mountains. Currently most of this work is still done manually. We are still in the conceptual phase“, whilst a demo has been visible for close to two years? I reckon that they were asleep at the wheel (possible trying to come up with a mathematical formula to grow mentioned wheel).

In the end, Hello Games is growing an industry in a direction no one foresaw, the even better part is that I blogged an additional application for this solution well over 6 months ago implies that I surpassed Genicap regarding any superformula (without ever seeing it), even before they went into some conceptual stage, I found it another application. So what does that tell us about Genicap and Jeroen Sparrow?

So, be like me and enjoy playing No Man’s Sky (and thanking Hello games for coming up with a brilliant game).

 

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An early verdict

So many people have been speaking about No Man’s sky and I am now joining them. Those who know me are aware that I have idolised the game since I saw the very first teaser 2 years ago. It is still three days away, yet I could no longer wait and I saw the stream by DJ Angel (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqmjEv7l3u0). There are two reasons to look at this one. You see, for all the good, it also shows one debatable part.

From the first part, as far as I can tell, No Man’s sky is promising to be everything I hoped for. No quick glitches, or short cuts, just a play through. The fact that every planet is procedurally generated is also an indication that your planet could be very different from the one you are seeing, so watching this is not too much of a giveaway for what you face. The game gives the goods and the others. I am not stating it is the bad side. I am stating that as an explorer you need to think, so when you try to get to a milestone and you want to get something from your ship and you get introduced to ‘ship out of range’ you know you needed another solution and wandering so far from your spaceship was not the best idea you had. Yet, like Minecraft you can get lost in time and suddenly realise you made the milestone of 10,000 steps and you go Oops!

Not sure how DJ Angel felt, but I thought it was brilliant. So in the last weeks I saw people screaming upcoming disappointment, I saw people claiming to play this game and ‘finishing’ it in 30 hours and now I see a 6 hour play through (I watched a little over half an hour), where I see a player just trying to get by the elements. Short on items and getting ‘hindered’ by inventory full. I saw an option to buy a multi-tool upgrade and a few items you will have to see for yourself. I am moving towards a fair amount of sleepless nights I gather. No Mans Sky is about to exceed my personal expectations!

Now, The graphics (this is on a PS4), are pretty awesome. I reckon that other presentations were on PC, yet this resolution and the details we see are really good. The amount of icons in the field give decent indication of what I need to be aware of. Now, here is the part that I need to be mindful of. You see, I might not be in a desert environment, I might start on a temperate planet with seas, or in the icy cold. I will not know for another three days, yet this video shows clearly that we the players will be in for an excellent ride through our console universe. In earnest, Paul Tassi at Forbes raised a few issues I agree with, also sets ease many minds so you need to read the article ‘What’s Going On With No Man’s Sky’s Awkward Launch?‘ (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/08/06/whats-going-on-with-no-mans-skys-awkward-launch/#5730666621b3). For the most he asks fair questions in a way that should not worry you and moreover, on Wednesday you will have a clean server and a game with a day one patch to work with.

Yet in the negative, I would want to add a possible essential fixes to the achievements. This is based upon the IGN list of achievements: I saw several ‘milestones’ in the game, like ‘beginner’ for learning 8 words. Considering that 10 words gets you the bronze achievement, which is fair enough, yet another review I saw implies that the achievements were too easy (no idea how many words are needed for Silver and gold. So far, I am unable to oppose it and personally I do hope that from the initial verdict that this person gave where the achievement list is set to 4/10 (in difficulty) it will be shifted more towards a 7/10 or even an 8/10. I would feel sad if this ends up being an easy chase to the platinum cup (which does not lessen the gaming experience in any way). Yet, this is just my personal view and it is based on missing information. So, be aware that I might be wrong on that count, as I got this from none too reliable sources.

What DJ Angel clearly shows is that Hello Games completely delivers on the promise they made over the last 2 years. In addition, I do hope, based upon the IGN list, the following additions will be made:

Abreu – Survived one extreme planet for no less than 2 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Bronze).
Amundsen – Survived three different extreme planet for no less than 3 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Silver).
Armstrong – Survived five different extreme planet for no less than 4 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Gold).

I am going with extreme Heat, Cold, Radiation and Toxic, so I am hoping there is a fifth one.

That is pretty much the only negative part that we could possibly face and there is no guarantee that this is a fact, so no matter how you feel regarding the achievements, apart from all the BS we have been exposed to for many months, DJ Angel gives a few spoilers, but only if you land on a planet with these weather and ecology markers, which has a rough probability of 0.000002324%, those are truly gaming stats that make you smile!

