Tag Archives: NHL

And that was a hard sell?

OK, we all have these moments where we think ‘I can do that’, in my mind I can be an NHL goalie, becoming the wall in a goal that no one can pass (Wayne Gretzky eat your heart out). I can be as delusional as I want to be thinking that I could be the goalie of the Edmonton Oilers, the San Jose Sharks, or perhaps the Vancouver Canucks. Yup, nothing wrong with my capacity to dream, but what happens when we truly believe that? When we create something bigger than ourselves? I have created the IP of 5G, of videotapes that have not yet released and the other day I came up with the concept of a new TV series, based on an all time classic. Yet what happens when we add our own spice to the equation? In my case it is a space station, it is about 500 meters, roughly vibe shaped and when the 8 people wake up, they realise that they are no longer home, but they do not know where they are. It is that setting that I used to create a new series. So far 8 episodes per season. 

As I started, I got to (avoiding spoilers as much as possible)

Introduction, backstory

Here we start the introduction of the 8 people, it seems a little familiar, because that is how introductions tend to be. We see it from the first person, then the second person, all are confused and all are a little scared, both the males and females alike. The 16 represent different people, the pragmatic lady where we see flash backs where she is a bag lady in Chicago, now cleaned and like the others in some kind of a white overall, the African American who is on the flashback a hedge fund manager, cold and calculating, a mechanic from Paris Texas, looking at the rooms around him, having his own thought. The story continues and as we see the rooms who are all spic and span, we end the episode where they see a large window with fish, corals and no light in sight. The fish are according to one of the man, really deep sea fish.

Where are we? (+ continuance backstory)

The story continues, but more focussed on the where they are, with here and there a small back story recall. We see the icons on the doors, the coloured icons on the wall, the 3d maps and icon based settings of the rooms, as they are setting in their new environment, three groups form, two groups of 5 and one of 6. At that the groups start to focus on the icons on their overalls, speculating on the icons of gender and trying to work out the meaning of colour.

Symbols, iconography, Rosetta Stone (+ continuance where are we?)

One of the 5 groups finds a stone, The icons that are around them and on them and the stone gives three other versions of the symbol, the gender, the setting mechanical, financial, medical, logistical, and many more, they all reflect on what is on the station in one way or another. It is the that another group finds a tablet, and group three finds another display tool. When they unite they compare notes and they united in the rosetta stone room to share the knowledge they have found and what they think things are.

First breakthrough, water

They are still in the setting that thy do not know just how deep they are, there is nothing to set the stage of how deep they are, the entire setting is a little unnerving. Yet they start to identify icons and when they see the icon for water, they all rejoice, their first stage of survival is found, they now have water, thirst and the need for a bathroom.

That was a bidet. second breakthrough food, first 24 hours passed

As they approach the first 24 hours in their new environment, they find the food stash, the C-Rations give light to them being in a military experiment. 

The map room, memories, the last hour of some

In this episode they find a map room, giving them status, giving them a view of the size of the station, and we see the last moments of some of the members, their abductions are in a stage where they were in a bad place.

Coffee corner with coffee, the map room continuance, more water

As they are outside to the map room, the corner there is a place where they relax a little. The setting is one where they discuss what some of the systems are, and as they are somewhere deep in the ocean, they are not willing to test the devices that much, fear sets in, but everything looks OK, they sit together translating the icons as much as they can. It leads to a different water symbol, one that turns out to be the showers, they have found a place where they can clean up.

Almost 48 hours, the view of a lifetime, where are we? and what is that?

This starts in the so called coffee corner, there is a button that was out of sight, one of the women finds it and presses it, the wall moves up and they get to see the vast blackness of the ocean, or so they think. So as the stare t the blackness, they see the light come from the side, it is bright light, and as the view becomes more in sight, they all realise that they are staring at the sombrero galaxy, almost a dozen times bigger than the Hubble telescope can project. Then one of the men realises something and they run through the corridor to the other end of the corridor, where a similar wall is, they press the button and they get to see the spiral galaxy, it is absolutely huge, they are not in the ocean, they are in space and they are far from earth, the view ends season 1. So far I got most of season 2 designed with a rather spooky cliff hanger towards Season 3 and I got to be a little eager beaver when I set up the cliffhanger to season 4, but left the rest of season 3 alone.

Yup, that was my creativity, and I reflected on the Rendez-Vouz with Rama, a book by Arthur C. Clarke, a book he wrote in 1973. My introduction to the book was a video game produced in 1996 by Sierra On-Line. It was my introduction to the story, it is what drove me to make my version of it whilst trying to embody the thoughts of Arthur C. Clarke (based on 2001). 

So when will you design something unique to you? I got my creativity with me, the list is long and distinguished. And I do not care where this ends, I have a plan with my 5G IP and it will more than set me right for life. The direct way to deal with greed is to make the other thoughts public domain, so that no one can claim them and they are basically free to use, that too is an option in IP, only the greed driven forget about that part of the equation. Should you deny that part, then have a little look at the HSBC bank and the FINCEN document leak, look at that level of greed and consider where we are. When we see the facilitation to crime to this degree and we realise that governments are basically doing nothing, you know where you are and I bet you haven’t even realised that you are without a paddle. I think that Arthur C. Clarke got it right when he named the vessel the Rama. He got it right 47 years ago, so how wrong have we been for the last few decades?

Just a thought to consider.

 

