China’s regulatory crackdown pushes Tencent to slowest revenue growth since 2004

Tencent said minors accounted for 0.7% of domestic games time in September this year, down from 6.4% in September 2020, after the government’s new limits came into force at the beginning of that month.

When the Chinese government put the squeeze on domestic gaming, which is notoriously Free-To-Play and mobile centric, it wasn’t really clear what the bottom line hit would be. Now we know. A 5.7% drop is nothing to sneeze at but it also shows how adult gamers are what this industry —in China too— relies on.

Geoff Keighley details The Game Awards 2021 and Beyond

“You know, it’s great to have celebrities, it’s great to have music, but I think focusing really on games is important,” he said. “Especially this year, there’ll be a lot of content for 2022 and 2023 that will be showing us our kind of biggest lineup yet of world premieres and announcements.

“What we really learned last year was at the end of the day, it really is the games and the trailers that drive the show.”

Keighley said he expects the show to feature 40 to 50 games this year “someway or another.” He added that the number of new games being announced is probably in the double digits.

I love how that is, somehow, the takeaway from last year’s The Game Awards —as if this show had ever relied on award prestige to get eyeballs— and that now Geoff Keighley is going full hog on the advertising part of the whole affair, barely ever mentioning the part which is supposed to honour the hard work of developers. Hardly a surprise, but not, uh, award-worthy either.

An update to dislikes on YouTube

We’re making the dislike counts private across YouTube, but the dislike button is not going away. This change will start gradually rolling out today.

I’m conflicted. Sure, by removing the dislike count, you also remove openings for conflict. So that’s for the best. Creators can still see everything so they also get to understand their audience through the same metrics they’ve always relied on.

On the other hand, the lack of that count, conceals information from the user, information that could help a user triage bad content from good. Though in all things crowd-sourced, there’s quite the margin for error and don’t forget the effect of pile-ons, bombing and what have you. Maybe removing the likes count as well would be best. Users would still have problem triaging (just as they’ll have from now on) and they have to check the content and decide for themselves, while creators (ugh) still get the whole picture.

Viewers know nothing of Netflix’s numbers but that doesn’t turn them away at all. And that has been the case in many fields for the longest of time. Maybe that’s the way?

Vizio Makes 2x More Selling Ads and Data Than it Does on TVs

It’s why smart TVs are somehow more affordable than “dumb” TVs—smart TVs may come loaded with far more capabilities, but they also provide manufacturers with avenues to track users’ viewing data, and sometimes their location as well. In a way, the end users of Vizio’s TVs are Vizio’s real product.

And this is also why good monitors can seem so expensive per inch compared to TVs of similar tech.

The southern California-based company also earns a significant portion of its keep by advertising shows, movies, and streaming services to users. If you own a smart TV, take a look at your remote: if it has a Netflix button, for example, that button is the product of negotiations between the TV manufacturer and Netflix to the tune of cold hard cash. Homescreen ads and banner ads (like the kind you see while browsing for something to watch) are also prime opportunities for Vizio to make money off of streaming services.

But it’s not only viewing data, personal data etc. No. One just has to go the extra mile and push ads on the homescreen too. Warms the heart.

The Silence of the Lambs Controversy Explained

I didn’t know any of this and though I find the article’s thesis explaining nothing while pushing an agenda in a typically amateur way, I think it’s an interesting read nonetheless, for the original protesting, Demme’s statements over the years but also the ways the article’s writer pretends something mean whatever they fancy it to mean.

The demonstration outside of the Academy Awards was the culmination of non-stop protests throughout the year outside theaters across the country screening the film. Organizations like Queer Nation and ACT-UP had long spoken out about the problematic representation of the film, and felt awarding the film would have dire consequences. Hollywood A-Listers wore red AIDS ribbons on their gowns and suits throughout the night, and as Demme accepted his statue for Best Director, he was visibly shaken by the outrage surrounding the building.

