Tag Archives: Nintendo

What I experience versus how it is seen

That is a fair issue in gaming, we experience gaming in a different set of parameters and that is how is has been like forever, yet I believe that the constraints of this tug of war has met its end. Gaming is now experienced in a whole range of different slots (online gaming, mobile gaming, console gaming, pc gaming) that people are seeking a red line, there are those who were there before and those who are here now and they both what to get a finality in gaming.

It makes sense, but not to all the gamers in the land. I came from the very beginning. The CBM VIC-20 and the Kempston controllers; there had been a gradual increase to all our controllers and until the first console era (Xbox/PSX2/GC) the stage was set, now we get a whole range of controllers, all set to a stage of someone, and the controllers have been used to gain the upper hand. Luckily the difference between Xbox and PS4 is not huge, so overall we keep abreast of any ‘new’ developments. Now we are getting haptic controllers, which will be a new sensation for some, but the issue is that we need to experience gaming in a real news sense and there the plot fumbles and dies.

Now that we are facing 6 iterations of gaming, it becomes more and more essential to embrace a form of gaming, as gaming is going to enhance our lives and how we interact with the systems we play. Let’s take a look at the options:

  1. Forza Horizon
  2. Tombraider
  3. Minecraft

3 games, three very different games and just these three will benefit differently from whatever controller is out there. Forza the car simulator will need haptic for counter steering, but in the end is is still a controller, Tombraider needs haptic for its bow, yet it is still a person going through mazes, and in Minecraft we get to chop and bow enemies. Yet these games can be played on an of the 6 systems, so how can those systems endure next to one another?

It is a setting what we are getting confronted with when we get headlines like ‘Here’s Why PS 5 With Haptic Feedback Tech Will Change Gaming‘, there is no setting that will get the same on a Microsoft Xbox, and it is not expected to be. Even if Microsoft gives it a different name, they will be around and we get an entire market streak that is befuddled and stated towards misrepresenting what people face. To give you already the go ahead, ASUS gives us “Oh, and the haptics are fantastic. The phone has two vibration motors that deliver excellent feedback during gaming and everyday tasks“, so we get haptics with our mobile gaming as well!

Beyond that Microsoft and Sony give the talk like we expect them to, yet in an age that now include Apple, Google, both streaming and dedicated gaming, as well as Nintendo, what should be there, is not. Instead of finding the differences that make gamers play on different systems, we see a push to make the systems all compatible, so that they all can give us Fallout shelter and Gems of War so it can be equaled on all 6 consoles, with no difference.

Why?

In the next games like Cyberpunk, System Shock, we could get the entire division in another way, when we ADD HARDWARE. When we do not the system takes over, but to set the stage in a field where our mobiles become our virtual keeper, or have an upgraded model that has such a feature, that is not in the plans, and it is so directly essential to create a new awareness of hardware and options.

And the past has been facilitating towards these boundaries, yet neither Sony, nor Microsoft has been considering this jump ever. How weird is that?

Console gaming

Console gaming has not met any changes since the beginning, when we consider the games on the PSX2 versus PSX4, Xbox VS Xbox One X we see a range of software but that is it, where has been the upgraded gameplay? Merely games that merely needed more resources? That has been the setting for al video games at present, and that is now the one element that will stop the next wave. Yet we all want the new powerful console, and for the most we will not care if we go from PS4 to PS5 or from Xbox One X to Xbox Two Ultimate. I merely believe that the one increasing game play to set to PS4/Xbox One X to or PS5/Xbox Two AND install a direct setting to the mobile (depending on game) had an advantage.

And it is not new! Going back to the GameCube, those with a GameCube had the option to link both their GameCube and their Gameboy advance with a cable, in certain games the Gameboy became the mini map, and it is interesting that in an age with apps and blue toots this connection has not been explored more. It goes on beyond the game itself, the gaming center has not been evolved and considered in some social media foundation, it is like they all were waiting for Facebook to take the lead in a world where they wanted to be the only player. A gaming center could be the surrounding world were people would look for like-minded fans, we see that in Google YouTube every day, I wonder if the new consoles set the world in gaming experts, gaming explainers and players. This need is essential for the next gaming world, merely for the reason that gaming is a stage of evolution, at present it stopped evolving and that is a bad sign.

We still have a year ahead of ourselves, I wonder if this year will show a new year of gaming, a new beginning of gaming. I hope it will be so and I hope that the larger players will up the ante towards gaming; it is the only way to up the game.

 

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It’s been that long

I got alerted to a milestone yesterday on YouTube, you see, last week was the 25th anniversary of System Shock, one of my most beloved games from the past. I still remember the two moments that set the milestones for this game. The first was the PC Format by Future plc. About a month before the release, PC format included the entire first level of the game (medical level). So you got about an hour of gameplay into that game, a month later the game arrived and of course, I had to have that game on day one! I did and that started a tour of around a week getting through the game. Someone was nice enough to stream the game (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IzNzVAxk8E) the stream starts at 10:00. Even now, hearing the intro music still gives me the good shivers. For a game to do that is so rare, it is to some degree scary. I am still awaiting the remastered edition by NightDive Studios. It will be launched a little later than planned (2020) but on all the consoles, so I might get that happy feeling again on all my consoles.

This is the foundation of better than great gaming, the story, the emersion and the control. The game offered all three to a great degree. That part is also important as System Shock 2, a game that came 5 years later had almost all the same controls, the first game was the founding father of RPG games, and control was close to that perfect. Graphics did upgrade by a lot, yet the shock (for me) in this game that the game only sold 170,000 copies, not much for a game this perfect, as such I do hope that the remaster will hand out the multimillion copy achievement sold. When we look at PC Gamer we see: “System Shock smokes. It is the most fully immersive game world I have ever experienced“, as well as “no matter what kind of game you’re looking for, you’ll find something in System Shock to delight you“. Finishing with “unquestionably raises computer gaming to a new level” (at https://web.archive.org/web/20000309153138/http://www.pcgamer.com/reviews/1024.html), I gave the game a similar review and gave it a 95% score when I reviewed it.

From that moment on, I reviewed RPG games using System Shock as the minimum bar, as you might imagine not many games got to that level. It was also the first game where ‘leaning around corners‘ became an option in shooting games. As far as you see the stream and listening to the makers of the game, you get the part how this game became a trendsetter of excellence, even if they do not mention it, it was a labour of love and passion gets to be the deciding driver in any game towards excellence.

