Tag Archives: Nintendo

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. 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Media

Multiple rulers

We have a ruler at times. A ruler so we can see whether the size measures up to the setting we held ourselves to, and a size to what we hold others. We are all like that, and sometimes we use more than one, it is almost like we set a standard metrical and then another one to get the inch setting. There is one stage we avoid; not on purpose, but the stage we set because we did not think of it. That is the stage that I found myself in this weekend. Anyone who has a Playstation 4 (or better) has either been playing the Last of us part 2, or has been contemplating playing it. There might be the smallest group that did not (and that is fair) but that group is really really small. It started in 2013, a (small) player named naughty dog, famous for Crash Bandicoot and a few other titles, had an idea and made that game, that game was titled The last of us, we might not have realised it at the time but gaming history was written that very moment. They made the game that heralded the end of the Playstation 3 on a high. The game was graphically, musically and technically at the very top of gaming, do not take my word for it, the game got over 200 game of the year awards, which is a record by itself, so when it was remastered for the Playstation 4, I did not hesitate to get it, now there is the second part and what I have seen so far is blowing my mind (again). It als gave me the idea to come up with the two ruler rule. So far the only three passing that standard are Naughty Dog, CD Project Red and Bethesda. This does not mean that others are not good, some are great. Yet to fit this measurement you need to be better than the best. I believe that those makers could have turned their game into a movie and it would be as groundbreaking and as appreciated as the game. As I see it CD Project Red did that by getting the Netflix the Witcher made. OK, they cheated by getting Superman to play the lead, but still they got it done and it is every bit as amazing as the game was. Excellence is transcendental (or so I believe) and I feel certain that the Last of US (both 1 and 2) would make amazing movies/mini series. I played part 2 to some extent and then I remembered (I thought back to the first one) and I decided to play it again. Even now, 7 years later, the first game is as overwhelming as any new game is, yes, the second one surpasseds the first one by a fair bit, but both of them leave most others in their wake, the games are that good. This is not bad for the others, there will always be rocksteady, there will always be rockstar and they will endear the gamers in their own way, there is no doubt about it, yet when we see the bullet point memo people at EA and Ubisoft, they are done for. The few franchises they hide behind will not help them, even now, their games at 70%-80% reduced rate are a debatable buy and that is not a good place to be in. When a two billion company like Ubisoft gets passed over by what some regards as small studios, we need to realise that gaming has been on the fringe of technology since the 80’s. Some people decided to give the thought that gaming too is iteration (like every year an Assassins Creed game), some exploited other means, some good and some bad, and before some think that Ubisoft is all bad, they did bring us Assassins Creed 2 (and brotherhood), Far Cry 3, AC Origins, Watchdog 2, The Division and a few others, when we look past the iteration, we see that they make good games, if only they were properly tested and vetted before release, it is the largest flaw that Ubisoft brings us today. And it is getting noticed more and more as we take notice of games like The Witcher and The Last of Us. Wecan add games like Elite Dangerous and Subnautica and the remastered edition of System Shock (hopefully 2020), we see that the original ideas are still there and they are wiping the floor with the iterative wannabe’s. You see the stage is changing and gamers are not completely aware.

We see the created hypes and we see how Microsoft is hiding behind the marketing cry ‘the most powerful system in the world’, yet they got defeated by the weakest system of them all (Nintendo Switch) and as Microsoft hides behind the hype screen we are all missing the larger point. As 4K gaming hits the front yard of many gamers this holiday season, they tend to forget that the games will be twice the size and so will the patches. In this situation consider that in places like Greece and Turkey a Ubisoft patch will take up to a day (estimated), a day per game downloading a patch. The UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Italy and a few others have better connections, yet in these places in Rural areas their internet is not great, so the long term view of the approach that they are currently holding is that they will not be in a great place. Yes, France, Spain and Scandinavia the connection is well above decent, yet is that the same in rural areas? In France it is not and I just set the pulse point on millions of gamers who will be in an extremely agitated state soon enough, yet not if Ubisoft continues as it currently is. And we need to review that too. A game might seem amazing, yet in the 4K life, patches will be increasingly larger and larger. So what do you think will happen when a patch is not 38 GB, but 70 GB? How long until gamers lose their shit over this, because the second time it happens might already be enough for the gamer to demand a refund, and with some places having the 7 day purchase option in place, that cooldown will be enough to end the lifespan of places like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Activision. Yes, I get it, others will be in a similar place, but consider keeping a list of all your games and all the patches that come through, who will win the patch race agitation list? 

