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  1. The protagonists in Star Trek were always huge pricks. The Prime Directive seemed to be completely arbitrary and defied at will, yet when it came time to save a civilization from extinction with literally just a press of a button or a single sentence, suddenly the Prime Directive was well-defined and important again.
  2. Ross, you really need to stop taking all your economics info from non-economists.
  3. Once again, France makes a terrible regulatory decision. They seem to have a talent for it. Big publishers will be hurt but overall fine, since the used game scene is alive and well on console, they'll deal with it the same way they deal with GameStop. Meanwhile, assuming a PC resale market actually picks up steam (pun intended), mid-sized and indie developers are done-for unless they switch to only online multiplayer games. There is a reason there is literally no independent small publishers ala Stardock Paradox etc for consoles. Switching to multiplayer is very difficult as well since smaller games have less players and generally don't sell well due to their inability to attain a critical mass of players. Basically, if this actually turns out to work and spreads, it will be the death of the modern indie PC scene. Big publishers can still use an advertising blitz to frontload sales (e.g. Call of Duty: WWII grossing over $1 billion in five weeks) but indie games that relied on word of mouth and a constant stream of sales over a few years will see revenue completely dry up after the first year due to resale. This is exactly what happens with console games, and it's why nearly every game that relies primarily on console sales makes the bulk of its revenue in the first few months. Any single player games that are made are likely to be console focused in the future like Skyrim, GTA, etc.
  4. Horrible work conditions are not "standard" on the level CDPR has them; they'd literally be illegal in the first world. And they can't make their games without those conditions; consider that, even with these bottom of the barrel labor costs, Witcher 3 still costed nearly $90 million to make. Thus, it is not a remotely sustainable model and doesn't solve the underlying issue of single-player games dying. You're just blatantly lying at this point. CDPR would have absolutely no one working for them if they were based in any developed country, and Poland is rapidly approaching that level. EA, the devil of the industry, pays its developers $90-100k on average with great benefits. And the vast majority of them are either total crap or never get made. They're no replacement for dedicated studios with hundreds of millions in resources. And it looks like crap. I don't want games to be either online-only MMOs or perpetually locked in the level of the 90s (even though I still play games from that time). The vast majority of people disagree with you about what constitutes a "good game." One of them is me. Thus, why I consider this an issue, and you may not. Which is fine for, you I guess, but other people actually like modern AAA single player games. It's not just graphics and voice acting, though both of those are a big issue (particularly the latter). It's also just presentation/polish in general as well as depth of mechanics. When all of this is considered I don't see how an indie dev could ever make something like, say, Fallout New Vegas. I don't consider any of the above scams. You get what you pay for and there's tons of information available on what you're buying. Crowd funding, on the other hand, is a complete crapshoot. They can take your money, give you nothing in return, and there's nothing you can do about it. Additionally, there's no real oversight and no real incentive for them to do what they say. Even actually good indie games like Minecraft fell into this trap (prior to becoming, well, not indie, thanks to Microsoft). That game was alpha funded; this is better than crowdfunding because you actually have to show the customer something first, then they pay you, and you promise to give them more later. But when the developer got his millions he stopped bothering to develop the game, there is a chart someone compiled that showed he spent over 50% of 2011 on vacation. The final product was also nothing like what was promised, showing how easy it is to scam people with such a funding scheme in even the most high-profile scenario. "Hobbyists" will not crank out games to the same extent that full studios will: these are, after all, thousands of man hours worth of work, even if the tools themselves advance to the point where they cost nothing. A consistent stream of good games, even indie ones, are only viable if the devs can do it full time and are compensated for their work. The problem with that? Well, there are two. One, indie developers are in the same boat as AAA developers: if they're not making a multiplayer game riddled with microtransactions (cf. Star Citizen), then they're effectively losing money when opportunity cost is considered. Two, the elephant in the room, digital piracy. Entire companies have folded because of it. While the exact figure varies, PC indie games without significant DRM tend to have around a 90% piracy rate. World of Goo had that. Some games, such as Heavy Hogur, can get a 98% piracy rate. http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2008/11/acrying-shame-world-of-goo-piracy-rate-near-90/ http://m.slashdot.org/story/139522 http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JakubKasztalski/20171027/308436/So_5245_of_People_Playing_my_Indie_Game_Have_Pirated_it.php http://forums.indiegamer.com/threads/confirmed-98-piracy-ratio.23669/ https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/03/22/indie-developer-sells-300000-copies-game-finds-1-million-pirated-copies/ Even 'casual' games get 92%+ rates: https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/108301/Casual_Games_and_Piracy_The_Truth.php ...and games that cost literally 1 cent to purchase get 25% rates. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100576-Who-Would-Pirate-the-One-Cent-Humble-Indie-Bundle This means only the most insanely successful games can survive in spite of said piracy, essentially off of donations. How do you get around piracy (beyond actually enforcing penalties on everyone which no one is going to bother to do)? Make the game always-online. This has consistently been found to be the absolute best way of proofing it. Online games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft are a far larger percentage of the gaming market these days than ever before, and there is no significant piracy of MMOs and similar games because the server data is kept secret. You literally have to physically steal the hard drive from a company server and even then your pirate server is going to be out of date and really crappy. A good example of this trend in action is China. People in China are primarily PC gamers, and play all types of games. In fact, China is the biggest gaming market in the entire world, having surpassed the U.S. two years ago. But the only games that Chinese studios make are multiplayer always-online ones (F2P FPSes, MMOs, freemium mobile games, etc.). I'm serious, check; it's every single one. Why? Because it's essentially impossible for any other types of games to make money. There is no mass output of single player passion projects in China, even though Chinese gamers DO like to play single player games (we know, because Western and Japanese games are pirated or bootlegged en masse on there), and even though China itself is the world's largest producer of programmers (and second largest producer of software developers). Instead, the whole sub-market is just dead. This shift is happening right now, and it worries me. We can't close this box. In 20 years, single player AAA games may very well be extinct, and single player game output in general declined significantly outside of mods for decades-old games and engines. I don't see any way to reverse this.
