The Crypto Revolution Is an Existential Crisis for Video Games

This all made for an awkward moment when Fred, interviewing for a high-level position at a new studio founded by a group of veteran game developers, was informed the developer was likely interested in incorporating the blockchain into their game. Nothing about crypto was mentioned on the studio’s website. Fred said he wouldn’t have applied in the first place otherwise. Twice last year, Fred discovered that a game studio and potential employer was interested in incorporating the blockchain into its games only during the interview process.

“[They] waited until halfway through an hour phone interview to mention ‘something kind of controversial for some people’ referring to using the blockchain,’” said Fred.

A follow-up email from the potential employer included links to articles like “Would Karl Marx Support the Existence of Blockchain?” before Fred politely turned down the job, and noted that any involvement with crypto was a non-starter. In response to Fred’s decision, the company’s CEO sent a personal essay about why the blockchain is cool, including asking Fred why someone could reject cryptocurrency but “support fiat currency aka USD.”

You know it’s all great when the interviewer keeps something so central to their company’s identity and business for as long as possible. The pretending that they’re doing it because people don’t really understand like they do is only adding insult to injury.

“The business guys love NFTs because they look like a big pile of money for very little work, and that’s exactly how they want to live their life,” said another developer at a major video game publisher who, until recently, was actively courting NFT projects and pitching them internally. “But I’ll tell you on the dev side, nobody wants to fucking do them—aggressively.”

This developer, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, noted the crypto-related pitches coming through had one thing in common: they were one-sided about the benefits of crypto.

“There was no attempt to make a potentially balanced [take],” they continued. “Here’s some potential drawbacks: everybody fucking hates it.”

If only all potential drawbacks in life disappeared by keeping them out of mind.

Big Tech spent decades skirting geopolitical issues. That’s no longer an option

By pitching themselves as neutral platforms that prioritize free expression—while at the same time bowing to local pressure to remove or restrict certain content—they’ve enjoyed rather broad access to nearly all the world’s markets. Even Russia, which for decades during the Soviet era fought to keep Western media out, has let them in.

I can’t stand this narrative. I get that there comes a point when even companies need make a stand of some sort. If anything, I consider any company insisting it has zero connection to ongoing politics to be, at least, disingenuous. But this obsession with “bowing to pressure” as a way to read “adhering to local law” is beyond me. Companies not ignoring law that applies to wherever they operate in is not a novel concept.

“It’s appropriate for American companies to pick sides in geopolitical conflicts, and this should be an easy call.”

That’s quite… broad.They can. Sometimes they should. At all times though? I doubt that would go down very well in the US either int he long run.

Who Is Policing the Location Data Industry?

There is an estimated $12 billion market of companies that buy and sell location data collected from your cellphone. And the trade is entirely legal in the U.S.

Here’s a radical thought. Make it not “entirely legal” and try again.

Some policies are easy to audit (though not necessarily enforce), like Apple’s and Google’s ban on X-Mode’s SDKs. But the companies don’t give any indication of how they would enforce these rules around other methods of data collection that the very same banned brokers are using, like buying data directly from app publishers.

They can’t be and look everywhere, nor do they have the legal right to scrutinise everyone and everything off platform. Which is why making this not “entirely legal” would help. The change would bring legal frameworks and enforcement processes, ways to challenge companies and practices. But hey. That’s just me.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla agree on something: Make web dev lives easier

“For the first time ever, all major browser vendors, and other stakeholders, have come together to solve the top browsers compatibility issues identified by web developers,” said Rachel Andrew, Philip Jägenstedt, and Robert Nyman from Google, in a blog post on Thursday.

Oh, for the love of God, yes.

Samsung caught throttling 10,000 phone apps—and its own home screen

It’s pretty inexcusable to throttle your own home screen, app store, browser, and other core 2D apps. If there is anything you want to be fast, it’s the core phone interface. Right now, it looks like the only apps that get full power are the benchmark apps. What good is a fast SoC if you never use it?

Who even thought it was a good idea to throttle pretty much everything other than games and benchmark suites? I mean… even the home screen?

Samsung addresses throttling reports, says an update is on the way

“We value the feedback we receive about our products and after careful consideration, we plan to roll out a software update soon so users can control the performance while running game apps,” said Samsung spokesperson Kelly Yeo in a statement to The Verge.

But the meat of this throttling thing was in anything but games.

“Our priority is to deliver the best mobile experience for consumers,” said Yeo. “The Game Optimizing Service (GOS) has been designed to help game apps achieve a [sic] great performance while managing device temperature effectively. GOS does not manage the performance of non-gaming apps.”

GOS does not manage non-gaming app performance, sure. It just so happens that only GOS unlocks full performance for anything.\

I so love PR speak.

Sony and Honda are teaming up to make a range of electric vehicles

Honda is bringing the skills of a car company to the table—vehicle body engineering and after-sales support. Sony’s contributions will be the tech showcased in the Vision-S concepts—electronics, sensors, networking, and telecommunications.

And there goes another piece of the puzzle. I’ve noted before how Sony’s play here is its expertise in sensors etc. Someone else had to deal with actual car making. In this case, Honda.

New Research: Tinder’s Opaque, Unfair Pricing Algorithm Can Charge Users Up to Five-Times More For Same Service

Personalized pricing is incredibly opaque. In the Netherlands, consumers were quoted 31 unique price points. In the Republic of Korea and New Zealand, consumers were quoted 26 and 25 unique price points, respectively. And in some cases, people were charged up to five times more for the exact same service: In the Netherlands, prices ranged from $4.45 to $25.95. In the U.S., they ranged from $4.99 to $26.99.

Sounds like a plan. They’ve already been fined for this but that’s all it seems to have come out of that adventure: a fine.

Tinder pricing scandal: Dutch regulator should also investigate Apple antitrust foe Match Group if ‘C’ in ‘ACM’ truly stands for Dutch ‘Consumers’, not American ‘Companies’

Who is hurting consumers more:

  1. a dating-app maker that clandestinely charges some of its users up to five times more for the same service than it charges others; or
  2. a smartphone operating system maker that transparently and consistently imposes a 30% tax on payments in dating apps (and roughly the same for out-of-app payments)?

Sorry to say so: even a vocal App Store critic like me can’t possibly answer the question with “Apple.”

Unfortunately, the correct answer is a company that co-founded the Coalition for App Fairness. How is it fair to intransparently charge some users five times more than others, for the very same thing?

So much irony.

Asus desktop’s embedded light bars tell you when rendering is complete

Those that know me also know I can’t ran fast enough from computer hardware of any sort with RGB lighting. I find myself wavering —though just a tiny bit— in this case, as a light showing me in a glance if a process is done could actually be useful in everyday use. Still, I would like to have the option for that light to be off unless a defined process is running and surely after that visible notification is manually dismissed by the user. Otherwise I’d go insane.

Tencent is the world’s biggest video game company

The company’s streak of game industry investments has continued at a rapid pace; research firm Niko Partners estimated that, on average, for most of the first half of 2021, Tencent closed one games deal every 2.5 days.

And here we are going on and on about consolidation every time Microsoft goes shopping.