Yes, we get it Bethesda will also be in a bad place, yet RPG games like Skyrim are too great and will always have patches coming their way, yet overall when I look back at the games like Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4 the amount of patches have not been overwhelming. As I see it one breakpoint patch has had more to download then the sum of nearly all Bethesda games, that is the station we see, yet we forget that the station we face is nothing more than a small way station, the stations we are about to hit are proper terminals with larger needs. We need to measure what was and what will be to a much larger extent and use two rulers, the size of the game and the size of the patches, whilst we tally the number of patches. Breakpoint was regarded by gamers as the most disappointing game of 2019, 38GB of patches later and it is still up for debate, as I see it, they no longer have any freedom of movement, gaming will change but not in their direction, the games will need to be better and their infrastructure is not ready, the patch notes give a clear indication of that. So yes, we will see a console war, but we will see a lot more than that. Santa Monica Studios, Naughty Dog and a few others are ready and they make Playstation games. The people at Microsoft are not ready for the issues that sme games bring and their Azure cloud is useless at this stage, it is about innovative gaming, the iterative clowns have no place being here. We are about to see a console war and Microsoft could soon end up in 4th position, so when we consider the big three, who else will surpass them? Their marketing hype of the most powerful console for sale, and they forgot that they still needed good games to stay in that place, with less than half a dozen exclusive games, the pickings are slim for Microsoft, to see that you needed an additional ruler, a different stage of measuring. Just like the measurement of power, there are two ways of measuring it, all whilst the elements for both formulas were readily available, too many players were looking at one formula and forgot about the other one, and that is what the limelight will show at the end of the year and when that limelight shows bright, we will see that some players are done for, one ruler would not have shown it, they all focussed on the revenue and they forgot that revenue is hindered by the resistance that patches bring, these players forgot or basically ignored the danger of large patches and now that they are 26 weeks away from a new standard these players will panic, they will panic more and more and let marketing do the fight of the public arena all whilst it will merely stop activities for a few days and some patches required months. Now, we accept that both Sony and Microsoft have that house of Pox looming, but as I see it, Sony has more alternatives and in this fight, the one with alternatives is the most likely to win. In all this there is strength to any marketing endeavour, but its flaws are there too and once your board of directors start to earnestly believe the stories they tell, they have already painted themselves into a corner. 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, IT, Science

Playing the fifth station

I am watching what is to come and even as the first part was not my bag of tea, the New Spiderman game definitely was, a new Gran Turismo and now I stop with shouting titles, a lot more publications will do that. What was interesting was the response the game makers had (the man behind Insomniac games to name one), the additions that the PS5 enabled, and so far I am watching actual gameplay and it is blowing me away. The presentation is giving new titles from franchises we love and new titles from origins we never saw and so far it is pretty mind boggling, but Sony is pretty good in that respect, so I am not overly dumbstruck, yet the graphics and the environment as we see it in the game Stray leaves me with thought, Sony, not unlike Microsoft is going in a direction we expect, as such I see a gap that players like Apple and Google can touch on. Sony has well over half a dozen exclusive titles that players want, and there we see the first part that I sort of expected. We see the exclusive and the likely less exclusive games, yet after 30 minutes still nothing from Ubisoft. I am certain that Ubisoft will be on the PS5, no doubt, but the stage where the small software houses are taking the limelight and sharing it with Sony shows just how bad the stage of Ubisoft is at present. Then we get to see Ghostwire, a game teased before, now we see it on the PS5 and this game alone is reason to get the PS5, and even as it is not the most expected game, it is certainly taking the limelight and that is a new feeling. When we see what comes with Hitman 3 I feel certain that no Microsoft Hype has a chance at present, I am cautious because their show a few years back was really good, but they have to take all the stops out to even equal what Sony is bringing. And that is important here as Hitman is most likely coming to both systems. With a lot of titles handing out the Holiday 2020, the expected image that PS5 will come with an overwhelming amount of launch titles (or first month titles). At the end of the presentation it is clear, there is no Ubisoft, they are in trouble, because there is no way that they want to miss the event, Bethesda was there with 2 titles, so why not Ubisoft? 85 minutes after the start, we get the power hammer, Eloy is back and what we see on PS5 blew me away, Horizon 2, Forbidden West is a PS5 Gem andI can’t wait to get my fingers on this console, which was shown right after, it is gorgeous, you should see the video on YouTube yourself and see what is there, words cannot describe it. No matter how some Microsoft fans shout that their system is the biggest and the strongest, without good games it does not add up to much, so far they are 3 million systems behind Nintendo and that is not all, 4 reviewers were completely blown away, it is that overwhelming and most of us will be waiting with bells on for the next 20 weeks. 

Sony, you’ve done it again!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT

Between fact and speculation

There are two parts in all this. The first is fact, the second is speculation, the facts come from what we know and have seen. First fact given by the BBC is that the PS4 has so far sold 108 million worldwide, the Xbox 49 million, which is 3 million less than the Nintendo Switch, The PS4 and Xbox both started in 2012. The Nintendo in 2017, surpassing the Xbox in half the time. As such, that so-called strongest console was surpassed by the weakest console and in 4 hours we get to see what the new PS, the PS5 will bring us. In all this there is no surprise for me, I saw this coming in 2016, and as the Xbox One X showed us the face of Microsoft and their short sightedness, I saw how they would lose the market more and more, even as Microsoft is trying to create hype after hype, selectively giving us missing information, the consumers are waking up to the colossal error that Microsoft has become and I firmly believe that it is about to get worse. If it was up to me I would direct Google and Apple towards alternative paths making Microsoft the system in 4th or even 5th position. I am that mean at times. 

