Tag Archives: Microsoft

It was tempting

Yup, there it is, my option to consider another part of IP, or talking about the console war. There was temptation for a few reasons, but the console war won. In the first we look at Notebook Check, here we see “Convincing PlayStation 5 price leak and latest IGN poll all but confirm victory for Sony and the PS5 in the first battle of the next-gen console war”, which is certainly one way if losing at the situation, we could also include “if the figures are genuine then gamers planning on pre-ordering either a Blu-ray console or Digital Edition model are likely to be satisfied. Another IGN next-gen console poll shows huge popular support for Sony’s devices, regardless of the recent appearance of the Xbox Series S”, we have a start and it would b e quite the start, yet I believe them to be merely side reasons. You see, the real reason is also the reason why I dumped my Xbox One and all the games, I have no further faith in Microsoft, who is not ruled by deeds, but by marketing hypes. Microsoft through stupidity on the Xbox One, lost me at least twice over, and as I personally see it, there is no coming back from that one in the near future. Consider that I would be more hyped to get Super Mario 3D All-Stars free at $69, then whatever that new console will cost, so consider, I am more interesting to get a remade Mario game on the Nintendo Switch, then the new Microsoft console, their credibility is THAT low. 

I have written about these issues in the past and this is not a reuse issue, so lets get back to the article (at https://www.notebookcheck.net/Convincing-PlayStation-5-price-leak-and-latest-IGN-poll-all-but-confirm-victory-for-Sony-and-the-PS5-in-the-first-battle-of-the-next-gen-console-war.493457.0.html), where we see “An IGN poll asking Twitter residents the question “Now that we have more info on some next-gen console prices, which do you think you’re most likely to buy first?” has now closed, and perhaps unsurprisingly it has been a convincing win for Sony.

The PS5 attracted 55.3% of the votes, followed by the Xbox Series X on a respectable 23.5%, PS5 Digital Edition on 12.9%, and Xbox Series S on 8.4% (out of 138,045 votes)”. It is here that we see the 138 thousand people gave large support to the PS5, 55% to the full edition and 12.9 to the digital version, as such 2 out of three select Sony, the rest selected the other brand, yet I feel certain that Microsoft would be hurting a lot more if the Nintendo Switch Pro was part of the question. I personally have a little issue with the phrase ‘respectable’ but OK, I’ll let that slip. Microsoft only has itself to blame, it did NOTHING to listen to their fanbase, they hype and twist, but the two largest issues were not resolved for 8 years and nw they get to pay for that. The idea that many would select the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console is something that they will have to deal with in 2021, but by then there is every chance that they are more nervous of Google or Apple sneaking up on them from 4th position, than the next Nintendo system, especially as Nintendo is already in sec and place in the console war. A good system does that and the fact that its users are looking forward to a $69 game a lot more than the next Microsoft console is a warning to the size of: ‘Careful what you wish for Microsoft!’, for them it doesn’t get much more painful, but they achieved it anyway. Oh and I do believe that pricing has nothing to do with it, if the PS5 would start at $699, I would still take it over whatever a Microsoft console goes for, I want a good game, not an exporting console, the lesson Microsoft never learned. 

Tom’s guide also gives us a forecast, in this it looks good but I am not sure if I could agree, even as Sony is a little lower, Microsoft will be a lot lower, all because of Nintendo and either Google or Apple (that fight is nowhere near settling). I think the consumers are forgetting that these two will influence the field. It leaves Sony optionally impacting 3-7 million systems up till 2024, Yet there is every chance that Microsoft will equally be impacted between 6-12 million systems up till 2024. It is a personal speculation, but there are plenty who take the PS5 next to a Nintendo, the rivalrous setting of Microsoft is a lot less so and the Nintendo Switch pro with 4K will impact the Microsoft a lot harder. You see, the Xbox Series S will be around $299, there will be a drive that is a lot harder that people think, instead of this, I can get a Nintendo Switch. Weirdly enough, they will have the Nintendo and a PS5 on the side (reversal of fortune), don’t ask me to explain it, I cannot, but I always felt that a Nintendo is welcome next to a Playstation, whilst Microsoft has aways about ‘Its only us’ and that ill hurt them a lot more then you think. 

And I am giving you this a day before Sony unleashes internet hell with their presentation, I believe that there are a few surprises for all of us, yet I do not care, I have made my decision, I made my bed and I will snore like a sawmill. I believe there is a lot more to come early 2021, but it depends on how competitive Apple and Google will get, if they decide to unite Microsoft will be done for, if it becomes a fight between the to (most likely) I feel that on personal grounds Google will win, but that is NOT a given, more of an expected vibe. In this either has a chance to push to third leaving Microsoft on 4th position and basically in the dirt, it will be the harshest lesson they ever received in 15 years. And that is merely the opening setting, there I more, but the waters are fluid and it involves Ubisoft, I wanted to go all out here, yet after reading some of the CNN stuff, I get the feeling that Ubisoft is not getting a fair shake, and that offends me a little, do not get me wrong, I’ll happily make fun of Yves Guillemot at the drop of a hat (any hat), but I have always been fair and based on things I myself can corroborate, not on expected whims lacking evidence, that is merely a no-go for me (it sucks having principles). 

