Tag Archives: Nintendo

Value of original gaming IP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Changing the headline

It started (for me) around 6 hours ago when Emma Boyle at Techradar gave us ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘, which sounds nice, yet the initial problem for Ubisoft will be to make proper games, an initial essential requirement. As I see it, Ubioft lost their edge and now they are using PR and marketing to make it into ‘Ubisoft is aiming to create more unique games with an editorial shake up‘ (at https://www.techradar.com/au/news/ubisoft-is-aiming-to-create-more-unique-games-with-an-editorial-shake-up), proper games are made not merely by innovative designers and thinkers, but it requires a team of methological thinkers to properly test the game, they need a few wild cards to make sure that ‘stupid choices’ are optionally caught. We are now all about the results of The Division 2 and Ghost Recon Breakpoint, yet the fuming disasters of Assassins Creed Unity are still not forgotten. All whilst Far Cry 4 was more of the same (not a flaw and not the worst idea), yet the short sighted impact of Ubisoft needs to be seen where the bungle of a title is best prevented, at the very top (Yves Guillemot). I have had my issues with Yves Guillemot, yet he does have a proper business instinct and that is something that Ubisoft needs as well. The eyes are now all on Watchdogs: Legion which is approaching release and the idea, concept and work on it is pretty amazing. It takes Watchdogs in another dimension, one that we have not seen before (as far as I know) and it could make way for an entirely new Cyberpunk line. Yet the story is merely one part, it is the release and the initial feel that matters and to be honest, with previous blunders, I would feel more relaxed if they delay it to fix things BEFOREHAND, than give us some lame excuse afterwards, because that is marketing for you, get the money first. 

Consider the fact that I was able to initially ‘design’ a new Watch Dogs 3 (playing in Okinawa) in less than 8 hours, setting the initial stage for close to 50-100 hours of gameplay and with the setting of optionally 4 storylines, all set in hypermodern (slightly futuristic) Japan. Each of the storylines was different and a separate play through of the city with other approach options. Taking lessons from past successes and failures to give the people a new experience. And I got there by ignoring the storyline and setting a free roam stage where you could fall into choices. 

Yet Polygon gives on the 17th (at https://www.polygon.com/2020/1/17/21071083/ubisoft-editorial-team-changes-paris-serge-hascoet-yves-guillemot) ‘With all its games looking the same, Ubisoft shakes up its editorial team‘, there we see the words of CEO Yves Guillemot “blamed on a lack of differentiation in consumers’ minds“, it is actually simpler than that, when you try to build game that pleases all, you end up with a product that pleases none, as I see it, it is really that simple. And as I personally see it, the quote: “Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet will remain in charge of Ubisoft’s editorial group, but that he will be given more subordinates and they will be given more autonomy, so that he is able lead from a broader perspective rather than directing individual projects himself” sounds nice, but will it work out that way? It is merely internal marketing of another kind (I am not laying blame on Serge Hascoet). Ubisoft is in a difficult place and this preemptive setting is merely good for the stage if Watch Dogs: Legion misses out too much, if this goes sideways (which I will not initially expect), the value of Ubisoft will diminish 30%-60%, which would scare the shareholders to no degree.