  5. People will still make mods for 20-year old games or flash games, but no one is going to hire hundreds of people (from programmers to to managers to artists to voice actors to writers) and spend tens of millions of dollars and 2-4 years making an actual high-quality modern game (or anything close to one) "just because." I have no confidence whatsoever in crowdfunded games, at least not without severe reform in that area to bring it in line with 'regular' businesses. It's way too easy to scam people. Good for you, but I'm not, and neither are the vast majority of people who play video games. I'll also reiterate that soon enough there won't even be much room for these smaller developers.
  6. It really hasn't. Making a game still takes enormous amounts of resources that are becoming increasingly harder to justify with piracy increasing, real game prices DECREASING, and online microtransaction-ridden MP games becoming increasingly popular. These are both absolutely terrible examples of whatever point you're trying to make. Witcher is viable because costs in Poland are very low and CDPR treats its workers like absolute dog shit. Star Citizen is viable because it scammed hundreds of millions in crowdfunding money for promises they'd never deliver on and is, you know, a multiplayer game loaded to the brim with microtransactions. The exact kind of game I am talking about. Neither model is remotely sustainable, in fact had a big game corp done the same things as these companies in the USA they'd probably have gotten sued by the federal government.
  7. I'm not really interested in this whole ongoing discussion because I fundamentally don't think that online-only games dying is the biggest problem facing gaming today (and of course, in the context of society as a whole, it's so minuscule as to not even be worth thinking about). I'd say the biggest issue facing gaming today is actually that online-only games are increasingly becoming the only way to make big games profitable in the first place. This seems to be because of absurdly high PED (games today cost about half as much to buy as games 25 years ago accounting for inflation, yet cost far more to make, and consumers have gotten used to it), rampant piracy ("indie games will save us when AAA can't" is a common refrain yet they can reach literally 98% piracy rates), and overall just how absurdly profitable microtransactions are compared to literally everything else (Clash of Clans, a crappy primitive freemium phone game, made more money than most of the actual biggest game franchises: $6 billion). It's gotten to the point that when opportunity cost is considered, publishers are effectively losing money by making single player games at all. I don't want every game to become CS:GO or LoL.
  8. I do kind of want to see what Ross makes of the Tropico series.
  9. My favorite moment in season 2 so far is probably just Freeman casually referring to the Metrocops as "these Charles Bronson motherfuckers."
  10. According to his donations record page, Ross got $35,545 in donations last year. Assuming a CPM of $2 (Youtube gets 50%), which seems average from everything I've read, his YouTube revenues should have come out to ~$16,000 in the same year per Social Blade. Meaning his income in 2018 was around $51,000 before taxes. By the standards of the area he lives in that should be solidly upper middle class. Assuming his wife brings in no income, he's making slightly over the median full time gross salary of the U.S., 30% more than the average full time gross salary of France (median should be lower), and over three times the average full-time gross salary of Poland (median should be lower). Though, I'm not sure what the taxes and transfers would be like for a non-citizen, self-employed immigrant in Poland, especially one who earns all of his income via either donations from around the world or commission from an American company. I do know that, after taking into account costs of living, subtracting taxes and, adding transfers (goods and services provided by the government such as health care, education and housing, received either free of charge or at reduced prices), median household income in Poland, France, and the U.S. is at $18,906, $31,137, and $44,049 respectively. Interestingly, Ross's donations have only grown over the years. Wasn't expecting that. 2018: $35,544.14 2017: $29,598.33 2016: $26,060.62 2015: $24,105.81
  11. Always love when a multi-hour chat gets cranked out. Gives me something to listen to while driving or exercising.
  12. The environmental records of socialist countries like the USSR laugh at the notion that capitalism is particularly bad for the environment, or that capitalism's successes are due to disregard for it.
  13. Ross, that political incident you're referring to is Preston Brooks' caning of Charles Sumner. It started when Sumner gave a speech attacking slavery and slaveholders. Brooks, whose family were slaveowners, took offense and ambushed him in the house a few days later and beat him nearly to death with a stick while his friend, Laurence M. Keitt, held a gun on the other representatives and threatened to shoot them if they tried to intervene. Later a Congressman named Anson Burlingame called Brooks a coward for the incident. Brooks then challenged him to a duel; Burlingame accepted Brooks' challenge, and then watched Brooks wuss out of it when Brooks learned Burlingame had a reputation as a marksman. Brooks resigned soon after and was found guilty of assault but was not incarcerated and only fined a little over $300 (about $9,000 today). He was reelected (the assault was very popular in his home state of South Carolina) but died of a respiratory disease in 1857 before he could serve his term.
  14. Yes, the ultimate quote mine is BACK! "What the hell?! What's going on? Desperate women love me!" "I got my degree under the tutelage of Dr. Pepper." "It's best to grab it out of someone's hand on the street. Because they'll chase you, but they won't file a police report over a stolen hotdog."
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