Tag Archives: Microsoft

Playstation is Go!

Yes, the console war is off to a nice start. It is important to you (the reader) to know that for whatever reason, I am a Sony guy, hence, take no offense and if you are a dedicated Xbox person (no offense taken) then you might not like this article.

The event started last saturday when I saw this article that was massively Microsoft minded and how the new Xbox would be 30% faster, that person went on by throwing teraflops at us and making all kinds of speculated boasts, fair enough, I merely glanced at it and disregarded it to the largest extent. There will optionally be differences between the two, but the difference will be less than 50% (personal conviction) of what that person claimed. In the end, the PS5 will be a huge step up from the PS4 and a decent step up from the PS4 pro.

CCN (at https://www.ccn.com/sony-ps5-reveal-beats-xbox-series-x-without-trying/) gives us “Sony’s PS5 reveal video gets more views than the Xbox Series X trailer after being criticized for being boring and technical“, yes that was always going to be the case, in the end there are two parts, the technical superiority and the games, the first one we can see and anticipate, the second one we can hope for and in coming towards our hopes and dreams the PlayStation has been a lot more rewarding than its counterpart ever was. The one time the other one stood out was when the date was October 27, 2017 and that was the day that Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed Origins. Even as a Sony person I have to give voice to the amazement that the Xbox One X brought at that time. Assassin’s Creed Origins blew my socks off, and as a 4K title it was overwhelming. Yet that was pretty much the only time that the Microsoft console truly shined. As the self-proclaimed most powerful processor system it was surpassed by Nintendo, which with the Switch has the least powerful processor of the three, so that is the impact of superior hardware.

As such CCN gives us “The PS5 video has 13.5 million views compared to the 10.6 million views on the Xbox Series X reveal. This suggests that Sony may not have to try very hard to make the PS5 more successful than the Xbox Series X.” My response would be, Sony listens to its gamers, Microsoft only claims to do so and then does what the bottom dollar presented tells them to do, the gamer is not a consideration (proven twice over), that is how I see it (Die hard Microsoft console fans are allowed to disagree).

For me it is a much more interesting field, even as I am considering two IP’s on the matter, I can clearly see that the advantage that Microsoft created with the Xbox 360 has gone. My personal achilles issues is that the entire matter of storage has not now, not ever been properly addressed by Microsoft since the first One was released, that is 8 years ago. In all that time it was about being online, about being able to download, all whilst we see that on a global play there is a bandwidth issue, it is to such a degree that some people see how some players (YouTube and Netflix) decided to limit the video quality so that they won’t congest the internet in Europe in this Corona beer environment. It had grown to such a degree that Brussels decided to talk to Netflix on reducing internet congestion (at https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-in-talks-with-netflix-about-reducing-internet-congestion/) and the quote “Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton today spoke with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to discuss ways to help reduce internet congestion, a Commission official told POLITICO“, as such a case I saw coming years ago (not on the how it would happen) is seen three days ago in the article, there is congestion and in that environment Microsoft wants to be an ‘Always Online‘ player? As such the Sony solution with their secondary internal drive (SSD) might be a slightly limiting factor, but as it would (speculated) fit the 2tb and 4tb drives from Samsung, the Playstation 5 will have a great situation, and the 2tb SSD version is now $325, which is not required in the initial year (unless the games become really big) I reckon that Microsoft has a lot more to lose, superior processor or not. Even as they come again with their ‘most powerful processor‘ song, the moment the gamer chorus starts with ‘Yet where can we store our shit‘ they will fall silent very quickly, 1TB in 4K/8K gaming will do that. Sony has a similar start but you can add a drive to enhance player needs and 2tb/4tb will do that nicely. I expect that the 2tb drives at the end of the year will be $250-$300, so there is that too.

The larger issues is not merely that, Tom’s guide (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/ps5-release-date-rumors-specs,news-26954.html) gave us “In his Road to PS5 talk, Cerny gave more details on the SSD again, with the key spec that it could load 2GB of files in 0.27 seconds. That should make for some unnoticeable loading times once game devs get to grips with the new console.” in this consider a Bethesda RPG where the load times in between locations becomes almost zero, the additional joy we get by replaying Fallout 4 and Skyrim, this evolution is one I anticipated, although not the “load 2GB of files in 0.27 seconds“, that is just the icing on the cake. The idea that Elder Scrolls: Restoration (see several other articles) becomes a technical viability opens up a lot of doors for RPG games, in this I wonder what Guerilla games could make of Horizon Zero Dawn 2. It is almost beyond belief and that is before we consider other franchises that offer us more and more. 

You see in the end it is not about Sony or their Playstation, it is about the gamer and gamemaker and it seems that Sony is facilitating to an amazing degree to those two, as I personally see it Microsoft is merely facilitating to those embracing Azure, in lesser degree to the game makers and last to the gamers, it is another setting entirely. Gamers are the first priority, Sony learned that lesson when they launched on 3 December 1994, a first try to debunk Nintendo as the king of gaming, they succeeded. So whilst we are all in folds on how much it is going to cost, consider that the Xbox360 was $699 and we all shelled out because we were going to get an awesome experience. That was proven true by Microsoft and I never regretted buying a second one when the red rings of death came to ring my front door bell (two days before Fallout New Vegas was released).

It seems to me that Microsoft forgot about what gamers need and they seem to listen to those who want gamers to take a certain direction, it is not the same. Still there are options where Sony could improve too, not the gaming side, but the connected social media side where we share what we want to share, that side is up for a tremendous amount of improvements, and when they do this considering that people are not always online (consider rural France and Germany) they might just wipe Microsoft out of existence, they don’t seem to care what happens to those gamers without excellent digital path access. As i Personally see it, it is due to a population of gamers without a global scope on the matter. 

The Sony presentation (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8LyNIT9sg) is nice, but as CCN told us a little boring, still boring or not Google told me that it is #20 most trending videos at present, so boring is nice. Yet the presentation is also important as the OS is part of all this and the improvements in social media we will see before 2022, is lacking at present. As I personally see it both have that weakness and just like I was correct in storage, I expect that the social evolution on sharing becomes a much larger issue down the road and it seems that both are not ready for this part, even as it is not part of the console, it will be part of storage and synching (when possible), as such the console needs a pass through need that developers would have to adjust for and that is at present not a given. Even if it is easy, getting this in place BEFORE the console releases gives the makers of games a lot more to be ready for and I believe that it will impact the success of any of the consoles. 

How am I right?

This is much simpler. We have our friends and our social circles, at times we want all our friends to be aware, yet we have gaming friends and a social circle. They are not the same (for the most in Europe and America they are very different), I think that Sony did not consider this, or rejected this even as their PS3 presentation years ago gave sight of their plans. It was in that case a rejected plan that is now on their plate.

I am not talking about some marketing play, I am talking about gamers talking to their other gamers in an actual way, not pushing them messages (what happens too often). In this Google Plus had solved a few of the issues in the very beginning. Having circles solves it. Circles of connections playing the same game, playing a type of game and the individual messages that you can direct. So another game gets some of the messages and if that person is curious he or she can come look at YOUR wall where you see everything. So you basically have several walls, your wall, your shared wall, and circles and a message will be on some or (ill advised) all walls, your friends can select from your wall what they are interested in, and as you gain gaming fame they will optionally want to see more. It makes for a much easier social media, and that is the foundation of the dictionary “applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking” it is not about pushing content, but sharing content and like in any conversation, when the other party is not interested, they cut off the conversation, that part is often ignored because some players in social media need the traffic and the advertisements to go through, actual social media is about connecting and conversing (via sharing). It is a lesson that Microsoft (for the most) never learned in the last 8 years. Sony did not learn it either, but their solution was not about pushing marketing (to the degree Microsoft did) and as such we were a lot more happy, as well as the fact that we were not required to be online all the time, the system synched when we were (most often when synching achievements).

As this approach is matched with the games, we can select for games where the information goes (all to our wall) but then we can select per game where it goes (those who have the game too), when it is a genre we can also share it with those sharing that interest. So Fallout 5 is initially shared with those who have Fallout 5 and an interest in RPG, these players can then disregard (optionally temporary) Fallout 5 materials or disregard your material. That is a reality too, I have several friends and we shared Mass Effect 3 multiplayer gaming, but only that, as such my achievements in Mass Effect Andromeda was not interesting to them. In this I mentioned ‘optionally temporary‘ as a person starting in a game might not be interested in someone’s achievements who is at 90% (for means of spoilers and optional envy). This too makes for a much nicer experience in social media.

It is the side effect of any facilitating system of news events and achievements.

