Take 5: JDR's Gaming Conclusions - 23/08/19

August 23, 2019

A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.

Conclusion One: Konami and EA indicate the null hypothesis should be rejected

“...the null hypothesis is a general statement or default position that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena, or no association among groups...”

The above is taken directly from Wikipedia to define what the null hypothesis is. In the twisted and tantalising tale of EA and Konami, the data obtained over the past few weeks would suggest the null hypothesis be rejected categorically, as there is a clear and obvious connection between what EA has done, and what Konami has done. 

In a previous Take 5 article we commented on the club licensing changes between PES and FIFA for this year. Well now we have more data, which basically tell us that Konami has taken various licensing agreements from EA, and vice versa. Konami now has the Serie A license, and that of Euro 2020, from UEFA. So what’s happened is PES has some of the flavour FIFA used to have, whilst FIFA has different flavours which used to belong to PES, possibly prompted by Konami’s game’s big loss of the Champions League last year. 

What does all this mean? Pretty much nothing. The games will be evolved iterations of their predecessors, only with certain team and competition names made up, and others with the correct nomenclature and branding. So whilst we have rejected the null hypothesis in that the changes in FIFA and PES are not related — there is clearly some tit-for-tat going on here in a desire to keep each game relevant — I do not believe we could reject the null hypothesis if applied to a slightly different experiment: whether either game will be improved or worsened as a result of these changes. 

Conclusion Two: Insomniac Games will tackle the MCU

Now, bear with me please. I’m well aware that Crystal Dynamics is making an Avengers game for publisher Square Enix. I’m also apprised of the latest news regarding Spider-Man the film and Sony. But let’s run with this incredibly logical conclusion anyway. 

Insomniac Games made the brilliantly received PS4 exclusive, Marvel’s Spider-Man. Insomniac Games has just been bought by Sony and is now a first-party developer. Spider-Man is part of the MCU and likely to be involved in the New Avengers should such a thing come to pass in the movies’ Phase 5. So why would you not, given the importance of Spider-Man to you, get your proven superhero developer — who you’ve just bought — to get making that now, to come out alongside the films when it’s time and shower gamers in the joy which Spider-Man, Deadpool, the X-Men and whomever actually does buddy up to takeover from the likes of Tony Stark and Thor? 

It just seems totally and utterly logical for all, even Disney and Sony in collaborative terms, given how well the Spidey game did. You read it here first. 

Conclusion Three: Ubisoft must be celebrated

Why, might you ask? Well, as a top-tier developer and publisher that’s associated with annual, or at the very least regular, iterations of their biggest franchises (Assassin’s Creed! Far Cry! Repeat ad infinitum), they are actually bloody good at developing new IP. In this generation I can recall from the top of my head Watch Dogs, For Honor and The Crew. This trend looks likely to continue well into the next generation and beyond, according to an interview between MCV and Alain Corre, Ubisoft’s EMEA Executive Director:

"We cherish our fans that are following our brands like Assassin’s Creed or Ghost Recon going forward, but we feel that it’s also a good moment now to go onto investing in new IPs. There are lots of new technologies appearing; PC is still developing fast, there are new consoles coming next year, the streaming technology is there, cross-play is also something that will excite players, so we feel it’s the right time to create new genres, and new IPs for us. After all, if the sun can shine on these ones, we’ll have them for a long time to come.” - Alain Corre, EMEA Executive Director, Ubisoft

It seems some of this desire is borne of the freedom provided by Ubisoft finally being free of Vivendi minority ownership:

“We are an independent company, we want to remain independent, that’s the best way we can grow, and we have proven that already, many times, so we are super happy to be able to decide what we want to decide, when we want to decide it, in the future.”

In a world where cinema is full of remakes and the gaming world is used to the yearly cycle of Modern Warfares and the like, it’s fantastic to have such a player celebrating new IP development and it being willing to invest and experiment. Not every title will succeed, nor will they be liked — definitely not by everyone — but that’s not the point. Creativity is encouraged and provided with the resources it needs to flourish. This is even true within the older franchises, with Assassin’s Creed for example becoming totally different with Origins and Odyssey. Ubisoft must be celebrated and if they are, they will continue. 

Conclusion Four: Shoes are important for gaming, naturally

Ha, yes, shoes are apparently important for gaming. So important that you can buy a pair of specially designed and touted as the world’s first performance eSports shoes, according to Business Insider

These shoes have come about via a partnership between Made in Brazil, an eSports group, and K-Swiss, the American shoe manufacturer. Obviously they’re made to ensure you look and feel great so you don’t need to worry during any of your gaming sessions. Presumably that covers training, competition and playing just for, you know, fun. 

Apparently, this is all real according to the President of K-Swiss Barney Walters:

“For players to perform their best, they must look and feel their best. In the eSports world, this is no exception as physical and psychological preparation breeds excellence in performance, exactly what the One-Tap offers.” - Barney Walters, President, K-Swiss.

So yes, gamers need shoes to help them feel good physically and mentally, as well as actually aid their performance. Marketing is crazy sometimes, isn’t it? I mean does anyone believe this utter puffery? No, of course not. So tell it like it is: here are some shoes we’re selling to gamers and they’re cool (I presume the makers would think so) and as such you should buy them. There’s nothing to do with actual gaming or gaming performance now, is there?

Conclusion Five: Be careful what you say around your Xbox

In news that should come as a revelation to precisely no-one, multiple current and ex-Microsoft contractors have confirmed that they have listened to audio recorded by the Xbox in order to "improve the console's voice command features." An article in Vice on Thursday confirmed that while recordings were only supposed to be triggered by words such as "Xbox" or "Hey Cortana", they were also sometimes triggered "by mistake".

This isn't the first time that Microsoft — or indeed, other tech giants — have come under fire for illicit recording of consumers. It was revealed earlier this month that contractors also listened to Skype calls to aid with translation, while Apple's Siri and Facebook Messenger have also been in the spotlight for audio recording, accidental or otherwise.

"We’ve long been clear that we collect voice data to improve voice-enabled services and that this data is sometimes reviewed by vendors," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email statement. This is apparently included in the Xbox Terms of Service (i.e. the masses of text that you almost certainly blindly agreed to when you set up your console).

According to the contractors (who spoke on condition of anonymity), most of the recorded data was of children — usually mid-game. "Occasionally I heard ‘Xbox, tell Solas to heal,’ or something similar, which would be a command for Dragon Age: Inquisition," one contractor reported. In the case of Xbox the culprit was Cortana, a virtual assistant which was actually removed from the console in July this year.

Still, as more and more voice-activated technology gets installed in our homes, consumers are rightly worried about what, and more importantly who, is listening to your everyday conversations. Convenience often comes at a cost.

If you want to review and delete the data Microsoft holds on you, go to this page.

You can subscribe to Jump Chat Roll on your favourite podcast players including:

Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed this podcast, and if there are any topics you'd like to hear us tackle in future episodes!

Luciano Howard

I've been gaming for 30+ years on the Commodore VIC-20 to the Nintendo Switch and most things in-between. I enjoy all kinds of games but if I had to pick a couple right now, I'd say I adore Mario and love Dark Souls. I can talk about either ad infinitum...