We are a mere two days away from a great moment in gaming history! If Minecraft was anything to go by, I reckon I will be spending in excess of a thousand hours over the next year in this game. For Sony this is another notch on their guns of revenue. When we consider the past there were a few moments when one game was worth buying a console for.

With the PS1 this was Tombraider, with the PS2 that list was pretty big with God of War & Soul Caliber leading my list. The PS3 would be worth buying for Metal Gear Solid Guns of the patriot, Skyrim or the Last of Us and now on PS4 No Mans Sky joins that famous list. That game alone is buying a console for! In all the games published not many titles can make that claim, yet from what I have now seen No Mans Sky delivers the gaming goods!

Yet for those feeling nervous, there is one more fact that should be considered. This has been stated by several decently reputable sources. The two elements are that the database gets wiped, which means that those early players have no advantage and that you will discover your fair share of elements, life forms and planets. The second part is that there will be a day one patch adding even more replayability. Things like ship diversity, meaning there is a larger list of ships all with benefits and drawbacks. Additional depth in trading, meaning more fun for you and your ship as well as multiple endings. These are great facts and none are too much a spoiler. What is clear is that a team of 11 have outdone the larger developers with a comfortable margin, which is good for other claims I made in the past, and even more rewarding for me as I start playing No Mans Sky tomorrow (wishful thinking).

So I hope you join me in spirit as you embark on your own quest through a universe as Hello Games procedured it to be, a fun trip for anyone holding their PS4 controller!

 

 

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A simple choice for real gamers

We are forever confronted with choices, some clear and many not so. We seem to rely in most cases on experience, yet in some cases, your gut feeling is all you have and at that point, the more emotional you are, the less likely that the choice was a good one. Now this is nothing special, we all do to some extent that very same thing, the mind, the gut, the heart and the sexual drive. Although that last one tends to be highly driven by emotions, especially when you give into lust, temptation and desire. That is not a bad thing, it is just the way we are.

Gaming is another place where emotions run high. Some part is about desire, but most of it is about a drive, drive to experience. For me that drive is there. Yet I am on a different scale than many are. I am not on the list of those needing to go Call of Duty on my fellow gamers, although there will forever be a thump of my heart for Mass Effect 3 multi-player. In my view the best multi player action a console ever had. No, I am on a reserved list of players that will forever be smitten and tempted by games like Minecraft, Skyrim and Fallout. You see, the challenge of RPG is met in Skyrim and Fallout, yet the fun of just wasting a day away playing Minecraft, exploring, building is not lost on me. Like a kid with his bucket of LEGO, I will never stop feeling for Minecraft. I will walk away for months at a time, but I will always pick it up again and soon thereafter I will have as much fun as I had when I played it in the beginning. I have it on all my consoles. At the initial price of $20 and the upgrade to a NextGen console for a mere $4, it’s probably the best investment I ever made. So when I get confronted with ‘Gamer who bought No Man’s Sky early reaches galaxy center, deflating fans’ anticipation’ (at http://www.polygon.com/2016/8/1/12341236/no-mans-sky-how-big-length-beaten-center-of-universe-galaxy), I wonder what is wrong with people, especially the writer of the article.

The first quote “Daymeeuhn, the Redditor who bought the game, said his 30-hour play through was not simply an attempt to reach the galaxy center as fast as he could” is already a giveaway. You see, 30 hours is a lot more than many games offer (Tombraider offered a mere 10 hours and Infamous Second Son offered less than 20). Still people are worried. Why?

From what is given away there are two enormous elements to consider.

  1. If he has a review copy, he has a limited version of the game.
  2. The game will not be released for another week, so how did he get it?

Now we get the quote: “I actually intentionally took time out of my warp jumping over the course of going to the middle to explore planets to break up the monotony of it

Which gives us the following points of evidence.

  1. He was basically trailblazing. Did he not run out of fuel? How did he refuel, with what funds?
  2. He admits to not doing all the major ‘events’.

So we see a person, who for example like in Minecraft build a house and thought that the game was done, or glitches himself to the ender dragon and killed it. How? By cheating? If we stick to Minecraft we get a few parallels. Finding the fortress, getting to the Netherworld, Mining Obsidian, finding diamonds and getting blaze rods. The path is not short and chasing to get there defeats the purpose. No Man’s Sky, as I see it is about seeing the other worlds, actually spending time there, learning a ‘language’ grow your character as equipment evolves and as you see the universe, this does not mean mindlessly doing the following:

  1. Select jump point towards centre of universe
  2. arrive at next location.
  3. Go To a.

Which seems to relate to the oldest Basic program:

 

10 PRINT “Daymeeuhn is an idiot”

20 GOTO 10

Yes, that makes you a programmer in the smallest of ways. So this person is one of what I personally regard as ‘a mere wanker’, who wants to know a detective story, so he reads chapter 1 and the last chapter, then publishes quickly ‘The Butler did it!’. So not only did he not care for the story or the writer, he also decided because of his ego to just spoil it in falsehood for everyone telling an incorrect and half-baked story. And something like that calls himself a ‘redditor’? In addition, many of the game review places should know better and for the most ignored the actual story just to try and cash in on curiosity. A Murdoch approach to a world none of them seem to understand. Not only is that person off the boil, he was willing to pay $1300 to prove that there is something wrong with him.