Depending on your age, consider the game that you would play again after 10, 20 and 25 years. What titles come to mind? In my view Elite Dangerous (after 35 years), Ultima 4 (after 35 years), System Shock (after 25 years), Ultima 7 (after 25 years), System Shock 2 (after 20 years), and the list goes on, but it is not a long list, games that are dipped in excellence are rare to say the least. Yet I am a gamer, a game junkie and like all other gamers I remain hopeful that another developer gets it right to the largest degree, Ubisoft did that with Assassins Creed 2 (and Brotherhood) then stuffed up to a much larger degree until Assassins Creed Origins was released. That is why the scrutiny of 93%+ games is so essential. Most gamers will take a turn in other direction if it gives them excellence, yet when they leave their comfort zone in gaming, excellence is the only marker that they will accept to make them do so. Games like Mass Effect 2, The Witcher 3, Grand Theft Auto V, Horizon Zero Dawn, all games that relied on near perfection; it is a stage that is seldom reached. And in all this the FX Slogan was key (for me it is) ‘The story is everything‘. Horizon Zero Dawn is perhaps the strongest example. In the beginning I enjoyed the game, yet it was the storyline after the proving that set the stage for me to continue and learn more and more. The origin story of Elisabeth Sobeck and Aloy is absolutely marvellous. Yes, I have seen the rants against the game, rants like ‘Giving up Horizon Zero Dawn‘ (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv_1DzGf_1s). His response ‘I just don’t find it interesting anymore‘. Yes, I do not agree, but it is his view, and his view is valid to him, just when we see this he is still not completing: ‘The War – Chief’s trail‘. Yet the best story parts were still coming up and the game takes it time getting into the story, it is important to show this, because you might have a different love for games, I love stealth games, games with an essential need for stealth, not everyone loves this, I get that. You have to realise that, I might not be the voice for you; I might have other loves in gaming. I was never a lover of GTA5, I admire it for its excellence, but it is not my game, it is however for millions of other gamers.

In this view it is important to find more voices until you find the reviewer that aligns with your fulfilment in gaming. It is easy to find good reviews and for many games a lot will have the same view, but in the 90%+ range you need to find the one voice that is on your level of gaming. It is easy to merely see that The Last of Us was a great game, pretty much everyone will agree, yet Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne? I loved both games; I never got to complete them. With Bloodborne I actually stopped (after a dozen attempts), I still have the game as it shows excellence on many levels and the engine is sublime, but it is also an excellent example for ratings. I would give it 91%, yet others will give it 93%-95% and now we have the review issue. Are their reviews better? They might be, they might be better at playing this game, more important, they might highlight things I missed, because I was not great at this game. Graphics and engines are easy, the subtle parts defining Bloodborne (as well as Dark Souls 3) is another matter. And now you come into the mix thinking it was merely an 85% game as you did not like the game (which is fair enough), finding the right reviewer is important, more important, the one that aligns with your game play and this is where a game like System Shock differs. The game remained playable for a much larger audience. Now we accept that the gaming bar was not as high in 1994 as it is in 2014, yet playability had remained similar over 25 years, it is my view that Bloodborne is a great game, yet, to me, it is not as playable. That small distinction is important when you seek out buying a full priced game that totally rocks your world.

To me the story is a deciding factor, whilst play style is the most important second. That part is visible to many who remember Metroid Prime on GameCube; I still love that game as well. I never got beyond 98% completion, and I would love to play it again getting to 100%, that is because the game is extremely playable with a play style that is set to comfort. We might sneer at the graphic level (compared to the Xbox and Playstation2 in those days), yet Metroid Prime still delivered as an equal and better to anything the other two could offer. That part validates the 97% rating it received. Yet, if it is not your game, would you still regard it as high?

The question is important as System Shock did make that cut, even by those not loving the game style, they were all impressed with the game, it set a new bar of quality, Metroid Prime and Horizon Zero Dawn both did that as well.

And it is there where we see the stage for streaming games, for Apple Arcade, Google Stadia and thee we see the links. Apple Arcade shows smooth gaming, but not hi-res gaming. That is not an issue if you consider Metroid Prime, the lowest resolution of the three consoles delivered the best gaming experience of all. You can see this (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q73cHEAwKVw), I found the top 10 interesting, but not overwhelming, of course the number one is like some Zelda clone, with decent graphics, but not great graphics. There are 100 games announced yet there too I wonder if people are willing to pay $5 a month, $60 a year to do this, You can argue if you can find even 3 games you really like, then the money is well spent. So it is a decent idea, the issue I have with the stage is that the solution will be years two and later. However, in a family setting the game changes massively, the cost is per family (up to 5 players) as such $1 per person per month is just too good to pass up.
More important is the fact that the games look amazing on the iPad, so there is that to consider. My larger personal issue is long term. For me it is $8 month (Australia), as such in Australia it gets down to $100 a year. It has good games and the important dig is: no ads, unlimited access to 100+ new games rolling out later this year, as well as download for off-line playing are the catchers that will make people try this. Consider the initial $100 for the entire year, seems a lot, but playing 100 games for the price of one is still a game changer. I am assuming that you can only play for as long as you are a member, but we get the same on consoles, so that should not be the issue.

The arrival of Apple Arcade and Google Stadia is still important, but not for the reason you think. System Shock was important as the game was a true innovator in gaming. These new streaming services are set on a stage where the amounts of gamers imply the revenue for the makers. Even as marketing get you in the beginning, the bulk of gamers will push for games that are TRULY innovative and I have learned and seen that true innovation pushes the envelope of games in general. System Shock, Command and Conquer, Metal Gear Solid, Wolfenstein 3D, Gran Turismo, Warcraft 3, Minecraft, Tombraider, Diablo, Zelda – Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye, Super Mario 64, Half-Life, Doom. These are on a short list of the most innovative games in history and the most important part is that most of them started on systems lacking resources. Systems like the first PlayStation, the Nintendo 64 and the PC-Pentium One. Most mobiles and tablets now surpass what was possible even in those maxed out years. As such, innovation was always about imagination and I love the idea of streaming services as it pushes the need for innovation. I go back to System Shock one and two, yet some might remember Molyneux’s titanic achievement Black and White, a god video game. A game where you influence actions and not control all actions, when you realise that innovation is creation linked to imagination, we start considering the lack of resources required, not the max of resources. In this games and gamers are about finding the right note, the right chord that makes your heart sing. System Shock still does that to me 25 years later (OK, Elite Dangerous does it as well after 35 years).

I still play Blockheads by Dave Frampton after 6 years on my very first iPad, it is basically the only reason I still use my very first iPad for anything else but reading (until I get a new one). I got the game to deal with my Minecraft addiction when I was not at home and I never regretted getting it (oh, and I found the tablet edition of Minecraft not that playable), even today (last night actually) I still play Blockheads.

We might think that innovation fades, as it would over time, but I personally learned that innovation creates a captive audience regardless of time, it is a personal observation and you might not agree, but I also believe that this is the stepping stone for both Apple Arcade and Google Stadia. Consider the re-released consoles. CBM64 mini that gives us: Boulder Dash, Paradroid, Jumpman, Temple of Apshai Trilogy, Uridium, Impossible Mission (1+2), Winter Games and Summer Games II all games that could be upgraded and give a new audience the games they love to play. The CBM 64 brought so much innovation in games with only 64KB available; these games became the foundation for better games as systems upgraded (Atari ST and CBM Amiga). In this Nintendo with their 64 was pushing the envelope even further, Super Mario 64 is just one title, Goldeneye (named after the bond movie) set the bar so high that it was still the most desired game a decade later, even as the Wii relaunched the game, it ended up being inferior to the original, that is the level of excellence we lost out on and in this resources are not the issue, these are games that could easily be streamed and offer gaming perfection.

