Amazon Can Make Just About Anything—Except a Good Video Game

Amazon is spending nearly $500 million a year operating the video game division, two people familiar with the budget say. That amount doesn’t include Twitch or a new project under different management, which is building a service to stream games to a computer, phone or Amazon Fire TV.

I guess this is the cost of entering the games business when you have no idea what you’re doing and your choices in management reflect that.

Each game world should accommodate as many players as possible, yet also be fun to play solo at the same time. They had to be huge financial successes on a Call of Duty scale but also innovative and unlike anything the world had seen before. To experienced game developers, these rules seemed like a surefire way to not release anything.

Yes, hello, I’d like for our very first game to be bigger, better and more profitable than anything else. Which is doubly funny when one stops to consider that no truly successful business unit of Amazon started out as the biggest, best or profitable than anything else.

Frazzini is fond of saying anything can be measured, according to two people who worked closely with him. This philosophy, common in Silicon Valley, is anathema to game industry veterans. “Nobody who’s successful starts with metrics,” says Seamus Blackley, who helped design the original Xbox.

Numbers can be fun. But can fun be numbers? According to Frazzini, it can.

Tim Cook: Privacy and climate change are ‘the top issues of the century’

That being said, Cook admits he is generally not a fan of regulation. “I think it can have a lot of unintended consequences,” he explains. “But in this particular case, I think we’ve run the experiment. It hasn’t worked very well. And I think we need governments around the world to join and hopefully come up with a standard for the world instead of having a patchwork quilt.”

Even Apple prefers being regulated than to regulate such matters. At least Cook openly accepts that such an issue is so far reaching, so universal, that pretending a fragmented approach is an appropriate response is useless.

Do male and female critics judge films differently?

To do so, I built up a database of 181,927 professional film reviews, covering 7,312 movies released over the past two decades. I then found the gender of the critics via their biographies (more on the methodology in the Notes section at the end) and to provide a comparison, I also gathered IMDb audience ratings on those same movies, split by gender.

As samples go, this is quite the one.

This indicates that, on average at least, the gender of film critics is of little to no importance when looking at the rating they assign to a movie.

This is doubly interesting as it’s simultaneously goes against any theory that has ever kept female critics from proliferating more in this field and any theory of a “male gaze” of male critics defining their stance towards movies.

But… there are some caveats too:

On a wider note, the idea of gendered movie tastes is exacerbated by the feedback loop of film development. If a certain genre has historically attracted a large audience from one gender then future productions will be encouraged to lean into this skew, further entrenching the gender divide.

This means that as fixed ideas of gender and gender tastes are being challenged, it could be that there is an underserved audience for certain types of films. Female-focused sci-fi or male-focused romance films could be the next big thing. Historically, Hollywood has been massively risk-averse and prized conformity over being right, so it’s perhaps not surprising that we see the same patterns prevail.

60+ Oculus Quest Apps Made More Than $1 Million

Six Oculus Quest titles cleared $10 million in revenue and one third of all the paid apps available on the store — more than 60 total — have earned more than $1 million.

Oculus is the clear leader in the VR space (Sony is still second despite having noticeably cooled off). VR gaming is still small potatoes though. There’s a long way to go. Profit or not profit.

Google Play bans open-source Matrix client Element, citing “abusive content”

Matrix has millions of users, and as a federated chat protocol, Element does not control the content on Matrix, so this is a bit like banning a Web browser for displaying Web content. Element says it is working with Google to “explain how Element works and get the situation resolved.”

The app was reinstated later, kind of inevitably so. This kind of overreaction or misunderstanding is why clearing up what/who is a utility, a platform, a publisher etc. needs to be done, instead of slapping whichever label produces a handy scapegoat, just to avoid our own responsibilities as individuals, citizens or even states.

Huawei’s HarmonyOS: “Fake it till you make it” meets OS development

For comparison, let’s first talk about how other vendors serve up their operating system SDKs. For Android, you Google “Android SDK” from any desktop computer, click the first link, and press the download button. Apple requires developers to own a Mac for the iOS SDK, but from there it’s just a simple trip to the App Store to download Xcode.

Before you can try Harmony OS, by contrast, Huawei requires you to pass a two-day background check. They even want a picture of your passport!

Amazing onboarding experience.

After hours of poking around on HarmonyOS, I couldn’t point to a single substantive change compared to Android. Other than a few renamed items, nothing is different. If anyone at Huawei wants to dispute this, I would welcome an example of a single thing in the emulator that is functionally or even aesthetically different from Android. If anyone wants to cry “it’s just a beta!,” Huawei says this OS will be shipping in commercial phones this year. There does not appear to be time to do a major overhaul from “Android” to “Not Android.”

Huawei can of course fork Android. It’s open source, not subject to restrictions etc. But let me ask you this. When a company publicly insists their new OS is completely different to Android and iOS, do you feel it gets easier or tougher for you to believe Huawei on everything else?