Which leads me to the following question.

How come that anyone had the game four weeks in advance and how did he acquire it? In addition as this wet though eBay, how come the FBI is not all over this? Perhaps because it is an American company, but a British victim and as such they do not care? There is a decent amount of evidence suggesting that eBay was used for criminal purposes. That was not considered by anyone?

I like the response that Forbes gave the best. They stated: “There’s no way we can trust this Daymeeuhn character. Just look at the facts. He bought a video game on eBay for $1,300 just days before it was set to launch for $59.99. That’s crazy. You can’t expect people to take your opinions, analysis, or observations seriously when you voluntarily spend an extra $1,240 on a video game just so you get it a few days early. It isn’t rational behaviour, strictly speaking, and certainly ought to colour others’ reception of your opinions” (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/08/01/its-too-early-to-start-panicking-over-no-mans-sky).

They hit the nail on the head, the fact that other gaming sites are not really on top of things makes me question a few more things, more than I am comfortable with, mainly because the overall quality of reviews and gaming sites has been deteriorating way too much. Another linked video is ‘Trophy Review | No Man’s Sky‘ (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyfCYnUZ0SY). The reason is that I was curious on what trophies there were. The interesting side to all this, is that this video also refers to ‘a person’ who defeated the game in 30 hours and it took him a few days to get all the achievements. This is now turning into another issue altogether. So this person has been spreading himself all over the field giving us an even longer timeline as to how long that so called early copy has been out in the field.

Now, I cannot stress enough that I have no idea how true or false the claims are, yet I have seen the trophy list on PlayStation Trophies dot org. Here the following trophies come to my attention.

  1. Attain ‘Naturalist’ status in Uploaded Discoveries, with a nice reference to a cult movie. This trophy implies that you will have to upload plenty of discoveries of the planetary flora and fauna to get it. I would speculate that it requires more than one planet. So consider the time, walking around to get it.
  2. Attain ‘Legend’ status in Ships Destroyed. Now this might not require as many kills as getting the Elite Status as a fighter in Elite dangerous, but it would be quite a few.
  3. Attain ‘Magnate’ status in Most Units Accrued. This means you have massive funds and coin, enough to find a planet with Dragons, a white wall and enough coin that it would make Cersei Lannister to act and motivate Lena Headey to find you on that planet and asks you to stay with her for all the nights of the rest of your life.

Now, there is plenty of options to get this when it is a limited review copy, yet there is a growing and overwhelming sense that we are being fooled and this is a heist by a Troll with a hatred of No Mans Sky. As I see more and more fake hype attempt by all kinds of sources, I wonder why anyone is so afraid of a game that people are looking forward to. There is no moral or logical justification.

Can I be wrong?

I always ask myself this, in nearly any issue that I write about. Now consider the Achievement ‘Attain ‘Babelfish’ status in Words Collected‘ which is a gold achievement and remember the demo’s that Sean Murray gave? If those shrines all have one word, how many shrines do you need? Now also consider the fact that this is generated, so there are no maps and the ships scanners gives you dozens of interesting places all for different reasons, how long until you get to the 10th or 25th shrine (just calling these Obelisks that)? Not in a few days I reckon. That is besides the fact that some places are ultra-hot, ultra-cold or ultra-irradiated. As we see fact by fact add up, the mere claim by ‘Daymeeuhn’ seems to hold less and less water. Now, as Forbes stated. Wait for a week and decide then, I will get it regardless. There is enough shown to see that this could be the game I have waited for, for well over 2 years. With 5 major releases until the end of the year, no matter how you slice it, there will be plenty to play.

What bugs me is the lack of quality support by those who call themselves quality gaming sites and game reviewers. Those who did get a hold of play time at the previous E3 and other options have been too silent. How weird is that? In addition the sites all ‘heralding’ the unreliable news have not been looking at the potentials that this so called gamer missed. So in the end, we will know in a week and I am holding onto my copy for dear life, because like Minecraft, getting most blocks is not that hard, it is how you grow your world that matters and as I can see and by what was shown, the pleasure of just admiring the views that the planets are offering is already more overwhelming and reliable than what I consider to be the empty claim of a 30 hour games defeat.

