Google Stadia is at the failure stage

Why does the company fail to gain a foothold in the gaming market?

Reading time 5 minutes

About a year ago, on March 19, one of the world’s largest media corporations named Google announced the upcoming entry into the video game market. The company launched the Google Stadia game platform, something new in this area. The main feature that the creators of Stadia noted was the full focused of the new product on cloud gaming. This reminds Netflix analogue in video games: with a monthly paid subscription, the user gets access to the games in the platform’s library. At the same time he or she has an opportunity to connect within any device without downloading the games themselves. High resolution quality is guaranteed. A stable Internet connection and Google Chrome browser are required. At the announcement stage, Stadia looked interesting and seemed to be quite different from the market leaders (Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Switch). But everything changed dramatically six months later.

Никто не любит жадность
No one loves greed

The release of Google Stadia took place on November 19, 2019 and turned out to be disappointing. The main object of criticism was the general technical unavailability of the platform: the first buyers noted that the games work with significant glitches and are far from 4K resolution, as was promised at the announcement. In addition, many users were outraged by the Google pricing policy: the subscription costs $ 10 per month; Chromecast Ultra prefix, which includes a controller in Night Blue color, a Chromecast Ultra adapter, a three-month subscription for two and a Destiny 2 game costs $ 130; at the same time, the average price for a game will be similar to those of Sony, Microsoft and Xbox – $ 60. The current generation consoles for all Google competitors are about $ 500. There is also a monthly subscription worth about $ 7, but exclusively for online games. For single players (story games that a gamer can play alone) this subscription is not needed, as well as the Internet connection in general. This reveals another problem: users of Stadia are very dependent on the work of the company’s internal servers: if they crash, all game progress will not be saved. Another important obstacle, partially due to the preceding paragraphs, is the quantity of games. There were only 22 games in the Google start library, after 3 months of the service’s existence only 6 more were added. 28 games is an extremely small number for a company which is trying to become a full-fledged player in the market. Moreover, among these games there is not a single exclusivity. These are games that can only be played on one console, one of the most compelling reasons to buy one. At the moment, the PlayStation is a leader in the gaming industry thanks to exclusives such as the Uncharted series, The Last of Us, God of War, Bloodborne and many others. The Xbox has a series of Halo and Quantum Break, the Switch has Mario and Zelda. Stadia has nothing. The reason is Google itself: after the release, the company weakly supports the project (6 new games in 3 months to confirm). Accordingly, the audience, which was already relatively small, is beginning to decline. Therefore, game developers have no motivation to conclude exclusive production contracts with Google, because they still will not pay off in the current platform state.

За годы существования Google всего "умерло" 198 проектов
Over the years of Google’s existence, 198 projects have “died

Thus, Stadia is a vivid example of how an excellent idea can be ruined by poor technical performance and the lack of a clear PR strategy. The future of the project looks uncertain. It is unlikely that anyone will be surprised if he soon replenishes the “Google Cemetery“.

Nonexistent clothes

What is virtual clothing and why is it becoming popular?

Reading time 4 minutes

Imagine that you browse online stores in search of new clothes, and your eye involuntarily clings to a magnificent jacket. After a moment of thought, you decide to purchase it. But instead of ordering this jacket and getting it in your hands, you send one of your photos, and after a while you get it back. The only difference is that now you are depicted in a new jacket.

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

This concept of digital clothing may seem strange, but it was based on games and applications. The users spend real money on their virtual character’s clothes and hairstyle. Thus, the profit of the game “Covet Fashion”, which allows players to try on designer clothes and accessories using digital visualization, amounted to $ 53.4 million for 2018.

The first collection of virtual clothing, which was released in November 2018 by “Carlings”, instantly gained popularity. “In real life”, says Kiki Person, a manager of Scandinavian company, “such designer clothes cost thousands of pounds and are worn only once —to be posted on social networks.”

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

Digital clothing has received many positive reviews and has become a trend not only in Scandinavia. So, the influencer Daria Simonova was one of the first in the world to try on virtual trousers and a jacket. The girl noted that the concept was interesting and in line with modern trends.

