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Everything posted by RandomGuy

  1. Ross, you really need to stop taking all your economics info from non-economists.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. I do kind of want to see what Ross makes of the Tropico series.
  8. My favorite moment in season 2 so far is probably just Freeman casually referring to the Metrocops as "these Charles Bronson motherfuckers."
  9. 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
  10. Always love when a multi-hour chat gets cranked out. Gives me something to listen to while driving or exercising.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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."
  14. Shame I couldn't make this one. Though, it seemed like a couple of comments were aimed in my direction.
  15. So wait, is the chat at 4 PM EST or 10 PM EST? This thread says the former, Ross says the latter on the front page.
  16. 1. What was your opinion on that Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco nearly five years back? I recall that blowing up to the point that even publications and groups that usually showed no interest in video games covered it. This question is not so much about the content of the endings themselves (since I'm not sure if you've even played those games), but more like: was the fan backlash justified, was Bioware's response sufficient, and does this whole event say generally good or generally bad things about the future of gaming in general, in your opinion? 2. Are you a fan of Mike Judge's work, besides Office Space? 3. Do you vote from abroad? (note: not asking WHO you vote for)
  17. There's a lot of disagreeable things in this video, but I'll just stick to one particular point. Ross makes a point to mention that wages have been decreasing as a percentage of GDP, and uses this as evidence that the globalist corporations are draining wealth to the top. If I recall correctly, I debunked this exact same myth several months ago when he brought it up in another form (saying wages haven't kept pace with overall productivity increases) by pointing out, among other things, the deliberate exclusion of non-wage benefits in the chart he was using, which have risen massively in the past 40 years. Ross simply responded that he didn't study such things and that what I was saying sounded like gibberish; which is fine. However, I do have to get a bit annoyed when he proceeds to make another video mentioning this subject and repeats the same myth using the same fallacious logic (excluding non-wage compensation). In case the argument I made earlier was really that poorly put/difficult to understand/whatever, here's a video that I think quickly sums up the whole issue in plain and simple terms: fHm7P4TA97U tl;dr: actual compensation has risen more or less proportionally with productivity increases. Now, on using percentages of GDP to see what people 'should' be paid: this is also fallacious. Corporate profits and worker compensation should be measured as a percent of corporate income, not the economy as a whole, because the GDP is not increasing solely on the back of corporate profits. Federal government spending in general as a percentage of the GDP has increased quite a lot, for example. To relate to another one of Ross's points, defense spending as a percentage of GDP has been generally decreasing since the Cold War started, so you can't say that all that GDP is going to the "military-industrial complex" either. In the 21st century in general, defense spending is lower than it has been at any time since WW2 ended, except for the brief period between then and the start of the Cold War where the Americans genuinely thought that Uncle Joe would be their bust bud. Anyway, when we measure employee compensation (not wages) as a percentage corporate profits (not the whole country's GDP), we get this result: Employee compensation as a percentage of corporate income has consistently stayed at 10-13%. Currently it is much higher than it was in 1970, and just about the highest it has ever been- the exact opposite of what Ross claimed (I put a thin black line on the picture to make that more noticeable). And overall standard of living, of course, has increased massively, just as productivity has. So yeah, there's no dystopia here. To relate this back to Deus Ex, I don't think there's another level to Deus Ex either. It's a hackneyed, stock, sci-fi plot that cherrypicks a handful of statistics out of context to lend its story some credibility. Really no deeper than any cyberpunk dystopia story with an evil corporate or government villain. It's still a fun game, though. EDIT: As a bonus, Ross also tries to use the progressively lowering corporate tax rate as evidence that the rich are gaining more power at the expense of the common man. Someone better go tell that to the anarcho-capitalist hellholes of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Pages 173-175 the World Bank and International Finance Commission's report puts the effective corporate tax rate of the USA at 27.9%. By contrast: Denmark: 20.3% Sweden: 16.1% Norway: 24.8%
  18. There's been doomsayers about oil every year since we started using it. Them being wrong about a 2015-2016 crash is only the latest of dozens of examples of this happening.