 

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What we waste away

This is an issue that bugged me for a little while. Even though it started small, the near exponential growth of waste is now looking towards me, looking at me as I look into an abyss of squandered opportunity. You see, this is in part the Monday morning quarterback speaking, whilst in that same view I should hold a mirror to my own choices. Just like you should do.

The idea for this article started small, it started when I realised that Huawei was willing to sacrifice its Australian market share by tweaking the skewing profits they have. They are now making short-sighted decisions and as they do that, they stand to lose close to 10% of the Australian market share. So why waste that? Let’s not forget that before the P7 Huawei was almost synonymous with ‘whazzat?’ and now after the P7, which was and still is awesome, after a less appreciated P8, Huawei is close to being a global household name. Now with the Nexus being a little outdated (Nexus 6P), the 9P could have been ready to gain a decent market share, hurting both the iPhone to a lesser degree and the Samsung phones to a larger degrees. So what does Huawei do? They decide to not release the 64 GB in Australia. Now until recently, we could have expected that, yet when you consider the exponential demand for mobile games that Pokémon GO is pushing, the fact that we now see ‘Apple plans to invest in augmented reality following success of Pokémon Go‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/26/apple-earnings-pokemon-go-augmented-reality-steve-cook), whilst the players are not thinking their decisions through could be regarded as a larger (read: massive) act of wasting away opportunity.

So why is this a waste?

Until Pokémon GO, the need for storage had not been visible to the degree we thought we needed. Even I did not see this coming and I have been connected to games and gaming in excess of 30 years. Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/bensin/2016/07/25/these-photos-show-how-crazy-the-pokemon-go-craze-is-in-hong-kong) gives us a clear view with the quote “special phone plans from local companies offering unlimited data usage just for the game“, which shows the amount of users, but not the need for storage. The fact that millions of people are now getting dozens of screenshots every day (more than before) of every Pokémon they caught and even more interesting where it was caught. Of course the average teenager is also feeding the image streams on how they caught a Diglett on their boxer short, so the wildfire of images is growing. All these images require storage and this is only the first game, within a year I expect close to a dozen games with features requiring storage, because there will always be copycats. So do you really think your 32 GB phone will suffice? I think not, with all the other needs your mobile life has, buying any phone less than 64 GB from this point onwards is a massive flaw. It is short-sighted, even if you are not a gamer, this market is erupting into new fields and the chance that this will not affect you is near impossible. So as the difference should be no more than $100, sticking with the 32 GB is in my view for the nuts and fruits, the fibre based mobile user needs 64 GB, yes there is in some cases a 128 GB, yet this is except for the very few really overkill, you need to be a seriously intense user of large files to really need something this big, but by 2019, who can tell?

In my view, you need to consider a mobile phone for the next 2 years. 32 GB will not cut it, especially as Android OS is also growing and will require more space.

Now it is time to take a look at the Apple side, the Guardian gives us “The comments came during an earnings call to discuss the results of the company’s third financial quarter, the three months ending 30th June, in which the company earned $42.4bn in revenue, a 15% decline from the same period last year“, so as Tim Cook is making claims towards Augmented Reality (AR) he seems to have forgotten that Nintendo, with their 3DS got to that point 5 years ago. So, not only did he miss that entire cycle, we can conclude that 3 iterations of new Apple products were not near ready either, so he is running behind the ball, whilst someone saw the AR on the 3DS and game it a little more thought. As we see how Microsoft has been bungling some of their projects, in all of those steps Apple wasn’t just absent, they had no clue where the gaming world was, so as they are trying to pick up the pass, we see the lack of innovation and shear absence regarding the creativity of options that Apple happily avoided. Now as some ask questions we see a sudden mention of AR whilst none of the hardware is ready to facilitate innovation for this track.

As I stated that all (including me) missed the hype this caused and yes, it is a hype but one that is creating a beachhead, not one that is fading away. So Nintendo has options and opportunity here. Beyond the IP needs that are now rearing its ugly head, we need to realise that Apple is now moving to the shallow end of the pool. They moved from innovator to facilitator and until they change the mindset on what a gamer wants and what a game needs to be Apple is now the one barking up the wrong tree. In that regard evidence of their hardware is simple enough. Only the iPhone 6 started to have 2GB or RAM. The issue is that games tend to be memory hungry and no matter how good the swap architecture, the fact that you need it will drag gaming speed and swapping speed down, which makes for a bad solution. The fact that Huawei is skewing profitability by limiting storage is less on an impact, but knowing full well the impact on mobile gamers, the fact that Huawei has not adjusted it view means that they will not be able to keep up. That last one is a little incomplete for Australia, because it is one of the few places where the mobile phone providers do not offer a 64 GB edition, whilst the models do exist. Here we get that Kogan.com is the only open provider offering 64 GB phones, in the non-open field it is only Telstra that offered it (their iPhone 6S), the rest is now trailing storage land with a dangerous backlash that could come their way.