“Firstly, it is eco-friendly, and secondly, clothing these days is more of an art on social networks. Virtual clothing is very convenient, and its design potential is huge, because it is cheaper to create.”

 Since 2018, digital clothing has spread throughout the world. In May 2019, a virtual dress was sold at a charity auction for £ 7,500. “In ten years, everyone will be wearing digital clothes”, says Mr. Ma, a buyer of this dress. “It’s definitely very expensive, but it’s a bit of an investment”, he added.

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

There are also companies producing digital clothing in Russia. The “Грань” brand presented a collection that was advertised by Alyona Pole, a virtual model: “I experiment a lot with digital materials, because I believe that new fashion should be environmentally friendly and should not destroy the environment.”

 

 

May the Cancel be with you

Star Wars video game projects are being canceled more and more often - what is the reason?

Reading time 5 minutes

On February 23, the world most famous virtual gaming platform Kotaku reported that Electronic Arts gaming company had canceled the development of its Star Wars game. It was engaged in EA Vancouver. This was posted on Twitter by Jason Schreyer, an editor-in-chief of the portal, one of the main insiders in the field. The Vancouver branch of EA was developing the single-player open-world video game Orca. It was based on a failed project of Visceral Games studio under the working title “Ragtag”. In 2017, Visceral Games was closed for unknown reasons. In the same year, according to information received from Schreyer, Orca was also shut down. After that, EA Vancouver took up another Star Wars game, Viking, but it was also canceled.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - единственная успешная игра по вселенной "Звездных войн" за последние годы
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the only successful Star Wars game in recent years.

There is some good news. Schreyer said that Respawn Entertainment’s development studio has received permission to produce the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sequel. It was released on November 15, 2019. Its average rating on the Metacritic aggregator is 8.1 out of 10, the result is well above the average. Financially, the novelty also became successful: by the end of January 2020, more than 8 million copies of the game were sold, what is 2 times higher than expectations of EA CFOs.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 - крупнейший провал EA
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 – EA’s biggest failure

But the success of Respawn Entertainment is rather a pleasant exception to the currently generally negative video game situation in the George Lucas universe. In 2013, EA entered into a ten-year agreement for the exclusive Star Wars games publisher with its owner, Disney Corporation. Since that time, there have been as many canceled games as there are three released. And if the “Fallen Order” really gained popularity, then both parts of the multiplayer “Star Wars: Battlefront” were adopted very ambiguously. This is especially true considering the second one, which was released in 2017. The problem was not the gameplay but the greed of Electronic Arts. All progress was built on lootboxes – virtual cases, after “opening” them the player received items of random quantity and quality. These cases could be bought either for game currency or for real money, but if you did not want to pay from your pocket, the player had to earn this currency for many hours. Simply put, gamers were outraged by such a “segregation of rich and poor.” In addition, there was a problem in the element of randomness: an unnecessary thing could fall out of the lootbox, or it could be the most unique one, which gives a great advantage over other players.

EA не очень любят
Gamers don’t like EA

As a result, EA gained a bad reputation in the gaming community. Players do not like the company because of excessive greed, and developers do not like it because of the production hell that many of its projects has fallen into. Visceral Games is one of the three examples when a large studio under the supervision of EA was closed. In addition, BioWare Montreal and Headgate Studios were also affected by the corporation.

The last couture show of Jean-Paul Gaultier

In the finale, the fashion world threw the maestro into the air and chanted “Gauthier! Gauthier!”

Reading time 3 minutes

On January 22, Jean Paul Gaultier, the one we call the terrible child of fashion, presented what is announced to be the last Haute Couture show of his eponymous house. Tears, laughter and surprised exclamations were heard every minute at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Three thousand spectators could feel a concert atmosphere in the air. The one and only Jean-Paul Gaultier could provoke such emotions. He worked especially hard on his last show. On January 17, the designer claimed that he was saying goodbye to Haute Couture Week. He came up with about 200 images and decided to demonstrate them all on the catwalk.

Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour - Japan - April 20th, 1990
Madonna Blond Ambition Tour – Japan – April 20th, 1990

The guests enjoyed nostalgia throughout the show. There was the creative director of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Gesquière, in the hall. He began his career with Gaultier as a junior assistant. Gesquière reminded Eva Herzigova, a Czech-Italian supermodel and actress, that he once dressed her before the show. Laetitia Casta, a French actress and model, who was also discovered by the maestro in 1994, came to the show in the same jacket she first appeared on the Jean-Paul Gaultier catwalk 26 years ago. The hall whispered that even anonymous Martin Margiela arrived at the Théâtre du Châtelet to say goodbye to the teacher. He assisted Gaultier in the early 1980s.

Dita Von Teese was wearing a dress made of bandage belts during the Jean-Paul Gautier show
Dita Von Teese was wearing a dress made of bandage belts during the Jean-Paul Gautier show

The performance began with a funeral scene from the 1966 movie “Who are You, Polly Maggoo?” Then people in black carried out a coffin with two cones. This was a reference to the legendary Gaultier cone bra in 1950th style, which Madonna glorified in 1990 as a part of her Blond Ambition World Tour. However, it was not a fateful lady in linen who came out, but the girl in a white dress, assembled from a dozen of other white doll dresses. Perhaps Gaultier wanted to say that couture was still alive, contrary to popular belief that this format was outdated. At least during the following hour no one doubted his idea.

Gigi Hadid joined the last Jean-Paul Gautier show
Gigi Hadid joined the last Jean-Paul Gautier show

Beloved muses of the designer convinced the public of the vitality of haute couture: Béatrice Dalle in the costume of a vampire smoked right on the stage, Dita Von Teese was wearing a dress made of bandage belts, Rossy de Palma looked like an eccentric widow. Coco Rocha repeated her legendary Irish dance. Irina Shayk commanded attention in a semi-sheer corset dress which featured the French designer’s iconic cone bra. Boy Georges sang his “Church Of The Poison Mind” while the crowd tossed Jean-Paul into the air for several minutes.

This parade will remain in the annals of fashion. The maestro assured that the last show did not sign the end neither of his career, nor of his brand. He said he already had lots of new projects, kept in secret.

Blizzard wants more gold

Warcraft 3: Reforged became the biggest failure in the history of the studio

Reading time 4 minutes

On January 29, one of the most expected Blizzard Entertainment projects went on sale – an updated version of the cult real-time strategy (RTS) of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos (2002) and its continuation The Frozen Throne (2003). Immediately after the release of the video game, it received the lowest ratings from critics among all the projects created by Blizzard – 60 out of 100 according to the most popular review aggregator portal Metacritic. Typically, Blizzard games receive ratings above 85 on this site, moreover, each time they become an event in the gaming world and are recognized as the best or among the best ones of the year. For example, the original Warcraft 3: got 92 out of 100 among critics and the same 9.2 out of 10 among players. The remake turned out to be very upsetting: at the moment, the user rating of the product is 0.5 out of 10. This is the worst result among all the games that have ever been released. Gamers are unhappy and are massively demanding to return the money for the purchase. The game even got the nickname “Warcraft 3: Refund”.

Warcraft 3: Reforged is defeated by critics and players

The main reason for the audience’s dissatisfaction was unfulfilled promises: during the announcement of the game at the major game festival BlizzCon 2018, developers talked about completely redesigned in-game videos and graphics, a fundamentally new gameplay, an endless variety of user content, etc. At the output, the strategy turned out to be much worse than during the festival presentation. Almost everyone who bought the game reported a large number of bugs (errors in the game code, due to which it does not work correctly), inability to play normally in a co-op, and system requirements that are too harsh when graphics is outdated. Finally, original game fans noted that the new version has significantly less interactive elements. There are in-game tournaments and clans, which played an important role in the online component of the 2002 game. Moreover, it turned out that it was not Blizzard employees who developed the game: the creation was outsourced to an unknown Malaysian company Lemon Sky Studios. This fact convinced the gaming community that Blizzard took Reforged irresponsibly and did not care about its quality.