  19. Malik mentions that she has augs to let her fly vehicles better, so there's that. This game was always so much more fun in a non-lethal playthrough. Short, forgettable gun battles become intense encounters as you have to strategize exactly how to stealthily knock everyone out with nothing but your fists, a short ranged taser, gas grenades, flashbang grenades, and occasionally tranquilizer darts. Usually the first two. As well as figuring out non-conventional ways to beat the superpowered bosses* (which works on all but one of them, and all of them period in the Director's Cut). It feels like you're cyborg Batman. *
  20. With Clinton's 16-point victory in New York, the Democratic primaries are pretty much over.Three guesses on why she curb-stomped Bernie in that state, and the first two don't count. So, same pattern as always.
  21. 1. What's the best city you've lived in? 2. What's the worst city you've lived in? (it's LA, isn't it?)
  22. So, in other words, things are going how the Harvard paper said they were; as trade makes the country wealthier, the country becomes rich enough to actually slowly reduce its damage to the environment as it becomes cost effective to do so. China is at the beginning of that stage and will continue through it in 2030, when it is expected to replace 1/5 of its current energy sources with zero-emission sources. So basically exactly what happened in nearly every other industrialized nation. No cause for alarm, and no reason to start a trade war. China right now is just doing exactly what Japan and South Korea were doing a few decades ago. That includes a poor environmental record and sweatshops. The result of that is actually this: This is really the base of the problem. The emissions growth with globalization is due to increasing incomes (IE people in China are richer so they consume more). In the short term, you're going to get this problem no matter what you do unless you deliberately keep China poor. The best way to offset it is to heavily encourage as much free trade as possible. Multinational corporations tend to pollute less because they're advanced enough to not have to rely on coal so much, and bring in new more efficient technologies at lower prices. To quote a DIFFERENT Harvard paper: (which, by the way, is a very good read... though it's understandable if you don't have the time since it's 40 pages long) Pollution per capita (and energy consumption) is at an all time low, yet the US manufacturing output is actually larger than it has ever been. China's in trouble specifically because it uses less efficient sources like coal for many purposes because it's cheap, which they're working on replacing with nuclear and wind power. However to truly solve this problem, they need a US style petroleum revolution utilizing shale (they're starting to do this). If you can lower the price of natural gas to the point where its more cost effective than coal like we did in the US, economics will go to work in your favor and people will start buying cleaner burning propane stoves and building natural gas power plants instead. Until then, though, not just the factories but the average person cooking food that will contribute (most people in China cook with primitive coal stoves: "Perhaps 80 percent (by population) of world exposure to particulates is indoor pollution in poor countries -- smoke from indoor cooking fires -- which need not involve any externality"). What exactly is your plan to fix China's environment (or, rather, to make them go faster than they're going now) and why are your ideas superior to those of a panel of well respected economists who more often than not say the basic premise of what you propose will result in a net negative? It's not something any culture is accustomed to because typically complaints about how everyone is using too much resources turn out to be incorrect. The human appetite for ever greater consumption hasn't stopped at any one of these points over the past million years: That's literally the definition of the word. Specifically, bullying is "to use superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants". Threatening to wreck China's economy and reduce hundreds of millions of people to poverty unless they apply the environmental standards you want them to is indeed an example of that. I never said it was entirely the fault of anyone. I just said that free trade has made sure China's average worker wage has risen four fold in two decades, that trying to make China cut down pollution quicker is not practical, and that the majority of economists disagree with your ideas. It's not a tactic, I'm stating the reality of the situation. If you cut back the level of trade with China, the average person gets much poorer. That is why those economists I cited said that refusing to liberalize trade with a country unless they apply the environmental standards you want was a bad idea. China's already reducing pollution. I think you're framing this issue disingenuously by saying that all that will happen is "the companies running these would make less profits"; one, you're underestimating the impact that will have (or at least I think you are, since I still don't know exactly what stricter standards you'd make a requirement), two... well let's assume that you're right, and that the companies in question will do what you say, AND that they'll still function well rather than being unable to afford the new regulations and go out of business. What then? Who's