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Let’s call a spade a spade

It is an old expression, lets call a spade a spade, the pot calling the kettle black and so forth. It is (when I grew up) the expressions that refer to let’s call it what it is, let’s label it directly, let’s not beat around the bush. So when the BBC gives us ‘Loot boxes: I blew my university savings gaming on Fifa’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53337020), we see the story of an idiot, an idiot named Jonathan Peniket, who basically is voicing whatever excuse he has for the simple reason that he is (as I personally see it) indeed an idiot. So when we see “Better players give you an advantage, and there is a virtual currency and market where these cards are traded. You can buy packs containing a random selection of cards. The idea that it was gambling seemed ridiculous to me at the time. I understood that the chances of ‘packing’ my favourite players were low. I spent the money, opened my packs, got lucky a couple of times, and tried to be positive, despite being left feeling slightly underwhelmed. ‘If I could just spend another £15…’, I thought. Four years followed of spending more and more money on player packs – each time seeking that buzz that would only occasionally come.” We see here the driven and almost educated response of a crack whore trying to get someone else to pay for her addiction, a little bitch looking for the 3600 cards and a person who wants the 1200 cards in month one. I know it sounds ominous and even offensive, but that is life. So when he was a teenager, like two years before his first card (at 17), he got inflicted with the Pokemon vibe (gotta have them all), that empty feeling was transferred to FIFA and when we see “How one teenager spent nearly £3,000” we see a person who is too stupid for his own good. The game is a mere £55, so how stupid do you need to be to spend 60 times that amount? The BBC writers Felicity Hannah and Jane Andrews are quick to dismiss in a short term the truth of the matter behind “They say Fifa Ultimate Team can be played without spending any money and that purchases are entirely optional”, it is a truth, I play NHL, I get 3 packs a day, free of charge, the packs add up that in a month you can save up pack points to get to specula bronze packs, two silver packs and two gold packs. In addition, every pack comes with virtual money to buy other cards online (bid for them), in the second months, I had all 30 arena’s, close to all home and away jerseys for all the NHL teams and most of the goalie masks. After 6 months, I had close to 800 hockey players, a few legendary, and several really rare cards, the game also unlocks upgraded players as you play more and reach milestones (game achievements) you unlock even more players and upgraded legendary players. I cannot answer for FIFA, but it seems that this approach has been mimicked over all the EA sport games, as such I have all that and NEVER paid a cent, showing you just how stupid this boy Jonathan Peniket really is, but the BBC writers are happy to convey “I accept responsibility for what happened. The decisions I made to spend that money were made by me”, yet the little tough guy was eager to state that he “was addicted to the buzz of chance when I bought packs” and “I was spending £30 at a time, then £40, then £50. By the time my card began to block my transactions, I was throwing £80 into the game four or five times a night”, so that the statement “video game packs and loot boxes [a general term for in-game purchases involving chance] are a form of gambling”, yes you can go that way, but when a junk is taking drugs, he isn’t really medicating is he, so what he states it is is merely a form to avoid as much guilt for his stupidity as possible. Loot boxes are not now, not ever gambling, so until we see one of these packs give us the 15 cards all stating ‘Thank You’ it can never be gambling. You get cards, there is always one rare in EVERY PACK, and you can always try to trade it. Consider that there are 3600 cards, 1200 are rare, meaning that you have a 1/1200 chance of getting Neymar, Mbappe, van Dijk, De Bruyne, Lewandowski, Ronaldo or Messi. That is the simplest top-line stage and people with the intelligence of porridge (Jonathan Peniket) decided to spend £3,000 and optionally still hasn’t learned that lesson.

In all honesty, I am no fan of Electronic Arts, they made a few errors on several levels and the loot box stage is optionally too exploited, yet it is not gambling. I remain firm on that part. The fact that some are too stupid to be allowed near a Credit Card does not mean that it becomes the fault of Electronic Arts, and if someone state that Electronic Arts needs to do more to temper per person spending that I would not disagree, but it doesn’t make loot boxes gambling. Only when there is a chance that you lose all, that there is no reward at all, then it becomes gambling. 

Gambling to most is “the wagering of money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the primary intent of winning money or material goods.” Yet the operative part in gambling is ‘uncertain outcome’, here the outcome is always the same: 1 Rare, 3 Uncommon and the rest are common cards. And when you realise just how big FIFA is, you need to realise from the start that you can never have them all. In most CCG games the games are at best 400-500 cards (without expansions). FIFA has over 6000 players, as such, your ultimate team will always be limited, you need to make the best of this and lets not forget “Better players give you an advantage”, that is true, but only in the field where both gamers are equal and with a person like Jonathan Peniket that is not a given, it is extremely doubtful. You see if he was a true gamer, then he would get the UEFA cup with West Ham United F.C. (if that was his local team) wouldn’t he? In all this posturing we forgot about the gamer involved, didn’t we? Now, I’ll be honest regarding FIFA, I (pretty much) suck at it, I do not like Soccer too much and that is fine, others love it and that is fine too. I loved the 98 edition on the N64, I played FIFA to some extent on an earlier version on the Playstation (the first one) and it was OK, yet I am not into Soccer, NHL is my game and there I see great things, I love the games, I play my dekes (and fail at times too) and I get beat a lot by kids in the US, Canada and Sweden as they live for hockey. I can live with that, they play it 6 hours a day as such, I expect to get beaten and no matter who is in my ultimate team, I am not going to win. It is simple math and the math shows the truth. I still love the game as I am a hockey man, the NHL game grew and over 18 years I have had my share of it. I loved the original version that came with my PS2, I loved NHL03 on Gamecube and so on, I still love my PS4 version of NHL19. I never had to spend $1 on any pack, so I am not complaining (not much for the Ultimate league anyway).

I have a nice collection of cards and I am happy to report that I got all the NHL jerseys and all the arena’s. Yes there is more to the game and I never stopped enjoying the game, I reckon that the same applies to those loving FIFA and apart from the few who cannot fathom limits, everyone is seemingly happy, oh and the fact that Felicity Hannah and Jane Andrews never gave you a list of all the packs you can get for free on a daily basis is also something you need to take notice of, they are all about headlining ‘EA’s response’ and the ramblings of a shopaholic junkie are equally issues that need to be seen. So as we see the article end with “Fifa was approached for comment, but has not yet responded.” We see the little nags that they reflect to be. What was that, a remark towards laying blame on FIFA for allowing for this? The fact that there is concern on what constitutes gambling should be seen as a first, all whilst there is absolutely no guarantee that under Covid-19, there is no way of telling who at FIFA are aware of this. It is seemingly an issue yet The worlds of Electronic Arts “the well-being of players is paramount – and all their games, including Fifa, have the ability to use parental controls provided by gaming platforms to cap or prohibit spend” are underplayed, so we see here that there was a option to ‘cap or prohibit spend’ and when we realise that this was a mere approach to give a vocal stage to someone who should be given lessened consideration as a junkie is setting the stage? Gimme a break!

In the end, yes EA could have optionally done a little more, but how long until we forget the initial setting that the consumer needs to accept responsibility for their actions and stop nagging like a little brat? He was there spending money on pack after pack and that was on him, not on EA. The part of the act was mentioned, yet focussed on the amounts, not the stupidity of the person spending. 

This is merely my view and you are (of course) welcome to disagree. 

 

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Victimising criminals

OK, this is not the latest news. I got the news 2 days ago, but I was slightly too angry to deal with Zoe Kleinman directly. It all started with ‘My son spent £3,160 in one game‘, the headline was already an indication that I was dealing with a stupid person, which in itself is not a crime, yet when we are given: “I have a 22 year-old disabled son, who has cerebral palsy, complex epilepsy, autism, learning difficulties and the approximate cognitive ability of a seven-year-old child. He is unable to do any bilateral activities so relies heavily on his iPad and PlayStation for entertainment and educational activities

Yes, there is always some excuse and the dog ate my homework is right there on top reasoning here. ‘He has recently been playing a game on his iPad called Hidden Artifacts‘, yes this is part one and part 2 is “He has been charged £3160.58 between 18 February and 30 May 2019, clearing out his entire savings“.
It is an interesting excuse because the question: ‘How do I block purchases on my iPad?‘ is answered in three steps:

  1. On the iOS device, open the Settings screen. Tap General, and then tap Restrictions.
  2. Tap the option to Enable Restrictions. Enter and then re-enter a Restrictions passcode.
  3. By default, all of the apps and services are allowed. To disallow in-app purchases, tap on its button.