Still, Ubisoft is important here, if Microsoft loses out (which is a lot more likely than you think) it will hurt Ubisoft as well, they are on all platforms, but now we get to the quote I had two days ago. With “What if we use the power of Sony and for example Google Stadia to the max what that system can give? Will the gamer not end up with a much better experience? If you doubt that, consider Metroid Prime 1 and 2 on GameCube, a game that is still mostly unsurpassed on Xbox One and PS4 11 years later, an entire generation later”, there was method to my madness and as Microsoft loses foothold, players like Ubisoft will lose massive foothold too. Their position can only be held if the systems are on equal footing and that has not been the case of at least 5 years and as one system slips behind Nintendo, the fault line becomes at least unnerving. 

So as we see Sony’s intent this week we muster the coins we have, because preordering early is massively needed. And in 2021? Well, I merely wonder how many will choose the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console, because that too will happen more and more. And if the docking slot with an extra game slot is true, I will be on board as soon as I can. It is just too tempting.

 

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The Yesterday approach

I was looking at the Google Stadia setting for games, and naturally I got a list of the games that is on all the other systems. The problem is that Google is just starting, and even as it has good games, it also has a few titles where we can wonder how many disappointments the gamers will be introduced to, this is not about bashing Ubisoft, but they do not have the best track record at present, giving the Stadia almost half a dozen games less. One option would be to renew the old games, and I am not merely pointing towards games from the PS3/Xbox360, which is not the worst idea, but another level of gaming. I mentioned Murder on the Zinderneuf in a previous blog, but today I was re-confronted with an old classic, Tower of Babel, it was a Rainbird production in 1989 and made by Peter Cooke. We might think that the game is simple and that is only partially true, what is important the this is a game that the younger players can play, it can be upgraded to 4K if need be, but the moment the Internet congests, I wonder how much playtime people will get. The game fitted originally on a 1MB disc, as such the game could be upgraded to some degree, but it was already a good game, and as I see it, the amount of puzzle games is a little on the low side on nearly all platforms. And it is not the only game that could make it there, I mentioned Millennium 2.2 in an earlier blog and as such there is a rather large game pool that can be connected too, and that shows the larger flaw in the Google Stadia arsenal. We see what some call ‘the cool games’ and plenty of others too, but for any console to copy the other ones, is merely an exercise in catching up at best and yes, the Google Stadia has the potential to make it to third position, but if they want to differentiate themselves they need and a larger arsenal and a different level of additions. Puzzle, strategy, RPG, but not merely the ones already advertised, they need more and the old games were really good, as such a streaming game that is an upgraded version is still a lot smaller than some of the 30GB games and in streaming that counts as well. And that is not all, NBA 2K21 is supposed to be coming, yet the games has all kinds of issues on the other platforms. Park not working, players are prevented from joining games, we see mentions of ‘hailstorm of issues’, which let’s be honest, was always going to happen, but on a new console, the more games with issues, the less appealing it is. Yes the Microsoft and Sony solutions had the same thing, but they had a pol of titles to rely on and Google does not have that. Nintendo has had this a lot less and they have the advantage there, but for Google being on par with Sony and Nintendo was never going to be realistic, as such Google needs its own pol of games, games that have been properly tested and they will need close to a dozen games added, a dozen Google games and the old games are a good option. So how many Chess games are there on non-PC systems? What is the range of games per category? I am actually a little surprised that Google lacked in that regard, at least according to their own pages. So I wonder who were the deciding voices at Google, especially as the Stadia list has Breakpoint, a game regarded as the worst game in 2019, and that is before we consider some of the other titles (without judgement), titles that have been ‘heralded’ as ‘more of the same’, is that really how Google wants to start a new console? There are a few other titles, but that would be kicking certain makers whilst they might be really wanted by other players, my view is merely my view for the games that I like, others like other games, yet no one will like a lack of games and in this Google has its work cut out for them. 

 

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The stage I partially ignored

We all have that, we hear and see something and partially ignore the small print (if it is stated at all), she deals are good. I have made no secret of my aversion to Microsoft, that remains, yet I thought that the Game Pass was a great idea, so when I was shown ‘Xbox Game Pass is a steal — so why aren’t people using it?’ (at https://www.laptopmag.com/news/xbox-game-pass-op-ed) two days ago, I was a little confused. I might not be a Microsoft fan, but there are plenty who love Microsoft and Xbox, it is their choice and they are welcome to it, in that part I would think that they would love the Game Pass, yet the article give me a few items that I was not aware of.