The list goes on and it would take too long, yet when we consider sources like My Abandonware and other sources (like Amiga Emulators) we see optional chests containing hundreds of titles that are ready to be remade and a lot of it has no IP protection, as such the best programmers can take the great vision and turn it into a cash maker through streaming. I reckon that is what both Google Stadia and Apple Arcade are hoping for, I am uncertain to see a winner at present, but the games that make it will be the deciding factor and even as the games on Apple are not great, they are still off to a good start, I myself hope that the historic database will inspire game makers, and this is a field where both genders can excel, you merely need to remember the name Danielle Bunten Berry (M.U.L.E. and Seven Cities of Gold) to realise that creativity was key, not gender. As such I do hope that we see both genders remain active, even as Danielle Bunten Berry left us in 1998, her games could stay around for much longer, that is the other part of innovation, it has no expiration date; it is almost timeless. If you doubt that, consider her games as well as those by Roberta Williams (King’s quest series). That is actually another part of gaming, there the playing field for genders is almost level as creativity not ego decides on the quality of the game.

As such it might have been that long, but in the end, the timeline was not long enough, I am willing to get into streaming to some degree (Assassins Creed Odyssey might get lag issues) but there are hundreds of games that will never have that issue and the list of games that will hit the spot is a lot larger than anyone ever considered, especially when a good idea (or a great idea) gets upgraded with innovations that were not available when a certain game came out.

Consider the game Command and conquer, optionally a game like Battle for Middle Earth, or even Dungeon Keeper 2. We have gone through those games and finished all the maps; now consider the issues you face when the maps are created procedural, would your strategy still hold up? That question impacts all three games. Often the strategy was in the map design, take that away and the challenge changes by a lot. I believe that ‘It has been that long‘ is a premise that does not really exist in gaming, I truly believe that System Shock will capture the hearts of new gamers, I believe that upgrading innovation that was will give life to other games, even games that were in the 80%-90% and upgrade them by an optional 15%, and be honest, what game maker would not love to be linked to making a 90%+ game? At present Ubisoft is seemingly proud of their 70% games (so are a few other makers mind you), so we can see the essential need of excellence in gaming, the question is who will bring it and with two new players (gaming providers) entering that field, answering those question becomes a lot more important as we (gamers in general) have had our fill of mediocre games.

Even now we see that as we still yearn for Elder Scrolls: Oblivion as well as Skyrim; I stated to Richard Garriott (the man behind the Ultima series) a while go, if we could get the Oblivion/Skyrim engine and create Sosaria to life, we would have a winner that could entice millions of gamers. Skyrim with over 30 million sold is clear evidence of that and the tales of Sosaria were founded on great story-lines and compelling interaction of personal choices and philosophical concepts. The entire Ultima line (story 4 and later) are all about eh seven virtues (Honesty, Justice, Honour, Sacrifice, Compassion, Spirituality and Humility), it would be the foundation of 6 games, each one surpassing the previous one and to see the evolution from isometric to first person would be the game changer for anyone who loved that story-line, in addition, the Elder Scrolls never did concepts to that degree, which is not their flaw, but it could be the strength of any new Ultima IP.

It is in that part where I see System Shock one and two, it was near perfect and it is still ready for a whole new generation of players. Especially when you consider that the original System Shock on floppy (yes there was a floppy version) was a mere 15Mb, and Metroid Prime on GameCube was less than 1.5Gb, whilst Goldeneye was a mere 64Mb, so as you can see size was never the deciding factor.

I believe that 2020 will be an interesting year for games and gamers. I believe that those relying on ridiculous large games and high resource requiring games (like a Core i9-9980XE) will find that their size issue gets thumbed by true playability and innovation setting the stage for much better games after that. Innovation remains a game changer for games and I wonder how much change we get to see in 2021-2022.

 

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From trade war to losses

Huawei remains in the news on an international level. Australia gives us ‘Huawei sheds 100 Australian jobs in the face of 5G ban‘ (ZDNet), ‘Huawei Australia says over half of jobs at threat due to 5G ban‘ (ITnews), and ‘Greece opens up to Huawei’s 5G ambitions‘ (ZDNet). For the most there is some level of balance that is going on. We see messages of reprieve given to the US on Huawei, yet the clear part is that there is no way around Huawei. Just like the 80’s when there was no way around IBM. I still remember those arrogant sales people. Whenever they could not answer a question with any clarity (which was more often than I was ever comfortable with), the response became: ‘Sir, we are IBM‘.

It is not limited to one company, CNN reports (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/23/business/china-tariffs-trade-war/index.html) “The US-China trade war ratcheted up yet again on Friday, with Beijing unveiling a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods“, this round will hit “25% for vehicles or 5% on parts, and would take effect on December 15th. The new tariffs will target 5,078 products, including soybeans, coffee, whiskey, seafood and crude oil“, this war was a bad idea for America the moment they started it. Yes, there is an impact on China and there is an impact on Huawei. Yet the world cannot go around Huawei. The non-Chinese players were complacent for well over half a decade and the invoice is due, it is an invoice that a bankrupt America cannot afford at present. Moreover, the stage is now sliding away from the American market more and more. As Europe is seeking Huawei to instigate growth, America grows lag time losing momentum more and more. In Europe the issue is larger because it is not one EU; we are looking at 27 member states. The UK with BT gives us: “The investment bank also noted that the Conservatives have outlined an ambition for the roll out of super-fast fibre broadband across the whole of the UK by 2025 but it is not clear how it will be funded or what the returns will be for BT“, a technology years out of date, too much delays, politicising and now BT, a company that was once regarded as a company at the height of technology (some might remember the 80’s advertisement with Tom Baker, the 4th Doctor Who showing us a piece of fibre optics, transmitting the entire bible in one second), the message of advanced progress was clear. Yet in 2018 we see other messages ‘Why most of the UK doesn’t have True Fibre Optic Broadband‘, the setting is a disappointing one and there is a really nice explanation (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDp9-tSYpU0). The Dutch have KPN, an advantage here is that they managed to put 30% of the British population on 14% of the UK, so they have less distance issues. So even as Reuters gave us last April “Dutch telecom firm Royal KPN NV said on Friday it would select a Western supplier to build its core 5G mobile“, they will be digging a large hole for themselves. No matter who gets chosen, they all lag to a much larger degree the abilities that Huawei offers and that impact will only increase over time.

To see this we need to take you to a little math equation. An innovative technology gives you 10 years. Huawei has at present two innovations and three iterations lined up, which gives them 26 years (iterations gives one a mere 2 year advantage), which almost aligns as reengineering catches up three years annually. This gives us the number that others need to catch up to Huawei, who could in 2020 be technologically already at 2047. At present none of them have any TRUE innovations. As such the iterators will truly catch up in 2028 whilst that stage will be met in 2020 by Huawei. This is the largest danger for all the other players. In 2028 the 5G market will settle and they are all still catching up whilst Huawei rules the 5G on a global scale.

The math was important, because it also meant that I have until 2023 to sell my IP, at that point iterators will have found part of my IP and they can equal it to me by 2025. The math was everything and the math is not looking good for America or Europe. Those who embrace Huawei to some degree will get a much larger advantage. My IP was about pushing momentum and if that goes as I hope, the others will face a much larger setback, in all this a much larger part of cybersecurity will not work, or will merely delay the commerce. When was the last time you saw commerce seeking safety over revenue?

The fact that the Guardian gives us: ‘Apple warns new credit card users over risks of it touching wallets and pockets‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/22/apple-card-wallet-pocket-warning) gives a much larger issue. Even as we laugh on: ““Apple Card completely rethinks everything about the credit card. It represents all the things Apple stands for. Like simplicity, transparency, and privacy,” as the company said when the card was launched. Just don’t put it in your pocket.