So, people can download free games, play free games, but cannot spend money to purchase. The fact that this is not a new answer but it has been there for years, moreover, I still have the very first iPad and the functionality is there too makes this a bit of a cry story. Unlike the previous story on FIFA (which I am about to get to), this was about a person’s savings and as the person is in the described situation, it could have been prevented if the parents were more on the ball, the fact that there is no casual investigation of his bank account on a weekly basis, to check if nothing funny was going on is also a parental failure to some degree.

The basic foundation that there is no ‘free’ in free gaming does not appear to sink in to the minds of people who think that gaming should be free, there is always a price to pay, it is either through captured data, or it will be through micro transactions. We can agree that many do not use that option, and they will stop soon thereafter as the frustration algorithm kicks in making the game harder and harder. Some will spend some cash and then there are a few that go overboard. Yet in all this the makers did nothing legally wrong, they should have set the limit to max spending to look better, but they did nothing wrong, the parents failed in this case and the parents keep on failing to a much larger degree.

It is the second part that is more striking. We are introduced to EA NBA, where we get: “He used my bank card and I didn’t realise until I had a payment declined. He accessed the app via Google Play. EA made no response to me and Google Play has a disclaimer about kids using parents’ bank details without permission“, so this 16 year old stole from his parents and the parents lets the other kid pay for it. OK, that was slightly unfair, but the case remains, this is a simple case of theft and EA has no blame here.

Yet there is another side, and it is found in the same article by Zoe Kleinman. Even as the stage is almost the same, in one case, the case of that dastardly Mini Golf King, we see an important fact that is important. The game was classified as PEGI 3, now we have something to slap the makers (and Google) with. The law could force a change that in game purchasing cannot be allowed to games that are below PEGI 12, so the games that are PEGI 3 and PEGI 7 should not have any in game transactions, other than rewards for watching advertisement. In this the Pan European Game Information failed its consumers miserably and that could have been avoided. Although I am willing to put some question marks at the quote: “this game successfully tricked him into spending £300 on in-app purchases“, the stage of deceptive conduct towards minors should be investigated by PEGI and Google, if it is supported the game should be barred and pulled, also, the change towards PEGI 3 and PEGI 7 should be made immediately. We can definitely argue that these two PEGI ratings (with a green background, to make it seem safer) should not have anything resembling in game purchases, other than optional additions that much be bought at a one-time price (like mulligan refresh every 24 hours), I am certain that parents will have no issue adding the £1-5 as a one-time expense. The truth is that no game is ever free and that should be advocated much louder.

FIFA

Yup time to go back to FIFA, there are two points, the first thing is that you cannot make EA guilty by victimising your little criminal. Although in this particular setting there is a sage of doubt whether they were fully aware, but it seems that they knew they did something wrong. As we see: “Mr Carter, from Hampshire, admits that he did not take full precautions to limit access to his Nintendo account: he did not use a unique Pin number and the emailed receipts were sent to an old email address with a full inbox“, I am on the side of the parent to some degree. Yes, this was an error in judgement and we all have them, I for one once fell for the witch Teresa Palmer until I learned that she married the actual original Scott Pilgrim 5 years ago. You see that is a guy who went up against the world to get one girl, I salute him, to the victor goes the spoils, and as I looked into the eyes of that witch one more time (they were sapphire blue, sniff sniff) I moved on.

We all make errors in judgement to the father I advice that never use a credit card, just buy some credit for the game, you can buy system credit for Nintendo Switch for Microsoft Xbox, and for Sony PlayStation, ranging from £20 to £50, you can buy in game stuff, renew subscriptions, buy DLC and at no time are your credit card details out in the open. All five (Apple and Google have that too) they had this option from almost the very beginning and it allows you to limit expenses and keep your details safe, a solution that works well, most articles never mentioned that part, did they?

Then there is the other part, where we see all the fire and hardship on kids trying to buy Lionel Messi, all criminals that are being victimised. And I particularly like it on how the BBC phrases it: ‘the contents are only revealed after payment is completed‘, it makes the BBC equally deceptive. When I see phrases like: “A 32-year-old FIFA player from the UK spent more than $10000 on FIFA in two years without realizing it“, I merely see a stupid individual that has no concept of purchase, no concept of value and no regard for credit cards (or his credit rating), he was his own worst enemy and he is not alone, in all that EA was not to blame, we are responsible for our actions.

Explain!

I myself am not a soccer fan, I always saw it as two monkeys in a cage and 20 fools chasing some ball, OK this is not my most eloquent moment, I admit. I am into real games (NHL) and the FIFA card setting is there too, yet like in the other games there might be differences between these two.

As I know it, FIFA gives a daily gift though logging in: “Every day you do it, you get free coins or a free pack. If you forget to log in you lose the offer of that day. The daily gift expires every day at midnight (UK time) and then it starts a new one“, it is different from NHL where you get a free pack every 8 hours. However, every pack has a token, and over a month these tokens give you a bronze, a silver pack and a gold pack. Every pack will have something and a random amount of coins between 100 and 1250 coins (largest amount I ever got). Within 3 months I had every NHL jersey (both home and away), every stadium, as well as all the NHL goalie masks and of course a truck load of players. Over time I got the jerseys from the Canadian League and a few more and I never had to spend anything. I could, but did not have to do that. On the other side, I have no real legendary players to speak off (I have around a dozen 90+ players), none of the Capitals (My favourite team). Am I upset? No! I have a great game that is fun to play, some parts I do not like, but plenty are great fun and NHL 19 is the best of them all (some dekes are just too finicky, I did not like that part), but overall a great game. I reckon that FIFA is similar. In addition, by playing the game, I unlock coins (no charge) and players, OK you need to get your game up, but those players come at no expense. Now there is a part I did not like in FIFA, you can buy an ultimate addition, which was $10-$20 more at the beginning, however it was digital only and it did include 2 gold packs a week for 20 weeks, each pack had 26 cards, 3 rare cards and a minimum of 6 players that times 2 every week for 20 weeks, so it is worth the extra, I merely hate digital downloads (this is just me), there is of course always a side to nag about and that is fair, but it is still value (for some) and more important it is not gambling!

How so, no gambling?

To explain this, we need to make two jumps, the first is to card games this entire concept was started by Wizards of the Coast with a game called Magic. In case of their other game Netrunner we see a box are 36 packs, each pack has one rare, 4 uncommon cards and 10 common cards. Consider that the game has 374 cards, 100 rare, 125 uncommon and 149 common cards. So in that setting 3 booster boxes, would make a complete set, the truth is no, but for the most it fits. 36 rare cards and three boxes means 108 rare cards, yet you will get doubles, so you need to find another person to switch rare cards and complete your set. The math also plays a part, you have one rare, but 1% of a chance (1/100) to get a specific rare, and in the end you get 108 times 1% (which is not 108%) to get a specific complete set. In this case the amount of uncommon and common cards you get will be completed 98% for certain (commons 100% complete). There is a chance you might miss out on 1-5 uncommon cards, but they are usually easy to swap, it is the rare cards that make for the difference.

