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The Saint’s parcel

Today it is December 5th, in the Netherlands that means it is St Nicholas day. It is the Dutch version of Santa Claus, but with a difference. The story goes back to the Greek bishop of Myra, what is now known as Turkey (270-340 AD). Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children and the day preceding his birthday (6th December) it is the evening of presents and all the kids (until a certain age) will receive a present.

As you might imagine the week before all this, things can get really hectic, especially in the toy stores, on a global scale when we see Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas and Christmas, the numbers given to us by power retail ‘Cyber Monday Breaks Record, Becomes “Biggest Sales Day Ever”‘, these numbers makes sense as moments like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other deal moments with discount sales is what people look for globally so that they can show their kids that there are happy times, even if it is just for a day or two. Variety gives us (at https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/nintendo-switch-sales-holiday-sales-figures-1203038569/) even more. With their headline ‘Nintendo Sold $250 Million in Products from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in U.S.‘, they are showing a setting that is awesome.

More important it is their e-commerce sales of games that is partially taking the cake with the statement: “The Nintendo Switch is now the best-selling Nintendo console in U.S. history for that five-day period, surpassing even Wii system sales, the company announced Wednesday.” Even as we see “Nintendo’s overall goal for the financial year of 38 million units sold, though analysts are still predicting it will fall just short, hitting about 35 million“, yet in all that the analysts are eager to avoid the one setting that matters, in under two years the Nintendo Switch is about to equal the lifetime sales of the Xbox One, a number that is very impressive as the Xbox One had 300% of the time frame to get to this point. And overall the entire Microsoft issue is expected to hit a few more bumps in the road. Software was the key in all this and Nintendo does comprehend quality software. The curve is changing for the better for Nintendo as their demo stations are all over game shops like EB Games. Parents can see how amazing it looks and as the kids are having a go at playing kart and playing Mario Odyssey, we see (as I saw) that the parents are getting a smile on their faces. It is a family friendly system, where violence is limited to a paint gun with a colour. And as we see the greats (Diablo 3) added to the Switch, we see an amazing list of games titles we see a system that is more and more overwhelming when it comes to quality gaming. A game setting where quality is not the silly notion of high level graphics, no! Quality gaming is the level of fun you get out of it and Nintendo is turning heads around and for the first time in history Sony is starting to get worried as the setting now is that this year Switch surpassed the Sony PlayStation. Now that does not means that Sony is number two, they have well over 250% in number of consoles in the field, yet the fact that Nintendo is closing the gap slightly and surpassing Microsoft has never been seen before in the age of gaming. I loved my GameCube (I still miss Mario Sunshine even today), I loved the games I had and when I saw that the Wii was backward compatible I did not hesitate, yet the Switch is showing to be up to the challenge of equalling this in quality gaming. In this we see that Nintendo is getting it right and even as I questioned the stupidity of analysts with their ‘predicting it will fall just short‘, I believe that their entire setting is bogus. Nintendo has the goods and is showing it has equaled the challenge gaining on the larger advantage that Sony has and surpassing what was once the great Microsoft console and the most powerful console? It might be, yet when it offers a mere 25% of the family fun, I wonder what some people choose.

Now, we do not state that the Xbox cannot deliver the goods, yet we have always known that Nintendo was a family and younger player system. Now that we can be on the road, play on TV (via dock) and have access to some of the most addictive games (Diablo 3, Mario Kart, Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket league) and so many more titles we need to wonder what the others did wrong.

Well they didn’t!

They made a choice and they continued on that path, Microsoft thought what it had to compete with Sony and they did not end up doing that, they soured their own milk from the very beginning in policy and hardware, they refused to listen to their gamers and they are still losing traction in the process. Even as some corrections and some really good ideas have been launched (Game Pass), they have too much to catch on. Nintendo remained on the family fun and family friendly path and they merely gained speed, and within a year they pushed for a speed that would surpass Sony annual sales and they seemed to have done it in 2018 (the official numbers are not out yet). However the consoles and the quarter of a billion in online store sales in under a month is now showing to become the monster truck of revenue. So as I personally sneer at “Nintendo stock hit a five year high of $58.45 a share this year, only to shed more than 40 percent of its value this month, with a year-low of $33.90“, I see clear numbers that do not support the actions and recommendations of these analysts. The titles Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 represent 40 million copies sold. This implies that every Nintendo Switch has at least one of these games and that is an amazing result. Now set this against a company like Ubisoft (as a mere example) with Assassin’s Creed, 100 million copies over 11 titles on 3+ systems, Far Cry, 25 million copies over 6 titles on 3+ systems and Watch Dogs with 2 titles on 3 systems, 10 million copies sold. These are all decent games and when compared to four titles on one system, we start seeing the first part where the others seem to be getting it wrong. That is the comparison that some analysts do not seem to grasp. In addition, the close to flawless results against other titles on other consoles show and we have not even started with the millions of players playing Pokemon on Nintendo handheld systems.