So when was the last time you went on vacation and you had to take care of all that for a mere Credit Card? What happens when there is damage to the card whilst on a business trip? Oh, and more interesting, what Forbes told us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/08/10/apples-iphone-faceid-hacked-in-less-than-120-seconds/#1c136a2421bc) with the title ‘Apple’s iPhone FaceID Hacked In Less Than 120 Seconds‘, it is the issue of greed versus Common Cyber Sense and CCS never gets to win, greed dies!

That will show in 5G within the first year and as such there is a lot less taken care of, and it was exactly why I am rubbing my hands, the more desperate they become, the more valued my IP becomes and in the end, my IP pushes commerce and safety in the same IP line. As an android solution I get to thumb my nose against Apple and iOS, it is too iterative to consider. I hope that Google wakes up, so far Huawei might be the only tender and that is just fine by me.

How do these relate?

The pressures that we saw when thatcher decided to stop Fibre, as she saw that BT got an unfair advantage (which is fair enough) too many players try to get part of the cookie for their minimalist services and it directly relates to the US. Their stage of Status Quo as dictated by Wall Street has stopped innovation. The boat that was not rocked was giving Wall Street the managed expected returns they vowed to get. Yet the other side is also a given. We see this as the senior people stayed where they were, stopping innovation too often because they were scared to make the jump, it is the principle that gave Google the growth they had, yet the linked headline (to the smallest degree mind you) ‘Americans Owe $1.6 Trillion In Student Debt – What Will It Take To Solve This Crisis?‘ close to an entire generation was topped to innovate, I grant you that not all are innovators, but the entire innovation cycle was missed. As such highly educated people got menial jobs and went in other directions, a decent amount of them disillusioned. There is a part that gives the concern of affordable higher education, yet there is also the path that those educated and ready were stopped their innovation; each of them stopping 3-7 fellow students to tag along in that innovation path. It is what I call, a non-proven given. It is hard to set a number to this and there are of course other elements (like the economic crash) all set through and connected to the actions of a few on Wall Street, that much we all agree on and whilst that path was set to non-motion, innovation was lost in almost a dozen industries, IT and telecommunication being the most visible ones. Patents are the most visible marker here, but not the only one. That part is making the US scared, not nervous but scared. Over the next 5 years 43 drugs will become generic, the patents expire, 28 of them this year. the world looks at the pharmaceutical patents because of the aging population, yet technology patents expire too and all of those not linked to renewed innovation patents will be collapsing, consider all that was patented from 1985 and 1999, all coming to a close some were just forgotten and not renewed because the technology was surpassed, yet there we forget that original ideas can be reengineered solutions, all up for patenting and that market is well over $100 billion. One consideration is shown (at https://www.dnj.com/story/news/2019/08/22/rutherford-county-jail-hit-lawsuit-over-patent-infringement-stealing-technology-smart-communications/2064500001/) where we get: “Smart Communications accused them infringing upon their patented technology that transformed written mail into an electronic version sent directly to inmates“, I merely wonder how we see that setting when we look at players like Perceptive software, Readsoft and a few other players. Readsoft became part of Lexmark and then Lexmark, the printing and Software Company, agreed Wednesday to be sold to a consortium led by Apex Technology of China and PAG Asia Capital, a private equity firm. Consider the placement of digital transfer, on an international level in the hands of a Chinese consortium. The NY Times took notice (at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/business/dealbook/lexmark-apex-pag-asia.html), for the most no one else did. They had no grasp of the power that the innovations were that Readsoft had. I worked with the materials; it was next gen software in 2003. Now consider that we think digital almost every moment nowadays, but there are decades of legacy materials out there and not everyone has the budget of the America alphabet group. In 5G that material needs to be digital or it will be lost. All these patents give advantage to the owner and stop others, having to re-engineer their idea again and again, that is direct currency and China has a much larger truckload of them with a later end date, even as Huawei is all innovation, they still need their patents and whatever innovation they launch next, they will need to have the patent in place. It stops all the other making the case that their advantage grows as the others forgot to get a workforce that is innovative in nature (Google is excluded from those losers). The innovator drivers are gaining momentum and over the next three years their advantage gets to grow.

That was always the advantage the innovators have and the iterators are starting to feel the pain. IBM, Microsoft and Apple might market their ‘innovation’ yet marketing it doesn’t make it actual innovation. Perhaps you remember the Verge last March giving us ‘Study confirms AT&T’s fake 5G E network is no faster than Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint 4G‘, marketing versus reality is often disappointing and the iterative technology firms are finding out the hard way that there is no such thing as marketing the reality of shareholders expectations.

We see that part ibn another field as Microsoft Phil Spencer gets to be quoted: “There’s only one new Xbox coming in 2020: ‘We are not working on a streaming-only console,’ says Xbox chief“, yet the end of the article gives us: “given the iterative nature of game consoles and the history of the business, we wouldn’t be surprised to see new versions of Project Scarlett in the coming years – it just sounds like we’ll only see one in 2020“, that is where Business Insider made the massive flaw one week ago. It is a flaw because if that was actually true the Nintendo Switch would exist, iteration would never have led to the Nintendo Switch, and not only is it beating all the records, it is also reducing the Microsoft Xbox One to the number three console. Projections are that Nintendo Switch will get to 50 million consoles sold before the end of the tax year, a lofty promise, yet that too shows the impact of innovation. In 2 years it equaled what Microsoft calls the most powerful console in the world and it took Microsoft 6 years to get there. Clearly power is not all it is cracked up to be. In addition, for the first time in history Sony is worried about how far Nintendo can get. Nintendo never wavered, they never lost their core groups, they merely added to them.

Innovation does that and innovation will push 5G in the same way, it seems that Huawei with its innovation has support all over the world on the impact of innovation and the funny part is that IBM and Microsoft used to be actually innovative, they merely forgot the sweetness of innovation victory, which is sad really. I gave mention to the Wall Street part in the Status Quo, yet they are not the only ones in that game and those who embraced that game held technology and innovation back to a much larger degree than you realise and that loss of momentum is a much larger issue in this trade war than anyone has considered.

 

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The biggest issue

The Guardian has given us several articles, by themselves there is nothing strange there (well there is), yet it is when we look at them together that an image starts to form. It is united that the larger problem becomes visible and the fact that a larger group is not catching up to this is a worry.

The first one is ‘Greta Thunberg hits back at Andrew Bolt for ‘deeply disturbing’ column‘, which happened less than 12 hours ago (at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/02/greta-thunberg-hits-back-at-andrew-bolt-for-deeply-disturbing-column), then we get ‘Revealed: Johnson ally’s firm secretly ran Facebook propaganda network‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/01/revealed-johnson-allys-firm-secretly-ran-facebook-propaganda-network), as well as ‘Brexit, cycle lanes and Saudi Arabia: CTF’s Facebook campaigns‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/01/brexit-cycle-lanes-and-saudi-arabia-ctfs-facebook-campaigns). Now let’s start up that on the whole nothing wrong was done by the Guardian. They reported and we can agree that reporting is what the Guardian does. Yet the larger issue is not what they do, it is what we are not getting that becomes the issue.

