Tag Archives: Ubisoft

Tome

The age of social networking in its present shape is ending, people are catching on and they have had enough. And the setting on social networking as it is at present is merely accelerating towards non-acceptability. As such, I thought it was time for gamers to have a setting where THEY decide to tell their story. The idea is an evolved idea of Google+, it had most markers right. So let’s start.

Grapes, not grape-juice
We have circles, groups, or as some would call it, a collection of grapes, grapes that become clusters, cluster that grow into vines. Yet at the start there is a gamer, he is the head of his cluster. This gamer invites people into his cluster. THEY and they alone can see his details, they can comment on his achievements, on his games and on his choices. The gamer is central here. Others cannot forward his stories, but on some events (like achievements) they can forward the image into their cluster.

Within the cluster of the gamer is the system, the game and the publishing house. Let’s start at the beginning. The system. 

The system is an auto created cluster. So as the system is (for example) the Amazon Luna, every gamer there will have a Luna cluster. They are automatic a member. Here Amazon can publish all Luna events and the gamer can look into the cluster to be aware of the latest news.

The Cluster
There are numerous clusters, each game will have its cluster and there is the new stage. A person can connect to it, they can view it or they can set it to hidden. The grape can be bright, or dark. In that game cluster, the game maker and the publishing house can keep you appraised of the latest news, it is also a stage where members of your cluster will have their stories, so you do not need to enter their cluster. 

Publishing house
It is the one cluster that you either love or make dark from day one. In this example, if you have Assassins Creed 2, Assassins Creed Origins and Watchdogs, you will have a Ubisoft cluster and all the games that you have will be here as well, but they will also show games that you do NOT yet have. In this case Ubisoft can reach out and inform you that there is news on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction, Far Cry 6, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, and more. As such you are informed on everything that is and all that comes. 

Why this way?
It is about YOUR privacy, your data goes nowhere you do not want it to go. And in this the publishing houses do not get anything, other than what you agree to in their games, or on the Tome. It will be YOUR choice and your right to do so.

Time
Time is friend and foe, this has always been the case and over the years your clusters become vines and turn it all into a vineyard and there the harsh need to prune your tome becomes optionally essential, You can easily cut games and publishing houses, yet friends are different. When you prune a friend, you also prune yourself from their cluster, it goes both ways. 

The final cluster (at present)

Is the gamer cluster. In the past I was connected to other gamers, usually as we games a game other some games together in multi player mode (Mass Effect 3), that cluster is a collection of person and game. You only share there what concerns you concerning that game and that game alone. You can massage all kinds of stuff, but it will be connected via the game and the person. 

In this trolling and mass marketing is a thing of the past. It allows people to focus on why they are on the system (to play games) and over time it will be a much larger stage of connecting to other players. 

This is what I hoped Sony would deliver and they never did, the PS4 remained a little disappointing in that remark, but nw with streaming games, the streamers will have an advantage to create their own network and connect gamers as well as connect to gamers in that way. 

The systems are making mistakes, and I get it, they think they need to rely on Facebook and others, but that time has passed and to become independent has a larger stage of benefit, they merely need to start seeing the opportunity, instead of the imaginary financial gains the present networks claim to be. 

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The Wheel (reinvented)

I happened to stumble upon 9 to 5 Google, with all kind of non-Google news. The article (at https://9to5google.com/2021/06/25/bandwidth-xbox-game-pass-and-amazon-luna-announce-july-2021-game-additions/)

We see titles like:

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction
Saints Row The Third: Remastered

Some of them are really great, but I am missing something, a new dawn, an actual new dawn, a setting we have never seen before. I am a little bit surprised, none of them have anything really new. I am not talking about new games, new titles, new originals. I am talking about a new stage of gaming, cloud gaming made it possible, so what is stopping them? I even dropped a few ideas in previous articles (go look for them). Cloud gaming allows for a new stage, so why do we see the same stage props that we saw on PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox360, N64, Wii even Nintendo Switch. Cloud gaming allows for a different station a larger setting with optionally a private set social media option, none of them are going there, they all seem to be much more relaxed in reinventing the wheel. None of them show us a station that is actually new. Perhaps it is still to come, but it is day 1 where you show that you are not the sheep or it’s herder, you are new, you are unique. So why do they not see that option? I am pondering it, I actually do not know. But to see some level of herd mentality is a little disappointing. Will it be up to Netflix to teach them that? 

The Amazon Luna has a refreshing amount of new games, yet there is an overwhelming presence of Ubisoft, not that this is bad. There are plenty of titles I never saw before and that is good, but so far cloud gaming shows more of the same, nothing refreshingly new and that is a disappointment. And with Luna starting at $6 a month and Ubisoft+ at $15 a month Amazon will soon need to reconsider what they have (without Ubisoft) and see how they are different from Google, Microsoft and Netflix. Being different is at times scary and it does have its own unique set of challenges. Yet we have seen how exclusive games make a console, Xbox proved it, Xbox360 continued it, Xbox One wasted it. Playstation 1 through 5 have shown that exclusive games make the difference and Nintendo did this as well. Now consider that cloud gaming is more than a console, it offers a few unique settings that others cannot offer, the cloud gives the makers a unique advantage, so why was this not drilled on? Why was that source not tempered into a powerhouse? 

Cocoon (at https://cocoon.com) shows a ‘new’ kind of social media, not unlike what Google Plus offered. It seems that none of them adjusted those two ideas in a stage where the gamer can talk to friends, can optionally open up to talk to fellow gamers of a game. All options were there and it seems no one took that. No one took the idea that games can have a larger impact on more settings and it seems to me that these makers are all about others doing the work and no innovation comes forward. Achievements can be traced back to 1982 (Activision) and we have seen the evolution on systems, yet as far as I can tell no one in cloud gaming land had the idea to evolve that into something more. It was the Xbox360 that had the last evolution, it was Ubisoft that reinvented the badges and none of them took it to the next step, so why would anyone consider cloud gaming when we see: “Cloud gaming enables you to play games on devices you already own, without the need to purchase a gaming console or gaming PC” yet if we already have a gaming solution, why go there unless it offers more and in this I do not mean the same games and more games. Cloud gaming needs more and so fr I see none of this happen, I left the ideas months ago and so far none seem to be clued in on what others seemingly throw at their feet. At best we are most likely to get a ‘we are looking in that direction’, which is like marketing telling Jaguar that they are waiting for more customers, it is innovation that drives a system to customers, when innovation is absent the customer merely looks form a distance and considers ‘I can already do that. It is innovation that drives the games, the hardware, the technology and from there the customers flock. Yes there is an equal chance that they distance themselves, but the true innovator can see the chances that are out there. So what is keeping them?