The first part is “If you’re in the middle of a long RPG like Final Fantasy XV and it is removed from Game Pass, you’ll have to buy it. In Game Pass’ defense, the service gives you a month’s warning when games you’ve downloaded are about to leave. You also have the option to buy the game at a discount”, as well as “Some players feel more comfortable buying and downloading games individually rather than getting them through a service like Game Pass. It sounds like semantics considering you’re downloading games regardless, but perception is key, and to some, knowing they are getting a game through a service turns them off. In their eyes, Game Pass removes ownership” it gives a stage where we basically never own games, we merely rent them and there is a plus side and a down side to that, it is slightly more clear when we set the Microsoft store quote next to this “Get 2-4 free games every month and save up to 50% on game purchases”, so basically you pay $15 a month and that gives access to some games, whilst buying a game is up to 50% cheaper. So imagine Assassins Creed 15 (whatever version) and any AC fan wants to own them, so that month the bill could be at least $65. How long until the basic setting of the game pass is no longer a real sweet deal? 

And that is not the end, the more people are hit with the temporary setting ‘removed from Game Pass’, the gamer gets the setting of an expensive pass. I am actually amazed that Microsoft did not do a better job there. How long until we see that the games that they offer have a mere 1 year (or perhaps even 2 year) shelf life? It is not a path I expected Microsoft to make and when we see “Game Pass is $9.99. For $14.99, subscribers get Xbox Game Pass for Xbox and Windows PC along with Xbox Live. This also includes access to play online games. An additional $5 on top of the $10 for Xbox Live doesn’t sound so bad, but to some gamers, it could very well be a deal-breaker”, which is not news, but when we see the temporary approach to ‘renting’ games, the entire matter changes. There is no denying that $15 is a good deal if the games are forever yours to play, in a temporary setting and the obligation to buy some games afterwards the setting becomes a non-deal for a fair amount of gamers and when we see this on top of the other stages that Xbox gamers have been exposed to since 2012 we see a stage where Microsoft might only have its Cloud and mobile gaming left, they squandered whatever advantage they had and now we see a stage where Xbox ends up in fifth position behind the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and Apple Arcade, that might be a setting I get to see in 2022, as such if Microsoft does not adjust its path they will end up dead last in a game where they could have been in second place.

That is the price of setting a business stage in a world where you do not comprehend the participants.

 

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Tickle me this!

I got an award today (who by remains confidential), it is an award many man want, but alas, I got there first (for the ward that is), I am getting the 2020 award for impregnating Laura Vandervoort, don’t get me wrong, we never had sex, we never had a date, but there you have it, I got the award none the less. That is the situation we see today when GamesRadar gave us the Gamescom 2020 award winners.

Best Action Adventure Game: Watch Dogs Legion, Ubisoft
Best Sony Playstation Game: Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED

There were more, but these two stood out. The games are not out yet, the games are not released, so how did they win? Now personally I would agree with the Cyberpunk 2077 win, but if I hols one to a higher station, I need to hold both to a higher station. Cyberpunk is currently set to a 19 November 2020 release date. Any further delay and it would not apply to any 2020 win. The same could be set about Watch Dogs Legion, which is set to a 29 October 2020 release date. Some of the other nominees are coming out in November and now, on the 29th of August they have already won? How is that even possible? So if they get to make that statement, I get the Knock Up LV award. I had little choice, in my Freebie top 5, she is still the only one not married (as far as I know), so there you have it, the stage is set.

And there are more awards to come, yet will they be set to the right station?

We can argue that: 

Best Simulation game will be the Microsoft Flight Simulator (there is no substitute).
Best Sports game has three options, but the EA games are not coming until later this year.
Best RPG is up in the air, but Cyberpunk 2077 has a good chance if it comes in 2020.

Best Remaster? Best PC Game? I have no idea and I have no real setting of what will come in 2020, but to award it to a game that is not yet pleased is insanity and folly, but it made me dream of the most unlikely of all encounters, me and Laura Vandervoort, apart from the situation that she is on the other side of the Pacific river and that is merely the first of many factors in place and in this we see the larger stage, Gamescom wanted to count, it wanted to be the captain of industry, Covid-19 be damned and I get it, but it is not right. That the award are given to the games released in the previous year, makes sense, or even over the last 12 months, but to give them out to unreleased games is folly.

And this has nothing to do with my sentiment towards Ubisoft, I believe that in this case the game I am yearning for is in the same mix, as such the game should not have won until it was released. Some will agree, some will not, but the stage of so many awards and they are optionally based on unreleased games is wrong.

It is a stage where we see more and more events set to timely publication, for them Covid-19 must suck and I get it, but to set the stage to award games not yet published is getting a bit weird. It is merely my $0.0325 on the matter (my 2 cents with adjustment) and feel free to disagree.