It starts with the Houthi attack on Dammam with missiles, a missile attack on a civilian target, Al Jazeera informs its audience, but the Guardian is not there. Bloomberg, the Guardian, basically the Western Media are all shunning it, yet they go to lengths to waste paper on the issues that “Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer need the permission of a male guardian to travel“, however the BBC did report on ‘Houthi missile attack on military parade kills 32‘, where we are told that “The parade in the southern port city of Aden was targeted by missiles and an armed drone, a Houthi-run TV channel says“, yet it seems that it was limited to the BBC, the near complete Western Media ignored that one too.

Now, I can accept that plenty of people are no fan of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, yet to shun attacks that cost lives is new, they all group together to give accusations without evidence (that journalist no one cares about), yet actual events are shunned. It is a new level of discrimination, it is political discrimination, where unwelcome groups are given exposure when it can be tilted to the negative side of the seesaw and the more negative it gets, the larger the exposure.

Now, let’s get back to the first article, because that is seemingly not linked. With the Quote “The widely read Herald Sun columnist and Sky News commentator used his significant platform to take aim at the 16-year-old campaigner, dismissing her followers as members of a cult and disparaging her decision to sail across the Atlantic in a high-speed racing yacht to attend UN climate summits in the US and Chile“, as well as: “The highly personal character assassination published in Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids repeatedly referred to Greta’s mental health, saying she was “deeply disturbed”, “freakishly influential” and “strange”“, yet in all this, we see no exposure on how that information was acquired.

As I personally see it The editor of the Herald Sun, Damon Johnston, as well as his fucked up sidekick Andrew Bolt did something in addition, is it the small part “the evidence does not suggest that humanity faces doom“, all that to hide the smallest snippet to oppose the environment. It actually gets more interesting, that is when we consider the case that Justice Bromberg presided over. When we consider “Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt and his employer Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp clearly violated the Racial Discrimination Act“, we could argue that he could face court again in this case. When the case was judged and we get: ‘The lack of care and diligence is demonstrated by the inclusion in the newspaper articles of the untruthful facts and the distortion of the truth which I have identified, together with the derisive tone, the provocative and inflammatory language and the inclusion of gratuitous asides‘, we see the chance that history might repeat itself. The article (at https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/andrew-bolt-continues-on-about-adam-goodes,12947) gives a lot more, what is key here that the Guardian exposes it and that is good, I have no issues with it. Yet it also shows the lengths that Murdoch media goes through to set the stage in one place, whilst other parts are seemingly intentionally ignored. Perhaps some of you remember the mental health escalation at Martin Place in 2014. Rupert Murdoch acted personally and the responses like ‘Rupert Murdoch’s Response To The Martin Place Siege Is As Tasteless As You’d Expect‘, as we were given: “AUST gets wake-call with Sydney terror. Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00 am. Congrats“, it seems to me that bloodshed are his bread and butter, it also is seemingly implied that as long as it is not Saudi Blood, Rupert Murdoch has no issues. Some gave us: “the hostage situation as the work of an IS “Death Cult CBD Attack”, something we labelled at the time – and will continue to do so – as one of “the most vile, deliberately inflammatory, fundamentally wrong and wholly speculative front covers in the sordid history of Australian print media“, all whilst from the beginning, within a few hours it should have been clear that not only were the journalists not doing their job, the issues that in the beginning, hostages were seen holding an Islamic black flag against the window of the café, featuring the shahadah creed. It was wrongly identified by the media and the part where Monis later demanded that an ISIL flag be brought to him should have been clear that this was not a terrorist, at the most a wannabe, and more viable a person with mental health issues, but as I personally see it, Murdoch and Channel 7 were all about milking the event as much as possible.

At what point is journalism about milking?

The fact that this was buried as fast as possible is another part where we see a mingling of political discrimination, racial discrimination and religious discrimination and no one is telling Murdoch in clear language that it needs to stop.

The other two

Ok, it becomes essential to get to the deeper side of the pool here. First of all, there is a larger setting that has not settled. The accusation is twofold. The first is actually the one that does not work for the campaign players. It is also reported by CNN through ‘Facebook announces first takedown of influence campaign with ties to Saudi government‘, even as we accept “covert campaigns on Facebook and Instagram in a bid to prop up support for the kingdom and attack its enemies“, CNN et al are not reporting on the media blackout that is pushed out towards Saudi Arabia either. So anything that makes Saudi Arabia look like an attacked victim is suppressed, whilst actions by Saudi Arabia are spun to its most negative path and spattered over all media and all social media. Yet as the article gives us: “Facebook has hired staff with backgrounds in areas including intelligence, law enforcement and journalism to be part of a team finding and closing down coordinated campaigns on the platform, including some spreading disinformation and linked to nation-states“, it is equally absent in the case of “bogus mainly far-right disinformation networks were not identified by Facebook — but had been reported to it by campaign group Avaaz — which says the fake pages had more Facebook followers and interactions than all the main EU far right and anti-EU parties combined“, so we get one group with a following of 13 million in the past three months, with a following larger than all the European main party pages of the far right combined. Yet in all that, Saudi Arabia was specifically mentioned (they also illuminated the false pages of Iran). It is shown in a larger degree with: “Avaaz reported more than 500 suspicious pages and groups to Facebook related to the three-month investigation of Facebook disinformation networks in Europe. Though Facebook only took down a subset of the far right muck-spreaders — around 15% of the suspicious pages reported to it“. The fact that Facebook only took down subsets that represents 15% of the reported pages shows that there is a larger degree of political discrimination in play and even as some are overly clear, that larger extent shows that Social Media is optionally promoting to some degree the survival of Racial Discrimination, Political Discrimination, Religious Discrimination and Age Discrimination.