Consider that we see Ubisoft+ at $15 a month, yet on consoles Amazon (the dot com version) offers the Division for $10, The Division 2 for $13, for Honor $12, the Crew $15, Black Flag $11, and in this case the subscription only pays if you pay more than one new game every month, so how long until the mediocrity of Ubisoft games (and its glitches) gets to you? Yes, it seems interesting when you consider the latest games, but still, you break even in month two, after that the cost continues and any delay will set you off, that is the setting we all ignore and their marketing hopes we ignore it. And when we take notice of Android Central and with “Ubisoft is dedicated to cloud gaming, specifically Stadia and Amazon Luna, and that was reflected in numerous announcements”, so what happens when they service the consoles, PC’s, Stadia, Luna and xCloud? What happens when patch after patch is required? How happy will you then be? This is not on Ubisoft, this is the cost of doing business and I expected that Stadia and Luna were ready, yet all I read is that there is a ‘more of the same’ approach and games alone will not get you there. Luna has a fair amount of titles that I see nowhere else and as such they have an advantage, but none of them took the environment to the next level and that is a bit of a disappointment, and there were options. There were ideas that I (others too) threw out there for them to pick up and they did none of that. Perhaps it is not the mission statement (which already cost one firm billions), perhaps it was not their technology, which shows us that they were optionally not ready and there was no brainstorm on what else is possible and that is the foundation of ANY game. 1984 gave us (unknown to George Orwell) Elite, Ultima, Archon, Spy hunter, and Lode Runner. Some of these games still have a following today, some of these games reinvented themselves (Elite Dangerous is the most visible one). They all set a new standard, the hardware evolved and now we see the makers of that hardware show us that they can do it using our PC, MAC, Console. But they had the option to give more and they seemingly neglected that.

New hardware that brands ‘itself’, yet they ignore the path of awareness. When we look at awareness, perception, and cognition we see mere words, but any market researcher will look deeper and the makers of cloud gaming seemingly learned nothing, not even from their marketing department. Perception without awareness, cognition without perception and awareness with no lead towards cognition. Three elements that they do not connect but that is the larger mistake, one leads to the other. It is almost a Pokemon setting water beats fire, grass beats water and fire beats grass, yet what do we get when we reverse that? No one looked at that part and in the Pokemon setting it does not really work, yet in consoles we see what lacked (even though there was a hidden hint with Sony) they never pushed through, now cloud gaming has the opportunity to make it all a reality and it seems that they are not doing that. Perhaps Netflix will and make a clean sweep, or perhaps Nintendo will. We cannot tell, but the one that does will have a massive advantage, a place where others seemingly dreaded to go, and now that setting changes the game completely. Yes number one and two will remain the positions for Sony and Nintendo, but the number three (most likely Amazon Luna) is not secure, so the one who innovates the cloud the most will head for position three with the option to gain and optionally overtake position 2. Will that happen? I cannot tell, because Nintendo has been innovative and it has a massive advantage, even before their second version is out. Yet personally I feel that one thing is clear. More of the same will not hack it, not in this economy of people trying to pay their bills, unless there is a massive upside the consoles will remain the largest players in game land. That part is almost certain. There is a clear space for cloud gaming, but not in the ‘more of the same setting’ not for 1-2 years to come. 

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Sapphire or Tourmaline

This all started some time ago, but it resurfaced as I started to replay AC Origin. In lockdown land any change of gaming is a well desired one and AC Origin is actually quite good. But that is merely the start, as I was playing (and as some missions are identical to the first time around) my mind wandered to a delusional IT manager in the early 90’s (1991 I believe). He stated “a resource shared is revenue doubled”, it is that idiotic level of fortune cookie wisdom that as actually rewarded, I never got that part. Yet there was a small gemstone of truth there, but not where he thought it was. As we make a jump to another place it is time for a question. How many real simulators are there? As far as I can tell there is one, only one. Nearly all others are games. The only one true simulator is made by Microsoft and it is the Flight Simulator, currently known as FS2020. Isn’t that surprising? A whole range of games but no one truly dug into the real of simulators. It tends to be really really hard, too hard for a lot of them. 

Yet here we get to see the light, Ubisoft has options (well it always had them, but more often they were ignored), yet with AC Origin they opened a door and now we have a ballgame. What if AC origin is merely the start of a dynasty game, a true simulator about life in Egypt? They have nearly all the graphics ready, the maps need adjustment and the spacing needs to change (like 1:9), so that every area is at least 900% in size but consider a true simulator where you are the beer merchant, the farmer, the fisherman, the embalmer, the priest and above all other arts, the overwhelming pressure of the gods and a monarchy that shows little to no mercy, a true first comprehension of what life was about then. And you cannot do it all, a stage where you get assigned a map where you were born and a role you were given, you have some choices as did the people then, but their options were very small, they had little choice. A true historic simulator and guess what? There are none. It has never been done before and I reckon that no one ever considered it to this degree, the technology stopped them, but with Google Stadia and Amazon Luna (and 1-2 alternatives) it is now possible. Even as I still believe that “a resource shared is revenue doubled” is utter nonsense, there is a gem of truth there. Some resources can be used again and that does not mean that revenue is doubled, but the second stage becomes easier and with hardship out of the way there is no reason not to contemplate a path none dared to walk and there is also the second ego reason, being first somewhere counts, being the first who gets it right to this degree is massively rewarding, others will have to fight to equal what you pulled off and it will vex them to no end. Will it happen? I do not know, as I said, this has never been done before and that is also the most rewarding part, especially for Ubisoft if they go there. The educational value is enormous. We are smitten by movies like the Mummy (Brendan Fraser edition), the 10 commandments, Rome, Spartacus, Cleopatra and it fills the mind with what could be, but people like Julian Fellows (Downton Abbey, Belgravia) has opened to some degree our eyes, just like the Vatican game I had in mind. This simulator could wake up an entire generation. Just like Steven Spielberg did with Jurassic Park. Who did not want to see the Triceratops? We have a similar fascination with the Roman and Egyptian era, yet books and movies is all we have and now we could for the first time get a true simulator. Yes, I will agree that it is not for everyone, but there is another upside to cloud gaming. We are willing to try a lot of games when it is included in some package, and there lies the gemstone. Apart from those who want to see Egypt is the past, there is another group of people who want to try everything. It is merely the sense of us as we explore and especially explore when it costs nothing extra, we are nearly all like that.

Will it happen? Time will tell, it usually does.

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Clouds with a change for gaming

Yup, I started it yesterday, and part 2 is today as I had a few ideas on the subject. These ideas can be used as public domain by Amazon (Luna), but Microsoft will have to pay big time (if they can hand over $7,500,000,000 to Bethesda, they can pay me at least 1%).