Speculation

Speculation is another path, yet that is not about the hardware, that is set to the business practices of Activision and Ubisoft. To give you the example, I have been an Elite fan since its release in 1985, In 2016 it was on early release on the Xbox and it was pretty much the ONLY reason I got it. The game is still fantastic and since that point, over 3 years, the game has had a speculated 53 updates, the last one 3.4 GB, Ubisoft released AC Odyssey in 2018 and has a speculative 54updates, the last one 24 GB, almost 800% of the Elite Dangerous one. Activision seems to have a new record, Call of Duty has seemingly a 85 GB patch. That is way too massive and games on the PS5 will end up being larger, a lot larger. Under that given situation, the entire patch system needs to change. Ubisoft especially (Breakpoint 38 GB, AC Odyssey 2 GB) is a setting that gamers will no longer accept, it is a little bit ridiculous that Ubisoft cannot properly test its games. The AC series especially has shown a lack of proper testing, yet that will dwarf in both the PS5 and Xbox X series life. Under the new setting, the makers can hide behind ‘everyone has broadband’ and ‘there is unlimited download’, yet it is clear that rural Germany and France are not on the big internet page and the entire Coronavirus work at home part with congestion all over the place, in the same setting whilst players like Netflix is pushing 4K series more and more, the entire mess of congestion will only increase. Players like Ubisoft will not survive the quality they have brought so far and there is no doubt in my mind that both Sony and Microsoft will have to protect their player sooner rather than later. This is the speculative part and we will hopefully learn more in 4 hours when Sony gives us the works on the release of the PS5. The time of  release is nearing more and more. As I see it, it is a mere 22 weeks away and some will have to save up for both a 4K 125Hz TV as well as the PS5. As I see it, Sony is extremely likely to have a massively great 2020 soon enough and an even better 2021. None of this matters to Nintendo, it will work great on the new TV and they have already surpassed Microsoft, who will need the largest part of 2021 just to break even with the weakest console. They are not in a good place and whatever hype they create, it will not look good, yet that is still speculative of me and I hope to be proven right no later than March 2021. 

Gaming is about to change and we are only hours away from seeing it ourselves. 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Science

Open Targets

We all have that point in time when we see a person we know, and when we see that person, we wished we had a paintball rifle, that person is the target. That person optionale did nothing wrong, it is a variant to “Slap your annoying coworker day”. I feel certain that more than one person had me in mind and that is probably why my title as ‘certified psychopath’ gets me out of hot water. Iget it, I tend to be goal driven and I have zero regard for diplomacy (most of the time), yet it also works in opposition. I get annoyed when some boss gives me the run around instead of giving me the direct message. There is nothing as hateful as a manager keeping you on a leash instead of giving the bad news up front, which he has had for 3-4 hours. So wasting time on long rides whilst the short message would have changed the dynamics towards the goal. 

Yet the larger issue is not the manager, it is me. I am aware that I have flaws and faults (we all do), yet I present the flaw as a strength, and that is where things get dicey at times. I feel that I am on the right path, but I also understand that those drowning in diplomacy have a case. In this setting we look at Ubisoft, it is hit hard by the Rainbow Six clone (I would call it a rip off), and Apple and Google are actually in hot waters over the entire setting. This is nothing less than copyright infringement. This is a lot more than a clone, this is more than some copy lookalike. Several people, or better stated, several gamers could not tell the difference ad that is a bad thing. Ubisoft has many flaws, but in the titles they believe, they have pumped cash into them and Rainbow Six is an important IP revenue for them. As such the game Area F2 is a much larger concern and the impact on Alibaba will also be significant. It is my issue here that I fail to see how Area F2 even made it onto the App sites in the first place. And that is before we take a look at the Nintendo app store. There is a larger flaw and even as I enjoy slapping Ubisoft, I am also protective of games and Ubisoft does deserve every bit of protection here. There is a larger stage, not merely of what is missed, but of the things we see that require a larger consideration, apart from Alibaba getting every bit of software scrutinised, before it is allowed online. The larger stage is how can we prevent this larger stage exploding. In today’s stage we see that videogames get the initial 30-60 day joust for revenue and that leads to a 60-120 day revenue boost. Basically Area F2 screwed that up for Rainbow Six and they should pay for it, optionally using the Alibaba credit cards. In today’s stage it will be a massive invoice, and as I personally see it, Ubisoft is entitled to those funds. The stage for Alibaba changes even further when we consider the historic stage that Call of Duty and Medal of Honour had, they looked alike but were different in several ways and it kept both alive. In this stage where people cannot tell the difference between Area F2 and Rainbow Six siege there is a much larger and a different stage. Copyright infringement is not new, not even in gaming, but the fact that people cannot tell the difference is pretty new and very unique, and I wonder what play will be set in motion to stop this from happening again, in all this, I do believe that Alibaba will take a large hit to their value, I personally believe that Ubisoft has all the rights it can to divert damage to its IP and let it all be paid by someone name Ali Baba

It reminds me of an old publishing joke, you see the book ‘Ali Baba and the 40 thieves’ was politically incorrect, it was republished as ‘Ali Baba and the 40 fighters for the Palistinian cause’. I wonder how it sounds when the third edition is staged as ‘Alibaba and the 40 game programmers’, yet in all this it is still early days, I will keep my eyes on the court case, because the impact will be a lot larger than most of us can imagine. The only thing I wonder about is how they got it looking alike so fast, there seems to be a factor of intent in all this, so there is every chance that Alibaba will go to court against the people who made Area F2. 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT, Law