It is the revelation of: “vote manipulators are able to pass off manipulative propaganda and hate speech as bona fide news and views as a consequence of Facebook publishing the fake stuff alongside genuine opinions and professional journalism. It does not have algorithms that can perfectly distinguish one from the other, and has suggested it never will“, it is at this point where the realisation grows, when we add the two elements and we add the fact that the media is filtering what we are ‘allowed’ to know, it is there where the larger failing becomes clear, it is the axial and the seesaw of illumination of the view that opposes clear news, the media is now part of the problem. And it is there where we see the wisdom of TechCrunch with: “loud Facebook publicity effort around “election security” looks like a cynical attempt to distract the rest of us from how broken its rules are. Or, in other words, a platform that accelerates propaganda is also seeking to manipulate and skew our views“, it is merely part of the issue, it is not merely Facebook, it is the Media to a larger degree, their alliance is towards the Shareholders, the Stake holders and the advertisers, in that the larger issue is seen, those who advertise are optionally the controllers of what we see is possible, and that is where the truth is pushed out of view. It is seen in one final swoop when we consider the key word “Neom City“, a project like that, a project initially designed to be well over 30 times the size of New York, a project that has well over half a trillion dollars, set to construction, engineering and IT, should be on the front page of EVERY Newspapers, yet when you seek, you get Bloomberg last January (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-16/saudi-arabia-to-begin-building-homes-in-futuristic-city-neom) and Business Insider in October 2018 (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-neom-megacity-2018-10?r=US&IR=T). The view that is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan is silenced to death and that started before the journalist no one cares about vanished. In addition a new bridge that will connect Saudi Arabia to Africa is kept silent. In this day and age how does that make sense? I am looking at billions in 5G revenue in Neom City alone, as well as the underlying infrastructure required, opening a much larger need for the entire Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, all ready to be set to a much larger stage (when the first phase region is a fact), yet the media is more about the rumours of the PS5 which is well over a year away with 6,940,000 mentions, and that makes partly sense, it is about awareness and creating hype, so when we see in the Guardian “the latest revelations reveal that the company has pursued that approach more broadly, in the service of previously unreported corporate interests and foreign governments. And they expose a major flaw in Facebook’s political transparency tools, which make it possible for Crosby’s company – which boasts on its website that it deploys “the latest tools in digital engagement” – to use the social network to run professional-looking “news” pages reaching tens of millions of people on highly contentious topics“, so if it is about ‘provoking argument‘, we should see nothing wrong as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft rely on that part 24:7. If it is about ‘involving heated argument‘, we still see no issue as this is Sony versus Nintendo versus Microsoft, as this has been the media bread and butter for close to 7 years and more. When we look at the ‘likely to cause an argument‘, almost nothing changes. It is the part I did not mention “without apparently disclosing that they are being overseen by CTF Partners on behalf of paying clients“, where we need to question the use of ‘apparently‘, is it or is it not mentioned? The Guardian did or did not do their job becomes the issue and yes, we can see ‘on behalf of paying clients‘, and how does that differ from Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Nespresso and a whole league of others? They are all in it for the money, the awareness and the creation of viral messages, over-hyped and often way too short on facts. That part is not given to us either and it is there where we see the interactions of layers of discrimination and ‘misinformation’ that is usually brought as ‘missed information’, I would personally see it as an exercise in ‘miscommunication’ and it has been happening for a much longer time. So when we get from the Guardian: “employees always operate within the law”, and if they take to the bank the task of giving positive visibility to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is there an actual issue here?

The biggest issue is that we see the information that “It does not have algorithms that can perfectly distinguish fake news from the other, and has suggested it never will“, whilst the underlying issue is that what is not fake news is not that trustworthy either, it is limited to the filtering of shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers and Facebook has no clue what to do, they to relay on those three groups. The news for the longest time never gave us that part. As I see it people like Greta Thunberg will never get a fair deal here, not as long as people like Andrew Bolt keep on being regarded as Journalists. That part is seen when we see: “the evidence does not suggest that humanity faces doom” all whilst that statement is not scrutinised to the largest degree. The opposition to that claim can be seen in the simplest sentence by World Vision, their quote: “Globally, 844 million people lack access to clean drinking water” gives the goods, close to 10% of the population of this planet lacks access to clean drinking water. When we consider that a person can only survive a few days without water. How much danger is the population exposed to, does that qualify as doom facing? How many must die before the ‘humanity faces doom‘ is satisfied? It seems trivial, but it is not, that same media that ignores attacks on Saudi Arabia, that does not report on Houthi transgressions, acts of terror and other events also ignores Yemeni plight for water, food and medication to a much larger degree. So the question becomes a simple one, give us the list of parameters that must be placed on staging or dismounting the accusation that ‘humanity faces doom‘, when we realise that there is a larger collection of evidence, we merely have to set that stage to those elements. I am not stating that Greta Thunberg is right or wrong, yet we can look and accept that Andrew Bolt and his so called opinion piece on Greta Thunberg should be seen as triviality towards journalism and that does matter, because if that is allowed to continue, Facebook will never solve anything, as such the only way to solve it is to push media deliverers like Andrew Bolt into the ‘Fake News’ category so that we might find a solution. The fact that SBS called it an opinion piece and the Guardian did not is the larger failing, any opinion piece, especially those in newspapers, digital or not should be clearly labelled as such like [opinion piece] before the text begins, identifying those pieces will also change the way that they are perceived and we might get a better quality of journalism. When writers get $100 for an opinion piece and $200 for an actual journalistic piece (researched and all), the matter might resolve itself soon enough.

 

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The shows on E3 (final part)

Time for part 3, this time it is Nintendo that makes the waves and they did make waves. Right off the bat, my first issue was a slight lack of game play, but that is not quite fair, there was plenty of gameplay, it was so mixed in with the other parts that it was at times impossible to tell what part was game play and what was not.

Smash bros got the highlight in several ways and the arrival of everyone’s favourite bird and bear gives us that there will be Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for a very long time to come. It has been nominated for 20 awards these last two years taking home 6 of them and Metacritic gave the game 93% (Ubisoft please take notice of this part). Lisa Dahlgren reported recently that the game had sold over 13.81 million copies worldwide in March 2019, making it the best-selling fighting game of all time and still Nintendo adds more.

Then the focus goes to Luigi Mansion 3 giving us a lot more in a new game, with local and online co-op play that you can do alone, or with a friend, (Gooigi), optionally known as per today as the Google Janitor.

Dark Crystal Tactics did not give us much, but it looks good and it is based on the famous movie by Jim Henson, so there is plenty already and that was just the start. Now I have to make a sidestep to something I wrote in May 2013 in the article ‘Previous Generation towards future Games‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/09/previous-generation-towards-future-games/) where I stated “They were able to deliver a game that was able to run on a 640Kb system (yes, I know that most do not even have a memory card that small). So, consider how the bulk could be transferred to something as ‘simple’ as the Nintendo DS. Add slightly better graphics and several of these titles will soon be more coveted then several high marketed products on the game store shelves today. After 20-25 years that is some achievement” and now we see that Nintendo is doing just that. Not merely a new Trials of Mana (2020), but in addition to that we got collection of Mana which were the previous three and they are now available as per today, some of them were never released outside of Japan, the digital version is available as per today, there is a limited version that is physical, so if you see it, buy it immediately! It goes further the remastered games kept on going Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0 and Resident Evil four, five and six. And the avalanche just kept on going, Dragon Quest Builders 2, AI: The Somnium Files, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, Daemon X Machina, Grid Autosport, Spyro Trilogy, Witcher 3 and many more.

We got very little regarding Pokémon sword and shield in the presentation, but there were playable versions at the Nintendo stand (bastards!). We can even do some predictive steps as Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is all about Tokyo 2020, but coming to us in November 2019. Seeing that gameplay made me think back to the days of Epyx and the summer games on CBM-64. These graphics were truly new and amazing, yet that playful competitiveness is something that had been missing and Nintendo must have noticed it too apparently. We also got some Animal Crossing on Switch, so almost all the big hitters of the previous console are now on Switch.

I had to re-watch the show more than once, there was so much information and even if not everything is for all (we all have different tastes) there is no denying that Nintendo is about to unleash a tidal wave of games over the coming 52 weeks alone, and that is besides all the games that Bethesda, Ubisoft and Square Enix announced for Switch.

My final rating for Nintendo is 92%, making it the best E3 presentation in 2019.

There is more on the E3, but mostly now Steam, PC gaming and a few small ones; I will let the gaming community reviewers like Eurogamer work on that. As I see it, for gamers this will be a decent year, if you have a Switch as well, it will truly be a fantastic one.

So in the end, the trophies for best E3 show go to:

Gold: Nintendo

Silver: Square Enix

Bronze: Ubisoft

Honourable mention: Microsoft for Cyberpunk 2077 (the Keanu Reeves surprise) and the three WW Superstars under the podium.