 

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Jealousy

We all have it and I am no exception. Yes, I am keeping the IP I have to myself (for now), and I have been involved in video games since 1985, so when I see ‘EA Executives Blocked From Receiving “Exorbitant” Awards’ (source: Kotaku) all whilst we see “Earlier this week, investors shot down EA’s proposed payment plans for their executives” in the same frame when I proposed a version of Mass Effect that would undo the damage the previous one did and give the players a 400% boost in exploratory gameplay is set on a slippery slope. When a group of people getting millions of bonuses for making junk why would I bother helping them? (slightly miffed me), yet when we see the list of games coming out, we see a drove of remastered games (now also coming to Nintendo Switch), with a huge spoonful of sport games, which was always their core business, yet there is now a hole, even as we accept that there is a border to Sims, there is an edge to the Medal of Honour and there is a life expectancy of Dead Space, EA had good games and that is merely in the near past. Especially now in the Google Stadia stage, they seemingly forget Populous, Populous 2, Seven cities of gold. Yes, we get it these are old games, but so are a large group of remastered games. EA has a large opportunity, Google needs fuel for its stadia, EA has a whole range of games that likes players and with Ubisoft the way it is now, EA has the advantage. We might see the temporary influx of a gem like Battle Chess and we all see it, yet it became a game that was (for a while) liked and optionally loved by a whole range of people with zero interest in chess gaming. So what happens when the tutor part of Battle Chess increases a lot more, what happens when a whole new generation of players can get into chess, optionally with the added play online, set groups of players and so on. A categorical side of Elo, the chess rating. There is still the option to add Battle Chess 2, yet the question becomes how many people warm up Chinese chess (different pieces, different moves). When we accept that we are willing to engage into the side of puzzles that need solving, chess puzzles are there for all and in the stage that Google Stadia finds itself in, there is a larger need to get the gaming fuel going and the fuel they are all forgetting about is the fuel that is out in the open. And it is not about the identical port, but it is about what more the games could offer and these games have plenty to offer, all whilst the IP is still in the hands of EA (most of them anyway). EA has a massive advantage. Even as there is a lot of anti-EA people, the quality of games was never below the par line, not like the par line Ubisoft waves anyway. There is also the stage to grow, a game like Shadow Caster was not the great game it could have been then, but the stage now could lead to a lot more gaming and dare I say it a higher quality level of gaming? And they are not alone, Ian Bird created a game called Millennium 2.2 31 years ago. A game that I still remember playing on the CBM Amiga, The CBM Amiga had to deal with 512KB of RAM and a disc holding 880KB of storage, Any system can surpass that now, so we could see a setting where this game could be restitched at the tailor giving us a new style of clothing, in new colours with more versatility. That is the stage that I feel the most on with Severn Cities of Gold. Ubisoft makes us chase in game loot boxes, yet the origin of this comes from discovering things and Seven Cities of gold delivered. Nowadays it does not hold up to our needs, but what happens when we set the stage to a much higher level, yet the original idea was sound. Yes, I know, we hear all these people with ‘I can do this much better’, but where are they? Where is their product? 

I am not claiming to do any better, but I see what is and what can be and they are merely mulling it over with their ‘improved product’ and not showing anything. It is a shame because there is a stage where Google Stadia can surpass Microsoft and I have a vested interest in showing them how wrong their approach was, treason to gamers is a stage I take very seriously and I am driven to see them fall, if only to show them the error of their delusional stage of self preservation. OK, I admit that this is a little over the top, but to see them having to swallow their words ‘We have the most powerful system in the world’, letting them surpass themselves by the weakest system (Nintendo Switch) and optionally set the stage of the Google Stadia surpassing them as well is a nice notch on my 6 shooter. The fuel for gamers is games and adding a whole range of games that entice, reward game time and let them feel the joy of gaming is rewarding to me. 

And the stage of setting loose on the gaming world of amazing games is just icing on the cake. In this EA is a good start, they had excellent games, no denying that and a package deal there would be a larger win for Google. I believe that the games that enticed the previous generation can still entice the current generation when we upgrade and adjust the game to what we expect in today’s environment. Let’s not forget that most games were created in a pre controller age, as such the quality of game play will go up a lot, and I believe that this stage is one that Google Stadia as well as Apple Arcade would want to pursue. They cannot beat Nintendo or Sony, but they can catch up with marketing driven Microsoft and optionally surpass them, I would see it as a personal achievement. A setting where bullet point driven executives are shown the door by the gamers they set up to milk. So I admit, there is some jealousy when my evangelical approach to gaming is not rewarded and the inferior approach to gaming is, on the other had, they delivered a product and I do not deny it, I merely wonder why some products (the non-sport games) aren’t better, yet I also recognise that the umpteen versions of Sims allow for jewels like Unravel to make it, one hand washes the other and we let slide the disappointment that was Mass Effect 4, especially as there is a stage where the mistake can be undone. All whilst those who love the Sims get another influx of juice, Jedi juice is you like.

We can channel our jealousy, we can ignore our jealousy or we can deny it, it is up to you to decide on your view, your choice and perhaps your drive. I will leave it with you, and to give a little shot to your drive, gaming revenue represented $120 billion in 2019, if you want a slice of that, get to work.