So how important is storage? It might not be that big on one side, until you run out. Ask yourself, when was the last time you deleted pictures, removed MP3 tracks and removed APPS you never use? The moment you run out of memory and as you suddenly see that you do not have enough storage you will freak out like the short-sighted PC users who used to think that 20 GB was enough for their PC. Most of those people ran out of resources less than a year after getting their PC, when they did not know how to clean up their PC they started everyone except themselves. That is what you now face with your upcoming needed Mobile, because that moment with your kids, or your partner who just made that one gesture just as a bus passes by and the water pool near her feet became the inverted waterfall covering her, that moment when you miss it will introduce you to the term ‘frustration’, which is the moment as you realise that storage was everything at some points.

Yet these were not the only parts, just the directly visible ones.

There are more options and several are being missed out on. I am currently sitting on a billion in revenue, yet until the right person comes along. I can’t afford to move towards it without leaving it open for others to pick it up. I just need to get lucky. In that same way, some game developers are sitting on optional IP, some are now finding its way towards us in other ways, some through redesign, some through the mini console gadgets, yet they are coming. Is it enough? That depends on your point of view. For those coming with the mini console, it is a way to cash in on old IP in an easy way, a way where the seasoned gamer will get joy from. Just remember that this $99 solution, with the original games which would have come at a price of almost $1900 when the games were initially released, yet I digress.

You see, the need for gaming is still growing and it is moving away from consoles and moving towards the mobile realm of gaming needs. AR is only one field and it is not the only field. Ubisoft had initially created a small wave with a brotherhood app, one that interacted with the console/PC games and soon thereafter stuffed it up with the AC Unity versions by not proper testing and considering options. Yes, that Ubisoft! Still, they are not done! Consider the options they still have. For one, they have the IP of Just Dance. How long until they get the idea to push songs to the mobile and kids in schools and colleges start holding a little Just dance marathon? Sydney of all places is one place where a dance app could make it big not just in the parks, but on the streets too and summer is coming!

How long until that Just Dance would evolve to work in selfie video mode, so that you can get a rating? This would require storage and some of these speculated options could be just around the corner. Even though Ubisoft dropped the ball initially, they are leading the way of combining gaming with mobile gaming. So there are more options that AR games, even if everyone is running that direction (which is not a bad idea), it will require an open mind to find something that could create the interest that the tsunami of Pokémon GO gamers crave. I will let the developers work that out.

The final part can be seen outside of the economic requirements of technology. It is found in the overly eager acceptance of ‘speculative estimation’. It is not based upon what could be, it is not set on the prediction of what already exists, it is seen in the quote “Shares plunge 10% as revenue falls short of analysts’ estimates amid modest gain of 3 million users“. In this case it is Twitter, you know that great tool. A connectivity tool that link you to existing interests, both professional, personal as recreational. No matter that it is limited to 144 characters, it enables you to get the information you care about. An invention that is profound and its value drops as revenue falls short of what a limited group of people expects it to make. So as we see a solution that is making “Twitter forecast current quarter revenue of $590-$610m“, we get the cold shower because some people claim that it is “well below the average analyst estimate of $678.18m“, so we have half a billion profit and someone says it is not enough. This is the waste, reduction in value, reduction of what those who do not create anything is just not good enough. Yet, this picture that the Guardian initially paints is not accurate either. We see should consider this when we take into account Revenue and Profit, no matter what the profit was, it did beat the expectations of some, making me wonder why analysts cannot get their act together.

Some of those are pretty much the same types who would increase the value of Nintendo by 10 billion, even as Nintendo themselves did not make Pokémon GO. Those same category of people who seem to expertly know that Twitter is supposed to have up to $70M more in revenue, did not realise that “Tokyo Stock Exchange has plummeted 17% in one day, apparently due to investors belatedly discovering that the company doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go, the latest mobile gaming phenomenon“, even as we all knew from day one that Niantec is an American development company in San Francisco, they were not making any mention when Nintendo stock went through the roof. So is this just plain playing the field or just short-sightedness? Even as shares went up 13 cents per share (up 3 cents), they had no good news on Twitter. It seems to me that there is a massive waste coming from analysts predicting values, setting targets that are a little too weird even as Twitter had achieved 20% revenue gain, it still missed targets (according to analysts). The pressure on false targets and fake values is dragging down people and it is dragging down quality of life for those who still made well over half a billion dollars. How is that not a waste?