So, why is it not gambling?

Because you always win, you always get cards and you always get the same distribution, so those with plenty of fellow friends who play will get their collection complete, it is not the one player buying the three boxes, it is the 50 players doing that who play the same game that level the playing field. It becomes gambling when the booster pack is empty and you only get a ‘thank you card‘, that never happens, you always got the 15 cards and the same can be said for FIFA and NHL. The packs you buy will always have a distribution, have certain content. the fact that it might not have Messi, Pele, Cruijf, Beckham or Bale, but you get players, players that you can trade, yet there will always be an issue, not every player will get a Messi, there are 211 countries connected to FIFA, 11 players per team, which gives us 2321 players. Now we get it that not all countries are in FIFA 19, but you are starting to get the picture, if every nation has 2 legendary players, or one player and one goalie, we are looking at one hell of a collection you need. And FIFA 19 is true to its word, it has 30 leagues and over 700 playable teams, so we have a setting of well over 1400 players that the bulk will want and desire. Now, we get that Scandinavians have no interest in some of the Latin teams, but you bet your life that they all want the classical Pele (nowadays Suarez/Maradona) card. This creates another mess on a few levels and even as it is not gambling there is a collector’s pressure in play.

Media is guilty, EA too

The media is also guilty of propelling this pressure, not in the least with the accusations and pressing for a larger visibility of criminals being placed as victims, the game intensifies when you look at the hundreds of YouTubers adding pressures for their own need for visibility following and reputation. You merely have to search FIFA 19 in YouTube to see the mess it creates by the vocals of subjectivity on what they think is fair and not, what is sic and mundane. This all creates an unreal dimension of fake imagination. And in all this EA tries to create hype after hype and becomes the evil it should be preventing. In addition, we see a lack of exposure by the media on that part on a few levels.

So as we look at the origin of CCG cards, we learn from the very beginning that these games all have checklists, so that you know what you have, and what you are missing. EA never gave out that list; as such they are propelling the stage that works against them. Not one list of what cards there are, merely what is optionally in a pack. EA should have been clear upfront on which cards are in the game, and they have (as far as I can tell) never done that, yet when they propagate their 700 teams, they should have added digital checklists and on which players are bronze, silver and gold and we do not see that part. EA failed its fans!

EA should have set up a Wiki page from day one, giving us lists too download so that we can see what is what, but they also realise that the list will blow he socks off every player realising the daunting task and there for did not do that (as far as I could tell). That is perhaps the one deceptive part on the side of EA as I can tell.

So why the card reference?

The origins are important, it makes us comprehend where it all came from and in this specific case, Wizards of the Coast, there is also another side, it is seen with the game Netrunner.

That game was re-released as Android Netrunner with a big difference. The starter kits and expansions are all identical. So as you buy an expansion you got all the cards, no rare cards, no uncommon cards and no common cards, the base set has a set and the expansions (one box with 60 cards) ever month, so as long as you had the expansion, you had every card and you all had a level playing field, even as some tactics would never require any additions, having the additions allowed for tactical options you might really like. So as EA switches from one set to another, selling a factory set of KNVB (Dutch), AllSvenskan (Swedish), BundesLiga (German) and so on, the national players could get all the players for let’s say €5 for country and down the track for €10, European, Latin America, Asia, Africa and so on. Yet the money in this shape is too inviting and EA is unlikely to change, yet we can force on part, for EA to set up an open list of every card that can be acquired, consumables, outfits players and so on. When the player realises how huge this list is, it might temper spending and change the way these games are addressed. I remain on the fence and denouncing this as gambling, but the fact on how many cards there are should be clearly stated, so far I cannot see a real comprehensive list anywhere. The media failed us all by not looking at that part. Even as there is a FUT database giving us: “The EA SPORTS FUT Database is a complete catalogue of Players in FUT. You can search for Players by their nationality“, I want to see a pdf with a complete list (which will be hundreds of pages I reckon), so that every player see clearly what they are in for, not some implied number, but a complete list to browse, when they all realise just how large it is and how insane it is to think you ever get all the players, or a specific legendary one, at that point it will clearly sink in how much money is involved. The EA site (at https://www.easports.com/au/fifa/ultimate-team/fut/database) does give you the option to search the ‘gold list’ and that does merely give the total of 2189 players and 220 goalies that are golden cards that make up for merely that part of the list, yet a better visibility of exactly how large that list is seems absent in many places that are so bound to push for the gambling tag.

So tell me, what media gave proper light to that part of the equation?

I am not saying that EA cannot sell cards, I still think it is not gambling, but the completionist part will never be realistic and that too is a problem, we might not have all players at our back and call, not in FIFA, not in NHL, but pushing for a dream team in a $90 game, when it requires $12,000 to get every player is equally insane and not realistic. We should add the limelight to that too. Yet I do remain on the team that does not call this gambling and EA might consider to create a factory set of all these players (non-tradeable) after 6 months of initial release, if they truly want to be seen as a decent company, a phase that they are still in denial off at present.

So we have plenty of issues, but to a decent extent they are not the gaming baba-yega, at least not when it comes to FIFA and NHL, other games might require deeper scrutiny and optionally an overhaul.

 

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EA Games is waking up

We agree that EA Games has had a rough time, there is the loot box gambling part, a part I am on the side of EA games and I do not agree with the findings on a few levels. Yet there is a side where EA Games needs to wake up fast. first the good parts, like Forbes in September (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/games/2018/09/13/nhl-19-review-the-good-the-bad-and-the-bottom-line). From my point of view NHL19 is the best NHL game they ever launched. They started really good at the launch of the PS2, then there was a really good version of the game in 20903 on the GameCube and after that it started to sizzle (as I see it). They were more asleep than awake and the NHL franchise fell behind and fell behind a fair bit. EA Games had a few more good moments. Madden NFL 2002 On the Xbox was surreal and amazing, but that too fell down a bit, most state to me that NFL19 is awesome on many levels and I might find it out for myself in the Christmas sales dumps (somewhere out there). I was never a soccer fan, so FIFA is not in the cards, but the reviews are good and I accept that, but this is not about that, it is about the flaws in NHL19 and there are a few. Most of them are around the cards that you have accumulated, there is an option missing and a few details going into space, all could have been avoided. I personally believe that all 19 games have the same flaws and that is such a shame.