Changes (by David Bowie)
The first thing I will do is to introduce Milestones, it is for the most part merely a name change to ‘Achievements’, yet over time it will be a little more. The second is to add a second tier to this, I will add ‘Discovery’ to this, yet all you Susie Dent boffins can clearly see it is a Synonym, yet the function of Discovery is different. As you discover something in one game, it gives you a token that can be spent as YOU see fit. For example if you find a ‘golden chess piece’ in a game like Clue, or a ‘Golden Revolver’ they will become Discoveries that wield the token of a revolver, or a Chess set. In a game like Battle Chess (in normal or battle mode), the Chess token will unlock a Greek Chess set, The golden revolver could unlock a weapon in another game and so on. This is one of the nice parts of the Cloud, we can add a lot more over time and give the people a reason. David Bowie sang:

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes

I think it is time to take a page from that, we see gaming chances in perspective, but never remove you from where you are. I am setting a stage where that is possible, where games have a longer lasting appeal and I am offering the stage where the player tries something else as well. Most gaming options outside of the console and singular streams do not offer you this, merely an optional DLC and an optional skin, I want the token to take on new life and a much larger stage. This is about gaming and this is about making gamers happy. The nice part is that there is no guarantee that the token is there at game 1, I thought it through, yes there are some internet driven completionists, yet it is time for them to smell the reality of gaming.

We have largely ignored the masters of yesterday because they were 8 bit, yet some of them with today’s graphics and better intelligent response mappings could become the heroes of tomorrow and the nice part is that the groundwork is already done. Consider Millennium 2.2 with an upgraded map of this solar system, with additional information, more options and a larger stage, can we truly think it will not matter? I wrote about Murder on the Zinderneuf, Seven cities of gold and a few more in the past, close to a dozen games ready to be ‘captured’ (if the IP was abandoned), and the early bird that hesitates grows its own worms, so let’s get cracking. 

Microsoft throws money at everything, wouldn’t it be nice for players like Amazon (optionally Netflix too) to show them how silly that idea was? You see, I love Bethesda products, I really do, yet I also believe that gamers like the next fresh (and original) game. Consider that the top 100 of all time (by Metacritic) has a top 10 with 3 games older than 20 years and an additional 4 games that are between 10 and 19 years old, giving us that the 70% of the top 10 is 10 years or older, these numbers are in front of everyone and as far as I can tell, none of them are Electronic Arts or Ubisoft and 30% of the top 10 is Nintendo. So I have a clear case here, so why are the different board of directors pushing for some game every year, cool graphics will do the trick or perhaps having the most powerful console is the solution. As I see it, without a really good game they will not continue and that evidence is all over the place. 

So where to go after this? Well that is up to I reckon the Indie developers, they will need to choose an optional winner and in that platform create their original or remastered and revamped game. Consider that Elite was released in 1985, now the revamp called Elite Dangerous has 500,000 active monthly players. Ubisoft has plenty of successful games not being that busy, as such we can see that the old games still have appeal. OK the difference between Elite and Elite dangerous is larger than the Grand Canyon, but the foundation remained the same and that is the pull we need to consider that close to a dozen games released in the last decade could have a great revamped and remastered life on streaming even if they were not that successful in an earlier life. The difference is to truly look into a game and see what is possible. Like a sculptor to take that block of marble and chip away what is not needed and reveal the Torlonia statue and yes, it is not merely about chipping away, in some cases it is about polishing, upgrading and adding which we cannot do in a statue, but the statue could be given a shield, a sword (or trident). All options and streaming will give us a larger and adjustable stage as well. A stage where your game will be in the streaming stores for close to a decade. There are clearly options for streaming and it will not hinder consoles, the console gamers will most likely choose an additional streaming solution on the side.

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Thought for imagination

Consider the next setting, I am in the Harrods foodcourt, I feel the meat-pie as my right hand caresses the side pf the pie, I see two small basins of ketchup, I grab the knife in my left hand as I slowly use the sharp knife to cut a part of the left side of the pie. I cut through the pastry and the what I think is minced meat. It looks a little dry, but the overwhelming scent of fresh and warm meat enters my nostrils. I add a small bit of ketchup to the pie. The slice is cut in half and I slowly eat the part on my fork. My senses overwhelm with the spices in the meat, the pastry and it does not taste dry, it is an amazing experience and this is merely the first bite.

All what you saw before is true, all came from my imagination. You see I have had meat pie in the past and I envision what might be the perfect meat pie. I have been to harrods twice, but I never set foot in the food courts. Not for any particulate reason, I just never got around to it. I hope to do so in the future, but that will be part of the future that I see, or it might never happen. This is life. So what was this about?

The train of thoughts started a little while ago and that train entered the station again when I stumbled upon same article today ‘Netflix reportedly plans push into video games market’ by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jun/02/netflix-reportedly-plans-push-video-games-market). The thing that got to me was “Streaming company said to have approached game industry executives with project at early stage”, one could argue that they kill their own project by approaching Ubisoft, Ubisoft has another setting of needs and their product is what I personally would call ‘faulty at best’. Yet it is not all bad news “Netflix has been approaching senior game industry executives about joining it to lead the creation of a subscription games service, according to reports from the tech news site the Information and Reuters”, is the right sentiment, but as I see it, the safest route is to take the route Apple is seemingly taking. Games absent of in app purchases and absent of advertisements. These two elements will spell a much larger stage of doom on the industry than you know. Places like Android and iOS are now filled with phrases like “These ads are driving me insane, every level again”, and it will not be long until people have had enough. Then there is the stage of deceptive conduct in advertisements, a decently new approach to getting people to install your software. But these two elements will have a disastrous impact on gaming soon enough, and it will hit Apple as much as it will hit Google. Then there is the competition, Amazon did a lot better than I expected it would. I (personally minded) thought that it would be an easy win for Google, a tech maker if ever these was one. And it is ahead of Amazon, but I never expected Amazon to be this close to Google in the first place, as such the Amazon Luna remains in the race and there is an element that might not make Google the winner in the end. Google’s approach to exclusive games is not that impressive (as far as I can tell, they have none), Amazon Luna has acquired the knowledge it needs to make that difference. And the article repeats my thoughts towards gaming, with “However, the new offering is at a very early stage, with executives focusing on Apple Arcade as the potential competition. Users of that service, exclusive to Apple’s iPhones, iPads, Macs and AppleTV, pay a flat monthly fee of £4.99 for access to a library of downloadable games, spanning genres and target audiences. Apple sets strict rules on developers, banning them from monetising their games through in-app purchases or advertising, in order to try to keep Arcade a premium service” is the right move, but they made one mistake, a big one, there is no mention of the Amazon Luna and the Luna is in a primed spot to become the number three system behind Sony and Nintendo (yes, I have written off Microsoft to remain a competitor), so even as Netflix has the advantage of a subscription group that makes the head spin of all streaming gaming solutions, good games is where it is at, innovators and makers of original creators that is the winning combo and Netflix (might or might not) move into a field where it is not certain it will become the third position player, or what they classify in the Tour de France, the polka dot player. On the plus side (from my point of view) it will soon thereafter reduce Microsoft to the 6th position, behind Sony, Nintendo, Amazon, Netflix and Google. So as I see it, their investment $7,500,000,000 investment in Bethesda goes tits up and Bethesda is not to blame, the board of directors at Microsoft is. 