I believe that the PS5 will have a large base growing much faster if the social media template is set to facilitate to a much larger degree to gamers. Whether it is done or not will not affect the initial need and desire for the PS5, but I feel certain that over time it will be a much larger facilitating and desired part of any console. I also need to emphasize the win that Nintendo had on the switch with the calendar, I am amazed that none of the others see that part. You might not want to share your calendar, but an overview of achievements gained over a week is not something a gamer is not interested in, and the option to keep that calendar for years (an option the Switch does not seem to offer). I believe the option for gamers to open this part (per game) to the developer will be much more interesting to the makers too (as the gamer decides whether to inform others). It allows for an optional  deeper connection between maker and gamer. 

This allows for two elements the first being a direct gauge where the maker can inform (once) the gamer on season passes and DLC options. The second is that we can be aware of updates required on games we have, not blindly updating a game we haven’t touched for weeks (Microsoft actually has a much better system in play here than Sony does).

As we see that the PlayStation is Go! (Thunderbird pun) we see that no matter how great any system is, there will always be space for improvements. Sony however seems to have been listening to its gamers for the longest of times, lets see what the PS5 brings and what the second wave brings. This time around there are benefits and disadvantages for Sony. The last time around the Nintendo Switch was not a factor, this time it is and no matter how strong any system is, gaming is about joy and that is a lesson Nintendo has taken to heart every single time, they did this long before the Nintendo 64 (at $699 in those days) became a reality.

Even as the PS5 players will adjust to “We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5“, we see that the ‘truth’ of the matter is that the largest Sony base will initially be interested in less than 200 of them, especially if they upgrade from the PS4 and never had a PS4pro. 4K will be the larger reason for that. As such even the makers will benefit from the setting where someone did not buy it initially, their title was good on what was and optionally now will be a great added title (especially with patches in place). 

It is still early days, for the most, I am merely anticipating what is and what we will get, not what might optionally be missing. In that regard the Playstation family has never disappointed us (apart from the day one games on PS4) and it is still 9 months away, as such I believe that there will be a lot more information coming our way soon enough, most of that is most likely around the time this year’s virtual E3 hits us.

 

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Gaming towards isolation?

We have so much to look forward to, especially now as Sony has revealed much on their PS5 (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2020/mar/19/playstation-5-specifications-revealed-but-design-is-still-a-mystery), the first thing I checked for was storage, and there we see “the PS5’s 825GB model is promising faster throughput, with 5.5GB/s as opposed to 2.4GB/s on Microsoft’s machine. PS5 will also offer an expansion slot so that users are able to plug in a secondary SSD“, and it also gives us the Microsoft part “the Xbox Series X will include a larger capacity drive at 1tb“, as such I wonder if the Xbox will allow an additional internal drive? They still have not learned anything, the 1TB drive was not sufficient on the oldest Xbox One and with two generations the storage requirements merely increased with 4K, but the Microsoft executives have the idea that their consumers will accept what THEY consider wisdom, well as I personally see it, they do not.

And I get it, 1TB is enough to start with, but at the end of the first year we need more. Now, let’s be clear, I do not know if that internal drive can be upgraded like the others, We did not have that information on the PS4 until the first week of the PS4, so the Sony situation might actually be better, but even then, in this situation a secondary internal drive might fit the bill. And optionally we can select the Samsung 860 QVO 2TB 2.5″ SATA III SSD for $325, which gives us the additional 2tb that gets us a comfortable 3tb in total. The nice part here is that we do not need to do it on day one and for a while enjoy the PS5 as is. Don’t get me wrong I never regretted the 2TB drive in week one, but there is a benefit to this setup, and Microsoft in 8 years has not learned this lesson (or refused to learn it). 

There is an additional win, this time for Microsoft: “Microsoft has confirmed the machine will be able to play games from each previous generation of the machine, while Sony is only currently talking about backwards compatibility with PS4 titles“, it’s a fair win, yet at present I cannot remember when I even considered playing a PS3 game in the last 36 months, all whilst the games I love will be playable on the PS5 (Skyrim, Last of Us, God of War, Elite Dangerous), and now that I will be able to replay them in 4K mode, I will get a secondary WOW feeling from games I have had for years. 

As such we are in for a little larger christmas list this year around, as the PS5 (I reckon the Microsoft contraption as well) will get the best from a 4K 120Hz TV, as well as some of the 8K TV[‘s (for the rich bastards among you folks), we get to have the nicest digital christmas for a while. In my perception (at present) the Sony X8000G 65″ 4K UHD is a great buy at $1300, and even then I realise that it is not as cheap as some models in the same size offer, in that field players like LG and HiSense offer models for less than $1000. They all have 4HDMI ports, so that is not the achilles heel to worry about, I reckon that there are automated features in Sony I kinda love, when I switch on my Sony Bluray player, the TV also goes on, when I switch on my PS4, the TV reacts as well, all things other brands do not seem to have and that is fine, they are minor points that do not take away from the joy of a TV. I reckon that the one thing we all will need to enjoy the console a lot more this time around is a soundbar, there are plenty of solutions and even as there optionally might be benefit to having the same brand as the TV, there is not one person that can convince me that there is an actual contender to whatever Bang and Olufsen or Bose can bring, I heard the B&O solution this week and it almost literally blew my socks off (I found them 30 minutes later). That would be one hell of a way to hear what the Sony PlayStation 5’s Tempest 3D Audio engine brings to the table. Now, I get it, you can get that part later, or get it when there is a sale going on, yet I reckon that you want it the first time you hear that distinction, because it will be a much larger distinction. Lets face it, you were getting a TV, it has its ups and the sound no matter how great it is with Blu Rays, will not compare what a 3D audio engine brings to the table. Will you essentially need it on day one? Absolutely not, it is actually better to get it later, the WOW factor is pretty awesome, but once you have it, you won’t enjoy sound without it, no matter if it is a bluray or a game, the soundbar brings a lot to the table.

Yet in all this I am aware that we do not all have the coins to get it on day one and in that regard it is now the time to start looking for that 4K TV, or at least saving up for it (a decent 8K TV starts at $9,000), and you need not go for the larger brands, one option was a nameless brand giving a 50″ 4K TV for $450, consider the $79 for additional warranty (an extra 3 years) and you are set for 3-4 years. Then we get the target of our desires (the PS5) and here we see that they are still not giving us a price, but I reckon that $550 gets you there, as such you see a $1100 need by the end of the year. The additional $800 (soundbar and additional drive) is set to a later date giving you a year’s respite and you will end up having upgraded your gaming experience to almost the  highest end. 

In the end we can get all geeky with “CPU: x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 2, eight cores, variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz GPU: AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine, variable frequency, up to 2.23 GHz (10.3 Tflops)“, yet in the end, we gamers want to see our socks blow off when we restart Diablo III, God of War IV, Skyrim and a few other titles and wonder how we were ever happy playing it on a standard day one version of the PS4, that too is the adaptation towards new technology. And all that before you see the impact of a PS5 game. We can argue and speculate all we want, but until there is a launch trailer and official release date, I am discarding all the rumours. CD Projekt Red already gave the goods that Cyberpunk 2077 will be a PS4 title, not a PS5 release, it will optionally look better on the PS5, but it will not be designed specific for it as such, the same tale applies to the microsoft version. It is an important distinction as we will see that the best experience on either console will be CD Projekt Red with both Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, a distinction that sets them apart and ahead of all the other AAA developers. If getting a new console is about the best gameplay you could experience, it needs to include a CD Projekt Red (Witcher 3 or Cyberpunk 2077) game. I am not discounting the joy that Skyrim or Fallout 4 brought, I will want to replay them in 4K mode, but the distinction that the best feelings in gaming will be available on day one if you have any of these games is just a little too awesome for anyone’s good.

In all this we see that others are in their own world of hurt (no need to kick a developer when they are down). If there is one speculation that cannot be ignored, then it is the coming of a Harry Potter RPG to the PS5. An important distinction here is that in all the text none of them are making any ‘exclusive’ noise, as such I reckon that both the Microsoft and the Sony console will get this title, even as all the references only include the PS5 mention, the absence of ‘exclusive’ gives the larger rise that it will be on both platforms.

So whilst we wonder what will be coming to either console, the fact that most of us have the greatest games already on the PS4 and some will be getting the Last of Us part 2 (presently on 29 May 2020), we see an abundance of new WOW feelings as we replay the games we already had (for those who had no PS4 pro). 

For that too is a side of gaming we forget. The idea that we played Skyrim, but did we see it? Try it in 4K and see if you can play the game without finding your lower jaw on the floor, I dare you! The same can be said for Fallout 4. In that same trend, if Witcher 3 blows us away in 4K mode, what will Cyberpunk 2077 do? The boys (girls also) at CD Projekt Red were very distinct in the fact that they want to surpass Witcher 3, as such, whatever more time they need, I will not be offended. I merely hope that William Gibson (writer of Neuromancer) will be there at the launch to see the world he wrote about becomes as close to reality via a console, as he wrote it in 1984, the technology did not exist to blow him away, Sony needed a little longer for that, now that the time is here, I wonder what his thoughts will be on what the in his mind created world became in the hands of CD Projekt Red. 