Then there is the use of cards, in my case I ended with a free HUT silver card and I have absolutely no clue what it does. So EA Games is not informing the users on some of the cards, which basically amounts to deceptive conduct. In a stage where EA games cannot afford to get markers of deceptive conduct against them is not a good thing. I love it that you get a free pack of 4 every 8 hours, which is awesome. Yet that does not rack up a lot in all the things I found. The option of a decent CCG album would have been great, with the cards on the right (or left) and the other side a superimposed image of that card where you could read all the details, why is it not there (not the version that is there now and it is a little laughable)? The filtering in auctions and looking at your cards is awesome, yet the lack of certain elements would have made it better. The customisable main screen of NHL 19 is awesome, and the practice part is fantastic (the final deke is a nightmare), yet overall this addition will entice more new players to NHL, especially those who have a puck instead of a heart (like me), it’s fun to have one but it freaks out the cardiologist to no amount, which is additional fun to boot. Why not expand on Franchise mode? Perhaps I did something wrong, I found the beginning awesome as I got my favourite team (Caps), arena, logo and jerseys unlocked. Why not unlock more with each game you win, other caps jerseys? I think we can accept that these will be non-tradeable cards, most gamers will not care, consider all the teams, American, Canadian, Scandinavian and other team leagues in there, the amount of jerseys and logo’s to unlock, would it have been such a shame to add them as unlockable parts? Now, I get it that this does not apply to the players, yet you still have the option to get those in the free packs (up to three players a day). It adds to the replay power of the game, adding bang to the buck and value to the game. Overall NHL is a screaming success, yet the parts that I found have a 5-10 point negative impact, whilst that should not have been the case in the first place and I reckon that I would find the same failings in both NFL19 and FIFA19, so a failing thrice over, and then there are the auctions. It is great that the game gives a free pack every 8 hours and there is always a coin card with 100 coins or more. Having won more than one 1000 coin cards made me very happy, as it allowed me to get 20 arena’s and half a dozen jerseys in a mere three weeks, so this is all good. What is less it that there seems to be an auction bug. I have been the front runner more than once and feeling happy having won a few auctions as the auction ended with me having the highest bet, only to go to the menu finding my coins returned and no card, which feels like a total sham. I actually lost my money once, but not through the auction, that daily coin card just vanished. It was a mere 200 coins, so no biggie, but it feels a little sour for a few seconds.

The graphics are awesome on the PS4, the controls are for the most outstanding and actually feel intuitive (except for some dekes) and practice mode adds to the flavour of preparation, which makes you more and more in the winning state of mind. I feel that having to select the language every time I start the game is weird, but what the hell, so first the language, then selecting the game at the main screen, a part that could have been done better I guess. Forbes has a few additional parts, all worth consideration, and the quote “The balance between offense and defense is good. Poke checks aren’t out of control as they were in a previous version, but still, an effective way to stop an offensive player’s progress. I think this year’s game forces you to use all of your defensive tools more than others. The more tools you can command, the better you’ll be at the game, and that’s the way it should be“, is one I wholeheartedly agree with. In addition there should be mention that the soundtrack adds to the game in a way that must be noticed. or me the fun was that I didn’t know any of the songs, which is always nice, especially when you feel more in the mood to play hockey because of it. In the end, the scores varying from 80%-89% is decent, yet I personally believe that adding these few parts to the interface and adding the reward unlocks might have made this a 85%-94% game. When that realisation sets in, consider what FIFA and NFL are optionally missing out on, especially when you realise that some people will not consider a launch day game for any title scoring less than 90%, that racks up to a serious amount of cash.

As stated, NHL 19 is the best NHL game I have seen in many years and that is still a great victory to behold, especially to play it again just as my team won the Stanley cup for real, which after supporting them for almost 27 years is a real good feeling. Now, I just need to get them there in the Pro Career (which might be a taller order for me), yet I remain an eternal optimist.

You see, if Colonel general Igor Valentinovich Korobov can drop the ball in Salisbury to the extent that the ball has been dropped, I definitely could be a successful NHL goalie, preferably the Western division so that I do not have to go up against my own favourite team, do you think that the San Jose Sharks could use another goalie?

Oh, and I had initially planned on writing about the media BS that we are getting from AstraZeneca and Brexit, which especially in light of certain patent pains are a hoot, but I am still gathering materials, so that will take a few days.

 

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When we shift the sands

Sit down and consider a simple question: ‘When was the last time you got played?‘ Not by some sexual partner you wanted, or some deal where the profit remained absent, not the kind that truly takes life’s pleasure away (for a lot of people), the kind where we see that whatever sport you love to watch, being it the NBA, NFL, NHL, IFL, Premiere League or Cricket. When was the time you sat down and knowingly were watching a game that was rigged? How much fun will you have when you start watching the game, knowing it was rigged by others who have profit in mind? How much fun will that game be to you than? Not after the fact, but you in this example you get to know the game has been rigged before the start. How much fun will the game be at that point? To give a slightly better illustration, There was an earlier article by me on March 19th 2014 when I wrote ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘, which dealt with some of the parts of the Qatar 2022 allegations. In there I refer to several links that give us the initial important quotes: “The 2026 World Cup television rights in North America were awarded without a bid to Fox and Telemundo, who had complained about the Qatar schedule change, for which they hold the broadcast rights“, “Six European federations demanded Fifa clean up its act. Three top commercial backers, Coca-Cola, Adidas and McDonald’s, did so too” and “Of the 11 men who voted on 2018 and 2022 World Cups who are no longer on Fifa’s executive committee, only five provided answers to Garcia’s inquiry. Two could not be located at all“. This is how the sport becomes a joke and a mere vassal for corruption and commercial exploitation. Now consider the fact that a person gets the ‘honour’ to become an official, elected to give a vote on who would be the best nation to represent soccer, there are not small people, they tend to be directly linked to captains of industry, the kind that are on the Forbes 500 list. So when we see ‘Two could not be located at all‘, my pondering becomes ‘Who got them assassinated?’ You see assassinating a person is simple, getting rid of the body evenly so, the trick is to know the rules of evidence and not leave any for the prosecution. The Qatar allegations implied a new shot to a billion dollar industry. If these people ask questions, YOU WILL BE FOUND!

The entire mess left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The BBC comment (at http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-31605149/2022-world-cup-scudamore-very-disappointed-with-decision), shows bigotry and greed all in one setting, with “Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has said that he is “very disappointed” with the recommendation of a Fifa taskforce to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November and December. Mr Scudamore told the BBC that the European leagues felt let down, both by Fifa and Uefa“, it is bigotry because it shows plain intolerance for those in different time zones and seasons. And these people are back in the game now!