I remain a Sony person, hence my Playstation remains on its pedestal, I would say right next of the shrine of Panigale, a Ducati shrine where the executives of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati come to pray for inspiration, OK, there is no Panigale there, because I could never afford one and I am not a racer, but engineering perfection can be recognised by plenty of people, so there! Yet the stage is given, inspiration comes from excellence in creativity and that is what a good gaming provider offers. I wonder if Netflix is considering what they need to do to get there. Microsoft merely bought the IP out there hoping it would thrust them there, but they had too much against them, like the most powerful console in the world that has nothing to offer (at present). They might in the future, but with all the bad decisions haunting them, all whilst Amazon is already on the run towards an upcoming third position, they might not be in time to make a real difference anymore. All this whilst they are trying to bash xCloud streaming everywhere. They become their own worst enemy and when it happens, the people will not trust Microsoft, I see elements of that everywhere and they, what I personal regard as a push towards whatever influencer they can muster is more than a bad call. 

Microsoft (as I personally see it) forgot that good games come from the mix of imagination and creation, they used to know that, yet it seems that they forgot, I have no idea why, the wrong board member, the sentiment of revenue over substance, it could be a boatload of things, but there you have it. And Netflix? 

Well the article gives us the important stage “One key decision that has not yet been finalised is whether a game subscription service would also require Netflix to develop games itself. Apple Arcade is filled entirely by third-party developers, but other gaming subscriptions rely on first-party exclusives to drive signups.” They are hitting the nail on the head, it is the exclusives, Microsoft forgot, Google never embraced and that is the stage why Amazon Luna is in a good place, Netflix could be too. One of these two needs to get these 2-3 exclusives that no one thought about that they are locked into third position and in an industry that is about to have a relevance of 90.7 billion, with a stage that has an annual increase of 24%, it matters, the difference between third and fourth position implies the stage representing several billions, when you consider that good AAA games cost (according to some) $500,000,000 to make, but that result in a God of War with a 97% rating, it is the price of an original masterpiece and it sold over 10,000,000 copies, implying that the game close to a billion. In streaming land, that setting will be a nail driver, 2-3 games like that and people will jump on that bandwagon a lot faster than you think. So as Microsoft gave us (via sources) that they will build native games for the cloud, why would anyone buy one of those overly stated powerful Xbox’s? And in that stage, would you trust a provider who dropped the ball three times in a row to provide you with original games, all whilst they bought the talents and are trying to grow through that premise? So far Netflix might make it, but as far as I can tell, Amazon Luna is most likely primed to get there at present.

And that too will set the indie developers off into a direction, where they end up I cannot tell (it will be their choice), but there are a few indicators that it will not be in a direction Microsoft will like. As I see it, outsourcing gets you a labour force, hiring creation and imagination grants you a universe of opportunity. I will let you work out the rest.

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Vindictive eagerness

So is a person eager to be vindictive, or does that person seek vindication through eagerness, they are not the same but at times we cannot tell the difference within ourselves. Yes, there are a lot of people who are angry because Bethesda games are not coming to Sony Playstation, it is the consequence of Microsoft paying $8,500,000,000 for Bethesda and all that is around it. I get it and even though we find it a dick move, if I owned Bethesda I would have done the same. Strategically speaking it was a pretty brilliant move. So as we took notice of quotes like “Bethesda’s SVP of global marketing and communications Pete Hines offered an apology to PS5 owners, claiming that he understands the frustration, but there’s also very little that he can do about the situation. At the end of the day, it seems that the exclusivity is just part of game publisher politics!” And the man is right, it is the trump card of a system, we feel stricken because millions of gamers embraced Bethesda on their console and that got me thinking even more. I had already handed out free IP to any Sony exclusive game, but what if I add Amazon Luna to that list? You see, the idea came when I saw “Microsoft outlined the future of the Xbox platform. It was a quick focus on how we’ll be playing games rather than what we’ll be playing. Part of this new design strategy was outlined in a Q&A with Xbox head Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella” in the PC Magazine that was headed by ‘Microsoft Expands Xbox Cloud Gaming, But Streaming Won’t Replace Consoles’ and PC Magazine is right, but if we give IP to Amazon Luna (Google Stadia made a few wrong decisions), which was seen 3 days ago with ‘Ubisoft keeps Google’s ship afloat as exclusives dominate the show’, yes, if Google wants to embrace gaming mediocrity it is their choice, and even as they see it as a valid one, I do not think that relying on Ubisoft will help them that much, as I personally see it Ubisoft dropped the ball too often and has become slightly too unreliable. So it seems that the Number three spot after Nintendo might in the near future become Amazon Luna. Microsoft will remain around in gaming ranking, but it will be 4th, or 5th (more likely) position. So as I have a bit of free time, I will try to make the $8,500,000,000 invoice to seem like it was a $28,500,000,000 one, and by handing out free IP to Sony and Amazon exclusive games is one way of doing it and as I am creating novel and never seen before gaming IP, Microsoft will have to counter and that is the funny part of a vendor that buys ideas, they more usually than not are utterly incapable of creating their own (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk). 

So as I was pondering a few ideas I suddenly realised that cloud gaming comes with another benefit, games can take new directions in a much larger field. It is like handing an artist who grew its art through drawing on A4 pieces of paper, an A1 sheet. In the beginning, he might think of how much bigger his art is, then he will see that he can place 15 additional pieces of art on one sheet, yet when you combine the two thoughts, you get a very different stage and that is where cloud gaming can take you.

I created in the past a game IP (situated in Amsterdam post apocalyptic) that had a wink towards Mercenary (a very old Atari ST game), but what if we change the premise, what if the sandbox is not merely one we create, but what if we can move from sandbox to sandbox? So what if we create the algorithm that can give us Europe around 400BC, 500AD and 2700AD and 3500AD? The same for a sandbox in China, India, South America and America? Not the people, but the lay of the land. So you end up with 20 sandboxes and the gamer can try and master them all. As we set the stage to a larger frame of mind (and a larger sandbox) we now can use that same sandbox in a few stages and in several games. So far none have offered that option, because it was not part of their setting, but they never considered the advantage of a much larger piece of paper, yes you can use it for larger art, but how many considered the ability to change that one piece of A1 and turn that into 16 pieces of A4? 

Yet that was merely the land, so what next? Well that is where it takes a shine to other fields and for that I need t remind people of something called Zoids, but with caution. I never saw the manga, I only saw the toys in a shop, but it was presented to me in a different fashion, two pieces make a larger third piece and even though I thought it was novel and nice for the kids, I never gave it much thought after that, but the idea stuck in the back of my mind somewhere. So what happens when the gamer is such a Zoid and by exploration the gamer can find and salvage more and more parts evolving over time and adding abilities, requirements and staging a much larger area. There was seemingly (never seen by me) something called ‘Zoids Saga DS’, it had the right idea, but like so many other things it was seemingly a really nice idea, but it was ultimately limited by gaming and that was 25 years ago, in this stage something like the Amazon Luna or the Sony PS5 can turn that idea into something serious and as we detach area from gaming premise we can add game after game in the same sandbox, the gamer can select which sandbox he plays this on, like an adaptive RPG, the stage will no longer be depending or limited on where you are, but what you become. Gaming as far as I could tell never took that sideway towards a larger highway, so as  we are dumped in what would become Madrid, Paris or Oslo, the adaption takes a different turn and we will not have seen that part before, cloud gaming allows for that and if we can bitchslap Microsoft marketing around on what they present to be innovation compared to actual innovation we might wake up whole scores of gamers as well. In this there is an old saying: “The analyst will show you what the best direction is, the politician makes you look forward to the invoice that follows”, yet the business world has more and more adapted from actual analysts to storytellers and now they have a problem, the politician adjusted to the storyteller, yet as I offer materials and foundations to others, the storyteller can adjust for what they have, not what others get. They can merely watch it happen and that puts the politician that the company relies on in a precarious situation.

