Capcom: “We’re very confident that the massive success of Monster Hunter: World will transfer across to Nintendo Switch”

It’s no longer just about the sales in the first few weeks and months then fighting for a rapidly shrinking ‘shelf space’ with the hundreds of thousands of other releases.

“We know quality sells and keeps selling for many, many years. We’re still seeing Resident Evil 7 shipping over one million units globally per year almost four years after its launch. By planning much more long-term across different markets we can look at factors such as platform sales promotions, Black Friday, etc… which become more and more important after the first 12 months.”

This is proof that single-player games can have long tails in revenue/sales — contrary to contemporary “managerial” wisdom — but also quite amazing as Resident Evil 7 was the very first main entry in the franchise to get things back on track after years of Capcom corroding the series with boneheaded creative and commercial approaches. After multiple mediocre titles in a row, it’s unusual for a single new entry to develop into such a breakout success for so long.

“In general, we’ve seen more people looking for escapism during this pandemic, whether they have chosen to do that via Disney Plus, Netflix or gaming. What these platforms all have in common is huge back-catalogues of content combined with brand new releases. Sure, techniques and technology change, but great stories, experiences and escapism will always remain regardless of whether the content was created 12 weeks or 12 years ago.

“Capcom’s great strength has always been its huge back-catalogue, which must number around 300 titles now. We’ve seen a huge increase of newcomers to our IP in the last 12 months. Our aim is to build upon this new audience alongside our existing and core audience to expand our growth across the region.”

As technology has matured, publishers and developers relying on catalogue titles as a steady revenue stream is more commonplace. This alone provides stability that just wasn’t there before. Similar comments have been made by Nintendo, Take Two Interactive and many more.

Data privacy: China defines for the first time ‘necessary’ information that apps can collect, closing ‘bundled consent’ loophole

Users of live-streaming, short video, news, browser and utility apps can access basic services on these platforms without providing personal information.

China? Is this you? Seriously though, China is actively trying to rein in its tech sector and it’s telling that it is also forced to constrain personal data siphoning. The irony is strong here.

NFTs Are Spurring a Digital Land Grab—in Videogame Worlds

Polyient Games is considering charging gamers who traverse its kingdom as part of a mission—the digital equivalent of a toll road. They also plan to split the digital land into smaller plots that the company can sell to other gamers, which those players can then monetize, said Russo.

Gamers have collectively invested billions of dollars in videogame loot, but NFT-enabled games are different because players actually own their in-game assets, said Jeffrey Zirlin, co-founder of Sky Mavis, the company that made Axie Infinity.

Great. But when do we talk about what this means for the actual games? I understand this might be a way to finance a game’s development or take a step closer to the Metaverse and Ready Player One. But what of the actual games?

“I see a really interesting opportunity to provide a meaningful income for people around the world to tap into the games market,” Mr. Schiermeyer said.

Because this is what gaming needs. More real estate agents.

Facebook leak underscores strategy to operate in repressive regimes

The leak also reveals that Facebook maintains a list of “recognised crimes” and instructs its moderators to distinguish between those and “crimes not recognised by FB” when applying the company’s rules.

The list is designed to avoid giving succour to countries where criminal law is considered incompatible with basic human rights. “We only recognise crimes that cause physical, financial or mental injury to individual(s)” such as “theft, robbery and fraud, murder, vandalism [and] non-consensual sexual touching”, the guidelines say.

Crimes not recognised by Facebook include “claims about sexuality”, “peaceful protests against governments” and “discussing historical events/controversial subjects such as religion”. Facebook argues this is the only way it can function in countries where the rule of law is shaky.

Please, do a take a moment and let the fact that anything hinges on what Facebook recognises as a crime sink in. It’s not just Facebook that thinks this way. Adhering to local laws at its scale is no small thing. But the fact that big companies insist on tackling legal issues as if law is just another business will keep rearing its head as the clear issue until push comes to shove and politicians really get in on the fun.

Facebook’s decision to set its own standard of behaviour above that of countries’ criminal legislation also applies in other areas of its moderation guidelines. In telling moderators how to police discussions on “regulated goods”, for instance, Facebook applies an international set of restrictions to items where national and local laws differ.

Illegal.

Facebook’s policy of selectively applying national laws has been reflected by its public actions before. In February the BBC reported on Facebook Marketplace being used to facilitate illegal sales of Amazonian land. According to the broadcaster, Facebook decided that “trying to deduce which sales are illegal would be too complex a task for it to carry out itself, and should be left to the local judiciary and other authorities”.

Facebook is actually right. That this is held against it is beyond me.

Rather than deciding based on the potential harm caused, Facebook focused on those places where the site was likely to face prosecution or be sued. In 2020, Facebook updated its policies to ban Holocaust denial on its platform around the world.

As I said, dealing with law is if it were just another business.