That this is all marketing (to some point) is seen with: “Guillemot said Breakpoint had “been strongly rejected by a significant portion of the community” and that it “did not come in with enough differentiation factors, which prevented the game’s intrinsic qualities from standing out.”“, how about the fact that it was littered with bugs? There is a reason why people are happy to wait 12-20 weeks and pick up the game for 75% less, bugs are a main reason. The lack of quality has driven the massive day one release buy to a soft interesting week 5 or later buy. You can only remain with a setting of special editions with optional additions when you do something about the quality, and that had remained absent. As such I hope that the Watch Dogs: Legion delay is also so that it can be properly tested. I also oppose to some degree the statement “the company needed to leave more time between the launches of its live service games so that they aren’t cannibalizing one another’s interest and audience“, yet too many games at the same time is an issue, but it is not merely about Ubisoft, the game designers ALL want to capture the audience, even as they all know that the consumer in this day and age can only afford one new game, the stage is still set to getting them all. So as we then get into comparing Breakpoint against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, we saw how Activision kicked the hell and nearly all life out of Breakpoint, that danger would have been a lot less if it had been properly tested. Activision also took a stand, as we take notice of “Modern Warfare’s single-player campaign focuses on realism and feature tactically-based moral choices whereupon the player is evaluated and assigned a score at the end of each level” (source: GamesRadar). Making of forcing a choice is not debilitating, bad testing is, that simple truth hit Breakpoint at least twice over, and as such if became the failure it is (as I personally see it). In all this, the power of better testing will enable ALL games from Ubisoft and making sure that the release date is not what marketing it makes out to be, but when development states that it is ready is a second part in all this. They forget that in the end it is the gamer who wants it and as CD Projekt Red has proven twice over, it comes when it is ready, and as I see it their 93% rating proves them right, which opposes 57% from Breakpoint and it sets a different precedent, it makes the gamers wonder if Ubisoft is still a AAA developer, a question they never really asked before, as I see it Watch Dogs: Legion will push that question to a larger degree in a much larger population making the 60% loss more and more direct, in this I am trying to remain an optimist, the losses could be larger.

The clear message becomes, that Ubisoft better get it right with Watchdogs, if that fails several franchises could be up for grabs for very little, because that is also the curse of shareholders, they will sell, as long as they break even in the deal and for now, that is not the case.

I for one would be a little sad, Ubisoft is a French company, to see a non American (or Japanese) company be this successful was an interesting side, it opened others to the idea that good games did not need come from either two countries (CD Projekt Red also proved that) in all, France has too much on the anvil and they could win and remain or lose a lot, it is not a great place to be, but the two elements I gave out could limit losses to some degree and there is no fault or damage to shift a release date, that is just junk others thrown into the mix. 

And it is not over for Ubisoft, as we see how top title after top title is making an impact on Nintendo Switch, there is a lot from Ubisoft that does have a massive following and they could again. Consider FarCry III on Switch, and even as some are already on Switch, they were not the greatest Assassins Creed games (I still do not regard Assassins Creed IV an AC game). More important, as we see Witcher III on Nintendo, where is AC Origins? It was a masterpiece, could that not be transferred? It is easy to look at transfers, but it is also the cheapest way to repair a software house (and it optionally gives low cost and high yield revenue). In addition the setting where a games might take up to 100 hours, yet the main story take no more than 20 hours, making it an unbalanced equation. Set that against a speed run on Witcher 3, which is not my favourite game mode by the way, taking a player no less than 25 hours. As such we should take notice that there is an optional shortfal in some Ubisoft games (not in AC Origins, or AC Odyssey though), as such there is a lot more that Ubisoft can do, especially in Watch Dogs: Legion and as I personally see it, they better do that BEFORE the game is released, not as some lame DLC excuse (free or not). All this is coming to roost at Ubisoft even before that new Microsoft contraption and the Sony PS5 are released. It shows just how much Ubisoft needs to get fixed and not in a marketing way. They actually remained in the game longer than I anticipated, but as far as I (and others) can tell, they are running out of options, so whether we see an obituary of Ubisoft in the coming year, or a revitalisation is up to the big chair, the quality of games is not something they can short change the gamer on again, they have done that too often (as I personally see it) and the entire “but we fixed it” will not hold water, not this time, there are too many competitors at present.

Their first-person shooter is up against Activision (80%), their RPGs are up against Guerrilla Games  (90%) and CD Projekt Red (92%), and several other games are up against Santa Monica Studio (94%). It goes on and Ubisoft needs to see that they are not alone and that others are winning the gamer share that Ubisoft once had, it is the direct result of sub-standard delivery on quality all that whilst we see that there is no other group that is so into gossip like gamers, mistakes like this become the setting of failure within hours of day one sales and there is a larger group no longer running out on day one, they are largely becoming week 2 buyers (at best)  when it comes to Ubisoft games, as I personally see it, when a gamer gets to spend their cash once on a new game twice a year, that new game better be really good. 