It seems to me that we need to make large changes, not just on the way we think, but on the way we accept certain values. How is pushing by externals in any way acceptable? Let’s consider the following parts. These analysts we all about predicting the ‘opportunities’ for Greece in the era 2009-2012, even as we saw misrepresentation in more than one way. How did that work out for the Greeks? Brexit was never going to happen, they did not catch on to that part until the day of the election, how again did Wall Street overreact? Now consider the following definitions: ‘Slavery existed before written history, it continues through such practices as debt bondage & serfdom‘. Now consider debt bondage, where we see ‘a person’s pledge of their labour or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation‘, our debts, our essential need to work, the pledge of labour as analysts seem to chasten Twitter (and many other companies). Serfdom is another issue. It is not the same as it was. As the description might be seen as: ‘Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the lord of the manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence‘, many might deny that this still exists, yet in an age with high levels of unemployment we seem to push out own boundaries to do whatever it takes to keep levels of ‘protection‘ (read: not being unemployed) and ‘rights to exploit your position‘ (read: additional work requirements), even as we might disagree with parts of this (which is fair enough) the similarities are close to undeniable. In all this we see an iteration of analysts changing predicted needs, raising expectations, after which their errors are released through waves of managed ‘bad news’. Now, this might be just my speculative error of insight. Yet the evidence is all around you. In that regard, many analysts also get it wrong the other way. When we see Facebook exceeding ‘expectations’ by 59%, can we at that point agree that the analysts making the predictions have no real clue? In this age where we can all miss a trend, the fact that we see a 60% miss is not as much as a miss, as it is a massive inability to read your market, which is how I would see it (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/27/facebook-ad-sales-growth-quarterly-results).

You are now wondering how the latter part connects to the initial part. As I personally see it, we are receiving more and more hindrance from places that make one claim, yet in reality they are mere facilitators towards profitability to ‘satisfy’ the greed of ‘investors’ on the terms of analysts. I have nothing against profit and profitability. No company forsaking its ROI will live for long, yet when we see a company surpassing the 600 million revenue and they are turning a profit, everyone seems to have this surrealistic love affair with ‘Number of Users’. This gets us to what is behind the screens, you see, when we see the blind focus on number of users, is it about the product you have, or the data you collect? Those who are still about mere virtual profit through acquisition of personal data, those who proclaim comprehension, those are the same people who were unable to comprehend the value that products like Minecraft and Pokémon GO. Even if I got one wrong, I did not get both wrong, in that same light I can see that No Mans Sky will raise the bar for gaming and even as some proclaim the word ‘disappointment’ with the initial Alpha release of ‘We Happy Few’, I believe that this game can be a lot of fun and can end up being a decent game with a 90% score. Now, it is important to mention that this view was from a reviewer with a good reputation, it is a good review and as such it should not be ignored, yet in all this, it is still an Alpha version and as such there is plenty of space for improvement. This is possible, because the initial engine does look good.

These elements are all linked, the link is imagination and creativity. Not the imagination of hope in the view of ‘I have the winning ticket‘, no it is in the path of ‘What can we do to make a change‘. It is about the imagination to employ creativity to achieve a result. In the first case it is for Huawei to adjust its incorrect (as I see it) stance of that what they make available and for which nation at the bequest of whatever Telco. This is a mere adjustment of policy, it comes with the smallest requirement of creativity and a decent comprehension of data.

The second case with Tim Cook, which requires both immense creativity and imagination (and a good development team). We can make whatever claim we want, but the reality is, is that too much value is given to reengineering, and way too little towards actual true innovation. Where is the creativity and insight that brought us the iPod, iPhone and iPad? Oh, right, I forgot, he died! Yet, should Tim Cook be any less than his predecessor? So why are they not looking at raising the bar and instigating a different mode of gaming? Perhaps the next hype is not gaming at all. I might not have the answer here, but the bringer of the next challenge that will create a real hype might know, for Apple the need of finding that person makes all the difference.

Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. I wonder if that is still just the case. So far I have learned that “Any innovator will soon after their first big success become the pawn of the needs of Wall Street”. If you doubt that, then consider Adobe, Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Nintendo and Twitter and let’s not forget that they all started through true innovation.