“We also maintain a list of crimes that we apply under these policies, but rather than breaking them down by country or region they are crimes that are recognised globally. Since we’re a global platform, we have a single set of policies about what we allow and apply them to every country and region. While we’ve made progress in our enforcement, we know there is always more to do.” The company had a process for national governments and courts to report content that they believed violated local law.

A recipe for disaster, also a recipe for illegality and exactly what to expect when scale is more important than the law.

‘Racist and reprehensible’: Jewish Power set to enter Israel’s parliament

“I have a dream,” he told them. “I have a dream that [Israeli] soldiers will live in a nation that has their backs … I have a dream that a rightwing government will strengthen the Jewish identity of the country.”

An attorney who has defended Israeli settlers implicated in violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Ben-Gvir was convicted in 2007 of inciting racism after holding signs at a protest reading “Expel the Arab enemy”.

Until last year he kept a photo in his living room of Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli settler who in 1994 shot dead 29 Palestinians in Hebron as they held morning prayers.

Don’t you just love it when people don’t learn anything from history?

TSMC: how a Taiwanese chipmaker became a linchpin of the global economy

TSMC has long gone largely unnoticed because the semiconductors it manufactures are designed and sold in products by branded vendors such as Apple, AMD or Qualcomm. Yet the company controls more than half of the world market for made-to-order chips.

And it is getting more dominant with every new process technology node: while it only accounts for 40 to 65 percent of revenues in the 28-65nm category, the nodes used for producing most car chips, it has almost 90 percent of the market of the most advanced nodes currently in production.

“Yes, the industry is incredibly dependent on TSMC, especially as you get to the bleeding edge, and it is quite risky,” says Peter Hanbury, a partner at Bain & Company in San Francisco. “Twenty years ago there were 20 foundries, and now the most cutting-edge stuff is sitting on a single campus in Taiwan.”

It was easy to see this coming a few years back, even if you hoped that Intel would have gotten its act together again by now or for Samsung to be even more aggressive. The trend was clear and more and more foundries were taking themselves out of the cutting edge node race. The fact that pretty much no one tried to do something about this earlier is the real long-term issue. Only now do the USA offer more aggressive incentives (which even Intel will be taking advantage of) for chip manufacturing and let’s not even start with Europe.

TSMC’s increasingly dominant position in chip manufacturing is starting to attract political attention. The shock from the auto chip shortage is reinforcing the pressure from governments to bring vital supply chains closer to home in order to make them less vulnerable to disruption in scenarios like the COVID-19 pandemic and secure them against influence from geopolitical adversaries such as China.

Meanwhile, politicians were asleep at the wheel.

TSMC is therefore not ready to disperse its manufacturing operations across the globe. “In the US, we committed to building a fab after the authorities made clear that they would subsidize the cost gap. In Japan, our investment is focused on an area of technology that is key to our future,” says a senior TSMC executive. “But in Europe, the case is not that strong, and [the Europeans] really should figure out what exactly it is they want, and whether they can maybe achieve it with their own chipmakers.”

Japan does its own thing which actually makes sense. But the fact that Europe needed car manufacturers to freak out to really take a hard look at the matter is no surprise to me as a European, maybe not a surprise to anyone else either, but also underlines how German-centric the EU’s view of things can be. This isn’t the way to go about things. Not for Germany, not for any member state of the bloc.

Moderation in Infrastructure

I think that if you could say, German rules don’t extend beyond Germany and French rules don’t extend beyond France and Chinese rules don’t extend beyond China and that you have some human rights floor that’s in there.

But given the nature of the internet, isn’t that the whole problem? Because, anyone in Germany can go to any website outside of Germany.

That’s the way it used to be, I’m not sure that’s going to be the way it’s going to be in the future. Because, there’s a lot of atoms under all these bits and there’s an ISP somewhere, or there’s a network provider somewhere that’s controlling how that flows and so I think that, that we have to follow the law in all the places that are around the world and then we have to hold governments responsible to the rule of law, which is transparency, consistency, accountability. And so, it’s not okay to just say something disappears from the internet, but it is okay to say due to German law it disappeared from the internet. And if you don’t like it, here’s who you complain to, or here’s who you kick out of office so you do whatever you do. And if we can hold that, we can let every country have their own rules inside of that, I think that’s what keeps us from slipping to the lowest common denominator.

Read the totality of the article and the individual interviews it feeds off of. It’s not every day that Americans and American companies show some understanding of the complexity global scale brings to matters of law and I’m glad Ben Thompson is going there, along with the people he interviewed. There’s still some fermentation needed though. Worrying about how international law affects the USA isn’t the actual issue. That’s what the rest of the world keeps worrying about every time the USA sets any precedent in common law that does not even begin to compute for most the world. The issue is actual compliance with local law, no matter the country in question and the clear need for global standards to the extent that’s possible. Politicians will be too slow to take notice. Companies should lobby them as soon as possible so that we all save some time and sanity. It’s not that I believe corporation will push for the best possible legislation but they can at least pressure governments to get in on the action sooner rather than later.