That is the setting that Ubisoft faces and marketing will not save them this time. As to what the new headline should be, I leave that up to the reviewers who took over from me, I looked at games for 13 years, I gave a view of games to two generations and even as I still love games, it had become time (in 2000) for others to take over, yet I never stopped looking at games with a critical eye (yet enjoying them became my number one priority). No matter what story you see published, Guillemot must be realising that his time is over, I will admit that even as For Honor was never my cup of tea, it was unique and amazing as a title, even as it was a multiplayer title, Ubisoft outdid themselves that time around. I recognise that there are plenty of games that are not my cuppa tea, yet that does not stop me from admiring excellence, for Honor delivered, and they are not alone. 

As I stated, changing the headline would give us the real issue and I think the headline should be ‘If we had only given more time to testing out product‘, it might end up being a lousy obituary, but the truth tends to be that, lousy and hard hitting. In the end, we will need to wait until later (after Q2) 2020 to see where Ubisoft is going and what the optional gamer will buy from that point onwards. Yet this is all happening whilst some of the others are solely focussed on getting their one games out. So no matter how we personally see it, Ubisoft is in a vice and they basically put themselves there, considering that AC Origins was a 2017 release. When you get articles on ‘Here are the best (worst) <insert title> bugs‘, you have an actual problem and with 2 years of bugged titles, something should have been done a long time ago, especially as I personally see it that this issue has been around since 2012 to an increasing degree (I will abstain from the ‘to a larger degree’) expression. I understand that NO GAME is absent of bugs, Ubisoft merely has too many of them and for the most they are all over the web and YouTube, so it is not merely my view, as per illustration have a look at the funny parts (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykcA3yKPolY), it is merely the tip of the iceberg and we all know what happened to the Titanic when they wanted their drinks on the rocks.

 

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And the laurels go to

It is that time of the year, with 13 days to go and no new titles in sight it is time to look at what I consider to be the best games of 2019. This year I particularly look at value, graphics, sound and gameplay still matter, yet in the past value was underrated, in my mind the re-release of Tomb Raider is still the cause of this, a game that is truly a Tomb Raider game, yet way too short, the graphics the sound it was all sublime, yet I am not paying $99 for a game I finish in under 10 hours in hard mode, that is just not on. The makers made a massive miscalculation there, whilst the feel of the game was great. As such value needs to be a massive factor nowadays, it is also the reason why I never touched any of the sequels.

Resident Evil 2 (Remake)

I had a few issues with adding this title, I played the original on the (very first) Sony Playstation, as such I wondered whether it should be allowed to go in, yet the changes in the game, setting up barricades, having limited resources and the fact that you always need to look behind you made a jittery boy out of me, I believe that some puzzles were easier (to get into), but the overall need in the game makes it a Resident Evil Plus edition, it rips your nerves whilst you play, and I personally advise you not to play that in a dark room, especially if you brothers and sisters in the house playing a game of let’s give that player a heart attack, you will piss your pants (believe me you will). The atmosphere is coming with an attached level of graphics and decent music, the sounds are amazing (or awful pending on your point of stress). Capcom outdid itself when it decided to re-release the original Resident Evil 2, you can play as either Clair Redfield or Leon Kennedy and they are basically two games, there are some changes and the two issues that bothered me the most is limit of ammo and managing your inventory, which by the way is the central issue in survival, so it works out nicely for all you survival fans. Considering that this is a remake of a 20 year old game made me realise how perfect the makers had the game in the old days and I never appreciated it to that degree, even as I gave it one of the highest scores in those days. Resident Evil 2 (remake) is pretty much a must on every PS4 (pro), if you like the genre, if not keeping it around to give your dad a try into gaming (and a heart attack) is a solid second reason. 