On the day of Saint Nicholas we look at these kids and we see the overwhelming need and desire for gaming, consoles and handhelds. For the next 4 weeks it will be about that group and I predict that Nintendo will be looking at another half a billion if the previous record is anything to go by. It is likely that Boxing Day sales will add to that revenue surpassing my prediction. Clever grandparents adding an optional $30 gift card for their grand-kids to get several games cheap on boxing day sales, adding even more to the Nintendo profit coffer.

Even Forbes gave me the thumbs up (virtually that is). They had the top purchase mention with Nintendo as one of the titles and the PS4 as the most talked about, no mention on Microsoft. Even as Apple got a few mentions, the words ‘Microsoft’, ‘Surface’ and ‘Xbox’ were absent in that view (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/11/12/5-best-headphones-under-100/#47cb25aa5239), in addition the aggressive discount that the Nintendo gives with their Switch plus Mario Kart in the Netherlands is seeing its own fair share of mentions. If the feast of Saint Nicholas has one drawback then I would think it is the longer absence of board games. Playing a game like monopoly whilst unwrapping a present whenever one player passes go was heaps fun. There was the tension which name was drawn and as present by present was opened; whilst we played monopoly and had hot chocolate milk (it is cold in the Netherlands in December) was a level of fun I still miss.

Yet, we must not forget the hardship either, and there is a lot of that and a lot more coming; in the last year over 50,000 children died in Yemen from hardship, disease and famine. I expect that in 2019 we will see that the 2018 numbers will surpass the passing of 100,000 children. The children are too young to face what other children have to go through in other places, yet we adults cannot afford to do that. If I had to forego my optional Nintendo Switch for one child in Yemen to have a decent meal, I will end up not playing a Nintendo Switch for some time to come, even as the child still dies and I merely prevented it from dying on an empty stomach, I would do so. Even as the peace talks are being held, I fear for the lack of progress, as this is not in the interest of Iran. It is still progressing on arming Houthi; it is still facilitating via Hezbollah and the children are merely in the way there. From my point of view Europe is enabling it as they want their nuclear accord, an accord that is not likely to be the value of printed paper, the Iranian missile tests can be considered proof in this. In this part Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is actually in a very dangerous place. Even as he is with an ally, as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, we see that the danger is twofold. As more and more US politicians are seemingly ‘bashing’ Saudi Arabia, yet they seem to ignore the danger that Hezbollah is there, we see the start of imbalance, and as this imbalance continues, so do the events in Yemen killing even more children. The hollow words like ‘Iran has praised Yemeni peace talks scheduled to take place soon‘, they want their version in charge in Yemen, not the elected one and they are willing to let millions of kids die to get that done. So whilst the US gives us “The United States has displayed pieces of what it says were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan“, whilst at the same time US politicians are unbalancing their allied commitment to Saudi Arabia, we see that in the end it is a political stalemate with the lives of all the Yemeni children in the balance and there is no reasonable chance that the children there will get a better deal out of it.

So as we see the independent giving us the goods and the stage of truth last week with: ‘US struggles to find footing on Yemen, as Iran increases influence‘, we see (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-yemen-civil-war-iran-influence-saudi-arabia-bombing-trump-weapons-houthis-rebels-a8661546.html) that the US and mostly its politicians seem to have lost their perception on the larger game. the quote “The US Senate, angered in part by the White House response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Wednesday voted in a surprise move to advance a bill that would cut American participation in the Yemen conflict“, the emotions towards a previously unknown journalist (and ignoring all those imprisoned and dead journalists in Turkey) is setting the stage of enabling the Iran agenda. Vetoed or not, it will up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and in all this, the populist pressure is one that historically has turned anti Saudi more often than not, increasing the larger issues towards Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in other directions as well.

In all this does America even know who their allies and enemies are? The question is more important than you think, as we see on the feast of Saint Nicholas that millions of children in Yemen are abandoned. So what did this have to do with games?

When you watch your child play some Call of Duty game and you realise that it is not Battleground 5, it is not Call of Duty, or Fortnite, but it is the game ‘Holy Defense’, created by Hezbollah to let gamers and players kill ISIS members. When we are treated to: “Hezbollah has developed a 3-D computer game to capture the minds of its youth, while showing them a good time.” When you see your children play this free downloaded game in Europe and America, how much safer was the Nintendo Switch with their family values to begin with?