 

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The tech is out there

Even now, as the larger players (Microsoft and Wall-mart) are starting a bidding fight for TikTok, we see the flaw on several levels in the digital age. I illuminated it yesterday, in my previous article.  We are in a stage where everyone is shouting that they have Digital Media Managers , Digital Marketers, Account Managers, Social Media Managers and so on, and so on. Yet, where it counts, we see (at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIGOV/bulletins/29bf2b8) the statement on Kenosha and the shooting, but when I looked at the site in ‘Self destruct initiated’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/27/self-destruct-initiated/) there was no mention at all and that was at 02:57 on August 27th, whilst the shooting was on August 23, it took 4 days for the digital media manager to wake up. Yet the police section in the news of the City of Kenosha website is still empty, so why do they have a website and who manages it? It is nice to have politicians and captains of industry hide behind the Internet of Things, digital media and digital needs, but where it counts, are they even aware that they flunked the pooch? 

A second set is given by the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53930775), here we see ‘Facebook says Apple ad-blocking settings could halve revenue’ where we get introduced to “Apple’s plan to require all users to actively opt in before they can be tracked “may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it”, Facebook said”, whilst we also get “In the upcoming iOS 14, apps have to explicitly ask users’ permission to collect and share data, meaning ads will no longer be able to just “follow” users to apps outside of Facebook”, all whilst everyone is ignoring “way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps”, lets be clear, FaceBook has every right to advertise on its site, it is the price of getting a free service, yet where does it state that the people have to agree to be followed “into other mobile apps”? In that article, where does it state the need and rights of the consumer? (I am not attacking the BBC or the writer of the article), we overlook technology to the mere shallow assumption related to it. We see the attack on Apple from Epic games (Fortnite) and we see Microsoft supporting Epic games, yet thee fact that the rule that Apple relied on is pretty much the same rule Microsoft has in place, so how did that make sense? It only looks clear when we see the path Microsoft has in play and they mobile XCloud is relying on the millions of iPhone users. I mentioned that in ‘The stage pushed by Microsoft’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/24/the-stage-pushed-by-microsoft/), so again we see a tech setting that is getting a shallow treatment and in this case I do not attack the media (even though I think they fell short), for the media it is all the emotion, as such we see the BBC giving us ‘Apple Fortnite players left behind in new update’, yet the stage where Epic games would be allowed back if they remove the external link in the game, which is against the developers agreement that Epic games agreed to when they got on the Apple store, a rule that Microsoft has in play as well and the media pretty much smoothed over with what I would personally see as ‘applied ignorance in action’.  

We see two versions of limited tech insight. This entire setting also applies to Huawei, the accusations and the lack of evidence is centre to all this. We get ‘Huawei’s networking equipment has not been detected spying’, in a Sky article last July, and it is the driving part in all this, we want evidence and we keep on getting bitching American politicians, one after another all emotions and no evidence. All whilst last week in the Australian Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/technology/is-huawei-too-big-to-fail-20200824-p55ont) where we get the repeated “shot down by an announcement from the US government that it would use the global dominance of American technology to cut off all supplies of semiconductors to Huawei”, which is stupidity on a new level. It seems that it is not and that would be fair, the short term solution is met as semiconductors are not available. Yet in this for over a year Huawei was ready to that stage making (read: designing) their own semiconductors. When that happens, the US will have a Chinese competitor in another field and the US will lose even more ground. So whilst the US is in denial that Huawei grew because it had a good product, slightly cheaper but a lot better, in all this they rely on “Driven by the belief that Huawei could enable the ruling Chinese Communist party and its military to spy on other countries and their companies, undermine their national security and steal their commercial secrets, the US government used every option open to it”, where ‘could’ is the operative word and the additional ‘undermine their national security and steal their commercial secrets’, and guess what, there is no evidence on any level and the situation merely becomes worse when you consider ‘Critical flaw in IOS routers allows ‘complete system compromise’’, a part that ZDNet gave us in June (and before that, at https://www.zdnet.com/article/ciscos-warning-critical-flaw-in-ios-routers-allows-complete-system-compromise/), it is a simple situation, the Chinese government does not need to use Huawei to spy, they can use Cisco equipment (an American company based in San Jose) and download server by server on a global scale. When did the media give you that part? That weakness and a few more have been out in the open, and we hear nothing. This is not on Cisco, as it warned the users and is working on fixes, but the media is blind to the flaw, why is that?

Both the tech and the flawed tech is out there and there is a growing issue for a lot of people that we get limited and one sided revelations, who is served better to that? I am going with the personal view that the setting of the media catering to Shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers remains firmly in place.

The tech is out there, but who is taking a good look at it and who is using it to the maximum that would be required in the digital age? I’ll let you brew on that for a little while.