Sekiro: Shadows die twice

I had a go when it came out and I loved it, yet budget reasons made me leave it off my ownership list, now that the game has been made a GOTY title it becomes an uppassable need to own, the graphics are great yet it feels very non-western, crouch walking in the shrubs gives it stealth and the setting where we attack from behind also gives the edge to the fight, I like the entire stealth part, yet the idea that I was 50% above the shrubs whilst no guard saw me was a little unsettling, the game is actually more than that, the gameplay is very much intuitive and makes for a much better experience, there is also the feeling that I missed a few things on every level IO played and comparing that to time played gives rise that value is well set. The fights themselves from the very first level give rise to a larger stage where the button mashers will not live long, not even after the second attempt make the game more testing and keeps it closer to a Bloodbyrne experience, but let me tell you now not to compare them, the same with Nioh, they are all set around a tactical approach and Sekiro fits in there nicel, so those who loved any of those games will see a fight style they love, you are at times (quite often) attacked, and even whilst you can not avoid them, you can dodge them and you will have to if you want to stay alive, the game relies on counter attacks and second actions to give you the upper hand, a stage I found refreshing compared to Nioh and Bloodborne, Sekiro feels more tactical that way, the choices you make have impact, the considerate and cautious fighter tends to win, seeking out WHEN you make your move is important and Sekiro has gone to great lengths to make it close to utterly perfect, so good luck finding some AI flaw and exploit it. Breaking the oppositions posture and position tend to be winning choices and there are several bosses, all very different in how they attack, each a puzzle in its own right. Oh and it’s important not to lose your focus in this game, I did so once (my phone rang), that one second was enough to get killed, Sekiro is unforgiving that way and for me that was half the appeal. This game is near perfect and one hell of a journey (as far as I got). 

The outer worlds

I am in my heart an RPG lover, I never made any secret of that and this game delivers. I am not making any attempt to hide my discomfort regarding that one person who made a 12 minute YouTube on how to get the game done in that time, any person who sees that as a solution is not really an RPG lover, it is like running all over No Man’s Sky, a real RPG lover looks at where he is and takes in the views he /she is offered and the Outer Worlds does not disappoint, I personally believe that too many views are colour tainted or look too non-terran for the impact and that is a little sad, but in the story it all makes sense. I did like the steampunk feel the game had, it was fun to be in that world (too many RPG’s stay away from the steampunk vibe). The game has humour, good looks and decent ploys in the game, there are often more than two actions you can take and even as you forget option number three, it could be the one placing you in best position. Important is that this comes from the makers of Fallout: New Vegas and their fingers are on the button often, you see and feel that yet what you often forget is that this is not a main development house, a B-level maker that is giving you a AAA game that is much better than a house like Ubisoft has given us in the last few years. That part matters, because when we see graphics, value, sound, music and gameplay, we see that Outer Worlds passed a test unlike any, I regard it as a beautiful game, I personally like the fact that the game adjusts and appreciates the stealthy player (me) and there were some nice benefits there, overall the Outer worlds is a good game for RPG fanatics and actually a decent game for those who never dabbled in RPG, the learning curve is good that way and the game seems to like all kinds of gameplay. 

Those are the three titles for 2019 hat I found worthy of being a game of the year, I will say here that I have not looked at Death Stranding yet (budget), and there are a few more titles out there, as some papers give you a list of 20, I personally do not regard some as they were either not on console, or I merely looked past them, these three titles are well above board and well above gaming standards to stand out. Even when we look at last year we see a small drop in new titles, I get that, there is every chance that the large houses are focussing on the two new consoles, apart from Ubisoft releasing such a disappointing game, a AAA releases an actual bad game, the 40% rating that it got is a specific one, yet there was also a 3/10 and metacritic had a mere 55/100, Ubisoft had dropped the ball to THAT degree. The fact that this game is supposed to have actual DLC is laughingly inappropriate, it shows that there is a new wave of gaming required and I hope that some of the Indie developers take up that challenge. 

Nintendo has always been the odd duck out, yet they gave us two/three games that should be in this list. 

