What do devs really want from a game platform?

If you can define those, you can iterate and improve those. I’ll also be throwing in the ‘generally perceived’ platform ranking, best to least best, for these features if you are a smaller independent developer. (It’s a little complex ‘cos of Game Pass, which is fundamentally changing the Xbox purchase intent experience.)

– Back-end systems – access & features: do you need to talk to anyone to publish, discount, and service your game? Or is there a lot you can do just using dev-centric software and systems? What is the general quality/UI of that back end? And if you have a ‘blocking’ problem, does it get escalated to the right person or just hang out in the ether? (Ranking: Steam, Xbox+Switch, PlayStation.)

– Point(s) of contact & responsiveness from platform staff: If you do have to reach out, can one person do the majority of things you need? Are they fast or slow, do they have to loop in other people? This is related to back-end platform features, since it can be difficult to get noticed by platform staff on all platforms, due to high volume of devs. (Ranking: Steam, Xbox, Switch – but 3 all close together, PlayStation.)

– Availability and cost of development kits: if you want to develop on a platform, can you easily get dev kits, extra dev kits, etc? And are they expensive, or are there complex IP, address, or business specific needs? Related: should platforms be subsidizing and improving this process to make for better games? (Ranking: Steam [cos no devkit], Xbox, Switch, PlayStation.)

– Access to sales/discounts: there’s two ways you can go here: ‘DIY discounts using the back-end, with some extra platform-organized sales’ (Steam and Switch), or ‘platform-organized sales only’ (Xbox and PlayStation). The former is far preferred by smaller devs, because it’s impossible to get left out. If the latter is the only option, it should be without excessive ‘back & forth’, haggling & other oddness. (Ranking: Steam, Switch, Xbox, PlayStation.)

As Simon Carless points out, this is all anecdotal. But as he is in touch with quite a few devs, the collected impressions aren’t to be dismissed as a fluke either. I’m known to have taken issue with various of Sony’s policies over the years —as one does with big corporation sooner or later— but had I been asked to bet on whether PlayStation would end up dead last in every one of those metrics, at least as far as developer perception goes, I’d have definitely lost.

In any case, even if this is all pure sentiment, that’s one sentiment Sony must not ignore and let fester. Consequences tend to take their sweet time to rear their head.

Lost Judgment may be the last in the series due to actor image rights, it’s claimed

Japanese showbiz news site Nikkan Taishu claims that sources tell it Kimura’s talent agency Johnny & Associates have been blocking PC versions of games in the Judgment series because they don’t want Kimura to appear in PC games.

While it’s not entirely clear why this is, the site suggests that because Johnny & Associates “has strict control over the [likeness] rights of its talent, and the use of their image online is still limited to a few”, the agency may be treating PC games differently because home computer have direct access to the internet.

It’s normal for contract clauses to not be fully aware of a changing landscape. Some things take time. But if the theory that PC games are considered online exposure and console games aren’t, that’s just spiteful.

Better performance for pirates: Crack removes stutters from Capcom PC game

Whatever Capcom and Denuvo worked up this time around seems to have evaded crackers’ efforts for much longer. That may have come at the price of guaranteed smooth performance—with gaming analysts like Digital Foundry’s Alex Battaglia maligning the game’s PC version. “This stuttering honestly leaves a very bad first impression for this game, as the pivotal moment of a first-person game with guns is shooting those guns,” Battaglia said shortly after RE8:V’s May 2021 launch. “If that is unsatisfying very often when you do it, then the game is doing something wrong.”

Capcom has since pledged to update the game to run more smoothly with the DRM enabled. This doesn’t negate the simple fact that the PC version’s performance issues have been there for months, for everyone to experience. It shouldn’t take a DRM-related bruhaha for Capcom to rise up to the occasion.

Inside the Industry That Unmasks People at Scale

“We have one of the largest repositories of current, fresh MAIDS<>PII in the USA,” Brad Mack, CEO of data broker BIGDBM told us when we asked about the capabilities of the product while posing as a customer. “All BIGDBM USA data assets are connected to each other,” Mack added, explaining that MAIDs are linked to full name, physical address, and their phone, email address, and IP address if available. The dataset also includes other information, “too numerous to list here,” Mack wrote.