Now this is no indication that all is bad for Microsoft, they will have home-runs and they will have plenty of good days, and they are entitled to those too, yet within the next year Microsoft and their  Azure work desk will add limitations and they will set the need for gamer data and as gamers will realise that always online means something different for Microsoft as it does for a cloud game, people will catch on, they are to some degree merely a revenue asset and that is where Sony, Nintendo and Amazon can shine and win. They always treated the gamer as a gamer and they gained the revenue, Microsoft and Ubisoft saw the gamer as a revenue piggybank and as I personally see it approached them as such, the moment the larger group of gamers catch on these two will take a dive and that is why my view of Google Stadia relying on Ubisoft gets hurt in the process. As I see it, should Amazon Luna embrace the qualities of Sony and Nintendo, they will end up in third position of the gamers list, with Google and Microsoft trying to catch up. I wonder if that is what Microsoft aimed for the whole time, spend $8,500,000,000 to end up in fifth position. I do not know, I am merely speculating and created a few ideas in the process. So as I left an (intentional) gap in the thoughts I offered, have you figured out what I am seeing all whilst Google Stadia and Microsoft Xcloud rely on Ubisoft+ titles? When Ubisoft+ becomes a separate vendor, something we have seen in streaming more than once, what will become of Microsoft, Google and its gamers? Amazon Luna has an advantage and over the next year it could evolve into an impressive amount of forward momentum, a stage that could degrade Microsoft in 4th position, so the maker of the strongest console in the world is basically a year away from moving from 3rd position to 4th position in gaming. I wonder if they consider that part when they handed over $8,500,000,000. I would not be surprised if they offer PS5 gamers Xcloud and Microsoft software on PS5 in some near future. I doubt Sony gamers will trust Microsoft, but you never know. 

So as we accept that we see “Xbox has roared to life at E3 announcing 30 new games for Series X|S”, we think it is a lot, and when we see “it laid out two years of exclusives including Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and Starfield from Bethesda”, yes over two years, implying 15 a year and more important, the big guns relying on a Bethesda game now need to create a hype that is staged for November 11th 2022. 11 years after Skyrim and it is still 511 days away and a lot can happen in that time, more important, their big guns are presented a year early and we saw that happen when Bioware did that with Mass Effect Andromeda, how exactly did that end?

The old expression: “You never know how the cow catches the hare” (answer: with a fishing rod)

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Perceived stupidity

Yes, hard to see that is it? It is perceived, perceived by me, by you, by people who are clueless and by people who are basically mindless. Perception is a dangerous thing, but the US is trying to get a handle on it. This issue starts with that I am not making any claims, I am not stating or implying that I am wiser than the US House Judiciary Committee (wiser is not the same as more intelligent). Yet the US House Judiciary Committee (via Al Jazeera) is giving us “if passed, would bar Amazon from selling its own branded products, Amazon Basics, for example, or Apple from offering Apple Music, or Google from providing specialised search services in travel, local businesses and shopping”, In addition we see “The proposal could also threaten Google’s $23 billion display-advertising business. Google runs an exchange for ad transactions and provides the technology used by website publishers and advertisers to buy and sell digital advertising, but it also competes in the marketplace as a buyer and a seller”. As such this article was aired two days ago, which I initially missed, but when I read it (about three hours ago), I fell over laughing and I did not stop laughing for an hour. The absolute irony of the issue is that my IP avoids all that and in addition creates new waves too. So, not only am I feeling great, there is every chance that Google and Amazon will be vying for my affection (Apple is not a consideration at present). So not only is my IP valuable, it now in addition optionally negates the $23,000,000,000 Google business giving it another avenue of release and that one is one the US House Judiciary Committee cannot attack, my setting was founded on decentralisation. 

So am am I perceived to be stupid, or are they (Not judging)? Consider what we see (at https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/6/11/us-tech-titans-would-have-to-exit-key-businesses-under-house-plan), the text “Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and other U.S. technology giants would have to sell or exit key businesses under sweeping antitrust legislation proposed by House lawmakers”, is this anything less than the US government trying to take control of a business they have no business being in? They will call it something like “Let the little fish grow”, yet the flaw is that any business is entitled to go where it wants and now we suddenly see the larger stage where Canada and the UK could reap massive rewards, just because some people were discriminatory against the FAANG group. Consider laws and bills to discriminate against 5 players. I stated yesterday that this would not go well, and I believe I am correct (we all believe we are correct), but in a stage where not only am I proven correct, the stage soon becomes that my IP will flourish even more than I had ever thought possible. 

Granny in sights

So, even though the bear is not killed yet, someone gave me an Accuracy International .50 sniper rifle (with 3 rounds) and I get to take down my target from 100 metres, and if I hit that target I will become a multi millionaire, so yes, that granny with her walker will not have a chance to cross the road alive. I reckon one bullet is quite enough.  And there I was thinking that I would end up with a paint-gun with metal pallets. 

So the old setting of “prohibit tech companies from owning a business that competes with other products or services on their platforms, among other measures”, a stage that players like Microsoft and IBM enjoyed for decades is out of the way. Yet it also muddies the water. Consider that Microsoft bought Bethesda ($8.5B) and Minecraft ($2.2B), which was their way of giving Sony the finger, now we will see a very different stage and that might work, but it also means that these player will hire all the talent out of other software houses and dim the lights in other ways. Did they even consider the impact of their plan and if they can do it, players like Chengdu Nibirutech Inc, Augegame Network Technology Co., Ltd., GamesUnion Technology Co.,Ltd and several others, so when they start tinkering on the other fence, what happens then? Too many people lost faith in players like Ubisoft, they might give nice presentations, but so far too many of their products are bug ridden, the gamer have had enough and in that stage we see that the US government is tying the hands of big tech as they compete with China and Russia. How was that ever a good idea? Oh and that is before independent developers consider an upgraded Neom as a place of development. Especially as Fierce Wireless 2 days ago gave us “Users on Verizon’s 5G network in mature deployment areas don’t yet notice much difference in performance than 4G users, according to new analysis from Tutela”, in a stage where Saudi Arabia has a 5G that is 700% faster than the US, is this really the time to have a pissing contest when one is lagging on a technology field, a economic field and a manufacturing and project field? But that is all good news for places like Canada and the UK, as such the economic field will adjust and it will take the sails out of Wall Street as I personally see it, but in that regard I might be wrong. These elements matter, If you think of it Amazon was a book seller, so is all to be sold off? In this how much more expensive will your lives end up being? Google might be in a better place, but when we see “Google runs an exchange for ad transactions and provides the technology used by website publishers and advertisers to buy and sell digital advertising”, when that goes into the air, do you think the scam and phishing era is gone? No, it will go from one a week to several a day and you will not block them all, more important, if you see places like Twitter, we already get the issue there, advertisers trying to call in the ‘click bitches’ hoping to get revenue of dozens of pages, all whilst that EVERY PAGE there is a trojan danger by people they never knew, but the advertisement money os too appealing, especially if they get a dime a page per person. Do you think that these advertisers are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and matters will go from bad to worse and that same US House Judiciary Committee is clueless how to stop what comes next, they never explored the dangers there. 