 

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The stage pushed by Microsoft

It started recently with a setting that is now evolving into ‘Microsoft says Apple’s move against ‘Fortnite’ creator would hurt its games’ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-epic-games/microsoft-says-apples-move-against-fortnite-creator-would-hurt-its-games-idUSKBN25J0K2). In the first a person (like me) would state ‘Who cares?’, yet the state we see ourselves in is becoming less transparent. In gaming, there is nothing like branding, branding has been the centrepiece of gaming for 30 years, does that mean that there is no room to manoeuvre? No, it does not, but to understand the setting we need to take you back. Even as Microsoft would love to push the stage via “Microsoft Corp on Sunday said in a court filing that Apple Inc’s threat to cut off the creator of “Fortnite” from Apple’s developer tools would hurt Microsoft’s gaming business, as well as other game developers” to THEIR advantage, as they are in a stage where they lose the gaming business due to their own stupidity. They tried to change the business and they were willing to do this at the expense of the gamer, the consumer, so how exactly is Apple hurting their business when they are doing it to themselves? Yes that is a decent question, but to understand the stage, we need to understand the larger setting.

There are PC gamers and Xbox gamers, both with Microsoft in a larger form of power, yet they are about to lose 50% of that (Xbox), the issues is not where you play games, but the stage where Microsoft wants YOU to play. The stage is further pushed through ‘Microsoft Research has prototyped Xbox controllers for phones and tablets’, the big issues is that Apple gamers and iPad gamers consists of well over a million players and to get them to embrace Microsoft controllers, they need games that are under their control, and as such they need access to Apple hardware, revenue drives them at every turn and Apple users are a massive source of untapped revenue. In light of this, does the title part ‘would hurt Microsoft’s gaming business’ make sense? Fortnite is but one title, it is owned by Epic Games, which is part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. So how does Microsoft fit in? Well it doesn’t but access to Apple is essential for the failed business that is laughingly known as ‘Microsoft’s gaming business’. Now, Microsoft can do in its own realm whatever it wants, and for that reason I dumped the Microsoft console, but there is no way that I would accept their stupidity on Sony Playstation, Apple, or Nintendo systems. They are loudly protesting because Epic Games has about a quarter of a billion gamers, so by stating that they are here for Fortnite is interesting for them, and the fact that Fortnite exists on nearly all systems works out well for them. And as we can see how they (as I personally see it) betrayed their own gamers base, so how can they state “Microsoft’s gaming business” when their setting is ‘revenue’, and whilst we also get to see “Apple has said that it will reverse its moves if Epic resubmits a version of “Fortnite” that complies with its payment rules”, so Epic can undo the damage when it adheres to the Apple rules. To be honest, I am on the fence on those rules, and Epic Games enjoyed the benefit in the beginning, but now they want to avoid the cost, and this is the weird part when we look at Fortnite we are given: “V-Bucks purchased on PlayStation 4 or Switch cannot be spent on other devices. Any Fortnite content you buy with your V-Bucks will be available on every device linked to your Fortnite account, regardless of which device the content was bought on”, and as I see it, why is Apple not mentioned there? In addition we see “V-Bucks are not transferable between Epic accounts”, so in that regard when we look back to 2018 where we see “Starting today on Xbox One, cross-platform play, purchasing and progression are available between Xbox One, PC, Mac and iOS.  Support for Android is coming in the next few months. As always, cross-platform functionality is a completely opt-in experience”, so  in this, there is no cross for Nintendo and Sony, as such why push Apple? All whilst Epic did this to themselves by ignoring the Apple rules (Google rules too). Whilst we see that these rules were circumvented, why do Facebook and Microsoft want a piece of it? We can start Facebook in any apple and any safari browser, yet they are limited to the data they can capture, when these games are directly added and outside of the store we will never know what security issue is circumvented, and personally, it is my opinion that Microsoft has no real credibility left, so why would I allow them there? And why are they so against the ‘rules’ that Apple set up when both Apple and Facebook had no issues forcing their rules down our throats? #JustAsking

And in finality the best cherrie of them all, straight from Microsoft (at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/publish/store-policies#108-financial-transactions):

10.8 Financial Transactions

If your product includes in-product purchase, subscriptions, virtual currency, billing functionality or captures financial information, the following requirements apply:

10.8.1

You must use the Microsoft Store in-product purchase API to sell digital items or services that are consumed or used within your product. Your product may enable users to consume previously purchased digital content or services, but must not direct users to a purchase mechanism other than the Microsoft Store in-product purchase API. 

As such what is Microsoft exactly bitching about? 

 

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Light of creativity

In creativity we normally see a theme, or perhaps better phrased, some (like me)( are thematically driven, it might change per project, but in me there is a drive to think thematically, it is how I set the the stages of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, Watchdogs 4: Refugee,  and Far Cry 7: Timing

In this I have spoken about the Elder Scrolls and Watchdogs before, but not too much about Far Cry, in this game the stage is a little bit different. The game has two sides, a day side and a night side, yet that is not really made clear in the beginning, The game is stages in Japan on the Island of Amakusa, the man is in the city as it is today, yet when he falls asleep he becomes the boy or Girl named Sage. For the kid its 1945, for the adult its 2010, and the stage is different, the man learns skills that the boy has when he falls asleep, the kid finds things and places (and avoid US troops) the difference is that this is a game without guns, the US troops have them, but the boy/girl cannot fire them. The man learns to be better and more apt with knifes, and it helps the other one, but is only deadly to animals. The story starts in 2010, the man is evicted, he lost his job in the meltdown, he is making it on his own and when he gets to an abandoned house, he finds an engraved phalange, and as he holds it, he falls asleep. 