I agree that this is not a fair remark for Sony and Microsoft and they are not part of this in any way, but when it comes to First Person Shooters, can parents even tell the difference anymore? And when it is getting to close to the factual truth, can they even perceive how many children are getting killed in the process whilst Yemen is facing delay after delay? Should that not be the central issue on the day of the patron saint of children?

 

 

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What is right is sometimes wrong

This is a weird day; it is weird for all the reasons that set the stage where things are weird. It is not ground breaking, it is not even great, but it is an essential event. To explain that we need to go back to Dutch history, to be more precise we need to go back to 1994. The politician Hans Janmaat was a member of the CP (Centre Party), it was ultra-right, very nationalistic in nature. He had slogans like “Holland is not a country of immigration” and “full=full“. In the not so great economic settings, which were harsher for many as the Netherlands is not just seemingly short on available space. To give a comparison, The Netherlands is the almost the same size of the US state of Maryland, Yet MD has 6 million people, the Netherlands 17 million, so space is hard to come by, so people started to listen to this person. In UK terms it makes the Netherlands three times the size of Yorkshire, whilst having 350% of its population, so it is decently comparable.

Even as his views were only tame in the first 3 hours, his extremists’ views were soon loud and harsh. So a lot of politicians and media starting to ignore him, which I always thought was a mistake. If you want to take power away, you need to make that person fall on his sword called ego. The media and politicians thought it would go away, which did not happen. What did happen that people were too frustrated with the elected politicians and in the 1994 elections, he ended up with the power of three seats, not one seat, three! He now had (for a short term) power and a vote in all the events, now all parties united against his actions and views, so they had to unite in resources stopping him. In all this Hans Janmaat often used economic arguments in his tirades against immigrants, just like Adolf Hitler did and some usurpers before (and after) him. Yet, the setting was a dangerous one and it was deflated by politicians setting a sphere of ignoring him around him, silencing the issue away and it did go away after a while. Yet did they actually deflate the situation? Now we see a similar setting to some degree with the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who merely has a more tempered view in all this, yet for the most still very ultra-right oriented, he has not gone away, he is now the political leader of a party that has 20 out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, 9 out of the 75 Senate seats, 66 of the 570 state provincials and 4 of the 26 European Parliament seats. Remember how this setting started with 3 seats?

In addition, the Professor Emeritus Meindert Fennema gave the argument in 2006 that Hans Janmaat was in the end convicted for making statements that has become common place in 2006, a gap of a mere 12 years. the political climate had changed in the Netherlands, partially due to the assassinations of politician Pim Fortuyn and Dutch film director and producer Theo van Gogh, the 9/11 attacks did not help any either. Geert Wilders followed in his footsteps (to some degree) and is the current leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid – PVV). When we want to expose extremism, even Christian extremism, it can only be done by pointing it out in the media, we acknowledge that there are plenty of people who are sheep. They remain sheep because they merely follow, they cannot tell the difference on quality of who to follow and that is dangerous too. Some presenters (in politics and media) go into academic overdrive to the degree that can put any insomniac asleep roughly 92% faster than a double dose of Restoril (Temazepam). In many cases we need to educate the people, not sound more intelligent then them; this is the setting I have and now we get to the article ‘Sky News removed from Melbourne railway stations after extremist interview‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/09/sky-news-removed-from-melbourne-railway-stations-after-extremist-interview). Important is that I do not disagree, but at times the right thing is wrong. You see, when we see Jacinta Allan, Victoria’s transport minister give us: “I’ve directed @MetroTrains to remove @skynewsaustralia from all CBD station screens. Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community. #springst“, I think she has a good and valid point. Yet, if we do not educate the people on what is wrong and why it is wrong, such a person can get elected in the end. After that it will be one complete political term of fixing the floor whilst the tap is running and the mess merely gets bigger. So when I see: “The move comes after the network interviewed Cottrell on Sunday night and the broadcaster was accused of “normalising racism and bigotry” by the former Labor MP Craig Emerson“, people will state that it makes sense that we see ‘quit his role at Sky News following the broadcast‘, yet the damage is done. A partial opportunity was grabbed by Laura Jayes when we see: “As if to prove my original character assessment…. Blair Cottrell posts (and later deletes) some weird suggestion about raping me on air. He’s not just a fascist. He’s down right dangerous” and she is not merely correct, she is absolutely right! A person like this is dangerous, the economic climate is here, just like it was in the Netherlands and there is plenty of hardship. People like Cottrell will state things like ‘it could be better, but no one will listen to me‘. Soon he has one person listening, then a second, then 4, eight, 16, 32 and that is merely in the first day, on the second day, the 32 will incite 64 to listen and it goes up quickly after that. If you decide to disagree, please feel free to watch the movie (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-04/billy-bush-says-infamous-access-hollywood-trump-tape-is-real/9224358), where a famous person decided to state ‘You can do anything, grab them by the Pussy‘, for your reference. That person is now addressed as ‘the 45th and current President of the United States‘, so smothering the silence and actual take action to show the danger of such a person is a more essential act then you think.