Nature of the beast

There was news on how Samsung failed the net mobile options, the news was given ‘Exynos 990-powered Galaxy S20+ flops hard in gaming’ what I read came from NotebookCheck, and it is important that even as I am no friend of Samsung (due to their own doing in 1985), I tend to not be a Samsung hater. Let us not forget that I love Nintendo and I personally hated the WiiU, I also accept that sometimes a failure precedes a success like the Nintendo Switch, so Samsung might optionally be down,but they are not out. In the end the article lets out that it is basically not the fault of Samsung, but the chip (and its makers) is the cause of all the viewed hardship. The Exynos 990 seems to be below par on a few fields as such depending on that chip caused the project to go pear shaped. This is the direct result of choices, sometimes they blow back on us (WiiU anyone?). Yet in the field the hidden message is often missed. As stated ‘after 10 minutes of running PUBG Mobile, the galaxy S20+ was dropping frames to 50fps (something some recent consoles could not maintain), and as low as 40fps by the 20 minute mark’ the story is nowhere near over and Samsung has time to get up to speed in more than one way.

The writer goes on stating how it is that a $200 solution called Redmi Note 8 Pro did so much better. It is interesting that merely one example was matched. Still it is a mark on the status list of Samsung for now, yet a firm that is in the top 5 of most registered patents in the last years does not have merely one push towards the top and even as (for now) the S20+ is not likely to be a pushing power to the top, Samsng has had its share of true innovative successes and as such it will bounce back, it has done that a few times, and I have no doubt it will do so again.

They are not alone, even as Apple has no recorded future failure yet, it seems that not unlike the time of the PowerMac, they face a new chiprace. The news is that Intel just cannot get their response rate right and as we see that, Apple is considering a new path, one that is RISC or ARM, if it is the RISC, we see a return to happy times (ME: happy happy joy joy), yet that is because I am not a chip man and I know little of the ARM, I merely remember the good times of the RISC (I still have my RISC G5), that systems outdid anything available in those days and made no noise. Still that is not enough for you to rely on. In my mind I see another field starting up, all the APP developers relying on little INTEL options to get whatever they made go faster will have to rethink their options, there will be a weeding in the ranks of APP developers soon enough at that point, not to mention the people making PC games and including Apple as an option, it sets the optional parameters that the design for Apple needs to be truly for Apple. These two matters are a larger stage, last year the Irish Times reported on the collaboration between the two in regards to the iTunes movies, but I wonder if it stops there, Samsung has a much stronger infrastructure, Apple has a few unique designs and a following of millions, I wonder if there is not a larger space for more between the two, they must realise that the changed setting of Covid requires a different stage of thinking for the near future, their approach to almost unaffordable phones is nice, but millions of people are getting laid off, people who used to buy their products and that is off the table for the next two years, if not even longer. 

The changes that we are seeing will demand the largest players to find symphony and chorus between them instead of relying on the powerful solo acts that no one can afford. As such we will see a few more surprises in 2020 and 2021. Some might think that the markets will settle again, but they all forgot that to appease Wall Street too many companies were on a 90% stage with no reserves, now it shows as the bankruptcy numbers are going through the roof, even smaller players like Virgin are running for their life laying off thousands of people, without reserves there is no continuance for any of them, they ignored the common setting for keeping reserves and a 2 month shutdown was enough to make most of them buckle and it will get worse, the EU (those pulling the strings) have achieved in delaying Basel III for another year due to Covid implications. The FSB stated in one of their reports “Funding markets have been under strain amid extreme demand for cash and near-cash assets” it is a stage that is escalating, mainly because of a lack of reserves and it hits back at Samsung as well. This one failure is optionally no biggie, but when you consider that the next two years will be washed from larger revenue and profit in a stage where the time was not great to get a failure to deal with is not great, it is all about the reserves and to appease the markets too many players left ‘margin’ on the side for good reporting, it stands to reason that bad news will rule the news on several fields and it seems that Samsung will join that group that ends up having not great news, and optionally they have marginally good news that will get a downward revision up to 60-120 days later, can’t have the current quarter down, can we?

We can look and see how separate events do not add up and that would be fair, there is however a much larger field in sight and in that field the S20+ failure comes at a bad time, yet they are not alone Apple is in a similar place and forgoing individuality for 2-3 years and set combined products might be the good path for those two players. Samsung could revert to another path but overall they are not in charge, their shareholders are and they fear recession like the black plague. This is merely because 2-3 years could result in a stage of no reserves with a much stronger push towards a 3-5 year stage of no consumers and the shareholders fear that much more than anything. 

Is it not interesting how shareholders make a large company much easier to anticipate?

I have no doubt that Samsung will survive this era, just like it did in 1985, so far history has proven me right again and again, yet the entire Corona escalation is new to too many players and to me too, as such there is a lot we cannot see in a stage of feigned ‘non-panic’, even as these people have no idea just how bad things can get, and they need their shareholders to have faith, as such there remains an unknown. 