I would be very interested in learning of all the dire consequences that came about due to the awarding of this film. Till then, I wish we would use simple logic more often than not. Buffalo Bill’s portrayal isn’t a net positive for queer and trans people. But the point of that character, first and foremost, is to show us a tormented soul and criminal. It’s a criminal representation first and everything else is second. Even by 1990s standards, during a time where societies were more hostile to gay people and more than today and AIDS was indeed associated with gay people, as some kind of punishment even, when there was no actual reason to be viewed as such.

While today the conversations surrounding “The Silence of the Lambs” are focused on the “copaganda” of a film glorifying FBI Agent Clarice Starling or the blatant transphobia of the characterization of Jame Gumb/Buffalo Bill, the protests in 1991-1992 were actually centered on homophobia, with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and gay critics believing audiences would read Jame Gumb as a queer man, and treat gay people in real life accordingly.

GLAAD’s position wasn’t totally out there, especially at scale, as Hollywood as a whole had a stance, even if any one movie didn’t. Some people will be influenced like that. But that’s no reason for any portrayal of anything to be positive (or negative of course). Unless we mean to say a gay or trans person can’t be a criminal, can’t have issues or, I don’t know, doesn’t pay taxes. Everyone has some capacity to be something of anything.

Demme’s following film, “Philadelphia” starred Tom Hanks as a gay lawyer living with AIDS. It was one of the first mainstream Hollywood pictures to mention AIDS, and while Demme has claimed the backlash to “Silence” was unrelated to his decision to make “Philadelphia,” many of his critics view the film as a half-baked apology. Playwright and activist Larry Kramer wrote a harsh op-ed after the film’s release, going as far as to say, “After these two films, I wish he’d just go away and leave us alone.”

With all due respect to the late Mr. Kramer, but that’s a pre-internet hot take if I’ve ever saw one.

As the years went on, Demme owned up to the critiques of his two films, rather than fighting them. In 1994, he was quoted as saying:

It’s the job of militants to demand more of anything. If these people were satisfied, change would be hard to get through. Every one of them is right. There could have been more of this, or more of that, but now, maybe another film will take it further.

That’s not Demme owning up to anything. That’s Demme being a pragmatist about how the world works and why that’s fine.

A few years before he passed, he admitted his shortcomings with “Silence,” stating in 2014:

Juan Botas, who was one of the inspirations for “Philadelphia” said, “You can’t imagine what it’s like to be a 12-year-old gay kid, and you go to the movies all the time and whenever you see a gay character, they’re either a ridiculous comic-relief caricature, or a demented killer. It’s very hard growing up gay and being exposed to all these stereotypes.” That registered with me in a big way.” It’s now become a part of the dialogue on stereotypical portrayals of gays in movies.

This is no admission of shortcomings either. Someone should have been failed at reading comprehension. But it’s true that Juan Botas’ experience is not one to wish on anyone. But that was a social and Holywood thing, not a Demme thing, Philadelphia thing or a The Silence Of The Lambs thing.

Transgender writer, actress, producer, and activist Jen Richards painfully recounted the impact of Buffalo Bill in the Netflix documentary “Disclosure”:

I was about to go through transition, and I worked up the courage to tell one of my colleagues. And she’s a very, very smart woman, very, very talented musician, very well-educated, very worldly, and she looked at me and goes, “You mean like Buffalo Bill?” Her only point of reference was this disgusting, psychotic serial killer who hunts women in order to kill them and skin them, in order to wear their bodies — to literally appropriate the female form, which is exactly the feminist argument against the existence of trans women.

Likewise, I get that’s not what Jen Richard or anyone in her shoes would like to hear at that point. But, those directly involved aside, the rest of us should use our brains a bit more. She was talking to a friend. Buffalo Bill was a crude reference point, but the reference was related to a transition, not to killing women and wearing their skin.

There are times to empathetic (the term messes with my brain immensely as my mother tongue is Greek but that’s a story for another time) but there are also times to be dispassionate. We shouldn’t demand the latter from those most affected, those under pressure. But we should demand that from us and learn when it’s time to do so.