 

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European Exodus Community

There is a reality that people seem to miss. There is a reality that the people at large have been ignoring for far too long. Big business had been until early this year trivialising the entire Brexit issue. Some started the catchphrase ‘Bremain’, but that went out of fashion fast. At some point, in October 2015 something expected happened. An American opened his mount (in this case Trade representative Michael Froman), which gave the Britons “If you leave EU you face barriers to trading with America“, Is that really so? In my view, if the Democratic Party does not get its A-game in place, many will not want to be in trade with a nation that cannot pay its bill anyway. You see, if Brexit becomes a reality, the Euro will take a sizeable dive, which will also hurt the US Dollar. More important, as the US has not been able to keep any kind of control on their budgeting, the US issue would take additional tumbles. Consider that the US exports $57 billion to the UK, should one direction fall away, than so does the other direction, you see pharmaceuticals can come from India, Vehicles can come from Japan and Medical Technical equipment can come from places like the Netherlands (to some extent). We are looking at an easy 12 billion going somewhere else. So that part is not a given, yes, UK export might have a few hitches, yet when other players are found for at least 20 billion in goods, new arrangements will be an option (very fast), not so much for the US of A.

Yet, I get it. The USA is afraid, very afraid because of what the Euro changes will bring and their fear is escalating. This we get from Euractiv (at https://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/news/majority-of-french-back-holding-frexit-referendum/), who is now proclaiming that “53% of French surveyed would like to hold a referendum on their country’s continued EU membership“, an issue I saw coming a long time ago. i was the first one keeping my eye on this, and even as Hollande and Sarkozy are trying to make other ‘arrangements’ they now realise that non-compliance with the French voters will mean that the bulk will demand Marine Le Pen be elected, another prediction I saw coming. More important, should Brexit be averted, than Frexit still remains a real risk. It implies that American will almost be forced to send their own Al Jolson European Tour 2016-2017, yet unlike Al Jolson, this tour will not be a sell-out success, it will be seen as a painful reminder of America not cleaning ‘house’ in the 2004-2009 era. An era that brought many nations to the edge of despair. Now we see the Obama administration trying the option of Al Jolson singing ‘can I have a little more please‘, an idea many Europeans will regard as offensive. The changes will give additional worry. From one perspective, if the dollar collapses, export from America should go through the roof, but the overly mismanaged economy gives a clear clarion call that the funds to cate to this need would end up being insufficient. The latter part is my own speculation, I have no hard numbers supporting that part. From all the export, one in eight is about machinery. This seems to be a solid one, especially from the excellence in the past, yet in all this we in equal measure ignore that the US is not the only place to get this stuff, so if a part will move to an Asian provider, American wealth numbers will take a sharp dive, all that because Michael Froman seemed to have forgotten that they are not the only player in town.

Yet I digress!

There is now the realistic concern that a European Exodus could hit the community, a real danger, which also means that certain borders will come into a different play. This will impact the USA as well as Europe. Yet instead of a clear summary, the press seems to be throwing too much in the air with emotional plays from both sides of that isle which I consider to be not so productive. We see not so helpful articles by Jane McConnell on ‘why Brexit would be apocalyptic for the games industry‘ with quotes like “British gaming receives a wealth of talent and funding as a result of being in the EU“, which is a joke to say the least. When we see PC Gamer giving us info regarding Ubisoft Montreal “but it was built primarily on the strength of Quebec’s generous subsidies and tax breaks, and with a newly-elected government facing serious debt problems, those breaks are being cut back. That has CEO Yannis Mallat taking another look at the studio’s long-term future“, so that billion Euro firm in France is ‘surviving’ due to tax breaks. (at http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-ceo-ponders-reductions-to-quebec-tax-breaks/). Now, remember that this article is 2 years old. So basically in the time that Ubisoft created mere mediocrity in gaming. In all that time only the recently released ‘the Division‘ seems to be up to critical scrap. So how about not catering to tax breaks? The final argument “and thanks to the EU working time directive, we are guaranteed 20 days a year of paid annual leave, offering us all us all at least one day we can happily set aside for binge playing. That’s worth remembering“, how interesting that she relies on that part, not on the part of government accountability which is actually driving people away. In addition, remember Markus Persson, simple small software firm in Sweden? It made over 2 billion in the end (from Minecraft). So, let’s not cater to mediocrity! The same issue can be stated for Hello Games. It is about the reset the bar for gaming quality, both small firms, just the two visible in a group of dozens. These tax breaks are there for the small players, but they have been overwhelmingly used by large players to not dig into the ‘quality setting’ frontiers they should have been in.

I feel personally decently certain that Brexit is becoming a reality. If the press would focus on truth and fact, not on emotion to sway the people, there would be a certainty that Brexit will be. It will drive Frexit too. The EEC will become a near death-trap for the last one in, which means that Italy will not be in a happy place between 2017 and 2018. I expect it will drive the membership numbers of Lega Nord with Matteo Salvini, I cannot tell how strong, because I know too little of the other Italian players. Yet in all this, certain other players are rearing its ugly head. You see, when we go back to November 2015 we see a paper by Natixis (at http://cib.natixis.com/flushdoc.aspx?id=88106), there we see “In the worst case scenario, the United Kingdom leaves the EU and does not join the European Free Trade Association; there would then be custom tariffs between the United Kingdom and the EU, but given the size of the trade flows, the impact on the economies would be limited. The United Kingdom has a very small industry and its exports of services, which are very specialised, would probably not be too severely affected“, this is the view I also ‘synched’ to. Basically, the bad sides of the EU towards the UK are massively larger than the good sides. The Natixis paper by Patrick Artus might not be complete, but it gives the goods that matter, from that point of view.