Even as we are isolating ourselves in gaming, the setting is not that far away, if this Coronavirus (not the beer) is here to stay, alone time with the console will set us free. Lets face it, in this day and age, we see an absurd amount of reflection on something that we cannot avoid. 

OK, I get it, what had an initial mortality rate of 3.2% is now 4.1% as such our survival rate goes allegedly down, yet the amount of people is still well over 95%, so we should not worry, or if we do get a PS5 at the end of the year and celebrate our life in another way. 

Gamers have enjoyed this style of life for decades, are we crying? Nope!

How do we game towards isolation? In fact we do not, when Facebook started groups and gaming groups got involved, we saw an uncanny amount of new connections, this is likely to repeat itself when the PS5 (and Microsoft contraption) comes out. I even speculated on an upgraded version of console dependent social media (on the consoles), yet even as the previous versions were already in that mindset, the makers (both Sony and Microsoft) took too limited a view on it and as such both lost out. It is clear that we want to shout our achievements out at times, we also want to share a lot more, but the station at which both offer that is mindlessly limited to a larger degree. Both systems forgot to think things through and even as Microsoft is ahead of that game, both still think on how THEY can profit visibility, the thought of how the gamer benefits is seen that as they can approach the gamer, the gamer wins, which is the wrong attitude to have. In this they merely had to look towards Google Plus and learn from what was there, they did not. 

I believe that the next gen consoles will have a much larger stage as they embrace ‘true’ social media (not brand and profit driven media), as such we see that both systems have a much larger field to enjoy. I am not stating that any profit driven option is out of bounds, but to have 50% of your homescreen limiting itself to advertisements (Xbox issue) is just stupid, the home screen is where you start your game and see 50% removed for usage is just silly (on more than one level). Yes, the new platforms could ring in a few stages that embrace connections, will they? I honestly do not know and even as the PS3 had the advantage, the PS5 can recreate that advantage and see a much larger boost, in the opposition Microsoft might decide to wake up and do something about it all, will they? 

I do not know, but the lost connections and the stage where it could optionally lead to better revenue is just silly. Yes, I am all for non-profit-driven-players, yet I am not saying that to some degree it should not exist. 

For example, we have social media and we have the PS3 situation of PS Home. Consider that you have your one environment, for example it comes with the next Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed game, for example the Montefiori villa. You get to have one location for yourself (the villa) you can set the main game you are playing and how far you got. in some of them, you get to have a note board where people leave links to their mail and messages, screenshots and you decide who gets to leave those (Google Plus feature). As you chose the location that provider will have a place to advertise new things (and they alone). You get to walk around your place looking at the news and at the interactions you decide on, the previous version never had that. Will it be the Montefiori Villa, a Watchdogs location, the Batcave, a last of us house, or a house in Skyrim, and there is still the community wall where you get a better sense of what is placed there and you can decide. All elements that make for a much larger stage, a stage largely ignored at present, or at times too overwhelming. It requires filtering for some and almost none are there and both players have this issue. And to be honest, I would have thought they would have done a much better job of it (ever since the PS3), both players had the wrong hat on and in the end it makes the wall a ‘whatever!’ experience. 

I believe that the PS5 (and Microsoft equivalent) have a new stage in 2021-2022, as 5G is playing a much larger stage, there will be a larger stage for people to feel comfy in, it applies to gaming as well. Even as we are all in it for the game, the stage where we are comparing and reading about other gamers will become a lot more distinct. Perhaps it is the one field where the Google Stadia could rule in the end. 

I believe that it shows a much larger community that is out there. Some gamers do not want to talk to all their friends, they do not want to read about all the others, but he or she might want to look at something specific and it will differ per game, neither Microsoft or Sony considered that for almost three generations. None of them gave the right focal point on filtering, they merely dumped it all on the player, who ignored it in a hurry.

Forbes gave us 4 days ago “Stadia has been struggling to make waves and capture the interest of harder core players who were willing to pay for Founder’s Editions or the paid tier. But now with everyone stuck indoors, it seems like the right time to introduce the free tier” (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2020/03/16/coronavirus-quarantine-seems-like-the-right-time-for-google-stadia-to-release-its-free-tier/#e60fd00b168f), I believe that the issue goes beyond that. Yes the article reads easier when we see ‘the free tier‘, yet the truth is that this is the stage of cash strapped people, the gamer has another need, to see what they want to see and that is not addressed, by none of the providers, they merely dump a shitload of items and issues, with no filtering, or at most limited filtering.

Even as we are all gamers, we all have distinct needs or interests. I am interested in some of my friends on how far they get, one of them is a Witcher virtuoso, so seeing where he gets at is interesting, some games have nothing to contribute to me and some gamers are seemingly in it to get achievements. i cannot directly see which gamer is in it to enjoy Skyrim and who is in it to run through Skyrim. Filtering of users, friends and game specific items became apparent and it has been that way since the PS3/Xbox360, yet the makers did not really catch up, not in almost 15 years, how peculiar. There is always the option that they did not think it worthy of their attention, but that choice is dwindling down in light of what 5G offer and what the hardware can currently deal with.

It is a stage where we force our bodies into isolation, yet the mind is globally available and that is how it has been with gamers almost 30 years (M.U.L.E.) that is one of the first games that had enough multiplayer sides for people to take a much larger interest and the CBM64 (with an actual 300 bit modem option, no less) took that to another level (in those days). 

We (the people at Sony) seemingly forgot to take that into account and even as the world premiere on the PS3 implied it, it never really came to the degree we all desired, yet this time around, the isolation phase in the Coronavirus might give them pause to think on what gamers need and desire and adjust the system accordingly. The fact that most is software arranged implies that the systems will not be impeded and it could all be finished and better adjusted to when the console launches. I believe that whomever adjusts to that has a much larger audience to cater to when that part is realised. We might (to some degree) be in denial of that, yet I believe that the lockdown and self imposed isolation out there will push these issues to the surface and I believe that it will happen just in time. I reckon that the 2020 Olympics will add to that flavour of realisation as well. No matter whether the Olympics will be delayed for up to a year, or that Wimbledon will push that part to the upper reaches, it is a field where we see growth of a different nature, 5G already has the ability to set things in faster mode, but gamers have not been so lucky and we need to consider this, in the past where it was all PS2, the world consisted of 150,000,000 gamers, now that number has grown to well over 500% and now, as we see that 1,000,000,000 people want to reach out, now we see that the proper addressing on how they can reach out will matter, even as Facebook ignored it for far too long to cater towards advertisers, we see that consoles have a much larger game to play here. 

I merely hope that Sony (and others) take notice when it can still impact them in a positive way, the next two years will show where it ends. Will it end well? I cannot say at present.

 

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WYSIWYG?

What you see is what you get, that has been around since the old PC XT (or AT) tried its hands on desktop publishing. The phrase continued and spread in other paths, and we all accepted the term. Yet the term evolved and the fakeness of the term used later was ignored. As such the evolved WYSIWHY has come to be: What You See Is What Hyped You.

We see it in all matters of events. How the media gives rise to ‘Fed cuts rates by half a percentage point to combat coronavirus slowdown‘ (source:CNBC), even as there were less than 300 cases in a nation with 325,000,000 people, no such consideration was ever given with Swine flu or HIV. It was merely an administration what wanted to avoid the use of ‘recession’, now we see ‘Recession fears grow as Wall Street investors brace for a wild week for stocks‘ (source: Washington Post), even as we accept “after coronavirus fears caused the biggest weekly decline for U.S. stocks since the financial crisis“, the idea that a case of the flu, with a present 109,975 cases is just insane and most people are just buying the cake shovelled towards us. Consider that China has 73% of the cases and 19.3% of the cases are spread over Italy, South Korea and Iran. So how can these 4 nations impact the world economy to THAT extent? Lets not forget that the global fatality is still around 3.4%, all whilst the cases in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Singapore, Austria, and Canada are without fatalities (at present), as such the overreaction is large and WYSIWHY is as I personally see it the stage.

Yet this is not about that, even as the beer virus (Corona) is staged to you in ‘E3 2020 is on a knife-edge right now – and it could end the gaming show for good‘ by Techradar (at https://www.techradar.com/news/e3-2020-is-on-a-knife-edge-right-now-and-it-could-end-the-gaming-show-for-good), there are a few important parts here and it is time to call the spades that they are not diamonds (or hearts for that matter). 

As I personally see it, there is a larger rift between Sony and Microsoft and it is coming to blows soon enough. Sony wants to be slightly cheaper than the Microsoft product, all whilst the Microsoft presentations are hiding the simple fact that they DO NOT want to reveal the storage space on their contraption. Look at all the presentations over the last year, it is all about hype creation, all whilst storage is a massive part of a console, no matter how you play, you need storage and for almost a year Microsoft steered away from it in any way they could and for them the E3 is coming too soon to feel comfortable. More importantly, in 2013 they had this ‘always online‘ part and it nearly destroyed the Xbox as a product, now they are afraid to come out and play as the kids would say, they are all into hype creation, whilst essential issues like price and storage are averted. I give them a pass on price this early, not on storage, because if the systems is this ready, the storage is known, even if there are multiple options. 