At that point it becomes morning 1945 and the boy takes over. 

It is the foundation of the game, in this we see the entire island twice, once as the boy in the midst  of an American occupation, with lose combats against the Imperial army, we see the game starting in one stage in July 1st 1945 and July 1st 2010 in the other stage. The idea of having two stories that intertwine is interesting, the 2010 story sets the stage of what knowledge is gained in 1945. This stage is depending on stealth, that is often not important in 2010, as we try to gain the treasures and rare items to pay the debt, as that unfolds, we see two stories unfold as well as two needs to be scored in a single night, and as the stage unfolds more and more we get to see a WW2 story from a Japanese side, yet the Americans are not shown too evil, but they are scary to a 11 year old child. 

That is merely the beginning of the setting and it took no more than two hours to come up with it. So when we see “a small team at Visceral also worked on a pirate game code named Jamaica. That game wound up being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and EA wound up with a bigger a bigger priority for its “genre” studio: a Star Wars game”, a quote a mere three days old, yet I was able to (semi)create three games in a week, so where is their creativity? I came up with the setting of the game Evolution which was came from an Idea I had when I was playing the game Mercenary on the CBM64 and was based in Amsterdam, The centre of Amsterdam was completely mapped and I came up with a map change which I got from the documentary Zero Hour, as I see it, the lack of creativity from some of these large software houses baffle me, it really does.

Well, its fine as I see it, I came up with 6 games (completely) original in its foundation, as such the entire stage of ‘being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’ passed me by completely. And in that regard, we see that even their version is not that original, Sid Meier set that stage with Pirates, as such I wonder what they will create next, and beyond that, which of them will actually make it to the consoles, because that is another setting.

As we see all over the place ‘Apple clashes with Microsoft, Google, and Facebook over cloud gaming’ no one is asking the question, who will hand us original games? In this the setting that only Sony and Nintendo remains is not the weirdest idea. So as the others are fighting on how to gain the largest slice of pie in the GaaS game, some will focus on originality and make the largest gains. 

So what games will you play and which system will focus on original games? Is that not important too? 

 

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It is more than a ban

It has not been an easy rise for game makers, now that Microsoft has shown its initial hand, now it is time for some of the game makers to show theirs. It starts with “Apple and Google both removed the hit game from their app stores after Epic Games bypassed their payment systems, to avoid giving them a cut of sales”, I get the sentiment, and the BBC article ‘Fortnite: Epic Games sues Google and Apple over app store bans’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53777379) gives part of it. We got some of the other side in the GamesRadar article that I discussed in ‘the Silent reason’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/08/13/the-silent-reason/) where I gave “Xbox Game Pass is the next generation of Microsoft gaming, not Xbox Series X”, in this we see the start of the big players to set a new generation of GaaS, Games as a Service is the next thing and it allows Microsoft to set another revenue bar, it is the one realisation on top of the other ones that made me give up on Microsoft and now the larger players are using GaaS to gain revenue. In this, I have nothing against the approach that Epic is making, even as I am not a Fortnite fan, it is a free game and as such it has every right to make this approach, yet Google and  Apple will not be left out of any revenue loop. Gpay and Apple Pay are their own devices and they have a stage and it requires their view or perhaps the stage is their vision on the services offered. I  am not sure how to react, in favour or against the ban laid on Epic, but both the Google store and the Apple store have their own rules and the idea that Epic circumvents the stores might be seen as optionally cheaper to the player, but the downside is that as third parties get their own direct access, their store access becomes available to come under fire and that is not a good thing. 

The article gives us “Fortnite’s latest update offered all players a 20% discount on its in-game currency V-bucks – but only if they paid Epic Games directly rather than using Apple or Google’s payment systems. This broke rules applied by both stores”, The danger of a third party is something neither Google or Apple find appealing and I feel certain that their fees avoided is equally unappealing to them. And lets be clear, as GaaS evolves over the next 2 years, we will see the players exposed to all kinds of ‘direct from the source’ deals, because it allows the gathering of data and data is more revenue for whomever has it. The problem as I see it is not the fact that there is GaaS, the fact is that the stage will be overwhelmingly younger players. Even as 63% of Fortnite is 18-24, there is a stage where there are supposed to be 12-18 year old players and there are supposed to be a large following of them too, yet the toppling charts I saw does not reflect them properly, in light of 350,000,000 players I wonder how large that 12-18 group is and even as it is not their credit card, someone is paying that bill (most likely their mommy), yet that stage also gives Google and Apple a larger concern and I reckon that they are programming the stores to raise all kinds of red flags before they fall in a trap that is not unlike the one Electronic Arts is facing with their loot boxes. In all this there is a lull in the life of the lawmakers, GaaS is new, so new that most laws are riddled with holes and that is not a good thing. A lot needs to happen to bind and limit financial institutions from allowing gamers to be used and exploited. Now let me be clear I do not believe that loot boxes are gambling, in that same stage I believe that Epic Games has done nothing wrong, but consider other games that pushes for additional movements and choices that come at a price, whilst their algorithm is set to always set the bar at your effort +1% (speaking figuratively), so how is that fair? I reckon that Google and Apple are set against that stage (whilst getting their own grains of revenue) and that is perhaps not the worst idea, yet I see the other side too, especially as Fortnite is free to play, to gain the upper hand you can buy V-bucks to buy loot boxes and skins. It is one way to get the income, it is of course a risk, but knowing you have 350 million fans, the stage is set in a decent way and when you consider that they made $1.9 billion in 2019 gives rise to the GaaS platform. It is a platform that does allow for more than one game to be part of it and that is what players like Microsoft are hoping for, I reckon that Apple and Google are on that same train. And it is there that we see the balancing act that both Google and Apple face. It is appealing to lock the door to players like Epic Games, but they are not alone and over time, other options will become available, of that I am absolutely certain