So when we get to David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, who was so about the power of big-tech, yet the Boston Globe (at https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/11/metro/unemployment-fraud-hit-one-rhode-islands-congressmen/) gives us “In March, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) reported that 43 percent of claims turned out to be suspected and confirmed fraud during the pandemic, and about $37.6 million was paid out to confirmed fraudulent claims. Another $209.6 million was paid out to suspected fraudulent claims. The good news is that it could have been much worse. The state believes it stopped at least $3.2 billion in payments to suspected fraudulent claims between March 2020 and March 2021.” The article also gives us that 15 Rhode Island residents were charged in a nationwide unemployment scheme, yet do you think that these 15 were responsible for the $209 million, or the alleged thwarted $3,200,000,000? I personally believe that he has no clue what is about to hit the US when these big tech bills becomes a reality. And as I said it yesterday, a tax overhaul is decades late.

I saw the fake tunnel in the distance in 1998, that is almost a quarter of a century ago, it has been that long that US politics decided to remain inactive and now they are making matters worse by overreacting, but that will works out nicely for other nations, so if Amazon and others relocate to Toronto (CAN) or Ipswich (UK) the US will have done it to themselves.

 

In some cases I say ‘Time will tell’ yet here the phrase ‘Surprise, surprise. Time is here!’ seems more apt.

We will all know soon enough.

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God, the sequel

Yup, it all started two days ago. I left you all with some impressions, yet the stage was larger. We cannot set omnipotence without foundation , well we can because I am here, but I am that one exception to the rule (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk). The others (Hades, Poseidon and Zeus) they grew their powers. We tend to make fun and call some settings ‘fabrications’, there we see “Zeus got the sky and air, Poseidon the waters, and Hades the world of the dead (the underworld)” The gods got a decent role in Homer’s illiad, and more wrote about them in all kinds of ways, yet when you dig down and dig to the past several people, people who had never had contact had similar writings. It is trivialised by people who have internet and mobile phones, yet in the old days they had no contact, in no way were groups of people with no levels of contact ever stating the same believes and adhering to the same rules. Perhaps there is something to be said in “he was appalled by human sacrifice and other signs of human decadence. He decided to wipe out mankind and flooded the world with the help of his brother Poseidon. After the flood, only Deucalion and Pyrrha remained” and it is not the only time, even the first time that floods were a larger stage of cleansing. So why? Consider that power grows and power is gotten from somewhere. If Aristaeus got his powers from bees, what happens if people abuse bees? A stage we might not consider, but in a stage where power was important, the abuse of sky (Zeus) and waters (Poseidon) would inflict the wrath of these two. That is the stage we seek!

If we can create a god (ourselves) it needs a power foundation, the smaller the creature, the more simplistic their needs, the easier their power is milked. Hence the 6 animals I gave two days ago. So when we get to “both nectar and ambrosia were kinds of honey, in which case their power of conferring immortality would be due to the supposed healing and cleansing powers of honey, and because fermented honey (mead) preceded wine as an entheogen in the Aegean world; on some Minoan seals, goddesses were represented with bee faces”, with this I personally reckon that the German Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1845) was a lot closer to the truth with his view on it and it is important that any game has some handle on the past. Anchors in how power is distributed, how it is gained. If not, then Zeus, Poseidon and Hades could never have defeated Cronos, their father. 

Now consider the paths that Ezio Auditore and Bayek of Siwa undertook (two actual masterpieces), how they grew their powers and abilities. Would it be any different for deities? No matter how the had the ability to do so, they still needed to grow their powers, we all do and now we have a handle on us and on the character we play. Yet if we want something that is larger than life as such some sandbox trip is needed, choices are to be offered. Whether a person has the bee, the wasp or the termite. It starts with a foundation and that foundation grows towards a power base and a weakness, we all tend to look towards Athens for inspiration, but those who do tend to forget to look towards Poseidonia, a ‘village’ on Siros. When we see the elements shown we need to wonder how it was possible and there we have a setting towards the power base of a deity. If Ambrosia is food for the gods, or is it the food that creates gods? One might fuel the other. These thoughts are below the creation of a game, as we set the stage to a larger stage, we need to consider what gives foundation to that stage. A brilliant example is Horizon Zero Dawn, and soon its sequel. We chase in the first game what created the game, we see that there was a machine that creates larger than life events, but there is always a shoe in the cog (Hades). Any stage needs checks and balances or it becomes a fuelled stage of disbelief, even whilst you play it. That was the brilliance that led to Ezio Auditore, a stage we understood (historically speaking). As such, when you figure out that the events in Ancient Greece and ancient Iran (Mesopotamia) are not unrelated, how long until the cogs connect? 

As such we see can see out minds evolve the new god game, but is it a god game or forging a deity? There is a difference and even as the Atari ST, Playstation one, two and three needed us to make mental jumps, the Playstation 5 is now advanced enough to make us see the difference and play accordingly, the specifics are now in our grasp making for a much larger stage of handling evolution. And I reckon that over time cloud gaming will take it to the next level. And in all this Ubisoft was not alone, consider the path that the God of War took, and even he was not alone. It was a path and we forgot about that part in god gaming. We merely have the maker of the games (Peter Molyneux) and his examples Populous and Black and White as examples, but what if growth is a stage that encompasses both? Setting a different sandbox environment might be the way to go and we finally have hardware that can take us there. 

How it done? That is up to the game makers, you can’t expect me to do everything. You need to get creative and make the next stage of excellent gaming, because if we leave it up to Ubisoft it will be anyones guess what excellent gaming looks like and it will end up being below par and we have seen enough games like that. 

So get to work, get to the drawing board and consider the stage we play (entire Greece), what we can do short of everything and start considering what makes power grow. If you are done with that hold it against the deities of Egypt, Aztec and Inca deities and see how you hold up. You see checks and balances is where it is at. That is what makes people choose and it will make them come back for a second and third time. A game played three times over, that is the stage of a legendary game in the making.