Time and profit are the ruling elements of the beast that devours, for the most it devours profit, yet what will it resort to when there is no profit?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Science

Parallels

I started playing a new video game. Well, it is not new, I have played it 7 times (I think), I played it on the Xbox 360, the PS3,the Xbox One and the PS4. The game was released on 11/11/11 and it is called Skyrim. I have loved this game since its release and it all started with the predecessor Oblivion. So how does a game become this amazing? There is a parallel with the series I Claudius made in the 70’s. You see there are two distinct differences, this game is great, not great through marketing (Microsoft never learned that lesson). In I Claudius its greatness came from 4 elements. 

  1. The Script
  2. The Cast
  3. The Director
  4. The Environment

I believe that games have a similar side to it, and we can see the difference between a good game and a great game. Even as there is no real cast in Skyrim, the makers have to define the characters, on TV they are played but the impact is similar. It is the environment that has the greater pull, whilst it was Roman times for Claudius, the medieval era that the Elder Scrolls exhibit have a similar pull on people.

It drove me to make the first design for TES: Restoration, yet in all this, I do recognise that another Skyrim was not going to make it, gamers are innovative driven not iterative and we have seen this going back to Tomb Raider 2 (1997) and even before that. 

The first question becomes ‘How can we continue a franchise and remain innovative?’, the second one is ‘How can gaming be pushed towards future greatness?’ In the first case we need to investigate, the second one is for the visionaries. The first question is important because what was released between Assassin Creed 2 and Assassins Creed Origin was less and less and almost destroyed the franchise, it is nice that Ubisoft remains in denial and after that makes a ‘Looking towards the future comment’, yet the issue is much more important than you think. 

Great gaming does not happen overnight and places like CD Project Red are really rare. A lot of game designers tend to be one trick ponies when it comes to great games and so far they pulled it off more than once, as did Bethesda as did a few others. Yet the ones that do are a minority and in the light of console wars investigating what is possible matters, good gaming is good for all, the era where Microsoft and Sony keeping each other one their toes driving gaming is almost a thing of the past and we need to see better games to resolve that issue. It does not matter how it goes, but at present only Sony and Nintendo remain great, Microsoft a lot less so and as such it will impact great gaming for Sony players down the line. 

As to how to fix this, I have no idea. Yet the thought does propel me forward and I Claudius is still a prime example of what makes a product great. The fact that it can stand against any drama produced almost 50 years later is proof of that, yet in that regard looking at the elements help us. The two elements that are the strong drivers here are the Script (the game story) and the environment. In that regard Bethesda is sitting pretty for now. Evenas there is no finality towards Hammerfell (2021), the signs are good and as I personally see it, it would also benefit my idea of TES: Restoration. It doesn’t change the premise, it merely makes it larger and the new consoles are ready for that, the fact that PC’s need to reserve 150GB for the new flight simulator confirms that and gamers do not care about that space, they will do a lot more to their budget to get the best out of games. Thousands of Elite Dangerous fans are evidence of that, they beat flight simulators fans almost two to one on hardware. Andforthese fans storage is an important element (another thing Microsoft never learned in 8 years). And the setting is not PS5 against Microsoft, it is old, stale and Microsoft lost. It is getting The Apple and Google Solution to par off beyond Nintendo. It is not an easy trip but it can be done and a few good games is all that is needed. Not games already released (Diablo 3 and Skyrim), but actual new IP that the others do not have, that makes any new great game 5 times the challenge for the existing consoles. And it can be done, in all this I refuse to discard Apple, when it comes to TV Shows, they are showing to give Netflix a run for their money, and if they can do it on TV, they can do it on gaming too. 

It is a wild west of digital format and both Google and Apple are on equal footing for now, yet the stage in 2022 is not known and cannot be set until the IP comes out for comparison. So all the junkies that are hardware driven will learn a very interesting lesson, the lesson that it was never about the hardware. The CBM64 people saw it, the PS1 and N64 people lived it and no one seems to catch on. It has always been about great games and as we see copies of great amiga games arrive on Android the decision makers are starting to wake up, yet they lost dozens of opportune IP that is now in the hands of those making a few dollars from microtransactions. It is the loss that we have seen over a year and the larger players are apparently not catching on, so where do the gamers stand?

Well, that remains to be seen. I Claudius was almost never a reality and so far has never been remade. The chance of equalling I Claudius is rare to say the least and surpassing it will be almost impossible. It is the impact of a near perfect TV series and games have had that same impact. On TV we saw other series making it good, even great and games can do that too. Will we see it? I have no idea, but if I can come up with 4 golden idea’s in a year there is no way that there is no one else doing that same thing. My biggest issue is that it is unlikely to be Ubisoft, it is more and more likely that several indie developers are sitting on that great idea and finding them by the right people is what counts towards the next console battle. As I personally (and speculatively) see it, someone (high up) at Microsoft will open their mouth making a needed jump to their precious Azure solution, making the game a no go, as such I am more and more curious on what Apple and Google pull off. They might have what it takes to become a member of the big 4, the question at this point will be, does Microsoft have what it takes to remain one of the big four in 2023. The game is open for a lot of players, yet will they have the software to make it count?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT, Science

Hoping the best

The earlier piece was merely the introduction, it matters as we all make choices, we all embrace what appeals to us. I have seen this path all the way going back to the VIC-20, and it was a good path. I have seen on system after system how new players made true innovation happen. If we consider the Atari ST/CBM Amiga, it was the ground where Psygnosis made several steps of true innovation in gaming. There was Westwood (Command and Conquer, Red Alert), Bullfrog (Populous, Dungeon Keeper), and there is no escaping the one true original Faster then Light with Dungeon Master.  The list goes on, whether you accept it or not, but the bulk of all new games created have a foundation towards the old originals. Many have forgotten, and many never knew. There is no blame here, we all have our history with games and gaming, some started with Candy Crush, some have been around when games were not cool.