In addition, there are still issues with the Sunday Times on that. At the time, also quoted by CNN (as stated at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/07/28/the-old-reasons/), in ‘The Old Reasons‘ we see “We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved. There is clear evidence linking payments to people who have influence over the decision of who hosted the World Cup“, were these people ever subpoenaed, was the evidence, if not, were the editors prosecuted in any way shape or form? No, they were not and nothing was given or achieved. Some of the players understood that the price might be too high. As the FIFA got rid of their corrupt bladder, or is that Sepp Blatter? We now see a second push. Suddenly FIFA found a former president to fall on his sword. Consider that NOW; we see that there are allegations that Nicholas Sarkozy took bribes regarding Qatar 2022. The timing is almost flawless, you see, this will not be a long event, some of the players like the Lard dealer McDonald’s and his clown, The fuzzy dilution to sugar, namely Coca Cola and credit hog system Visa are all about maximising their potential, that is not possible in Qatar, and as such they need it changed and it can only be done if the switch is in weeks, not months. I reckon that these players will ‘suddenly’ give loads of support to whomever takes over, which might be likely the US. I am speculating that if Qatar is suddenly deprived for other reasons, we will see that Atlanta will become the winner (Morocco was never a realistic player on their bid), and guess what, Atlanta will within a few months claim that they can push the event ahead and would be able to get 2 years ahead of schedule. The one nation that has been unable to keep time lines and budgets for DECADES is now suddenly achieve the ability to be ahead of schedule. Now, this is pure speculation, yet in light of ‘sudden allegations‘ which implies an actual need for evidence, evidence that was never available in 2014 and 2015 is suddenly there in 2017? That is beside the joke that the Sunday Times (mainly their editor Martin Ivens) has proven to be with ‘We’ve seen millions of documents‘, I doubt that, I very much if he even looked at 1% of that amount of documents in his studies to get to his A levels, so there is that!

My anger is not about him, I don’t know him. It is the blatant level of facilitation that is shown towards big business and media needs, the sports fan be damned. The media REFUSED to do anything about Sepp Blatter for the longest of times. They did whatever they could to minimise the people of being exposed to Andrew Jennings, the investigative reporter in all this. When you Google ‘Andrew Jennings‘ and FIFA in Google, see how much news comes up, see how the media skates around the central person who exposed the levels of corruption that FIFA had embraced, you’ll find very little. These are part of the shifting sands. I reckon that the entire Saudi-Qatar pressures have not helped any. It merely opened the door for big business to see if they can push towards their advantage.

It is the Australian Financial Review that gives us “Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, denied any wrongdoing by his client and pointed out that Garcia’s report stated “no evidence was found” linking Platini’s vote with any investments. A source claimed the investigation was “politically motivated”. A spokeswoman for the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office said that they were “carrying out two separate preliminary inquiries” into the Veolia deal and the Qatar World Cup bid“, in this there are two parts. The question why there is a political motivation regarding a former president (there might be, I just wonder how political it could be). The second part is that there had been several issues with the Garcia report first it was withheld, then there was only a summary and after that he leaves. Several sources gave us “Head of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, has resigned from his post after FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee dismissed his appeal against the summary of the 430-page report that Hans Joachim Eckert, head of the Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber, issued on 13 November 2014.In the appeal, Garcia calls Eckert’s summary of his report on the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process “incomplete and erroneous”.“, which happened around the 17th of December 2014. So now the report is merely used, merely observed or neither? In all this Joachim Eckert has played a role to some extent, the summary can be seen as evidence on that. In all usage there are several more questions and we had seen a lot of mentions at the time. The fact that Joachim Eckert was pretty much thrown out of the building in May 2017 implies that there is a chance he had the option, and opportunity (a speculative statement) to ‘foul’ plenty of other parts, giving more and more questions regarding the actions of Qatar, I am willing to go as far as to state that none of the evidence should be allowed into any court or be used in any decision until a board that includes Andrew Jennings and Michael J. Garcia and that board would have to investigate every piece of evidence offered. In addition, if any evidence is found that gives rise (not necessarily proves) that McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Visa had any hand in any of these events, they must be banned as FIFA advertiser and sponsor for 15 years, see if that refocusses their need for greed!

I admit that my emotions are getting the better of me, and I also agree that this is not a good thing. The shifting sands of greed and corruption have gone too far. It is bad enough to see corporate greed in your almost daily life. It is quite another when the sport has become so commercialised that corporations and the media decide on how the sport is played beyond the levels they were already doing it nowadays. You see it is the Financial Times who gave us some of the goods yesterday (at https://www.ft.com/content/36f8ceca-76d2-11e7-90c0-90a9d1bc9691). In this we might notice ‘Gulf media unleashes war of words with Qatar‘, and in addition we see ‘Saudi-led alliance weaponises satellite channels after exhausting diplomatic arsenal‘, yet someone has been considering the longer play and the impact that depriving Qatar 2022 might be. I think that this was short sighted by those players. I always believed that sports could unite disagreeing parties, pushing sport away limits the options for all parties in this. I also believe that the players in Saudi Arabia made an error, a serious one. When we consider “Riyadh and its allies escalated the crisis so rapidly that they have few left themselves with few realistic options to apply more pressure on Qatar, the top exporter of liquefied natural gas” as well as “Some Saudi journalists say they have come under government pressure to criticise Qatar. One Saudi editor described how officials have been using a mobile phone messaging group to instruct journalists on how to shape coverage and what stories to focus on. “These are orders, not suggestions,” he says“. The issue is seen in other ways, not the ways stated in the article. In this Ahmed Al Omran made the flaw that he did not consider (my personal view). You see, I never much looked into the matter of Saudi Television, mainly because I do not speak the language (or live there) and I reckon that the stations do not come with subtitles, which is fair enough. So when I quote the Wiki statement “State-run television consists of four channels: Saudi One, the main channel in Arabic launched in 1963; Saudi Two, an English language channel; Al Riyadiah, a sports channel; and the news channel Al Ekhbariya. Government-owned terrestrial television has changed little since 1969” that was what I expected to see. Even as Saudi Arabia has over 30 million people, the idea of these stations was not shocking in any way. The UK merely had BBC one and two for a much longer time frame. Yet, then I looked up and found MBC, the Middle East Broadcasting Center, when we look at that we see a lot more. At http://www.mbc.net/en.html (there is an English version) we see something more commercial looking, we see opportunity for Saudi Arabia. Not the mention of “how to shape coverage and what stories to focus on. “These are orders, not suggestions,”“, that is where the flaw is. To change it Saudi Arabia should have been creating its own Al-Jazeera, they forgot the truth and freedom of the press is the double edged sword that works for any nation. As people decide to censor and shape news, not report it, they become the one not being watched. If exposure is power than exposing media corruption is the strongest most powerful exposure we know. It is the kryptonite against governments that play the crooked media game, often the governments are no longer in charge, the media decides and they tend to decide whatever their sponsors and stakeholders tell them to. We have seen that time and time again, I have reported (read: blogged) on this again and again. In all this, the level of exposure is the calibre that turns any BB gun into the deadly weapon it needs to be. So as we see an escalating play using peaceful means, the players forgot that there are many more millions watching and some do not know all the facts, I reckon that there are many in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt are only apprised of the Al-Jazeera view. I am not stating it is a wrong or incorrect view. Yet the reality is that there are always three sides to a story, your side, their side and the truth, because the truth when spoken (or written) is always smitten with elements of compassion, valor or honesty. We see this in ‘A man threw another man into the sand‘, yet when we realise that the truth unspoken was that the man saw the scorpion, or he saw that his bisht caught fire, only then do we see that one man did not throw, the other man was not thrown. We see that there was an act to protect and safe a life. It is a very simplified example, but there tends to be points of view in any truth, the question is which exposure matters? Al-Jazeera grew as there was no alternative. We now know that there could be competition, as the west in equal measure have grown tired and distrustful of Fox News, CNN, TRT World and a few others, we see that there are still places to grow. Yet in this ‘These are orders, not suggestions’ will not carry weight in the visibility of any news channel.