To all, have a great year of gaming and let’s see what E3 2020 brings, because that one will have a lot, a lot more than we saw in these four days, that is an absolute guarantee.

 

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Lifting the veil

Keith Stuart (the Guardian) gave the first reliable light less than 8 hours ago when he treats us to: ‘PlayStation 5: Sony gives the first details of its next generation console‘. We see a lot of digital techno babble (for the non-technical readers), what is important in first light is a positive and a negative. The positive is seen with “a custom graphics processor based on the forthcoming AMD Navi family, which will be capable of real-time ray tracing“, implying that the new PS5 is only inches behind today’s top graphics cards and on part what the PC could maximise in 2020, that is indeed a graphical leap that has not been seen before. Then we see “an eight-core CPU based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen processors“. This is good in a number of ways but let’s not blindly focus on the 8 cores. In the end gaming is about good games. What does seem to be implied is that Ubisoft has a unique option at present, it could get ahead of the crowd with a massive leap if they do their homework and if they focus on the result and not listen to whatever idiot is the voice of the shareholders and/or marketing, because that will end them right quick.

They have the option for a truly new Watchdog and optionally a few more of their franchises, but only if they focus, the next AAA rated at 65% could end them if they lose focus; the fans have become weary of Ubisoft and what they market and subsequently not produce. A similar stage is there for Bethesda, even as they have a lot more credibility. They have the products, but they need to have a much better QA team. They will not survive a second Fallout 76 that much is showing to be the gospel of gaming. When we see the specs of the PS5 we cannot even imagine what FromSoftware will be able to pull off, but we cannot wait to see. There are more players, especially with the implied God of War 5, even if they merely get an equal to god of War 4, people will sleep in front of gaming shops to get the game at first light, and so far we know that these makers always surpassed the previous versions, so we cannot wait.

Yet this gets us to the other place, the one negative one. You see, we might hype behind “a solid state drive“, yet the ugly truth is that space is expensive in solid state mode. Even as the current price of $975 for a 4TB drive is a lot and that price will be 30% down in 2020, the truth remains that 2TB will not cut it and we do hope that Sony is not stupid enough to follow the short-sighted path that Microsoft is on, they are now merely console number three and optionally before 2021 a number 4 out of 5. We get that we might start at 1-2TB, yet as long as the space is there to upgrade to 4TB the fans will be OK with it, selling that item short is the most dangerous path one could be on and 3mm makes all the difference. Even as Microsoft Marketing is trying to launch hypes around Xbox Two, they have already lost the faith of so many gamers that the stage now is set to them trying to repair damage in the first year of console release; this is totally difference form both Nintendo and Sony who are now steaming ahead at full throttle. Even as we get the Sci-Fi versions of what the Xbox Two might be, too many people are no longer willing to trust Microsoft at present and that is hurting them at the starting bell for a lot more than they are willing to admit to. I only they had actually listened to the gamers, we are not willing to trust them with their words: ‘We listened to gamer and this is what we came up with‘, they will bully always online, they will bully their Microsoft Azure needs. This is the consequence of doing what shareholders tell you and disregard the customer, it is a failed model and I have seen the fallout of that for well over two decades in the field.

So whilst others need to worry about the market share they lose against Nintendo and Google Stadia (optionally against Apple too), Sony has decided on the path that gamers desire and with one optional flaw they are on track to surpass themselves. It gets to be even larger if initial social media plans come to fruition, yet there is no evidence that this is in any way happening. what is interesting is that the winning path of Sony is pushed to a much higher level whilst Microsoft is still clinging to “Securely store player data, dynamically scale your gaming experiences to more than 50 regions, and save money as your game grows with Azure” and even as some give us: “Google may have stolen the show at this year’s Game Developer Conference with its Stadia cloud gaming reveal, but Microsoft is hard at work on its own service, xCloud, that it’s already testing now. At a GDC developer session yesterday, Microsoft representatives from the xCloud team gave us a little more detail into how games designed for Xbox consoles will translate over to mobile devices, where players might be used to either a Bluetooth controller or on-screen touch controls“, some need to see a reality, not only are they outgunned against Google (Stadia), the fact that the fact that I do not accept any Xbox game to be played on a mere 6” mobile, we now see that the entire concept of ‘gaming’ is seemingly slightly alien to Microsoft. This is all about stored player data; this is about data and facilitating for the capture of it.

Do you really think that I could ever enjoy Forza Horizons IV on a 6″ screen? That game is the reason why people buy a 75″ 4K TV in the first place. So not only is Microsoft failing its gamers, their own marketing department is failing both. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of games that play nicely on a Mobile, some games can be played at any place and screen (Fallout Shelter, Gems of War), but the premise to make it all go to a mobile display is almost insulting to the people who went all out and created Forza Horizons IV for the big 4K screens.

This matters!

This matters as it shows the people that both Sony and Nintendo have been on the right track all along, the Nintendo sales figures show that, the head start of Sony shows it and now the top two will vie for their audience and even as Sony is ahead, it cannot relax one moment, Nintendo is too good at what they do and it is what the gamers want, Sony knows that too.

for now we see the PS5 for what it is, an optional beauty to replace our PS4 with, the fact that it is still a year away (optionally 17 months) is not something we are sorry about. The PS4 gives loads of entertainment to all its users and is highly likely to do so until the PS4 hands over the baton to the PS5, that is how it works and even then the PS4 will keep gamers happy for the longest of times, just like the Nintendo GameCube did whilst people were buying the Nintendo Wii in force. For that too is gaming, it is like our favourite pair of shoes or wallet, we hang onto it a little longer than we should, we grew attached to the device that brought so much joy, something Nintendo accepted and Sony forgot just a little too easy.

 

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The TV as a weapon

There is an old saying and there are alternatives to it. In Australia we say:

Q: Do you know the difference between ABC and Channel 7?
A: ABC shows you how bad things are in the world, Channel 7 shows you how screwed up your TV life is.

In the Netherlands it used to be NOS versus SBS6, and every nation has its own version. So what happens, when we see the millions of smart TV’s and Apple enters the race opposing Netflix? The New Daily gives the quote: “Spielberg who appeared live, touted the revival of his Amazing Stories anthology, while Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell then took the stage to discuss another Apple original, The Morning Show” with the added: “a range of new streaming entertainment services, as well as financial products, at a star-studded event Tuesday morning“. the message was apparently clearly brought and when we get to see: “Apple is expected to spend US$2 billion this year on original content to challenge established steaming players Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney+ service“, we need to realise that Apple has an optional goldmine in the making. In addition we see: “Hot on the heels of the Google game streaming service, Stadia, Apple launched Apple Arcade in a bid to grab a slice of the multi-billion dollar gaming market“, which will be fun to watch as Apple has shown a keen interest in negating the need of gamers (which is not all their fault in all honesty), will they figure it out this time? At least with the established Android gaming platform size, Google does have a huge advantage for now. OK, apple does have a gaming community on IOS and I was not short selling that (yes, I was). Yet the overall view I have seen in the past gives a better light of gaming to gamers on the android, than the Apple (a mere personal view on the matter).