An example of a bug in the game

Almost a week after the release, Blizzard developers made the first announcement in their official forum regarding Reforged. They apologized to the players and promised to release several patches (files for the game that fix errors in the code) in the nearest future. In general, they will continue to improve the game. In any case, this scandal ruined the Blizzard reputation. It will be much more difficult for the company to advertise new projects in the future.

Generation “Y”: what makes us who we are?

What is important for millennials ?

Reading time 4 minutes

Anyone born between 1985 and 2003 is called millennials. Sometimes we seem different, but there is still something in common. What values ​​do unite us ?

  1. Edutament is a meaning of life. We always strive for knowledge, and getting an education is one of our top priorities. One university is not enough for us, and there we go: in constant search for internships, summer schools, additional courses, workshops and lectures.
  2. I see my goal, I run towards it. Our generation is committed to self-development. We set goals, but refuse to move towards them cautiously and gradually. Millenials want to succeed in business immediately. Due to multitasking we love solving two problems at the same time.
All at once! Follow the goal without hesitation!
  1. Show me this immediately. The visual culture is extremely important for millennials. We look and notice. This helps the “Y” generation to understand the world. Therefore, it is not so simple to make an advertisement worthy of their attention.
Watch, notice and understand
  1. “Tell your friends.” It is important for us not only to watch, but also to share. And permanently! Media do not stop searching opportunities to meet this need: share button and streaming function appears in almost any application.
Share with friends
  1. Make the world better. We believe that this is possible. Millennials don’t only change themselves, but also the world around them. Today I will abandon plastic overuse, tomorrow I will sign several petitions in protection of homeless animals, and the day after tomorrow I’ll join a civic initiative.
Start changing within yourself what you want to change around
  1. The generation of kidult . We don’t want to grow up and therefore, we remain one foot in childhood. Sometimes a temporary departure from reality and “adulthood”, which is full of problems, is a must-have. And that is okey!

 

 

Off the hook

How to safeguard personal data from those who are willing to steal it

Reading time 6 minutes

The 28th of January is the international day of personal data protection since 2006. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has established the date to encourage people to increase their attention to the information they poste on the Internet. From this article, you will know what rules you should follow in order not to become an easy target for scammers.

Surf the net via VPN

Use VPN to provide encrypted Internet traffic and network anonymity. The data that pass through the VPN is secure because the technology creates a protective layer between the device and the Internet. Data interception is unlikely.

To use VPN, just download the application and log in. Choosing a service, remember that it should not store data or transfer it to anyone. It is proved that some free providers collect user information or do not encrypt traffic. Other services earn money on a subscription, not on data. Tor browser is an alternative to VPN. It preserves user’s anonymity and protects the Internet connection from surveillance.

Choose passwords properly

Rules for appropriate creating a password
Rules for appropriate creating a password

The main rule is one account — one password that is long and difficult. The more various symbols are used, the more effort hacker have to make to get the access to the account. Password manager is a handy tool that help not to forget all usernames and passwords. The program generates unique successions which are stored in an encrypted database for all usernames. To enter it, the master password is needed. It is the only succession to be remembered. By the way, some managers support two-factor authentication what makes them more secure.

Set up two-factor authentication

Try to apply it everywhere to protect data additionally. In this case to enter the account, the system requests two different types of data. Username and password is the first type, special code is the second. This code can be entered only by the mobile phone. It comes via SMS or email, sometimes biometric data or a USB key are used, though it occures less commonly. Moreover, a special authenticator application may be the second stage of protection. The app generates codes for entering accounts. This method is more reliable than SMS messages, because they are easy to intercept.

After having enabled two-step authentication in the account, choose which type of data you will enter in the second stage. Then set up backup ways to log in to your account
After having enabled two-step authentication in the account, choose which type of data you will enter in the second stage. Then set up backup ways to log in to your account

Encrypt!

