Microsoft Invests and Does Well

Microsoft are investing $1 billion into security. This is a very good move. Microsoft are doing very well at present. The focus on cloud computing has been a marvellous strategy, and this investment will help it offer a robust and secure cloud and enterprise offering.

The company has also diversified into mobile with its own suite of mobile apps and premium hardware, with its own computers. Its mobile strategy has been paying off big time, but I still am a bit reticent to praise its hardware efforts. It still feels like a mistake to try to take on Apple and other companies in the hardware stakes, though if they get a little success it may be worth it.

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Poem: What Next for The World?

What next for the world,

What next for us?

What next for the world,

Is it written on a bus?

What next for the world,

What next for the good?

What next for the bad,

What will happen –

What should?

Could,

Would,

Be,

Is it time for us to live the future free?

Apple on Course to Disrupt the Hardcore Gaming Consoles

Apple, yesterday allowing developers to have games and apps that are as big as four gigabytes is a sign that Apple TV will be hosting hardcore video games and 4K content for those games and apps very soon. This is a warning sign to the PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch: Apple is coming to eat their lunch. Apple is also going to have 4K content in apps so their apps will be top-notch. In an example of how quickly things exponentially change in the tech world, the previous limit on apps and games was 200 MB file sizes. That’s a 20 times increase. Your move, Google.

Mario on the Switch Looks Boring; Zelda Looks Good

The new Mario game for the Nintendo Switch doesn’t look that enticing or imaginative. It seemed quite boring to be honest. I think Nintendo needs to innovate better when it comes to the Mario franchise. On the other hand, the new Zelda game looks visually stunning and quite interesting as a game.

The Nintendo Switch and the Video Gaming Industry

You get the feeling that the Nintendo Switch will only be a middling success. The price of the console is too high and it doesn’t look like there are many games that would make the purchase worthwhile. I really think that Apple TV and Android TV is the future of hardcore gaming, though as yet they don’t have enough top-notch studios making games for them. This will soon change, as consumers will be drawn to cheaper games with good gameplay on both platforms.

The Nintendo Switch doesn’t have enough third-party support to make it a viable console. And sure it is more portable than the Wii U, the PS4 and Xbox One but I don’t think that is much of a draw nowadays what with smartphones, phablets and tablets. It will be a bit sad to see Nintendo lose and have to give up on hardcore home-based gaming consoles but it has to do so. And anyway, the 3DS and 2DS along with their mobile games will keep their company relevant in the gaming world, though Nintendo will have to accept that they must downsize their company and besides focusing on the 3DS, 2DS and the successor to those portable gaming consoles, they will have to become a gaming studio in the main. This means their profit will most likely decline but it could be a good opportunity for innovation at the company in terms of video game franchises and new iterations of established franchises.

Nintendo will have to work harder to survive and thrive but this could revitalise the company. In the future they may also learn to embrace change quicker and adapt to changes in gaming industry well as a result. My two cents is that Nintendo are a Japanese company and Japanese companies don’t like to admit failure as they have a cultural issue with admitting failure in their honour culture.

Companies like Valve don’t have this type of cultural flaw holding them back so it looks like American companies will dominate the gaming industry going forward. Valve will survive and do well because they have an established PC base of gamers and they may have some success with their efforts to create a console base of gamers too.

It’s going to be fascinating to see who pulls out of the hardcore gaming industry, Sony or Microsoft. Possibly Microsoft will because they don’t make money out of their gaming endeavours with their hardcore gaming offerings. They will have a small future in mobile gaming, perhaps. Sony may have to also pull out eventually, but they are making an effort to establish themselves in the mobile gaming market. This is their future – a highly diminished one. But this could be good news for gamers, as Apple TV and Android TV hardcore games will be much cheaper.

A Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a very impressive film. Once again, the skill that Disney has in telling stories is very evident. The acting is good and urgent throughout. And the characters are strong enough to keep the film from being a soulless action-packed exercise.

The story starts with a good pace and sense of foreboding. Jyn Erso is a character that doesn’t care too much for any heroic purpose, unlike Luke Skywalker. It is refreshing to see a character that doesn’t want to get sucked into the very dramatic events of Star Wars, but cares instead for her own survival and for her parents.

Of course, Jyn grows up, and she resists getting involved in the war at first, but eventually finds a spirit to fight back against the Empire and lead a pack of Rebels. This is genius character development because we see all the human, realistic characteristics of someone growing up and getting involved in a war that wasn’t of their choosing, and then slowly find that spark inside to fight for what’s right.

The action sequences are epic and exciting, and the special effects and CGI dazzling, but the decision to use CGI for one of the Empire’s top brass was, while not that bad, still not an inspired choice as it quite noticeable that this wasn’t a real actor acting. It ruined my suspension of disbelief any time the character was in a scene. I suppose it wasn’t that bad because the emotions that the character showed in previous Star Wars films weren’t quite difficult to render (sternness, seriousness and curtness), and perhaps this character was already central to the story because of the content of the three Star Wars films that chronologically follow this prequel.

The film has some poignancy to it, and Cassian Andor, one of the Rebels, is ruthless to help the Rebellion, and at another point that same character tells Jyn and other Rebels that all of the Rebels around him did bad things to further the cause of defeating the Empire, which to me signals that the Star Wars films of this era are more mature and realistic. The film makes it perfectly clear to us that this is a war, lots of people are going to die for different reasons and reasons that are not good ones in a black and white way, but rather in a way that highlights the grey areas of fighting a war morally. This is a big change of tone for the Star Wars Universe. It is probably because people demand grittier and more true to life entertainment nowadays, and in this way it highlights the madness of war, even if war is needed to protect people and to combat malevolent forces. It is also something that has sown inconsistency in the narrative of Star Wars. If one were to watch Episodes IV to VI, after watching this film, they may be jarringly simplistic and lacking in honesty.

However, overall this film deserves a nine out of ten for it’s good acting, thrilling action sequences and good character development. The reason it doesn’t get a ten out of ten is because there is so much action in the film, which inhibits character development, and thus it is hard to care a whole lot about the characters in the story, even if you care about the cause and the values of the heroes.