Hesiod

As such in this story I left two clues. They were Deucalion and Pyrrha. Why were only those two spared? If you look at the historic writings (Homer, Hesiod, Ovid, Apollodorus) some things add up and some do not. Now, we can allow for creative views and that would be OK, yet Homer (Ionia, 900 BC), Hesiod (Cyme, 725 BC), Ovid (Sulmona, 43 BC) and Apollodorus (Athens, 180 BC). People that can never have been connected in time, also consider that with our options of preservation, we do not have books that last 300 years and that is whilst we have all kinds of machines that allow for mass replication, that did not exist before the 14th century. A whole range of places most of them more than a life time of travelling away, yet the similarities are almost astounding. When you consider those elements, consider what more there I and what is making these sotries survive, now consider what you need to make a game of THAT magnitude survive the onslaught of players and their increased need of perfection, have a great day.

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Shadows are Us

It is almost 20 years ago that me, myself, I, my playstation and controller took a gander into the world of Tenchu. Even as I now shiver on the graphics that were then amazing, the gameplay is something I missed. This came to light when I got a dose of Aragami 2 on YouTube. Proper sneak games are a rare commodity, and as we look for the next sneaker (Splinter cell, Metal gear solid, etc.) those who love stealth games, we all have a fondness for Tenchu, 

I personally do not think that there is an exception to that rule. And for some reason, even as we all love Thief and its versions, it feels a little more amazing in Japan around the 1600’s. Japan in that era was a fun place (a little superstitious), but fun none the less. So Tenchu was a lovely step into the past. 10 years after that, when Microsoft still knew what it was doing, Tenchu Z was launched and the thump in my heart was as happy as it could be. 

Even as we saw some repetition in the levels, the levels themselves were amazing. And there was the second setting where you wanted to live in the levels you were mastering, the house, the inn, they were all amazing. There were off course issues, there always are for those who do some of the levels again and again, some of the parts that Tenchu 1 offered did not happen in Tenchu Z, yet I was not upset, after 10 years I got to tenchu again. 

So what happened? Why did the PS4 not have its own Tenchu, or whatever it would be called. A Japanese set stealth game, I know there is a sizeable population that wants one. Even if we see an upgraded remastered Tenchu Z, it is a stage that could propel the cloud consoles (Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and whatever Microsoft has) forward and yes, Microsoft does have the advantage, but only if they act, if not it is up for grabs. Microsoft does not have IP on Japan or stealth gaming. I wonder why I had not missed it sooner. Perhaps I had hoped that Ubisoft got its act together. Perhaps I hoped that some would remember the great games. 

Yet if Aragami 2 (due out in September 2021) delivers, we will feel happy and after such a long silence it should optionally receive a large following. Yes, the first Aragami had flaws (a few) but it felt much closer to the original Tenchu than many other stealth games. Styx and Thief are good games, they have their own niche and they are quite good, yet it is not sneaking in 1600 Japan. The era speaks to our imagination, it has pretty much since a man named James Clavell wrote Shogun in 1975. The age of Blackthorn and Toranaga. It spoke to most people and the image continued in gaming. So now, when we see the Sony PS5 and Microsoft alternative, we see a system that can render an entire village, one would hope that Tenchu gets a new lease on life in gaming, optionally in a much larger setting. We learned so much over 20 years that this is all possible and cloud gaming might actually end up with a larger advantage.

Options
Cloud gaming has its own stage and its stage is a lot larger than any game. I staged that play in a previous blog when I coined the return of Murder on the Zinderneuf. The cloud consoles will have an option what I call ‘cross gaming tokens’ Something found in one game can be used in another game, or better stated becomes an unlocked item in another game. Consider that you find a house ceramic in Murder on the Zinderneuf, that could unlock the steampunk version of Monopoly, When you play Tenchu, you can unlock a weapon that is an additional weapon in Clue, and so on. It is a stage never contemplated before , or never acted on, but in cloud gaming it becomes real, as we embrace subscriptions and therefor we need long term gaming. As such long term gaming is found in adding to games, but what makes the addition? By adding games, other games will optionally be enhanced, or even added to, all because you played Murder on the Zinderneuf and you examined the chess set in a room, a new chess set is added to chess. And there is no end to the options you can unlock making a long term connection. Now consider that setting in a game like Tenchu. As the enemy is there, it is also possible that a game like Anno 1600 will unlock more powerful enemies in Tenchu. 

Remember that evil Dutch Merchant? Well, if you played Anno 1600, he will become a VOC representative, complete with two bodyguards yielding a ‘Donderbus’ (the Dutch invention that would later become the shotgun). When the stage is adjusted the game becomes again enticing and rewarding. A simple stage of adjusting, and players like Ubisoft never went there, why is that (equally other players did not go there either). 

So whilst we can argue that we must move forward, we have a ton of options that have not been acted on, as such there are years of exploration in sight and there Cloud gaming has the option to offer more, not merely another version of a game, but a much larger game, if only the developers had that in sight when they thought that one platform is merely a port of another platform. 

In all this we can lie in the shadows awaiting what comes next, or we can adjust the lights and create alternative paths. So whilst we all await a new game, what is wrong with replaying a game we forgot about, only to see that it has been enhanced by other games we have played in the meantime. I believe that there are a lot of developers and they do not realise the impact of long term gaming yet, they seemingly forget that soon we get to a point (in 6 months) when some people will have played the same game for 10 years. There are not many games that are worthy of that but Skyrim pulled it off, so what happens when on 11.11.21 the game offers the players something new in the same game they played? In opposition, what happens when the ‘patch’ will unlock a whalebone dagger in Dishonored 2? These are options that cloud gaming can offer, or perhaps a Skyrim board in Monopoly, an Axe in Clue or a Skyrim style chess set? It is not merely cosmetic, consider that over time you get additional rooms, people and items in Clue. The standard formula you had in your mind will no longer work, it needs adjusting for the different items optionally altered items. The game suddenly becomes more fun to play again. A stage many forgot about but Cloud gaming enables it and suddenly the stealth games all get an upgrade and that is what we like a challenging game that offers more over time. So whilst we see Aragami 2 coming in September, what happens when some of the guards have crossbows? Do not laugh, the Japanese had crossbows as early as 230 AD, they called them Shudo, they also had something not unlike a ballista, but that came 400 years later, still ahead of Europe though. History provides a whole range of options and opportunities. And the coming of Argami 2 made me consider that. I wonder what Google and Amazon are doing. Most likely relying on a deal with Ubisoft, I wonder how that goes over time. 

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And the case is?

ABC shows us an article, which I saw yesterday and even as it is fine, even as it is nothing new, it is brought to us like it is an exclusive look at what has been happening for a long time now. The article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-03/video-games-you-play-are-using-sneaky-tactics-four-corners/100098826) gives us “Persuading players to pay for advantages or extra features is a key part of the gaming business model”, yes that has been happening long before Candy Crush was a thing. And then we get the part where stupid takes over. With “Kat McDonald lost track of how much she was spending when paying with an in-game currency” we are given the taste of how she is an innocent victim, she is not. We also get “I wasn’t sure how to work out an itemised account, because on your bank account, it just says Apple”, from my point of view this is not a victim, this is an extremely stupid person. Even as the writers are trying to hide it all behind “Game developers will sometimes use multiple currencies to make it difficult for players to keep track of how much they’re spending”, we are being told a story for some reason that has not been revealed yet.