Communicate via messengers that support end-to-end encryption instead of calling or sending SMS. Otherwise, correspondence and conversations will be stored on the servers of operators in the clear.

Enable the encryption of the file system. Then no one but you will get access to the decrypted correspondence, even if they get hold of a phone or laptop. The encryption is usually enabled on mobile devices by default while instructions for Windows or Mac computers are available on the Internet.

Disable displaying messages in notifications on the locked screen. If a hacker sees a one-time password from the Bank, even encryption will not help. For the same reason, put a PIN code on your SIM card: after stealing the phone and moving the card to his own, the attacker will still not get to your funds.

In 2019, hacker attacks on Sberbank began to occur 15-20% more often, and on January 2, 2020, the Bank was subjected to the most powerful attack in its history
In 2019, hacker attacks on Sberbank began to occur 15-20% more often, and on January 2, 2020, the Bank was subjected to the most powerful attack in its history

Encrypt the email: PGP technology will help to do this. The message is encrypted before sending and the interceptor will not be able to read it.

Use the HTTPS Protocol. Unlike HTTP, it encrypts the data that you put on the site, what means that they will not be able to intercept it.

Maintain the information hygiene

  • use licensed software
  • install updates
  • try to avoid public wi-fi networks
  • use anti-virus software
  • learn to make sure that no one is listening to you

Share the security rules with interlocutors whom you exchange data with, and then your correspondence will be protected at both ends.

The Irishman is on top

American critics call Scorsese's "Irishman" the best movie of 2019

Reading time 5 minutes

The National Council of Critics of the United States recognized Martin Scorsese’s movie “Irishman” as the best film of 2019. This title is one of the most prestigious one for any Hollywood film. In different years the title was given to the “Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “Schindler’s List” (1993), “Pulp Fiction” (1994) and others. The “Irishman” is the second Scorsese’s work to be awarded with this title. The first one was the 2011 adventure film “The Guardian of Time”. In addition, a screenwriter, Stephen Zellian, also received an award for the best adapted screenplay.

Martin Scorsese is regularly recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. For example, in 2010, a popular American film and music magazine, Paste conducted a survey that showed that readers rated Scorsese as the best director alive. He was ahead of Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and many others.

Мартин Скорсезе
Director of the “Irishman” movie Martin Scorsese

“The Irishman” is a crime drama based on the novel “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt. It describes the real story of trade unionist, Frank Sheeran, nicknamed “The Irishman,” associated with the Bufalinos mafia family. The budget of the film was about $ 150 million.

The main roles were played by Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and other famous Hollywood actors. Interestingly, de Niro and Pesci haven’t participated in Scorsese’s works for 24 years. Their last collaboration was the movie “Casino” in 1995. Moreover, after this film, Scorsese stopped shooting criminal dramas, switching to other genres. That is why the “Irishman” is also interesting as a kind of Scorsese’s return to his earlier works.

Джо Пеши (слева) и Роберт де Ниро (справа) в фильме "Казино"
Joe Pesci (left) and Robert de Niro (right) in the movie “Casino”

When creating the film, motion capture technology was used. It transfers the facial expressions and body movements of a real actor to a digitized computer model. This was done in order to show the main characters of the picture at different ages, without using makeup. This technology was popularized in the first half of the 2000s by a director, Peter Jackson, who used motion capture to create images of Gollum in the trilogy Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) and the King Kong movie (2005). The films were commercially successful, welcomed by the critics, and received many awards, in particular, the Oscars for the best visual effects.

Использование motion capture в фильме
Using motion capture in “Irishman”

The film is an exclusive product of Netflix company. It means that it is impossible to watch it in cinemas or on other entertainment streaming platforms. The “Irishman” was first shown on September 27 at the New York Film Festival. On November 1, it went on limited rental at 8 cinemas in New York and Los Angeles. On November 27, the film became available for viewing via Netflix subscription.

Is it good or is it bad to watch series ?

How do TV shows affect our brains?