A MAID is a unique identifier a phone’s operating system gives to its users’ individual device. For Apple, that is the IDFA, which Apple has recently moved to largely phase out. For Google, that is the AAID, or Android Advertising ID.

Every time advertisers whine about Apple’s move against IDFA through ATT, remind yourself that this is the reality we live in and one side doesn’t negate the other in the privacy debate.

The Ethics of a Deepfake Anthony Bourdain Voice

Gregory suggested that much of the discomfort people are feeling about “Roadrunner” might stem from the novelty of the technology. “I’m not sure that it’s even all that much about what the director did in this film—it’s because it’s triggering us to think how this will play out, in terms of our norms of what’s acceptable, our expectations of media,” he said. “It may well be that in a couple of years we are comfortable with this, in the same way we’re comfortable with a narrator reading a poem, or a letter from the Civil War.”

The fact that the synthetic Bourdain voice was undetected until Neville pointed it out is part of what makes it so unnerving. “I’m sure people are asking themselves, How many other things have I heard where I thought this is definitely real, because this is something X person would say, and it was actually fabricated?” Hao said. Still, she added, “I would urge people to give the guy”—Neville—“some slack. This is such fresh territory. . . . It’s completely new ground. I would personally be inclined to forgive him for crossing a boundary that didn’t previously exist.”

This is very interesting food for thought. How do people react to this kind of thing? Whey do they react one way or another? What’s the director’s responsibility at any given time? Who should work on guidelines?

I admit was taken aback upon hearing of the use of synthetic voice in Roadrunner. My initial knee-jerk reaction was to feel played. But the more I think about it the more unclear it is for me what the optimal way to be dealing and using synthetic content really looks like.

There’s room for very, very interesting arguments here.

New Anthony Bourdain documentary deepfakes his voice

But whether it’s ethical to clone a dead person’s voice and have them say things they hadn’t gotten on tape when they were alive is another question, and one Neville doesn’t seem too concerned with.

“We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later,” he told the New Yorker.

A second core principle is disclosure—how the use of synthetic media is or is not made clear to an audience. Gregory brought up the example of “Welcome to Chechnya,” the film, from 2020, about underground Chechen activists who work to free survivors of the country’s violent anti-gay purges. The film’s director, David France, relied on deepfake technology to protect the identities of the film’s subjects by swapping their faces for others, but he left a slight shimmer around the heads of the activists to alert his viewers to the manipulation —what Gregory described as an example of “creative signalling.” “It’s not like you need to literally label something—it’s not like you need to write something across the bottom of the screen every time you use a synthetic tool—but it’s responsible to just remind the audience that this is a representation,” he said. “If you look at a Ken Burns documentary, it doesn’t say ‘reconstruction’ at the bottom of every photo he’s animated. But there’s norms and context—trying to think, within the nature of the genre, how we might show manipulation in a way that’s responsible to the audience and doesn’t deceive them.”

What there’s not much room for though is fully nonchalant directors pretending this is for others to contemplate, not for them that actually produce such content. No matter what I think of synthetic content in documentaries and whatnot, I really, really don’t like Gregory’s carefreeness here.

Nintendo publishes denial it’s planning another Switch model beyond OLED

“A news report on July 15, 2021(JST) claimed that the profit margin of the Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) would increase compared to the Nintendo Switch. To ensure correct understanding among our investors and customers, we want to make clear that the claim is incorrect,” Nintendo’s statement reads.

Amazingly, enough people threw a fit over Nintendo’s perceived profit margin for the OLED model that the company had to issue a statement in order to push back against theories that it’s somehow ripping off people. As if premium models of anything have to be low margin. As if Nintendo goes for low margins in hardware as it is. As if it even matters when chip and tool shortages mean Nintendo can’t even make as many systems as the market needs.

“We also want to clarify that we just announced that Nintendo Switch(OLED Model) will launch in October, 2021, and have no plans for launching any other model at this time.”

  1. This means nothing. Nintendo issued denials of new hardware introductions effectively right before announcing the OLED model.
  2. There’s no way a new model is coming this soon now, for the same reasons I doubted a “Switch Pro” could be introduced this year amongst shortages.
  3. Stop whining at companies for not giving you something that they never even signaled or implied they’d give you in the first place.
  4. Pretty please.