Whats up?
So to give you the lowdown, most games use two currencies, the normal one that everyone has and the premium one that only some get and needs to be paid for. For example Bethesda’s Fallout shelter has credits for all users, but you can buy Nuka Cola to get the advantage. They do give out Nuka Cola to all players in missions, you can find them and there is a chance Cappie and Bottle leave some when they visit you. I have at present 350 Nuka cola bottles, I have never spent a cent on the game. The game Gems of War has a few options in that regard, however like Fallout Shelter, I have never had to spend any money to get ahead, I merely had to play a lot. These two are for the most exceptions to the lot. Some games use gold bars, some use diamonds and so on. The important part is that ‘THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE GAME!’ The two exceptions I mentioned offer to sell you stuff and it is appealing, but it is up to you the player to either take the grind road or take the spend road, take some responsibility! So when I see “Kat became so immersed in the game she lost track of how much she spent on multiple small purchases” and “I sat down with a notepad and pen and wrote out every single transaction and added it up to $4,000”, at this point I wonder how stupid the journalist actually is. You see $4,000 amounts to 400 to 1000 purchases, and that is not merely ‘she lost track’, this is one of these (as I personally see it) stupid people who should not be allowed near a credit card, just like the person spending $12,000 on FIFA purchases. We need to accept that either you are responsible, or you need to be, never near a credit card ever again. This sounds harsh but that is how it is. Yes we see that gaming makers have a business model, some are revolving around your data and advertising, some are about selling items and some are all of the aforementioned. This is not new, this is no rocket science, this merely is.

So when we get to “Or you or me could just spend some money then and there and get all the advantages that come with having progressed”, which is true and in many cases that advantage can be gotten in the beginning by spending $3-$10, depending on the game. The important realisation is to do this only once, the initial grind is the longest one.

I had this once with a game called Castle Age, I spent in the early 10 hours about $5, it got me a character (and gear) that gave me a huge leg up in the beginning. I did not feel guilty, this was in the early days of Facebook and Castle Age was a cool game to play. I played the game for about 2-3 years about an hour a day, so it was $5 well spent. That against $4,000 is a larger setting. We all get the vibes to dole out money if we have it, but to spend about 40 times the funds for a PS5 game is just ridiculous. And the ‘getting hooked’ is only part of the setting, when someone spends that much money it is not (or at the very least debatable) addiction, it is stupidity and some excuse like “But I was still participating because it was still giving me that dopamine rush” it becomes my personal conviction that anyone relying on ‘dopamine rush’ should have stuck with comfort food (and chocolate is cheaper too).

There you have it
And that is when the article is showing its actuarial part, the McDonalds were as I see it merely used to bring the goods towards “In loot boxes … you don’t buy the game for the reward mechanism but the reward mechanism is there. You purchase access to this … and you get a random outcome, that might be very valuable or not at all valuable”, yes another go at the loot boxes, which in my point of view is not gambling. Some games hand out loot boxes on a daily basis, some give them out when ‘milestones’ are reached, or specific circumstances are met and some use them as well as those that can only be bought, but the ones you buy tend to have more valuable cards, items and options. And in all this, no one is responsible, it is the poor poor player and the evil maker of games. Please go cry me a river, when you spend $12,000 on loot boxes you are absolutely bonkers, more important, the main part of the game does not require these loot boxes. In some games (Ubisoft) they offer them, yet they also CLEARLY state that these items can be gained by normal play without spending cash, and such items are a mere few dollars. Then there is the view of game influencer Laura Gilbert, which I actually love (her point of view, not her, before you get the wrong idea)  “Gaming influencer Laura Gilbert refuses to buy any loot boxes”, I agree, to be more clear, if a game cannot be played without loot boxes, it should not be allowed to be released. And even in FIFA, the part that uses loot boxes is not the foundational part of the game, or it was never originally so, I do not know how it is now to be honest, because I loathe soccer, I am a hockey player (the real version on ice). 

Two more things
There is “Video gaming has grown into one of the most lucrative entertainment businesses in the world”, that is true, there is a hidden gem (for the game makers). In the first there is the need for short term satisfaction, we are all OURSELVES guilty of that, you, me we all are, I might be clever enough to avoid certain traps, but I see that they are there. The other side that there are games that have a pay to win foundation (candy crush like games, any game with a match three approach (Gems of War excepted), there is a pay to play setting, this is harder, we see the Idle games, where we can play the foundational games, but when there are competitions, the only way to reach the ranks is to pay for special items, special managers, more powerful miners, the list goes on, it is never a lot, but in the beginning be ready to pay $3-$7 to get the better people in the game. There is the option to watch ads to continue, yes you can avoid them, but it slows you down, so to get the leg up you will be watching 5-15 ads per hour, so how is that satisfying?  And they also offer options to get the really rare cards, but they tend to cost a few $$$. All this is out in the open, so the entire “They kept messaging me, telling me to come back and play” as well as “so immersed in the game she lost track of how much she spent on multiple small purchases” are as I personally see it, parts of the BS foundation, it is time to take responsibility, but the writers of the article are in part making statements, but to the larger extend it to bring loot boxes out to another round of finger pointing, all whilst the players need to take responsibility for their own actions. 

The article does however end with “Gamers are now starting to realise how they’ve been played”, I find little to oppose this, and the larger state was achieved by me in the beginning. There is no such game as a FREE GAME. There is ALWAYS a price to pay, in all the games I have seen two exceptions. Bethesda gave us Fallout shelter, even though it was initially done to give larger visibility to their Fallout line and they made a lot of money out of the other games, which had to be purchased. There is an optional truth that they hoped that the microtransactions would give them more money and it did, yet I have played it on 4 systems, and I never had a need to make any kind of purchase. The other part is Gems of war, there it was a new game with no link to anything else, and they offer options for purchase, but they never push for it and I never had to buy anything, there is no pay to win, or pay to play. Perhaps in higher stages, but on one system I made it to level 150 without spending a cent. They might be the two exceptions, and I am not new to gaming. I started testing and reviewing games in 1989, so I have been around for some time (I started with a VIC-20 in 1983). 

There is one part I stepped over (intentionally), it is the quote “Microtransactions started appearing in games in the mid-2000s, encouraging people to repeatedly make small purchases to keep them involved”, I do not oppose it, but I wonder which games had that first? I noticed it first with Candy Crush, they were not alone but the math gave me the speculated insight that it was designed to ‘almost make you succeed’, it was very clever and I deleted the game the same day. There is no way to beat an algorithm, that much was pretty clear to me. We can go on for a long time, but the larger setting is the irresponsible spending of people and that is left on the side of the road, it is equally irresponsible to do that. I believe that the ABC article fails to a much larger degree at that point, from my point of view it was about the push on loot boxes and to help out Senator Jordon Steele-John (Greens), but that is my take on the article.

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