Microsoft desperately needs WYSIWHY and the people in gaming have had enough of that stage. The Techradar article mentions Microsoft once, a player that distinct in the E3 history, to see it only once, implies (for me at least) that this is about avoidance. Sony has had a great run and it has the benefit of a huge PS population, it is ahead by a lot. To be honest, if the PS5 is $100 more expensive than the Microsoft version, I will still go for the Sony option, as I personally see and feel it, there was too much treason by Microsoft towards me, too much harassment towards online and too much bricks on the road for the offline players (not to mention all the advertisements on my XBox One home page), intentional limitations is as much of an harassment than anything else and Microsoft is out of options with me.

There are a few options, especially as the E3 trade show is a moneymaker, merely delaying it would already be a clear alternative, no the talk is ‘cancellation’ and it does not sit well with me (so far ESA has clearly denied any cancellation of the E3). Yes, even as the corona cases are blatantly out of proportions (the shouting that is), we see no foul in delaying the E3 event, cooler heads prevail and I see that the E3 might have to be delayed, yet for how much, that is the question, also, as the E3 is getting closer to the end of the year, the PS5 and the Microsoft alternative could actually be presented to players, as such I see that there is a lot more going on. Nintendo has a hard time ahead, but the Switch is so switched on that it will stay standing in the upcoming Sony vs Microsoft battle, but Microsoft does not want that, you see with the Nintendo Switch surpassing Microsoft on lifetime sales the stage is not pretty for Microsoft, they were willing to grudgingly be in second place, but to get to a trade show where the weakest processor sells better then the most powerful one, especially as pricing is seemingly not the issue is too unsettling for Microsoft, until they can hype some kind of a win over the other two, they want to avoid the E3 completely, yet the E3 is more than these three, the game makers (Bethesda, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Sega and others) are also a factor, they are the people also enticing the audience and even as we see good things, we see that Ubisoft is in terrible danger. First we get “The Division 2 is still having a few issues, despite the release of a new update. The issue appears to be affecting Xbox One owners, who are unable to login because their characters are locked.” (source: the Express), then there were a load of issues with Breakpoint, Digital Trends gave us yesterday “Ubisoft will try to save Ghost Recon Breakpoint with huge overhaul, new modes” this is on what some would call ‘an old system’, and it seems that they are nowhere near ready to go to the new systems, whatever presentation they bring with get nitpicked by thousands and Ubisoft might not ready for that as I personally see it because they could not properly test games (as the released evidence shows or muzzle their marketing department until it was safe for them to create hypes).

Bethesda’s largest issue was Fallout 76, and that is fair. They gave us two days ago “Just Because It Didn’t Go Well Doesn’t Mean It Was Wrong to Try Something Different“. OK I support that part, trying something new could break the bank, it did with the Nintendo Switch, and there is no shame in trying and failing (Nintendo WiiU anyone?) This is how gaming goes. When you are on the edge of what is possible, doing the same will not get you anywhere, I personally was not up for Fallout 76 (I prefer my games single player), as such Pete Hines is correct and beyond that, until they have something that is really ready on PS5/XBox, they might prefer to remain quiet, I get that. The E3 is too big and it is possible that some makers don’t have anything ready at that point and that is fine, but the fact that no one has anything, that becomes too weird.

If I can design a gaming idea in 8 hours, so can those who are better at it then me, that is merely a simple truth to behold and the cancellation of the E3 does not make sense. Yes it makes sense for Microsoft (for all the expected reasons) and it makes sense for Ubisoft (for all their unfortunate events), yet there is more than these two and there is so much to behold in gaming land that it is sad to see so much depend on the PS5/XBox to falter (whilst some are hiding behind a bottle of Corona).

As Techradar finishes with “given the melting pot of illness, behind-the-scenes disagreements, and online distribution channels threatening its survival. And the status of E3 2020 could be decided any day now. We’ll keep you informed either way” we see that nothing is set in tone, but the flexibility to avoid issues are in play, we get part of that. 

So let’s look at the elements

  1. Illness. Not an issue, the delay could optionally avoid that and give rise to solving another part.
  2. Behind-the-scenes disagreements. OK, we accept that, but that has always been the case, in this stage we see that Microsoft and Ubisoft are in a massive negative swing, so do these two players have THAT much swing on the E3?
  3. Online distribution channels. Not an issue educating and buying a muzzle for your marketing department solves that. What is hyped is an issue, but only to the hyper, online distribution channels have been a larger issue for much longer and the NDA tends to solve several issues, in addition, barring those who break the NDA is also a solution, the fact that they can never get nfo ever again also makes them unemployable, so people tend to take these parts serious. It also implies that the smaller fry gets left out which is not a bad thing, there are plenty of larger players that have (to the best of my knowledge adhered to the NDA states, as such just the muzzling of their marketing department remains, hiring the right people tends to solve that.
  4. New: E3 2020 Creative Directors Resign, OK that is an optional event, there is a larger issue in play and it is not merely the running aways by Creative Directors. There is not enough information to judge the actions of iam8bit, and the actions by Geoff Keighley give rise to a lot more and this has nothing to do with any fear of any case of the flu. 

As we look at the stage of the E3, the amount of questions rising within me is increasing almost exponentially, no matter how certain paths go, anywho has ever planned for an event will tell you that largest contributors walking out past the 90% point is not merely rare, it should be grounds for a large open debate towards what is really going on, in that same trend we see the walking off by Geoff Keighley and the face he presented towards gaming at so many events should also be the foundation of questions.

What you see is not what we are getting and the media is actually part of the problem here, and it is seen in other ways too, as CCN gave us on February 15th (at https://www.ccn.com/this-company-wants-to-save-e3-2020-and-its-inviting-keanu-reeves-for-the-ride/) ‘This Company Wants to Save E3 2020, and It’s Inviting Keanu Reeves for the Ride‘, we can optionally argue that this is the coolest invitation that Keanu Reeves ever got for St. Valentine, the truth is that he is more than a crowd pleaser, as actor, as the actor for the John Wick stories, as the man playing Silverhand in CD Projekt Red ‘Cyberpunk 2077‘ it is one of the better thoughts, yet Limited Run Games (the company behind this action) is largely unknown and so far the media is ignoring all this and I see no refusal or denial from the agent of K. Reeves (as far as I was able to look into this). As CCN (in their article) gives a lot more, we see the stage that makes no sense, The E3 is a lot larger than the mere product makers, there are the entertainers, the software makers and there are multiple event carriers in place, the math doesn’t add up on my side and the media gives too little attention to this (the news media, not the gaming media).

When a global event like E3 is on such a stage, how can the news media remain silent to such a degree? Lets not forget that the event is 3 months away, optionally 5-6, as such there is a much larger stage in play, can you all see that? For the most I steered clear of the  Electronic Software Association (ESA), I am not stating that they are not a factor, but I have no idea what factor they are and what their agenda is in all this, even as we see statements like ‘ESA says E3 2020 still going ahead as planned‘, we cannot say what the finite standing is, they will have to take the Coronavirus as a factor, because there are costs for moving an event like this and as such there is a financial path to consider, I am not denying that in some cases. 

The math doesn’t add up and the stage is too large, whatever is plaguing E3 has a much larger issue that is not reported on and it seems to me (paranoia comfortably setting in) that this might be a case of the media having to deal with people who are either shareholders, stakeholders, or advertisers. Yet this is merely my take on the stage.

Is it true?

Well that remains to be seen, until the end of last month Xbox, Nintendo, Ubisoft and Bethesda were all confirmed (more were), so I have to remain skeptical at the whole ‘cancellation’ hype, yet there are rumours in the weeds that the cancellation drive is growing and two players cancelling at this point implies that the cancellation drive is not non-existent. There are optionally more issues in the field, one is ‘Top Rainbow Six Siege creators call for Ubisoft to prevent harassment and ‘stream sniping’‘ (source: Windows Central) which is nothing against Ubisoft as a company or a product maker, but it is fallout that they have to deal with, as such I also accept “Ubisoft has made strides in tackling cheating and toxicity, top content creators voice concerns over tools to protect broadcasters“, we can argue that there needs to be ample protection against cheaters, yet against bullies it becomes a different matter, what can you allow for to keep the game as open as it is without restraining valid gamers beyond valid measures, it is an optional headache that Ubisoft doesn’t need and more clearly does not deserve. In addition to all this, there are several software houses pulling titles from the NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW service. This will also lead to all kinds of questions, as such we see that this E3 has an enormous amount of questions and this will be the first E3 lacking all kinds of answers, we can expect a whole range of spin answers, but actual answers? I fear the worst at present.