Pokemon Sword/Shield

Pokemon Shield/Sword are the first two. For anyone that has played a Pokemon game there is a joy of changes and adaptations coming their way, the Switch was pretty much maximised for that experience. using the switch to lob balls at the Pokemon, the graphics look larger and the 3D view we see make for a much larger experience and all that whilst the game did not change its core. Now as we see the pokemons in the grass and the environment, we can avoid random fights, we see what is coming our way and we can search for the specific Pokemon in the location, a massive plus, the entire region you see in 3D is still a lot larger than before, so we have more to travel, the fights are like the Gamecube Colosseum had, which is really nice, all that and new pokemons too? Yup, so there is a lot to look forward to, the entire experience made it more fun to play, the initial feeling that we get when we try another Pokemon game (like Ruby in 3DS) was not here, the look and the game was different enough to feel invigorated to play this game, from the very beginning this feeling comes across the experienced pokemon player, so there is that to look forward too. I found the overall look and feel comforting and there is no beating the value of a Pokemon game, even as some might be able to finish the game in 30-40 hours, we see that these people are running to the finish line missing the point that every Pokemon game has had since I started on the Gameboy Advance (sapphire), the game has more than a mere quest and missing out on any side quest because it is not the main quest means that you limit your options and miss approximately 40% of the game. I was especially surprised on the amount of Pokemon’s I had never seen before. Yet another point of consideration to get either of these games. In light of all the enhancements that this game has, it is an absolute must for anyone with a Switch.

Luigi Mansion 3

Another must for the Switch players (and my persoal favourite of the year) and here Nintendo does not (has never) disappointed its players when it comes to sequels, here humour takes a large limelight in this game and even if it does not play in a mansion (its a hotel), even as I missed the second game, I did get the original one the Gamecube and this game is a lot (really a lot) larger, as well as a much larger combination of puzzles and other options once you use a person named Gooigi, the man is too much of a scaredy cat to be a ghostbuster and still this game is the best ghostbusting game I ever saw, the approach to humour in this game is often practical and is without a doubt a setting where this could be the funniest game that Nintendo ever released (crazy bunnies eat your heart out). It is without any doubt in my ghost stricken heart that this is an absolute must for any Switch owner, and I almost forgot about the graphics, they are good, above good. It is like playing a pixar animation game, the switch outdoes an Xbox in no uncertain ways, each floor having a theme look on it and the game took it to a new level, basically a level you have never seen before in this kind of game. In addition the setting where it does not take you to THE next floor, but from level one you go to level 5 for example gives it a nonlinear feel and there is more to find, so like the Mario odyssey game you will revisit places. If there is one part that I missed is the option to upgrade my vacuum ghost sucker. Overall this is an amazing achievement every time I think of this game I want to run home to play it for an hour or so, that level of addiction in gaming is one I have not felt for a long time and needs to be accentuated as well. Nintendo still knows what makes us gamers tick and they show it.

There are two sides to all this, there was no intent, let’s be clear about this, yet the titles I illuminated on consoles have two PS exclusives and the Nintendo exclusives are there too, with this in mind, we see that Microsoft seemingly stayed away from all this, now there might be a clear reason as they are now in the final year before their next console comes out and there is every chance that they want to rule it (which is fair enough) and whether that is the actual reason is not for me to say, but it seems that 2019 was ruled by Nintendo and Sony, which is partially sad and partially just the way it seems to be. Yet overall 2019 was not a great year for gaming, yes there were 5 great games, there was also Jedi: Fallen order and Call of Duty Modern Warfare, which is an alternative that kicks Breakpoints ass. I did no consider either as best game yet they are not bad games and worth consideration, especially when you are a Star Wars fan. I found 2019 to be a little disappointing when it comes to gaming, I accept it as the two new consoles are now a year away and it implies that both Sony and Microsoft are taking the new consoles serious, which implies that release day games on either should be interesting. 

What was your choice in gaming in 2019?

 

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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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