We grew up watching games evolve, when it was limited to the hardware of a system. The foundations of civilization and Elite were set to systems with only 64 Kilobytes, as such you can imagine the creativity that these people needed to employ to get past these hardware limitations and get beyond this. 

As new systems are coming, so is the need for new IP, new ways for software companies to create a cash incentive. Some rely on microtransactions, the option to grind for time and push for additional paid incentives. Yet the treasure trove that is there, the trove that is absent of IP protection is a worthy chest full of new makes. Most have forgotten that and as they try to find a way to appease Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and optionally Google, they look for what not yet is and forget the amazing benefit to investigate what was. A simple list of titles Millennium 2.2, Paradroid, Seven Cities of gold, Laser Squad, Chipbits and even the Ultima series. All games mostly forgotten by all but the seasoned fans. I would mention System Shock, but that is being remade at present (hopefully being released in 2020).

Games that are not merely ported, but games that can be upgraded in all kinds of ways, the new consoles allow for much more options as they are almost 1,000 times the power and ability that the CBM 64 had. I am not merely talking about a new version of a game, but a game with additional sides and more depth then before. 

Consider the option of a game that could be out in under a year, all upgraded to the max of the new systems. That is the race they now face, that is where the initial coin was. Microsoft (and Sony) are at present in the setting where gaming is backward compatible and I am fine with that. Yet you as a gamer, would you prefer a PS4 or Xbox game, or a PS5/Xbox One X game?

I am not going to Speculate what these two larger players will do, yet I believe that the game makers will have additional options, they merely have to look into the right direction. I personally believe that there is a larger option here and the right developer will find a lucrative business, especially with players like Ubisoft being in the shape it is. Consider No Man’s Sky, in 2015 very few knew of him, there was a trailer out and that was it. Less than 5 years later everyone in gaming knows him, one title did that. People might think of him one way or the other, but he is there and he produced a game everyone remembers, that path is open to any developer who is willing to make a run for the gold.

It is great that some want to create a new level of IP, yet with 1.2 million games out there over time, making and creating something new is becoming increasingly difficult. Yet close to 25% of the games out there are old, forgotten and no protection on that IP as it remained unregistered. There is an awful lot of digital gold in the out and the open getting ignored.

This is the opportunity that the big three have, all three have systems capable of supporting an evolved and upgraded game that would stand up to any game created today. That is before you consider the options that are out in the open. EA made a game in the early 80’s called ‘Murder on the Hindenburg’, now combine it with the 1993 game ‘Iron Helix’ and you have the making of a new game, optionally first person with a zepplin mapped out and the need to find a murderer. As you have a library of NPC people you can replay the game again and again with different outcomes every time. So it would be a whodunnit heaven for anyone that loves the genre. Add to this the option to select the detective you play (and the strengths and weaknesses of them) and the game becomes something more. More evolved, deeper even as we merely are in one large location, yet does it need to be? 

All options from two individual games that became more than the sum of both. It took me 5 minutes to work that out, and I am but one person. So how many new games are there at the heart of being picked up by others?

There is a great time ahead for gamers, but will they face that utopian future? Time will tell.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT

Sources of negativity

We are all binomial in origin, we like yes/no, we dislike yes/no, we hate yes/no and we love yes/no, yet most of us hide this in long winded excuses of reasoning, we all do that (including me). I partially hate Microsoft for what they did, for how they destroyed something that was pretty fabulous, I am upset with Ubisoft or how they squandered excellent IP and hid into the woodworks and made a quick buck, destroying the IP they created in the meantime. And as such as I was looking online for a few more tidbits as we approach the demise of Xbox, I came across a few items that puzzled me. 

I love Bethesda, I do not love all their products, which is fine. I am no lover of Rage, but others are, and that is fine. On the other hand I love Fallout, but was never a fan of Fallout 76 and that is fine too. I prefer my games not online and single player. Still, I accept that this is a pathBethesda went on, we all have growing curves and there is a collection of people (a large one) who do like Fallout 76. Perhaps the evolution of Fallout 76 will turn into Fallout 176, Fallout 276 and whatever comes and I will like it at some point, but the barricade that is out there is not one that Bethesda created. In another story we see the interaction, ‘Call of Duty: Warzone console players are turning off crossplay to escape PC cheaters’ it is merely one reason why I hate online play, I do not really hate it because I loved online Mass Effect 3, I was addicted to it, but the world has enough cheaters, when I game I want to get away from that and play on a level playing field, as such I focus on single player only, and in that my taste goes wide. 

As time went by I must have invested tens of thousands of dollars in console gaming, I agree when people say that it is wasted money, but that was my choice, I had a good job, my last ‘true’ vacation was in 1998, so when I get home I need escapism and puzzles, or challenges all at the same time and the consoles provide. It got me to the first issue on consoles, the pricing YouTubes are a little redundant and obsolete when you realise the origin.