At present there is no cancellation of the E3, yet I believe that if this does happen during the week, whatever factor is given to the Coronavirus will be off by at least 50%, it is in my humble opinion too much about certain people needing it not to happen because of very different factors, the Coronavirus was seemingly no more than a happy coincidence.

 

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Tech needs

I was amazed by a story in the guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/27/phones-that-may-hold-child-abuse-images-returned-to-suspects). Now, we all have that at times, a moment where we just do not get the idea that something is happening (or not), the issue here is that it is a much larger setting and we see this with “Police are giving back to suspected paedophiles phones and computers that possibly hold child abuse images because they do not have the time or technology to search the devices“, so the police ran out of time (or options) hand the evidence that could be used against these people and let them go?

Then there is “the technology that helps officers quickly scan devices to determine the likelihood of indecent images being present is not consistently available across forces” in this that it is important that we take notice of ‘quickly‘, how determining is that factor? As I see it with the range of mobiles that are coming in the next two years, the hardship of the police will increase by factor 16 at the very least (on average factor 32 applies). There is a larger setting where the police have a duty, but so do the tech firms. I am not the person to blame all the tech firms, yet there is a larger setting where certain tools need to become available with the next stage of transportable drives and hardware. And we need to look beyond the normal FAT (or NTSC) stage of scans where allocated space is scanned alone, making the hardship for the police increase to factor 64 at the least. 

Then we see “limited capacity of forces to conduct many costly and time-consuming digital forensic examinations is also hampering investigations into suspects who have downloaded indecent images of children” and that is when we see the impact of people saving images on their own drives, it is the group that has dark web links in a sort of 4chan (not blaming 4chan here) that allows these people to look at such images at their own ‘leisure’ in any free wifi situation as the images are encrypted until at the endstation with the decrypting part in the app itself, and as the hardship of the police is merely to scan for images, the solution to find these people is unlikely to become a larger solution ever.

So when we see “restore 20,000 police to the streets of England and Wales will not be enough to match the increasing demand placed on officers to protect children” we need to consider very different solutions and the adaptation of law to protect children becomes a much larger need. It is seen in “In one case inspectors found that 100 days had passed since police were notified that a 10-year-old girl had been receiving indecent images from three older men via social media. During that time there was no effort to identify and trace the perpetrators“, which is interesting because they were apparently able to identify that these were ‘three older men‘. Is it just me or is there a larger failing in the making? The second failure is seen in “Safeguarding planning for children linked to a suspected perpetrator is routinely deferred until a criminal investigation has begun“. As such there are actually three failings. We overlooked ‘social media‘, they too play a role. There should be a clear path for a younger person to press the alarm button alerting social media on any indecent picture sent via social media if the account holder is under 18, this could have been avoided years ago. This is not a stage of freedom of expression, this is not free speech, it is optionally criminal speech and evidence must be gathered at this point. 

There is no defence in ‘someone had my password!‘, the owner of the social media account had responsibilities too. As such as we see “The delay is worsened by the lack of technology available to officers to search devices for child abuse images“, the statement is cutting on both sides, as the images might not have been on the device. other means of tracking usage must be found and we need to do more to keep the children safe.

In all this there is a much larger failing, yes there are criminal prosecution needs, yet it is almost indecent to push the blame onto the police. I believe that whatever enlargements places like GCHQ is getting, they need to get off the horse of blaming players like Huawei on events that come from alleged unproven sources like the US state department and place these sources on finding true solutions to aid the police. Consider the need for solutions and less so towards unfounded allegations, that is close to 15% of GCHQ resources freed overnight. I call that a decent solution, do you not?

Yet, I am not blaming GCHQ, the issue is that we need to adjust the laws on digital prosecution and where we are presently allowed to go, that is not a given in the stage we see. We need to adjust the track we can walk and who can walk it for us, it is the only solution that remains at present and too many people think in call centre cubicle terms and refuse to see the larger pasture that we need to canvas.

In all this tech firms and governments need to find common ground and we are in the space where we can blatantly blame tech firms, yet it is not that simple. The tech firms offered a solution and someone found another use for it. We cannot blame Sony for people using their PS3 as a powerful Ubuntu Linux station and that is basically what is happening. This is not some tech firm problem, it is the station where a generic piece of hardware can run another app and use it as it sees fit, use and adjust for other solutions and implement that and the police has little to no hope at all solving the issue they face and tech firms need to come out and play with governments and stay nice. 

Yet the issue is much larger than anyone thinks. We saw part of this last year in the Crime report with ‘Tech Firms’ Neglect Lets Pedophiles Run Rampant Online‘, the fact that ‘freedom of expression’ is used in a way none are willing to agree to also means acknowledging that sometimes an aerosol is used, not to hand out what it was intend on doing, but to assassinate a politician. See here the object (at https://www.amazon.com.au/Aluminum-Pneumatic-Refillable-Pressure-Compressed/dp/B00JKED4MS/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=aerosol&qid=1582859473&sr=8-3), as I add it with the right Arsenic mix and switch the bottle, the user kills himself. Is the bottle maker to blame (or I am even more devious and add the mix to their own bottle, was the victim in the end to blame for their suicide)?

So the entire ‘rampant’ part is (as I personally see it) intentional miscommunication, there is a larger stage and both sides need an actual point of reference. there is a system in place and we see “YouTube removed this video, and many others, after WIRED alerted it to the problem” (source: Wired) yet we forget that this is a massive engine and google is not in a place to stop the engine being used by criminals to make a few quick bucks. We need to accept and understand that. Even as several people hide behind “on a test account created to investigate the network of paedophiles on YouTube, the platform’s algorithm continues to suggest similar videos of children that have been commented on by sexual predators“, the engine did exactly what it was supposed to do, yet in this case we see that it is servicing the criminals and the short sighted people shout and blame the tech company, just as they blame the police and neither is at fault, the criminals are. We can look at the T91 assault rifle and claim it is used to kill, which is true, yet we forget that the person using it can kill criminals and police officers alike, blaming the makers for that is just short sighted and stupid.

We need a much better solution and we need to rely on tech makers to hand the tools to us, all whilst we know that those making the request (see hidden images) have no clue what to look for and how to look for them, it is maddening on several levels and the people on the side lines have no clue that the referee is looking for an orange jersey all whilst the All Blacks are playing Australia, so he sees Green, Yellow, Black and White (the fern). It is a stage where we look at the players, whilst the field has several other members that are validly there and we overlook them, just like the ‘hidden pictures’ are sought in a game where the pictures are optionally not even on the mobile device, merely the link to them is.

That part is overlooked and as we go from one item to the other, we forget that links can be added in several ways and the police will run out of time long before it runs out of options to check. In all this the law failed the children long before the tech firms did. So whilst we see Wired giving us “To date, Disney, Nestlé, Epic Games, Dr. Oetker and a number of other companies have halted advertising on YouTube after it emerged that the platform was monetising videos being uploaded and viewed by paedophiles“, I merely see one sanctimonious firm and 3 short sighted ones, it could be two for two, but I leave you to decide on that. An automated systems was designed and put into place, the criminals were hiding in the woodworks and there are close to a dozen ways to hide all this from an AI for years, all whilst we clearly see that We need to realise that YouTube became so much more than it ever was intended to be and when we take notice of ‘300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!‘ and consider that 18,000 hours of video is uploaded every hour, we get a first input of just how difficult the entire setting is, because these 18,000 hours of video will include 3,000 hours of videos that is set to items no more than 5 minutes per video, making the issue 20 times larger, in all this we forget that this is a global thing and cross border criminal activities are even harder to set any mind to then anything else and in all this, there is no actual number on the actual number of uploads. Consider that ten minutes out of 18,000 hours is illegal and that 30 seconds out of those 10 minutes is on paedophiles. At that point do you get a first inkling of how large the problem is. and that is merely YouTube, there are channels that have no monitoring at all, there are channels that have encrypted images and video solutions and there are solutions out there that have an adapted DB2 virus header and the police has no clue on how to go about it (not their fault either), in all this places like the DGSE and GCHQ are much better solution providers and it is time the tech firms talked to them, yet whenever that discussion starts we get some stupid politician who conveniantly adds a few items to the agenda, because to that person it made sense and as such no solution is designed and it has been the situation of non action and non solutions for a few years now and I see the same discussion come up and go about it all whilst I already know the outcome (it is as simple as using an abacus).

We have larger tech needs and we have better law needs, And whilst we see people like Andy Burrows, NSPCC associate head of child safety online go on about “extremely disturbing“, all whilst a person like that should realise that the system designed is generic and severely less than 0.03% of the population abuses it is beyond me, I would go on that a person like Andy Burrows should not be in the position he is when he has little to no regard of the designed system, more precisely, he should remove the ‘online‘ part from his title altogether.