The shifting sands are treacherous and offer dangers, yet in equal measure they offer opportunity to those who see them as such. We see how large corporations are taking whatever steps they can, try to get every opportunity, whilst hoping to manoeuvre their competitors into a place where they step and the sands drown them. That is the game and how it is played, yet at times we see that large corporations have been taking their game too far and as such, when they trespass on the things we hold for granted and holy, than we see the injustice and we demand clarity. In this large corporations try to make the moves that remain always one step away from that. The fact that we see these attempts against Qatar 2022, has nothing to do with Qatar, they have to do with the process they set up, large corporations demand that they win every time, so now, when they will not win, but at best play even, now we see the petulant children they are and the consequences of enabling them to the extent that they have been. Many (not just me) are upset. For the most they are not all soccer fans. Some merely want facilitation of as many games as possible, every day another match and as there is an overlap, some of the participators now get upset, they go into tantrum mode. Yet the realisation that you grew the exploitation game with 209 FIFA members, did they not expect that they would get the losing ticket at least once? So when it is not Qatar, but Samoa or Cuba? What happens then? What happens when Mauritius gets the sponsors it needs to host, how will that upset everything? This is the part that everyone ignored, because those nations could not afford to host, yet Qatar was another matter altogether. This is the first time that the exploitative engine that is FIFA, saw the cogs they designed work against them. Now there is an issue and we see that several players are in a state of panic, there were no options but to lose this one round. The pressures through Saudi Arabia have changed panic into opportunity; they just need the right person to fall on their sword. The question is how willing is Nicholas Sarkozy in all this and who is the party that voiced the allegations? Where is their evidence? These are all questions that are more likely than not to come with false answers, that is, until the games are done, we can expect some sudden revelation, humble apologies and carefully phrased denials and innuendo from politicians and media soon thereafter (likely at the immediate same time). Their question would be closed soon after the need of their assassinations. Oh, my bad! I meant to say: “The involved parties could not be located for comments and response in any way shape or form“, apparently that is how events are shaped with and because of large corporations.

 

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Vision, Budgets and Gaming

What makes a game? Whoever has played a game, and perhaps still plays one, has at times asked themselves this question. Even if you think you are not a gamer, you might be one in disguise.

How does that work?

Well, let’s not get to the controllers just yet; let us take a look at the options.

Is it a puzzle?

On many systems, whether PC’s with or without Facebook, on a tablet or on your mobile. It is possible that you have played Sudoku! I have seen a truckload of them and two stand out. First for the iPad there is Finger Arts Sudoku, which is a massive piece of fun and it is all for free. The game is pretty much a perfect version. The second one to mention is Platinum Sudoku on the Nintendo DS. The game went cheap for around $20 and has hundreds of Sudoku’s per level and as you go along, you unlock sounds, backgrounds and so on. Once all have been done, you unlock a few million additional puzzles, Sudoku heaven in two titles.

Is it Nostalgia?

Again, tablets, PC’s and Consoles have a host of games that are revamps from older computers. Ascendancy, Railroad tycoon, X-Com, the list goes on and many are free through Abandoneware some cost just a few dollars through the Apple store or Google play. They can free your mind from several places and some parts can keep you busy for a while. It is as simple as eating pancakes.

So why these jumps?

Well, I had to make a few changes in my life and as such I missed out on a few games as my consoles remain off line for a few months, which means, no Destiny for little poor old me. Yet, is that the case? I got a link to the ‘Angry Joe Show’ who had his vision on Destiny, the 500 million budgeted cash cow for Bungie. The reviews were ranging from 60%-80%, with one overly high one. This is not good, for a game implied to be budgeted at half a billion; you would expect a 90% plus rating.

So what did Angry Joe state?

  1. Lack of competent story telling
  2. Repetitive mission design
  3. Frustrating random loot

Important is that many critics have said similar things on the game. So how come it is such a success?

Well, there are two parts, the first, the marketing was top notch, they created interest and they kept interest levels high, without overhyping, which is reason that the interest stayed. Another side is that if grinding multiplayer games are your thing, then you are fine. Yet, how are these things any good?

They are not!

It seems that we are confronted with a new level of revenue based marketed games, however the overall quality of the games is going down fast, as well as the overall amount of gaming hours. Some state that the Unity main mission can be completed in 15 hours. I finished Infamous Second son in a little over 12 hours, this comes down to a one weekend of gaming, how can that be a decent investment of gaming fun for anyone? I stated issues with Black Flag, now Destiny seems to up the ante, which gives us pause to what comes next. That can be seen in several ways.

The truly big games for Next Gen, like Destiny and Elder Scrolls online are now falling because the outrage is getting stronger fast. So is making games so hard? No! it is not, for the right person, because a real visionary can create something that is desired for decades, like for example the Diablo series, and even though Elder Scrolls Online are getting a fair share of the winds of contempt, their previous games (Oblivion and Skyrim) are still regarded as top notch, even with the glitches.

When we see houses throwing a massive amount of money into something, the image is growing that things are becoming dubious. There is however an issue with that statement. Although GTA-V is not my game, it is a massive success; the game even broke the billion dollar record, which is as far as I know the only game to ever achieve that within the first week of release. There are other independent successes like Minecraft, yet we see now that Destiny made the revenue and the profit by remaining mediocre. So is it the games, or the players?

To be honest, I am not sure that the answer is that easy, for one, Destiny is almost unique on Nextgen. Xbox one has Titanfall, but the PS4 did not have anything like that (referring to multiplayer slaughtering). This skews the interest of the people. Elder Scrolls Online is also feeling the brunt in another direction. When the overall consensus is “I wish this game would’ve turned out better, but everything I read so far has told me to not even bother“, as one player stated it to be, you know that you a looking at a possible 200 million fiasco. This is in itself odd, because Oblivion and Skyrim redefined RPG gaming in a massive way. True, Skyrim is loaded with ‘glitches’ but the storylines can be played and the main story is great too. It is only when you decide to stay in Skyrim and make your character your lives work; it is then that the issues start piling up. However, as I have stated it before, Skyrim is a massive step forwards from Oblivion, which was a large leap from Morrowind, So the makers have given us more in a large way. This gives us the worry, why did they go MMORPG, when the single player games are so fulfilling.