paying for this? "The companies" implied it would be entirely on the backs of the rich, but this is not the case. It will be the average Chinese worker. Losses in profits will be passed down to them, rather than just making sure that a rich businessman has to live in a slightly smaller mansion. To reiterate what the economists and the Harvard papers said: it's not worth the cost, unless your proposed measures are really minor. As such, in a nation still developing like China, the best way to help the environment is to help make the people there wealthy enough to be able to afford to care about the environment. We're slowly approaching that stage. Much less than are saved in the long run (the long run includes a cleaner environment) by massively boosted wealth. The average life span in China rose from 71 to 77 between 1990 and 2014, after free trade really took off, despite horrible pollution. The increase in pollution wasn't anywhere near bad enough to offset the massive benefits gained from increased income across the board. And after 2014, their pollution started falling. China's playing the long game and it's working out well for them so far. I don't know. How many? Considering that China's pollution laws have been getting stricter and they've agreed to power themselves with 20% zero-emission sources by 2030? Nope. In fact continuing rather than hampering trade will help the environment, as it eventually becomes more profitable to not pollute that much. From that Harvard paper: I would like comprehensive proof that what China is doing now won't be enough, and that threatening to withhold trade is a way to fix this. Because I'm sorry, the experts just don't agree with you here. That wasn't my intention. Why don't you tell me what your non-flawed approach would be? Here's mine: continue free trade as this will result in the average person getting wealthier which will reduce pollution in the long term. Expand free trade to include relaxation on nuclear export regs so it's cheaper (China has a shortage of human capital to train engineers) to build, maintain, and operate nuclear plants, in the process creating a larger market for skills in the US. That's a bit hypocritical considering you called the TPP "absolutely monstrous", wouldn't you say? What does that make people who support it? Anyway, this is rather far off from my original post about compensation. I'll try to summarize my original point in a concise manner: excluding supervisory personnel (15-20% of the work force), using two different price deflators, and leaving out non-wage benefits gives a distorted picture, because the increase in supervisory personnel represent a shift of workers to higher paying jobs, the deflators clash with each other,* and a disproportionate amount of the new wealth has gone to non-wage benefits for workers (e.g. healthcare, paid vacation, pensions; all of them together are one third of the average worker's compensation), respectively. The reality is that compensation has been rising proportionately with production, per OECD and the St. Louis Federal Reserve (plus some economists who wrote an article). *Specifically, the chart Ross used uses the Consumer Price Index which overstates the rate of inflation because of inadequate adjustment for quality changes and inadequate adjustment for substitution effects, while using another deflator for production. As OECD says, "If you want to compare productivity and pay fairly you should use the same deflator for both—that is, the GDP deflator" (also called the implicit price deflator). Making the simple correction of dividing earnings by the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD), instead of dividing by the CPI, already closes about a third of the gap. I think that's all I have to say. Well, besides this: props to danielsangeo for the posts about the unemployment rate. I think knowing how people come to incorrect or disingenuous numbers like "40% of people are unemployed" is extremely useful (and interesting). Otherwise they just get thrown around and you have no idea where they came from. I see that happening on the internet ALL THE TIME, so it's nice to know how to debunk the most common ones in detail. EDIT: Spoilered the graphs. Post didn't need to be that big.
  23. So. This never happened. Just like the predicted peak oil crisis ten years before never happened. Or that prediction that we'd hit peak oil in the early 1970s. Relevant article to hopefully end the thread:
  24. I would assume so. All TPP really does is expand US law to other countries so the USA can profit from its IPs overseas. I'd be a lot more receptive to this argument if there was about to be some copyright law reform and it was ruined by the almighty TPP, but that is simply not the case. I don't really want to get into this, but it is simply not an issue that matters to most people. For the most part only a subset of 18-35 year old people on the internet care about it. (coincidentally, these people don't vote much). Anyway, the general population in all of the involved countries heavily support the TPP, because the average citizen in a TPP country isn't going to care that US copyright laws are now the norm. Instead they're going to notice something like "hey, those shoes I wanted are 20 bucks cheaper", or maybe "wow, I'm making literally three times as much as I was ten years ago and my country's GDP per capita is no longer lower than Congo's!".
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