 

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The silent reason

We (all of us) are mostly driven by offered choices, so it took me a few seconds to consider “Here is every action adventure game on PS Now that scored 9+” a little movie by IGN. I have a lot of these games, not all, but a lot. When you consider that every games is a mere 2 seconds in view and the movie lasts 1:25, you know that you are about to get a long list of reasons to move to the PlayStation 5. I am definitely taking that road, and for those embracing the Xbox, do not fear, it is your right, you still have faith in Microsoft, I do not share your view, but you are entitled to yours. There is one side giving us ‘Xbox Series X neutralizes PS5 assault with console war-winning counter-attack’, I personally see this as the ‘promoted’ choice certain makers are making a view that suits their needs. Even as we are given “Microsoft has been very vocal about the fact that gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles, and that games can even be enjoyed on mobile devices starting next month as part of Xbox Game Pass”, so if the console is not needed, why bother the war anyway? The article gives more, but I see nothing that can be seen as reliable, especially when I see mentions like ‘Microsoft are ready to lowball Sony’, ‘apparently the game runs perfectly on Xbox X’, and ‘gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles’, just consider a console war where you do not have to buy the console, how is that? In opposition GamesRadar gives us something valuable. With ‘Xbox Game Pass is the next generation of Microsoft gaming, not Xbox Series X’ we see a Microsoft Ace, Game Pass was and is a really good idea. There is no denying this, but consider that Sony Plus decides to offers their 60 games with a 90% plus rating, the playing field becomes an equal one really fast. They also give us “from all the messaging we’ve had since the Xbox Series X was announced, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Microsoft isn’t viewing this as a new console generation. Instead, it is shifting its focus to a more malleable model, one that has far more in common with the annual release cycles so commonly associated with graphics cards and smartphones. And Xbox Game Pass is at the centre of it all”, it makes sense, yet my negativity filter gives us that those with a Microsoft console could be left out in the cold, so optionally the gamer that comes in from the cold will have to choose either Sony or Nintendo and that is given some visibility, and I am willing to concede here that I optionally might be wrong, yet the evidence is out there, I will let you decide.

I have personally seen too many events and a tick record of 8 years of Microsoft selling its gamers short, as such, I lost my faith in them. So whilst we see “Microsoft’s monthly gaming subscription service is as close to the industry’s coveted “Netflix of Gaming” moniker we’ve seen so far”, it makes sense, it also makes sense on how they are crying like little bitches because Apple will not let them near to their hardware. And the failure we see at present gives rise to the setting of the console war, when Microsoft does not care about consoles, but about the Game Pass, we see the stage. What happens when Game Pass takes off on mobiles and PC’s, how long until the issues creep into the flaws of the console? Let’s not forget that they did not fix the current console for almost 8 years, a stage that has been clearly visible since the Xbox X was released. So even as some see this as the silent reason, I do not.

I have seen the stage where Sony took 180 degrees on decisions when it angered gamers (no second hand issues) and also when the gamers loudly complained on ‘always online’ Sony adjusted, Microsoft did not and that is only the beginning, the 90% plus games is the silent reason, over time the console embraced gamers and continued it course, it continued embracing the needs of the gamers, that is why Sony will win and Microsoft will hided behind new terms equalling ‘the most powerful console’ whilst Nintendo surpassed it with the weakest console. And in the end, it seems that the next stage of Microsoft might be “gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X”, so why would any gamer invest in a console that is not an essential buy? With today’s news giving us ‘Microsoft Surface Duo phone goes on sale starting at $1950’, it might be the starting signal to a different console war, it might be about console gaming on mobiles, so in that trendy stage, where will the Xbox fit? I am not certain but it seems that Game Pass was a better idea, so I wonder when they will drop the console hardware, it might not be today or tomorrow, but by the time it is 2022 I can not be certain on when it will be, as I see it, I feel that the Sony PS5 is a much better and safer investment in my days of happiness whilst I game the games I love and Sony has so far never disappointed my needs. 

 

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