The same mistake that we saw in the Netherlands and several countries in the past should not happen, the only way to get these people out of the picture is to let them rant live on TV and make sure the people realise how dangerous it is to listen to people like that. So in this Jacinta Allan is wrong and Laura Jayes is right. Only by clearly exposing these people and making sure that such a person is ‘down right dangerous‘, preferably with evidence and stating why this person is dangerous that is how you deflate a situation. Most politicians are more about hearing their own voice and not about removing others by letting them speak and there is to some degree validity in that. Yet, when we see that not invalid view fail again and again, other ways need to be found. You see when you start skimming the news, reading the headlines. we see ‘Sky News sponsor backlash mounts‘, ‘Sky News removed from Melbourne railway stations‘ and ‘Victorian government bans Sky News from train stations‘, now it is all about Sky News and people might ignore the rest. Yet the headlines could have read ‘Blair Cottrell states that woman are happier with rape‘, ‘Extremist views removed from Melbourne stations‘, or ‘Blair Cottrell gets advertisers to drop contracts‘. Now the focus becomes Blair Cottrell and people will want to know why, more important, they will clearly see why Cottrell is ‘downright dangerous‘. With a person like Blair Cottrell it is not about bringing nuance to the screen; it is a tactic that works in his favour, by giving people the blunt direct version many more will shy away, those who optionally still admire him will do so silently, so growth of listeners is no longer a worry either. The sheep mentality also implies that something less acceptable will be pointed out and set into the limelight that people like Cottrell really tend to dislike, especially when they have political aspirations.

You see, there is a second danger and that is the one we do not see, but they are in the US. CNN reported less than 10 hours ago (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/08/politics/donald-trump-primaries/index.html), that it is not merely getting into power that counts, the setting we see with “In the last 14 contested Republican primaries where President Donald Trump has endorsed a candidate, his pick has won — or is leading — all 14 times“. With: “John James in Michigan’s Republican Senate primary, who had been considered an underdog prior to the Trump endorsement, won the right to face Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow“. President Trump was not merely a president; he became a kingmaker 14 times over. So it is no longer merely him we need to worry about, it is that there are now 14 small time Trumps on the rise. So when you think that silencing Blair Cottrell helps, consider what happens when he gets in because he got endorsed by Pauline Hanson, current senator of Queensland and it ended up working because the people did not realise just how dangerous he was?

The US as well as European politics have shown that several times over. It was a miracle that someone pulled current President Emmanuel Macron out of a hat, it was a close call between that option and the alternative that President Marine Le Pen would have offered. Several sources gave rise of the situation with “the strategy of fear mainly reinforces Le Pen’s popularity“, I am against fear mongering and there was almost no option, because everyone considered that it would never happened. Not only did it almost happen, In Italy Matteo Salvini, the initial underdog is now Deputy Prime Minister of Italy. I think it is clear that we need to accept that doing the Ostrich (a head in sand pun) will not cut it. In case you think it is going to sizzle out, consider the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/05/italy-coalition-cracks-five-star-salvini-racism), where we see: “Roberto Fico, M5S MP and president of the chamber of deputies, spoke out against a controversial pact with Libya that sees migrants forcibly returned to war-riven north Africa“, speaking out against a setting where refugees are send back to a war front setting. Salvini just got elected; Italy has 5 more years of this setting. With this I hope we all agree that giving the limelight of danger on just how dangerous Blair Cottrell is, is preferable than him gaining strength and followers in silence, because AFTER an election there is very little we can do for that term, a clear view with five examples where we only see one case with a narrow escape, not a good track record to work with.

I have always believed (and rightfully so) that given the setting where you give a short-sighted person enough rope, they will end up hanging themselves again and again. It is like the overeager DIY person and the ability to paint himself into a corner that tends to be the most satisfying setting of all. In such cases I am more than happy to sponsor the bucket of paint and the brush, seeing a person sit in a corner. On a personal level, if that person ends up being Jason Sudeikis, I will make sure that his wife Olivia Wilde is not in the corner with him, seems like fun challenging her to several games of Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch (one Nintendo Switch each mind you) and after each round both of us shouting out: ‘You OK there Jason?‘ should make an amazing afternoon of gaming, possibly the best one ever!

I have been known to be creatively sneaky under the most diplomatic of settings.

#SplatoonOrangeChampionsRule

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