The Angry Joe show also stated some issues on ESO. It is not unlike issues we see in several games. On top of that, one race is only there available if you buy the limited edition; in addition, it is monthly based, so the $100 comes with an additional $15 a month, with an additional $15 for a month zero payment (to set up your monthly payments). So in NextGen consoles, you will lose out on $120 before you got the first hour in. Now, let’s be fair, we need to pay, as we do with every game, but the reviews from several sources show an average game. For example you could be watching a group of 15 men try to charge whilst watching the game crash as the ESO server went down. These things happen in MMO games, yet we don’t see this with Blizzard games. And as money gets, you get 1 gold piece per kill and 2 gold pieces per boss. It seems entirely weird as a horse costs well over 17,000 gold pieces. You do get a horse with the limited edition that is $20 more expensive. So as we see the greed factor creep into the new games, we should worry on how gaming goes. Angry Joe talks a good story, brings the issues nicely with a few theatrics, so seek his views out in YouTube (seek: ‘angry Joe review’), he has published several interesting reviews.

There is trend that we now see growing, which could end gaming as the joy it has been for over 30 years.

What will come next? This is at the core of the issues we face, some (me included to some degree), as Microsoft bought Minecraft for 2.5 billion, I am worried about what they will do to it next. There is no indication of what they have in mind, but Microsoft tends to be revenue driven, which means that Minecraft will be ‘upgraded’ to ensure no less than 5 billion in revenue, which makes me slightly worried on how they will do this.

Yet, things are not truly covered in darkness yet, however, that revelations will also come with another revelation that will not make you happy. I have spoken to some degree on an upcoming game that seems to be the next real game we all need to look for. The title ‘No Man’s Sky’ is all about newness, originality and sandbox gaming, all rolled into one massive achievement. The important part of all this is the worrying part. You see, like Minecraft, this game is also an achievement by an independent developer.

So as we look at the set developers like EA and Ubisoft, we see that they have not improved their gameplay for some time now. One review on NHL15 wrote “NHL 15 is a disappointment. It lays a good foundation for the future with enhanced physics and an improved presentation, but it’s still mostly potential“, I saw FIFA15 which looks nice, but I am not a soccer fan. Games Radar stated this on FIFA15: “This year FIFA 15 pulls off a difficult trick. Not only is the game closer to a TV-style broadcast than ever, but the experience is better than FIFA’s been in years“, so it seems that there is goodness coming from EA, yet is that enough? Sports games have their own following and as such for THEM there should be a decent quality game to keep them happy, whether it is NBA, NFL, NHL or FIFA. EA is bigger than just the sports section, however in that regard; EA has remained quiet (and as such avoided ugly hypes).

However 2015 should see the light of a new Mass Effect, even though loathed by a fair share of fans, Mass Effect 3 had several good sides, amongst them the best multi player side I have ever played. Mass Effect could be the next big thing, but time will tell, so I will not add to the ‘gossip’ and ‘rumour’ fire at present.

Ubisoft has a few options, but is in my view lacking as Watchdogs became a hyped success. It was graphically amazing, yet in the core a mundane game like AC1 was. This does not make it a bad game, but it could be the mind blowing start not unlike AC2 became, yet Watchdogs one started from a much better place than AC1, so that future could be promising. If you wonder how it helps speculating on this, then I have no real answer to that. Yet, consider that these are also the questions asked in Forbes magazine as gaming is now truly big business with projected revenues in 2014 surpassing 81 billion.

So, what is the issue?

It is vision!

Gaming is about vision; those who have it bring us all the greatest games. In an age where we need to turn around every dollar, we tend to focus on the true innovation. The even nicer thing is that fun and quality gaming does not need to cost $100-$150. Finger Arts and Abandoneware have proven that. There is a clear indication that the larger developers lack vision to a growing extent, which makes for several issues down the track. The Nextgen systems are still lacking a decent pool of really good games almost a year after its initial release. This should currently regarded as a disappointment compared to the previous versions of consoles, especially as we saw Sony announce ‘This is for the players!’ and Microsoft with ‘Everything you can imagine, Plus a few things you can’t’, neither have delivered so far. So, is my view that there are issues and it is my personal opinion that this feels like a marketing machine in overdrive whilst the rest of these companies cannot keep up, my evidence? Look at the initial Nextgen Top 10 as it was published on June 17th 2013, on average 22 weeks before the consoles were released.

  1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  2. Quantum Break
  3. Final Fantasy XV
  4. The Crew
  5. Destiny
  6. Knack
  7. Titanfall
  8. Watch Dogs
  9. Project Spark.
  10. Tom Clancy’s The Division

Out of these 10, 2 made the release date, one was 6 months late, the rest has not been released at present and they will not come until 2015, so we see an announcement that is off by 75% (they get 5% penalty for Watchdogs). Something this far off is pretty unheard of. It views as the hype from Microsoft and Sony to get console sales high and then end up skipping out on the games (to some extent). I must state that those with PlayStation Plus were given a barrage of games, free to download. Some were decent, 1-2 were really nice, which means that some was done, but was it an acceptable step?

What will happen next?

I think that we need re-evaluate the way we look at the gaming industry and more important on how those within it market their customers. In their defence, these gamers are like a group of hungry hyenas, so feeding them any news is at times the only way for marketeers to stay alive. Yet all of this is not done yet and we must all take a long hard look at what was, what is and what should be.

Budgets

There is no denying that games will be bigger and bigger budgeted, yet consider that these games, offering less than 20 hours are closing on the quester billion to develop. Yet, we see in Minecraft that it can be done in other ways, there are more games. Elite, remade from the 1984 edition, originally created to fit a 48Kb home computer. Good games are not expensive and true vision is priceless! That part is what we have seen more than once, if we take a few of the older really good games and their cost we see Ultima VII: The Black Gate – $US1 million (1992), System Shock 2 – $US1.7 million (1999), Resident Evil 2 $US1 million (1999), Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – $US18 million (2006), BioShock – $US15 million (2007), God of War III – $US44 million (2010). So when we see Unity, Infamous: Second Son with their massive budgets, we see the trade off, where the larger players throw money to hide vision and to some extent they are getting more than just an even payment. It is there where my issue with Gamespot and their ‘closeness’ to Ubisoft becomes an issue. How can we get honest reviews whilst the makers of games are stacking the deck for mere profit? Independent review is the only way to see what is good, what is worth the money and what is bad. How can the consumer get the right information?

This is at the heart of the matter, I would like to solve the lack of vision problem, but that lies with the makers of games. They have options, yet are they willing to learn? Even if they are willing to accept that they are no longer visionaries, not unlike Steve Jobs, there is a chance that they can spot it when they see it. The question then becomes will they protect the future of gaming.

 

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