And whilst Wired ends with “During our investigation into his claims, we found comments from users declaring their “love” for the children and exchanging phone numbers with one another to share more videos via WhatsApp“, I merely wonder how the police is investigating these phone numbers and whatsApp references, in all this the absence of WhatsApp (Facebook) is also a little weird, it seems that these social media predators are all over the place and the open abuse of one system is singled out whilst we get no real feel of just how the abuse statistics are against the total statistics. Consider that Windows has a 2.3% error to abuse by non users, in all this for Google to get a system that is close to 99.4% decent is an amount that is almost unheard of. most people seem to forget that Google gets pushed into a corner by media and madiamediators on transgressions on IP protected events (publishing a movie online), there is the abuse of video, there are personal videos that are disallowed and terrorism via YouTube, in all this harsh or not, the paedophile issue is a blip on the radar, Youtube gets $4 billion out of a system that costs $6 bilion to maintain and it pays off in other ways, yet the reality on the total is ignored by a lot of players and some of them are intentionally averting their eyes from the total image and no one asks why that is happening.

So whilst we look at the Wired byline ‘Legislation to force major tech platforms to better tackle child sexual abuse on their networks is also “forthcoming”, a Home Office spokesperson has confirmed‘ we need to seriously ask whether these legislation people have any idea of what they are doing. The moment these people vacate to another nation the entire setting changes and they have to start from scratch again, all whilst there is no solution and none will be coming any day soon. You might think that vacating nations solves anything, but it does not, because the facilitators of these images can pick up their server and move from place to place whilst they get millions, all whilst the payers are still out of reach from criminal prosecution. and whilst we go in the magic roundabout, we get from point to point never having a clue on the stage we are on, we are merely going in circles and that is the problem we face. Until the short sighted blaming stops and governments truly sit down with tech firms trying to find a solution, we are left in the middle without any solution, merely with the continued realisation that we failed our children.

We have dire tech needs and we need to make a cold list of what we need, and the first we need to do is blaming them for a situation that they are not to blame. Consider that we are blaming Johannes Gutenberg for the creation of the printing press, he created it in 1439, basically to make the bible available to all (before that only rich people could afford a bible), yet he is the one being accused of aiding the spread of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. that is what we face, we blame YouTube and Google for something they never did and optionally never considered facing. In 1814 Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the first photograph (like we know camera’s today), yet in that same year Julien Vallou de Villeneuve used it to photograph naked women, should Joseph Nicéphore Niépce be held accountable? We all seem to say yes and blame Google, but it had little to no control at all, a system like the one Google made was not meant for the 0.00000000925% abusing the system, yet that is what is happening right now and we need to take a step back and consider what we are doing. I am not claiming that Google is a saint, yet we refuse to hold Microsoft to account for their 97.5% operating system, yet we are going to all lengths to prosecute Google for 0.00000000925% of materials produced (actually it is up to 1/24th of that if not smaller) by others through abusing the YouTube system, all whilst the problem is a lot larger and is beyond almost any tech firm, so why are we doing that?

It becomes clear when we add last year’s CNN article in the process. They gave us “Frustrated that those regulators are moving too slowly, Congress, with support from Democrats and Republicans, will use its investigative power for a top-to-bottom review of the tech industry, and focus on the biggest companies. Congress cannot break up companies under existing laws, but it could cook up new ones — and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who’s established herself as Democrats’ big ideas leader in 2020, already has a plan to break up the largest tech monopolies.” (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/04/politics/washington-turn-against-tech-companies/index.html), I believe that this is not about the materials, it is about a handle of the company and flaming conversations brings emotional response and the quickest way to push voters into an area where they are the most useful. Google is still too big for politicians, so they push and push until something gives and they are hoping that the people will be malleable to a much larger extent then the tech companies ever were.

Lets face it, how many companies are actually interested in fixing a problem that covers 0.00000000925% of their materials? That is the actual question! The police can’t go after it, these politicians are unwilling to adjust laws where paedophiles are actually processed, as such the entire situation does not make sense and tech firms are suiting up for their defense, that is all the politicians have enabled, now the politicians through media hope for enough outrage and we see the fallout, those politicians are willing to endanger the lives of the children by not seeking an actual solution, but a solution that fit their needs and these two do not align. and in this both sides of the isle on a global scale are guilty, both the elected and unelected (this term) parties are all equally guilty of setting a stage that suits them, not one that solves the problem.

We seemingly forget about that part of the equation, I wonder why that is.

 

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Change the question

If the answer does not fit the situation, change the question. It is one one of the oldest concepts in political sciences and Microsoft needs to hold onto that thought. Even as we saw a little over two weeks ago ‘Xbox exec insists that Microsoft is no longer competing with Sony and Nintendo‘, we see the setting, but we forget that the Xbox One, the most powerful gaming system was surpassed by the PS4 in the early beginning and has been surpassed by the weakest gaming system (Nintendo Switch) as well. So as Microsoft people are making some claim of “we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward“, they are leaving out that Google Stadia has the option of beating Microsoft as well, leaving Microsoft in 5th of 6 positions. And as I see it, there is no guarantee that Apple will remain in 6th position, implying that in the console war, Microsoft will end up being the massive loser of the lot. 

Reasons (as I believe them to be)

I believe that stupidity (read: non-comprehension), deafness (the lack of listening to gamers) and the short sighted Azure stage all interfered with the Xbox. And that is before people realise that bullying people to go online as well as having a 1TB system and the lacking the options for gamers to replace the drive without nullifying the warranty. All solutions that Sony adhered to in a much earlier stage, after which the brilliant execution by Nintendo (with their Switch) pushed the console to third position, two elements that could have been fixed upfront in 2012, is now the massive anchor chain around the neck of Microsoft games and I believe that it was the board of Microsoft that pushed stupidity, not Phil Spencer, issues that could have been fixed in the month of release never was and now the people are a little fed up with Microsoft and left for happier shores. More importantly, Sony and Nintendo are actually not rivals, they both have packages of software that are not competing, in a more drastic light, the group that has the larger console next to the docking station of the Nintendo Switch is growing fast.

And in all this, the PS5 is coming (as well as the new Microsoft console) leaving Microsoft behind even further, even as some might bite towards the hype creation video’s, there are a lot of gamers that are not willing to trust Microsoft anymore, implying that Microsoft is heading for even more news of dread on a large scale. It is still too early to tell, yet the video’s we see are still part of the hype creation whilst essential facts are left out. For example (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nl9Aj8N7ew) we see the hype of SSD, yet the size and size options are left out of the equation, all whilst the hype is hiding behind all those lovely downloads, it is interesting how size (which actually matters here) is left untouched. Whilst we see ray tracing and 4K, everyone is forgetting that this implies the need of 50Gb-100Gb per game extra. for example Fallout 4 required 100GB install sizes as a minimum in 4K, so with a 1TB drive it will only hold 8 games like that, or the essential need to reinstall games, especially in RPG, size will be an issue, yet not only that Gears of War 4, for example, required a chunk the size of 103GB so count your chooks and smoke those! And that is before you consider the storage that 8K gaming takes. 

This is merely one source, yet the amount of sources (including Microsoft) is vague on the space available, they give “NVMe SSD (we’ve heard read speeds of anywhere up to 2GB/s)“, just the size of their bloody drive is avoided as much as possible by everyone. Even at this stage, several sources make the claim that the PS5 will have 2TB (which is not enough) yet in the past we could upgrade that drive to our content without invalidating the warranty, and at present you can get 4TB for $650. Yes, I understand that not everyone needs that and that is fine, there are however plenty of gamers who want to upgrade and as the price is now $650, there will be every indication that this price within the first year will diminish by a lot (as it always does), the idea of 4K gaming without space restrictions is a lot more realistic in 4TB than in what the Xbox has done so far (1TB), as such the issues will become cumbersome sooner, not later. 

Microsoft never learned that lesson, all whilst Sony told the users what the needs were and they could upgrade at their own leisure. Microsoft did not see a reason to offer that, because you could buy a second drive, which means more stress on the machine, another cable and more devices, whilst most people merely wanted one device.

The Nintendo (Sony too) never had the demanded requirement to be online, you could sync when you were online and that was a gift to many, Xbox demanded to be online with their little issues (like achievements). So, whilst the Tech Insider gave us last week ‘The price of the PlayStation 5 may top $450, and that could cost Sony the next major battle with Xbox in the console wars‘, I personally have a hard time believing that this is the actual case, the drawbacks that Microsoft pushes for and the benefits that the PS5 give you leave us with the reality that $450 (perhaps $499) is not the worst feeling for all the benefits that Sony offers. 