Reading time 4 minutes

According to a survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends about 3 hours a day watching TV, which equals about 20 hours a week. Recently, the streaming company Netflix found out that 61% of users regularly watch from 2 to 6 episodes of the series in one session.

Watching TV shows is a way to get rid of stress
Why do people consciously spend time regarding other people’s stories?

There are several reasons why watching someone else’s life brings emotional pleasure. The fact is that brains produce dopamine – one of the hormones of happiness. Psychology Doctor Rene Carr told NBC News that the hormone of joy puts a person in a condition similar to a drug addiction. The hormone sends a signal to brains which says: “This is good. Keep up with the good work .” That’s why a person cannot stop on a single episode.

There is a term “binge-watching”, which literally translates as a “drunk viewing.” Usually the word “binge” is used in the context of excessive drinking, overeating or shopaholism, but more recently it has been used in relation to series addicts. Dr. Carr noted:

“Neural pathways can provoke heroin and sexual addiction in the same manner as addiction to watching TV shows does.”

142 Toledo University study participants find themselves addicted to TV shows

Scientists from the “Laguna family” health center in California have found that our brains perceive all actions that happened on a television, book, or just in the imagination as real. We begin to associate ourselves with the character of the book or the hero of the television series. These heroes cause empathy. We want to experiencetheir feelings.

John Mayer, a clinical psychologist at the “Doctor On Demand” clinic, notes that people use fictitious reality to get rid of stress. Watching television shows helps them to block thoughts about everyday routine.

In a study conducted by the University of Toledo, 142 out of 408 participants found themselves addicted to watching TV shows. Addicts reported to have higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than others.

During a keen viewing, we dive into a fantasy world

According to experts, watching TV shows helps strengthen relationships with others. When a person regards series with other people, he feels himself as a part of the community. The world-famous festival “Comic Con”, which takes place in Russia, brings together the fans of various TV shows, comics, movies or video games every year.

Despite the benefits of the series, experts urge not to abuse viewing them. If you are thinking about spending an evening watching TV shows instead of talking with loved ones, the addiction is calling.

Rihanna named world’s richest female musician

Forbes estimated the fortune of a pop diva at $600 million

Reading time 3 minutes

Popular singer Rihanna topped the list of the richest women in the music industry. She received this status thanks to a large contract with a world leader in the production of luxury clothes LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The corporation includes such brands as Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, Moët & Chandon, Givenchy, Chaumet and Hennessy. LVMH is headed by billionaire Bernard Arnaud, his family is in 4th place on the Forbes list. Arno’s fortune is estimated at $76 billion.

Fenty Beauty
The greatest income to the singer brings luxury decorative cosmetics

Renowned singer and LVMH have been working together on Fenty Beauty luxury cosmetics brand since 2017. At the initial stage, sales of the line simultaneously covered the Internet and 1,620 stores in more than 17 countries of the world. Products also represented the largest network of cosmetics stores Sephora, which is also owned by LVMH. Within a few weeks of sales, the new cosmetic line brought the creators about $100 million. An important success factor was the promotion of the brand in an Instagram-star account, which is followed by 72 million users. In 2018, the creators of Fenty Beauty earned about $570 million.

LVMH presumably owns 50% of the company, while the singer owns 15%. The official representative of Rihanna denied this information, but he did not share the exact data.

In addition to the cosmetic brand, Rihanna is also promoting her Savage X Fenty underwear line. The singer leads this project together with a large retailer TechStyle Fashion Group. The main idea of ​​the brand is that beauty is different, and girls should not be ashamed of their bodies.

In May of this year, a popular singer with the support of the LVMH corporation presented her own fashion house Fenty. The brand creates luxury clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry. Rihanna believes that Bernard Arno is the best partner in business and in creativity. According to the singer, the general director of LVMH gave the actress complete freedom of action and trusted her taste.

Fenty luxury brand has become the first fashion house created by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in the last 30 years. The line from Rihanna promotes the principles of inclusion and offers a wide range of sizes.