You see, the short-sighted users of a spreadsheet forgot the drive that Brexit could have, the view I predicted already in 2014. In addition, the growth and danger that right parties all over Europe became, fuelling one another is a side I did not see coming either. In addition to that view, we saw in November that Wolf Richter, Wolf Street in Business insider had “A Brexit would be ‘a non-event’“. I wonder where that came from. Oh no, I need not wonder because they mention Natixis and quote the relevant parts.

So what changed?

Well, the part I foresaw and everyone ignored is that Frexit is slowly becoming a reality. Now we have ourselves a lot more than a mere horserace, because this is what Natixis can’t use. It is in massive parts a French conglomerate, not a global one. In that regard Frexit will impact on Natixis as a whole. In this I mean that Natixis will see its profit margins decrease by a fair bit (we are talking a game of billions here), whilst in equal part limit certain economic movements and options. That makes it a different event. And the less we say about the impact on the US the better. Ah, here I am wrong!

You see, Lieutenant general Frederick Benjamin Hodges gives us the following last Tuesday (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-usa-idUSKCN0WH0QJ), we get ‘Brexit would weaken NATO versus Russia‘, which is not entirely correct, is it Freddie? It is not a lie either! The mess seems complicated but it is not. We can agree that the General is under orders here. I reckon massively from his Commander in Chief who dropped the ball several times and is sending the General out into an economic field that is not ‘his’ theatre of war. Here is the part that is unwritten (not by me), whilst everyone was looking at Lehman Brothers and other Wall Street players, they all forgot about Natixis, who has a wealth portfolio that delivers an annual return that outranks more than just a few EU nations. When that limits and dwindles many players will panic, because the survival of some is now depending on continuity. Something that behind the screens of Brexit and Frexit comes to terms. With Brexit there was enough time to make adjustments, with Frexit that time will not be there, apart from the fact that it will force Germany to take a different course (one that is expected, but cannot be predicted). In all this that is only one element. The General is right that NATO will weaken, what is not given is that it will change the expenditure that some nations are making, which will directly hit Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which will now be a sizeable dent in the American economy too. Apart from a collapsing Euro, America will get hit by a double whammy, that part is not given (it is ignored by too many), not shown and not elaborated on. It is how expenditure changes. NATO existed since long before the Euro was a reality, but as those evolutions were taken, by lowering defence spending on a national level in Europe, we see that this ignored cluster will have serious consequences, very much so for the American military hardware industry.

Can I be wrong?

That is what matter, for me as much as for you the reader. We will be depending on two elements, Is Brexit a reality in the first and will it force Frexit in the second. The first is less up in the air, but not a given, in the second, when Brexit happens, Frexit will be a certainty. Even if Brexit does not happen now, the French are worried and they do not want to be the last in the row of decision makers as Italy currently is, the fact that 53% want this referendum is worrying to many players (except for Marine Le Pen). Both Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy cannot ignore the cries of the French, if they do, they will feel the discomfort that Marie Antoinette had on October 16th 1793 (well, one can fantasize, can one not?), because France is for the French (as they see it), not for the Americans. They will come down hard on their government, which is playing perfectly into the hands of Marine Le Pen. No matter what happens, with or without Brexit. Germany cannot sustain the environment without the other three players, which places the UK now in a tactical predicament. Relying on France to keep cool, this is what drives Brexit to additional momentum.

So all this will drive the European Exodus Community, to some extent people, because national business needs the motivated people to get businesses working and moving forward, but for the most it will be about small businesses in a national setting. Those who adapt fast will grow. Larger corporations will feel the disastrous drag of not changing gears, of not adapting to the new environment, mainly because those head offices (many in America and Asia) will not comprehend the old systems that drove them and the changes required to make them. Those depending on decision makers will find that delays will cost increasingly until (often enough) the decision has been made too late. Rowing against the current will be a new slogan that larger players will have to deal with, driving their talents to smaller places where speed is available. This exodus environment will hit in many places, in many layers on several fronts. A front where only the adjusted will make headway. I wonder whether 2018 will be the year of culling the corporate herd. It is too soon to tell, but it will for the most depend on the brethren Brexit and Frexit both leaving this rocky boat called EEC!

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