When I look back, I started with the VIC-20, then the CBM64 ($1349) with disk drive. Overtime I evolved my systems. CBM Amiga ($700), Atari ST ($700) and there was the PC to use (I’ll get to that soon). As a gamer and reviewer I had made some waves, as such the Sega Dreamcast was free (christmas present from Sega), the Sony Playstation (I forgot what I paid for it, but it was less than the N4) The Nintendo 64 ($699) and after that I pushed towards the Sony PSX-II ($899). It was followed by the Nintendo Gamecube, a machine I loved. After that there was a small lull, I got the Xbox at the end of its lifetime for free with my mobile and it brought a few highpoints. We are now getting close to the time where everything changed. I was happy with my Xbox, the controller was a little bulky, but I have large hands, so it was a blessing in disguise. I played several of the games and Time Splitters 3 was an awesome trip, so good that I got it completed to 98% in hard mode. Then Microsoft upped the game, the Xbox360 came and I truly loved it, it was close to perfect in many ways, the 20GB drive was a little small, but you could upgrade it to a 120GB and within a year I did. Gaming life was close to perfect. I mentioned Time Splitters and it matters, there was the clear claim of backward compatibility and I fell for it, yet soon thereafter I learned the hard way that it was not and I never got Time Splitters 3 to 100%, the first annoyance was created. In all honesty, it is close to one defect in its life cycle. I too received the red rings of death and Microsoft replaced it, as such I was 3 weeks without my 360, but that was not an issue, the replacement was faster, the resolution was clearly better and gaming was at an all time high. Microsoft was a clear player in all this. The next step was the PSX3, Sony had always been great but I was not drawn to the third version, I was actually still enjoying the PSX2 (as well as the GameCube). So it was a nice relief when I bought a new TV and the PSX3 was part of this as a bonus, to be honest, I was not drawn to the PSX3, I did love the games I played on it, but overall, until Metal Gear Solid IV, games of the patriot arrived, I was not madly gaming it. As such, when it did the shift was starting to happen. 

Before that time the Xbox360 had 70% of my time, the GameCube 20% and 10% was for the PSX3. MGSIV was the first game to attack that pattern. Sony would give us more games on that system that impacted the consoles.As Sony got more adapt in exclusive games, the PSX3 would consume time: God of War 3, Infamous(1 and 2), Ratchet and Clank, Beyond two Souls, Gran Turismo and the end there was the Last of Us, Sony was reacquiring the timeline. Even as I had Oblivion and Mass Effect 3 on my Xbox, the timeline had shifted to 40% X360, 40% PSX3 and 20% Gamecube. Sony was back through great games, just like it did before and Xbox was not to blame. In all this I did not mention PC Gaming and that was on purpose, from 1989 onwards my PC was for gaming and I had more often than not the best of the best. A soundblaster card? I had it and when the first games came needing the better processor I had that system. Unreal Tournament, Black an White, System Shock(1 and 2), Wing Commander (1,2,3), Red Alert, Populous, Ultima, the list goes on, it was when Thief came that I ‘woke up’, I had a really good Diamond card yet Thief forced me to upgrade to the Diamond Viper 2 (no regrets) and the realisation set in (around 2003). Gaming is about the graphics card, sound, storage and the processor and at that point a graphics card was $600, the soundcard $500, and storage came as is. As such a console was a lot cheaper and my need for gaming was fulfilled. Only two years later a high end graphics card was $999 and as such console gaming was becoming increasingly cheap.

This all matters, when we are confronted with the pricing of the Xbox One X and the PS5, we forget that what came before was a lot more expensie and offers less, it was also the time that we started to realise that we need increasingly more space, the Xbox360 and the PSX3 already taught us that, as such the faults in the Xbox were more than merely stupid. Sony solved it by letting people selecting a larger drive and replacing the old drive, Microsoft had not caught on and would not catch on for the entire life cycle of the Xbox One, it is only now that they are seeing the light and their other flaws (always online) are showing that they are no longer to be the trustworthy system and trust is everything here. 

So when I see this tyrade of options and systems and whether I (and many other gamers) are willing to pay only $500 or are willing to pay $550, I wonder if these people realise that they are continuing a consumer base that goes into pillions and they have spent a massive amount of money. Microsoft is also making the mistake to hunt towards the most powerful systems whilst good games is where it is at, so where are the great games?  This is where Ubisoft comes into the mix, exclusive or not they went from great game maker to mediocre game maker and you merely have to look at the exclusive sony titles to realise that. Whilst the creation of titles gave them 90+% games, we now see that 80%+ is the best they can muster and for the most pushed deadlines and marketing promises that cannot be kept are the cause. The lack of proper testing is another matter where they failed and it impacts the choices of consoles we have, because whether we want to accept it or now, Ubisoft is a big deal in console gaming and as they fail, the exclusives are where it is at and there Sony wins, it is a landslide win. To get the greatest games we need Microsoft and Ubisoft to get back to the top or we need someone to replace them, it is that simple.

Players like Bethesda, Capcom and others help, yet the more the merrier (in the high end gaming cycle) and we are all starved for good games and the consoles are a driving force.