So here we are watching two streams being created. First is the Netflix drain by Apple and as soon as they realise that 2 billion is a mere stack of money, to get the TV series that get the people to sign up, even besides Netflix will requires series that surpass The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, Bird Box and a few other gems, Netflix has the writers, will Apple have them? We all know that Game of Thrones will enter their final season, so there are plenty of needy watchers to pick up after that conclusion, yet if Apple does not have the IP, they are not going anywhere. Even with the added Spielberg Amazing Stories anthology, which was actually quite decent when it was initially released on VHS, they will still have quite the task at hand. More important, even if they have all the ducks in a row, they will still having to deal with the market shares of Hulu, Stan, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney + service as well (and a few local others). Do they have the IP when that goes online? I can see half a dozen series that could be hits, and I am not the only one. Plenty of dedicated story tellers will have a list. Yet, does the Apple executive (whomever Tim Cook handed this hot potato to), does that person have a clue? The difference between a good presentation and an actual good idea comes with a gap that can fit the Grand Canyon and many Apple executives are a little lost when they face that gap.

It goes further, having a great idea is not enough and most visionaries have that in mind. to see that part we need to reflect on: “Apple, which became the world’s first trillion-dollar company in August last year, had been dropping cryptic hints about the launch event for weeks, sending the internet rumour-mill into overdrive“, yet since then Apple lost well over 20% of its value and the next few ‘slam bam’ misers will dent that even further. The next part is interesting as it impacts gaming and TV.

To get a great product you need at the very least (before marketing gets to have a go):

  1. A script, a story that will compel the reader to go on. Loading it with sex and graphics will only hold a small percentage for some time. A great example of a near perfect script was I Claudius by Robert Graves.
  2. A cast that works well together, each good actors, but together they become ambrosia, wine and nitro-glycerine, all at the same time. Again I Claudius became the golden standard. With Derek Jacobi, George Baker, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, James Faulkner, John Hurt, Patrick Steward, Ian Ogilvy, John Castle, and John Rhys-Davies we got something unheard of. They were already good actors, yet together they created greatness, they are now globally celebrities, but in 1976 that was not a given, they were iron rods and the director shaped them into high tempered steel increasing their mark close to tenfold.
  3. The director. Not merely the man implying 3, 2, 1, action! No, he is the person that becomes the visual visionary and Herbert Wise delivered. The evidence is seen in his work. As a director he has 91 marks on his career rod and when we look at it all, it is all decent work, insightful work, yet I Claudius is a 180 cm person walking in Indonesia (where the average height is 152cm), it stood out tall above all others. So, even as we accept that I Claudius could not have been done without the cast, it equally required the right director to make it work.
  4. The Producer (in this case the BBC), who had to put up the dough with a need of blind faith and no idea how much they were going to lose. These four required to be completely in sync and they were as such I Claudius is still seen as the best BBC drama ever produced, even now, 43 years later we see that new TV series merely hope to equal this achievement, thinking that it can be surpassed is mere folly (yet optionally not impossible).

This is the setting that Apple is trying to get into and throwing 2 billion at it thinking that it will be easy by presenting a few famous people is as reliable as getting rich by spending what you have on blow and hookers. It looks pretty, yet it is an absolute non-winner 100% of the time. Finding the right people will be the task for Apple and as they are all competing for the same pig through increasing the value of good scriptwriters, yet they too are starting to look critical at the offers, because they lose value with every failure and often enough, they do not get to blame the director of the production company, they get to be the scapegoat. So they will require their optional bosses to set an income and levels of freedom and commitment to a much higher degree.

As for gaming

Gaming has a similar setting. It will be about getting the gamers on board and that requires a great product, in an age where Apple has been all about marketed iteration, they are vying for innovation? In a market they do not seem to really comprehend? I am slightly puzzled.

There the director is the project director; the cast are the graphic designers and the scripters and coders. The art and stage might have similar issues, but finding these parts to intertwine and interconnect is where good coders are required. Then there is the learning curve of the game. And it gets to be worse fast when it becomes a product relying on micro transactions. Ubisoft, Bethesda too never quite worked it out and the first screw up will diminish the value of the event overnight. Apple will have to steer clear of micro transactions in the first year by a certainty of 100% and in the subsequent 2-3 years for 90%. Can they afford that game? Their essential path will be the RPG games that call the horn of attendance for gamers on a global scale, if not, than this becomes a long term project that will not end up becoming a winner. In that they have additional competition form makers like Nintendo, their Switch is still gaining momentum and the games I have seen lined up for that system shows that Nintendo is taking this momentum extremely serious. I wonder if Apple has thought this through beyond their return on investment expectations from executives who rely in spreadsheets and lack essential data skills other than identifying their ROI and bonus column. Once that goes south Apple will take a few hits in short succession and they will be painful. If it goes wrong (I am not stating or indication that this is the case), they could face the hits where their total value is a mere 50% of what it was on September 16th 2018.

Yes, Apple could rise high with streaming on TV and consoles, but in the end they require the golden eggs to get there and I am not convinced that they have what it takes to get there. For the most it is an art, I have been involved in gaming since 1984 and I still miss elements in all it. It is both science and an art, the moment you separate the two is the moment you lose. That has been an essential given for close to two decades. Ubisoft got it wrong more than once, Bethesda took massive hits with miscalculations and they are dedicated experts in that field, I doubt Apple has seen that shortfall at present.

To illustrate that we need to look at a game called the Division 2, an Ubisoft product. Important fact, it is seen as a really good game, better than the first version and steps forward, at times leaps forward, some reviewers have stated that is sets a new bar of online gaming and that is awesome to learn. Now add the two headlines: ‘Ubisoft Patches Annoying ‘The Division 2’ Skills Bug‘, as well as ‘The Division 2 PC players report a 100% CPU usage issue, Ubisoft is investigating‘, on games this size this will always happen and the fact that it is looked at and fixed this early is really good, so this is not about pulling Division 2 down. This is what happens on games this big depending on online elements, which is besides server down times. A consequence of online gaming and in this Apple is as I expect it not ready to see gaming to the higher levels it needs to see it.

If they see these two elements as a method to use the TV as a weapon, a data weapon for additional wealth, we see a company that is about to get hit really hard. That is in the foundation of it all. I believe that they are making the same mistake that Microsoft made. Microsoft is talking a good talk, yet the people all over the world are seeing the impact, the most powerful console in the world is being surpassed by the weakest of the three. Their setting of always online, their bullying tactics, their essential inability to listen to gamers (or ignoring what they are being told) is what is dragging down Microsoft and Apple will experience that lesson in a very hard way soon enough if they walk that same silly line.

Just like Microsoft, we see a company that more likely than not does not comprehend gamers and will falter because of corporate ROI needs soon enough. They see the two as connected to grow better, but these are two separate entities (TV and Gaming) representing 6 dimensions that can go in any direction, when these executives learn that lesson the hard way and they are looking what to do next, I will offer Tim Cook my last $99 for the company (Apple, a fruit of the loom division).

Could I be massively wrong?

Absolutely, yet the Apple marketing need of the hype and their viral needs seem to be on my side, as the gaming industry as a whole tends to be as gossipy as any old tea lady, so word would have circulated into my inner core of contacts much earlier, as such I think that Apple is not ready, nowhere near ready, personally I do hope to be proven wrong. I would love to see more contenders in the gaming world, more choice, more innovation and better games is the consequence from that war, and I do love playing good games.

I will keep you all posted on what happens next.

 

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