It is in that same article that offers “More than just a high price, the history of video game console pricing dictates that charging over $US400 for a new game console is likely to result in a sales flop.” Really? When was that? Perhaps you all forget about the Xbox 360, I paid $699 for that one and it was a hell of a lot more successful than the Xbox One ever was, almost 100% more successful. And that was with the 20Gb drive, the 120Gb drive was an additional $119, an amount I was happy spending, giving me all that storage space. The PS3 was initially $599, and that was before I replaced the 60GB for a 300GB solution ($79 extra), Yet, we now need more storage, but that is the consequence of resolution, and that is all before we consider the offline issue. You see in many places internet is a drag, not all the customers of a console live in London or New York, as such there are places where the broadband is an issue (the places are more and more rare nowadays), yet when we consider that the EU gave Belgium (the entire nation) a fine because its internet was too slow, how much fun will streaming and downloading of games bring? And they are not alone (but the group is not that big either), yet these are all issues that Microsoft does not seem to ‘care’ about, they still bully (as I personally see it) people to be online. Good luck!

The Dutch give us that around 180.000 houses will get 9 MB.sec maximum, so there is that, and I believe that there is a group that is between that and the 30MB/sec minimum of streaming, and that is before we consider the additional issues of going online and updating your profile or download patches. Or perhaps you want to consider “Many rural areas of France have slow and unreliable internet connections” and lets not forget that these are the better places in Europe to be in. We still avoid Germany and a few other places, so in all, there is a group of Europeans that are not regarded as gaming material by the Microsoft standards, they can be happy with the other two players, as such they will not be unhappy, but it shows just how far behind Microsoft is, they could have fixed their issues a long time ago and for them issues will be harder soon enough.

So as we change the question from the price of a console (‘Xbox Series X Vs. PlayStation 5: Microsoft Is Still Holding A Huge Wild Card‘ source: Forbes), to who will have the infrastructure to enjoy their console, Microsoft is not doing that great at present. So even as Forbes gives us: “Sony has been struggling to get its build price for the PlayStation 5 below $450“, all whilst we see that the PS4 Pro 1TB (on Amazon is $319), whilst the launch date was set to $399, in a stage where we now see a new console, well over twice as powerful with an SSD drive and a few other issues, in that setting $500 is not the weirdest price and even as Microsoft beats that, the downside that the issues that Microsoft has not fixed is still dragging their gamers down (as I personally see it).

As I see it, Sony has over time done what Microsoft seems to refuse: ‘How can I include the most gamers towards our Sony console‘, they achieved this to a much larger degree by allowing for larger drives (at the need of the gamer) and set the policy towards off-line gaming without having to mess up achievements or other needs, Microsoft never properly fixed it, all whilst the Xbox 360 had that in perfect working order (like the Playstation then). So whilst Microsoft needs to consider a switch (pun intended) from the board of director choice of console towards a gamers need for a console, we see that their need to change is massive and at present missing, they are much more in the need of some hype creation whilst the gamers miss out too much and that is not including the lack of exclusive console games.

No matter how we slice it, the Sony consoles have an advantage and Microsoft has too much to catch up on, we will see how 2020 ends and as both systems gain traction over 2021, we will see who ends up being the winner, my money is on PS5, price difference or not, when the first issue hits the Xbox Two (or Scarlett), the people will start running towards the Sony solution fast and hard, there will always be those who worship the Xbox and that is fine, dedication is part of the gamer credo and as such there will be enough people going for the Xbox Two, yet the population of the Sony system is well over twice as large, with backward compatibility on both systems, the numbers on the Sony side will unlikely be the one dwindling down, the fact that the PS4 games work and they will now work in 4K mode, will imply that there will be a dozen games that will be replayed under those conditions. The idea of my replaying my Fallout 4, God of War 4, Skyrim, Horizon Zero Dawn and several others can now be admired in 4K is appealing. Yes, I know that the Pro and the Xbox One X had these options, yet buying a new console and a 4K TV was not in the cards, in addition, I was really happy with my PS4 original edition, now I will (have to) upgrade both, especially as I can now get a 4K TV for well under $400, which is a lot cheaper than it was in 2016 (almost 1/3rd the price), so well worth the change.

When we change the question we can look at the old axiom, we can have something cheap, fast or better, but we can only select 2 of the 3, I believe that in gaming, most people will select fast and better quality and accept the price that comes with it, because when the numbers pan out, I will have used my PS4 for almost 7 years and in all 7 years without any issues at all (one small one in the very beginning), only now 7 years later am I in a more essential need to upgrade my 2TB drive, that is a very good run (and deleting 1-5 games makes sense in this day and age). All whilst I had that issue on and off with the Xbox One since I had it past 2 years, so as such the PS4 was efficient and banked on my needs, other systems should take a lesson from that.

Cheap system – Expensive system

Fast system – Slow system

Good Quality – Bad Quality

What will be your needs? And in the end, will the two choices you make hinder or help you, in finality, how will you feel when the choice you made hit you in a less nice way?

When I look at those questions, I am left with the personal conviction that Sony wins, which is actually a large issue when you compare the PS3 and the Xbox360, Microsoft gave up the benefit that they had and they only got surpassed near the next gen console release dates, an advantage they lost completely in one generation of console, we seem to forget that. Which is weird because even today, the Xbox 360 is still played by some and the games have always been decently amazing, even by today’s standard in gaming (not referring to resolution). It took Sony nearly everything to keep up with the Xbox360, a field they need not worry about with the nextgen systems and optionally even less with what comes.

Now Microsoft needs to wonder if they can get close to the Nintendo Switch, an issue that the PS5 is less likely to have, that is how I see it and whilst Microsoft hides behind ‘Xbox exec insists that Microsoft is no longer competing with Sony and Nintendo‘, all whilst the reasoning should be how can we become part of the larger population again, we see the optional stage where Microsoft is no longer worthy of real consideration, a sad day for gamers indeed.

 

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Value of original gaming IP

When my mind designed the sequels to a new Elder Scrolls game, Far Cry and Watchdogs I did not care about the revenue, I did not care about the revenue factors in gaming franchise, I was merely one creative mind devising new ways and new stories, because the story is everything, it really is. 

Consider the intro and staging of Far Cry 3 against Far Cry 5, the stage of Assassin’s Creed 2 versus AC Unity, or AC Origins versus AC Odyssey and you might get a glimpse of that setting. In all honesty, I never considered revenue in any of it, but I realise that it is a driving force of the houses that publish them. Lets face it, would Mario exist if we did not consider the value of the $650 million it represents? In that same light Call of Duty, GTA, FIFA and Zelda, they all represent a serious level of coins. As such I see the need to continue some franchises, yet  wonder when we test their push for the storyline, how far will some get?

Consider in all this that the Elder Scrolls represent less than a billion, Skyrim alone represents half a billion dollars and has sold over 20,000,000 copies. And let’s face it, we always want to do better than the previous one, which is what drove me to set the story design of Elder Scrolls: Restoration.

Yet even as we see more versions of a game, Apple and Google are driving the need for original IP, it is the larger drive in gaming, not because it is Apple and google, but because the makers see that the original IP can be the beginning of a massive drive towards a system. There is also the fact that when we get a new system we do not want to play the same game over again on that system. 

Yet there are exceptions and they tend to be System driven. The Last of us on PS3 and PS4. Skyrim xbox360 – Xbox one and PS3 – PS4. Pretty much anything involving Mario, and the list goes on, yet Google and Apple do not have that yet and they need to rely on original IP to get the people in. That part was shown all the way back to the Nintendo 64 and the first PlayStation. 

IP that is owed is easier to evolve and more important, when the first game is a hit, it tends to be easier on revenue expectations as well. However, as we look at Apple, we see the need and the logic to have the subscriptions, yet when we see a game like Pilgrims with a mere 14,000 subscribers, the path for Apple is still less than stellar. Now we can push franchises like No Man’s Sky (Hello Games) there, however if Apple is to make a name for itself, it needs original IP, an original RPG, and original racing game and so on. that will drive sales, that will drive longevity in gaming and in a $120 billion industry last year alone, it makes sense to carve a name for yourself.

Yet there is also the stage where the expected and the non-considered walk. When I started to first design an original IP, was it truly original? It was (for the most) and I even added a new game mode that none had considered. Arcade is the way we consider, yet who has considered ‘historically accurate’ as a game mode? 