Let’s hope that this gaming force is driven to the max at the highest peaks for years to come by as many players as possible, for in that setting the gamer truly wins, no matter who tops the bill.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, IT

Marketing fools

We are at the moment getting drowned in YouTube videos on who will win the next console wars. Or the most a lot of videos are a marketing approach from both sides mind you. Even as the bungles and stupidities by Microsoft makes me go towards the PS5 alone, there are however a few exceptions, they do exist. The first is theGamer who gives us a few clear parts. 

Like the BS approach we saw Microsoft had brought in the previous approach, the given fact is that the Xbox does have more teraflops, yet what does it mean? Faster is not essentially better and speed is limited to the slowest part and in the case of Microsoft that seems to be the drive. Sony has optimised gaming to such an extent, that Spiderman will play on the PS5 in 0.8 seconds (against 8 seconds on PS4). They are bringing cartridge speed to the console and that is a huge advantage. To be honest, there is something you both need to know, BOTH consoles will have the option to an internal SSD expansion, so it seems that Microsoft is repairing one of their more stupid decisions, they only needed 8 years to learn this. 

Sony showed recently how their SSD works in speed and it seems that it is able to process well to close to 100% more data uncompressed and over 25% more data compressed, it seems that teraflops really don’t matter too much when your system is that much slower. Yes the initial drive on the Xbox is larger, but both can expand and so far I have seen a 3TB option for the PS5, as such there is no issue on storage, yet there is a larger issue on the setting on drive speed and that implies that the Xbox is already lagging at the start of the race. The second movie I watched was about the Decline of Xbox by the Act Man. I felt like him, mainly because I loved my Xbox 360, I only got the PS3 as it came as a free extra with my new Sony TV. Microsoft had that much advantage and they squandered it in one E3 meeting. After that the Xbox Flaws started showing up and it made me resent my Xbox. I actually only got it for 2 games, Subnautica and Elite Dangerous. The second one is a game that I have loved since the early version on the CBM 64 and what I saw on the Xbox was overwhelming. Here is a console that could have been the number one, yet they lost it on senior managers that see greed not games, revenue not fun and it showed in that disastrous E3 meeting where we heard ‘always online’, and ‘no lending games’. Greed enticements that would destroy a console from the very beginning. There is the harassment side to marketed pushes and bullying people to be online and it did not go well for Microsoft from that point onwards. The video has a lot more, including a few things I never knew, and it might not matter but they were nice to know things.

Now,as we are 6 months away from the next line of consoles, we see that Sony is taking the gaming lead again and Microsoft seems to hide behind their teraflops. Yes they have more, but consider that in the big three they are in third position, their most powerful console is behind the weakest console of them all (Nintendo Switch), which gives you an idea that those in charge are not ready to take the price home. Now to be fair Spencer is a massive upgrade, yet Microsoft had him fight the good fight with one hand behind his back for almost three years. They lost cool, they lost exclusive titles and a marketing team that had to do a 180 degree on physical games and cloud gaming twice. Yet that group has a unique view on spin.

Although some critique in that video is a little harsh, it is not that wrong, and there are still flaws that are very unlikely to be fixed at present, as such Sony is not just off to the races, it is close to be the only consideration for the upcoming console purchase, within two consoles the positions are beyond reversed and Microsoft did it to themselves.

As Microsoft keeps on focusing on power, more and more gamers are watching what they are actually getting for it, as such, I believe that Microsoft will make another mistake before the launch, we will see ‘demo’ options for 8K gaming, and how great it is. Yes, it will be good, optionally even great and if there was an 8K AC Origin, I would play it again, yet the one little part missing in all this is the fact that is the small fact that an 8K TV starts at $7000, that is a decent one, some are $10K and more, with the B&O version being mentioned at €13,500, which is almost $20,000. As such most 8K TV’s, will be in the immediate future unaffordable to 90% of the gamers. 

So how happy am I?

I am not, you see Microsoft had pushed Sony to its limits in their Xbo360 era, I doubt if the PS4 would be that much better if Microsoft was not breathing in their neck. Now that this setting is gone, there is every indication that the jump from PS5 to PS6 will be a lot less appealing. Competition drives good hardware for gaming and that is what we are about to lose. 

Even as we see that a lot of the damage at that disastrous E3 was repaired by
Phil Spencer, he still has a lot of work to do and the current approach of what we see marketed in the form of Gigaflops and ‘high dynamic cool’ games, all whilst we see a larger base of changes that make the claim pointless and it ends being a mere race of Microsoft fighting not to be overtaken by Nintendo even further. At present their option to surpass Sony is close to ludicrous. 

Their system and OS needs an overhaul, and if I am correct, Sony will have the option to launch their (highly speculated) internal social media named GameBook, if that happens and Microsoft cannot counter it (apart from marketed pushes to your page), there will be no second round, it could mean the end of Microsoft as a gaming platform, apart from what Google and Apple brings to the next year. There is a chance that they will nibble on the market share cadaver that Microsoft brings and that leaves Sony as the big winner, which is also a little bad. As both machines were true competitors, they upped the game and both delivered cool gaming experience, now that push falls away, there is every indication that Sony will remain at the lonesome top making their need to remain on the edge of gaming also a lot less likely, so I do hope that Microsoft ups their game, right quick.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, IT