In this I wanted a more original RPG were the stage is Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden mapped), where you start in the land and get a choice of three places to start, from there you grow your village, grow your interest on the terrain and grow, after which you need to plunder, need to destroy your neighbours and add to your place (and take it from there), an RPG where you can set the rune tone to one god and receive the back handed prayers in success. Yet how can we link ‘Arcade’ and ‘historically accurate’? Well there we get the test of how good a person can play and basically they play two games. Even as a person buys provisions (with real cash) to get an advantage, they buy more, because the purchase in an arcade also comes with a ‘boon coin’ in the ‘historically accurate’. So if a person buys a load of fish in Arcade, they also get a boon coin with a fish in the historically accurate, which sets the chance to find a fish shoal to 100% there. Get two for the price of one. The same for weapons where a kart is bought for one side and the other side gets the smithing coin, giving them a 100% chance of a quality forged weapon. I even set out the stage that an actual player in one village would influence the growth in the virtual version where another player is a neighbour (like choice of stone, location and direction of growth)

I also wanted to make sure that ‘historically accurate’ was there to show that life is not a game and when we slice and dice like in Viking: Battle for Asgard, yet I thought that the game was too small, it was too easily defeated (except the boss at the end) and even as the game had good points, I wanted to see this game in a much larger setting. I wanted compelling to translate to addictive and I wanted a lot more to stand out, I also wanted to make sure that the choice of a god rune had a much larger impact, so over time as people played the game, they would have a new experience if the village rune stone was not set to Odin, but to Loki, Thor, Balder, Frigg, Vidar, or Tyr. What benefit do you want to see? And when chosen in Arcade it will be the set stone for ‘historically accurate’ as well. As such as the history of your village evolves we see that people realise that the impact one would hope for in Arcade would have a different term in the ‘historically accurate’ (HA), we forget in playing that famine was a real think in those days, as was disease and that could go from village to village. We could push it to Greece on the same premise and see where this leads, yet Scandinavia where the weather would have a much larger impact seems to be a more preferred personal feeling in this. So how many games take that into consideration? 

Yes, games like Fallout have a survival mode and there we see “The only means of physically saving the game is to sleep in a bed, on a mattress or in a sleeping bag. The exit save function is still available, but is a temporary save that is deleted automatically upon loading“, it is almost like hardocre mode in Diablo, how many times did you have to die before you figured out that running into batle is as stupid as it could be? As such the HA mode will give the player a much larger consideration to what he’s doing, it is not intend to drive microtransactions, which is why you can optionally only buy stuff in the arcade mode and only the real gamers and winners will get through the game without ever buying anything, that is why I would add an achievement named ‘no purchase required’, how many games heralded the need to not embrace microtransactions? 

It was a stage that my mind evolved over a few days and that is the easy part of the creative element in a game, I wonder how many creative minds are out there in the gaming industry, because I feel personally that people like Sean Murray and David Braben are as rare as it gets in this industry (no insult to other game makers intended), for me it is a stage where I see where places like Apple Arcade (and Google Stadia) are and where they go, so far I am actually not that impressed, not when it comes to companies this big.

 

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The time is now

Yesterday, an article in the BBC made me aware of a few items. Now, I was aware to a larger degree of most items, yet I kept it in the second drawer of the third desk of my brain, it was something I took for accepted and then shrug it off, so what changed? Nothing actually changed, but the article seems good enough to take a few items on view.

The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51115315) gives us “Google has announced a timeline for implementing new privacy standards that will limit third-party use of a digital tool known as cookies“, now this is nothing new, it was always going to happen, yet we also see: “analysts say the move gives Google more control over the digital ad market where it is already a major player.  To make advertising more personal web browsers collect small bits of information that allow them to create a profile of the users likes and online habits“, the question becomes, is that actually true? And when we see “This presents a core problem from a competition perspective. It is yet another example of Google diminishing ad rivals’ access to data for the stated purpose of protecting users’ privacy“, a quote from Dina Srinivasan, a lawyer focused on competition issues is not really that truthful, is it? Apple made a similar move in 2017 and when we go back in time, we see Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Most will have forgotten Netscape who became defunct in 2003, and basically stopped making a blip 2 years before that. We seemingly forgot about the exploitative market that Microsoft had in those days with Internet Explorer and all the crap it added to our HTML files (as did Word when we saved as an HTML file), in those days data in files was still an issue because there was a limit to what we could safe when we were not rich. Chrome was the first to keep our files clean, or at least lacking a lot of rubbish. Netscape was however on a different route, an employee of Netscape Communications, which was developing an e-commerce application for MCI. MCI did not want its servers to have to retain partial transaction states which was a killer for storage, as such they asked the people at Netscape to find a way to store partial options and methods of transactions where it mattered the most, at the side of the buyer, Cookies provided a solution to the problem of reliably implementing a virtual shopping cart, Google found a new way of using that idea and used cookies in the far reaching solution it currently has, they innovated, others merely took on board someone else’s solution and not they are all crying foul. Perhaps when these people had taken the time to innovate, they would have the choice, and the option of two years seems decent, so when I read “advertisers had hoped to have more time before it was implemented” is as I personally see a larger BS issue on timeframes and exploitation, if advertisers are in the now, they would be all about advanced implementation, yet they like their bonus and they seemingly do not like to spend money on investments to counter the timeline (an assumption from my side). 

Google’s director of Chrome engineering, Justin Schuh gives us “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used – and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands“, which seems slightly too political to my liking, but there we have it. Business Day gives us “But GDPR also made life harder for a cohort of second-tier adtech players trying to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The regulation’s provision to prevent data being shared wantonly with third parties seemed to give the tech giants an opportunity to tighten their control over user data” where we see that this was one of the foundations that led to the end of SizMek, some state that it was DSP Rocket Fuel that ended the heartbeat of SizMek, yet everyone ignores a simple truth, ‘an overcrowded ad tech market with independent vendors with an inability to face serious cost pressures to their pricing structures‘, they all arrogantly believed that THEIR solution was the real one and they all basically read cookies like the ones Google had distributed. You can all claim to have the magic potion that Asterix drinks, but when the truth comes out that he drinks Darjeeling tea from India, the playing field gets overcrowded and when the customer figures out what they get priced for the end is pretty much around the corner of the next door you face.

So as we are told “third-party ad sellers will need to go through Google to get information about internet users. But critics say that is an advantage that makes the market less fair and safe“, in my view my question becomes: ‘Which critics, names please!‘, the problem is that third party ad sellers have no rights, none at all, the rights should be with the owner of the computer, Google (Apple also) are setting (not by their own accord) that stage, Microsoft is using their Azure Cloud to counter the Cookie option on PC and Microsoft Console, but the hard sight is already there, the people who are unable, unwilling and cannot afford to set the stage still want their freebee and they are now starting to complain as they are made aware that their time has ended, even though this was the direction we saw in US politics and EU politics well over three years ago. The EU had their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and everyone shrugged their shoulders stating that it would not happen that fast, yet that was three years ago and now the time has been set back to merely two years to go and the ad sellers are feeling the pinch of the cost they will actually face. Moreover, they are seeing the red lights of career ends. The Verge gave us “an industry that’s used to collecting and sharing data with little to no restriction, that means rewriting the rules of how ads are targeted online“, they gave us that on May 25th 2018, so 1.5 years ago, why is this now a problem? The people wanted this, ad soon it will be here, Google has not been sitting still updating their systems accordingly, and as such we see that the flaccid and non-concerned rest is now looking at a deadline a mere two years away. When we look to the larger field we see Criteo, LiveRamp, Trade Desk, Rubicon, and Telaria, all losing value as ad-tech providers, yet the opposite could also be true when they offer to the customer a value, a value where most ad-tech companies never bothered going. Yet the power of any ad-tech was never the cookie, that was for the most merely the revenue. They had 5 years to consider the power of ad-tech and they didn’t. The power of this is basically engagement. Facebook showed this year after year and now it is out on the larger field, those who engage will survive, the rest will end up on a dog eat dog football field and a few will survive but only as long as they push to the next hurdle and make it, if not they will end up on the obituary page (just like Netscape, however Netscape ended there for other reasons). 

I wonder if that is why Google is so adamant about its stadia? It would get a massive tier of small time developers creating engagement content to be released on mobiles. That i me merely speculating. 

Still the words of Dina Srinivasan are not entirely without merit, she gives the Facebook issue (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/yale-law-grads-hipster-antitrust-argument-against-facebook-findsmainstream-support-11575987274), and she makes a good case, yet the history of certain players need to be taken into account. Even as she was her own misgivings about the evolution of the digital advertising market, history had been clear, some of them basically did not bother, they wanted it handed to them for free and in the beginning they got away with it. And she made a point with “How could a company with Facebook Inc.’s checkered privacy record have obtained so much of its users’ personal data?“, yet equally we need to weigh this with the words of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. He gives us “he is “open to that argument” that consumer harm can exist through the use of personal data, even if a service is free. “I am inclined to think there is no free lunch. Something that is free is actually getting paid for one way or the other”“, which is what I have been saying on my blog for around 4 years, so happy to see people wake up in January 2020. So when I see “Ms. Srinivasan would prefer that Facebook be forced to change certain business practices, including how it tracks users when they are off the company’s platforms“, I wonder when they give account to the small truth that Facebook is a free service for a reason and they are no longer alone in this, you are going after the large players when they are in the largest danger by losing slices of that revenue pie to contenders elsewhere in the world (EU and China). 

Whatever you want to do is fine, but realise that it will put a large group of people in the streets without a job, I am not against them losing their job, but that revenue and that data will also flow in other directions and that is the one part that all players (with political support) are trying to counter as much as possible. I wonder if they will succeed. The weird part is that if this group had been properly taxed 3 out of the 5 major issues would also fall away and in that view a workable solution could be pivoted to.

 

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