Saturday, February 27, 2016

Best movies of the 1980s

1     The Breakfast Club    7.9  1985
2     Real Genius    7  1985
3     Sixteen Candles    7.2  1984
4     Weird Science    6.6  1985
5     Pretty in Pink    6.7  1986
6     Back to the Future    8.5  1985
7     Back to the Future Part II    7.8  1989
8     Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back    8.8  1980
9     Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi    8.4  1983
10     Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan    7.7  1982
11     Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home    7.3  1986
12     E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial    7.8  1982
13     Dirty Dancing    6.9  1987
14     Platoon    8.1  1986
15     The Princess Bride    8.1  1987
16     Raiders of the Lost Ark    8.5  1981
17     Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom    7.6  1984
18     Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade    8.3  1989
19     The Terminator    8.1  1984
20     Who Framed Roger Rabbit    7.7  1988
21     When Harry Met Sally...    7.6  1989
22     Labyrinth    7.4  1986
23     Legend    6.5  1985
24     Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure    6.9  1989
25     Top Gun    6.9  1986
26     Footloose    6.5  1984
27     Desperately Seeking Susan    5.8  1985
28     Poltergeist    7.4  1982
29     Flashdance    6.1  1983
30     Ghostbusters    7.8  1984
31     Ghostbusters II    6.5  1989
32     Gremlins    7.2  1984
33     Superman II    6.8  1980
34     Splash    6.2  1984
35     Some Kind of Wonderful    7.1  1987
36     The Legend of Billie Jean    6.5  1985
37     Risky Business    6.8  1983
38     Working Girl    6.7  1988
39     Roxanne    6.6  1987
40     Ruthless People    6.9  1986
41     The Lost Boys    7.2  1987
42     Adventures in Babysitting    6.8  1987
43     Beetlejuice    7.5  1988
44     St. Elmo's Fire    6.3  1985
45     All the Right Moves    5.9  1983
46     Mannequin    5.7  1987
47     The Karate Kid    7.2  1984
48     The Karate Kid, Part II    5.9  1986
49     Weekend at Bernie's    6.3  1989
50     The Untouchables    8  1987
51     Die Hard    8.2  1988
52     Raising Arizona    7.4  1987
53     The Last Emperor    7.8  1987
54     A Christmas Story    8.1  1983
55     Terms of Endearment    7.4  1983
56     The Little Mermaid    7.6  1989
57     The Fox and the Hound    7.3  1981
58     Glory    7.9  1989
59     A Fish Called Wanda    7.6  1988
60     Witness    7.4  1985
61     Field of Dreams    7.6  1989
62     Moonstruck    7.1  1987
63     Ferris Bueller's Day Off    7.9  1986
64     Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior    7.6  1981
65     Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome    6.2  1985
66     Stand by Me    8.1  1986
67     The Abyss    7.6  1989
68     The Accused    7.1  1988
69     Akira    8.1  1988
70     An American Tail    6.9  1986
71     The NeverEnding Story    7.4  1984
72     The Secret of NIMH    7.6  1982
73     The Last Unicorn    7.5  1982
74     An American Werewolf in London    7.6  1981
75     Anne of Green Gables    8.4  1985
76     Annie    6.5  1982
77     The Fly    7.5  1986
78     The Fly II    4.9  1989
79     Armed and Dangerous    5.5  1986
80     Batman    7.6  1989
81     The Bay Boy    6.5  1984
82     Steel Magnolias    7.2  1989
83     Beaches    6.8  1988
84     Beverly Hills Cop II    6.4  1987
85     Big    7.3  1988
86     The Big Chill    7.2  1983
87     The Black Cauldron    6.4  1985
88     The Black Stallion Returns    5.9  1983
89     Bloodsport    6.8  1988
90     The Blue Lagoon    5.7  1980
91     Blue Thunder    6.3  1983
92     Born on the Fourth of July    7.2  1989
93     The 'Burbs    6.8  1989
94     Caddyshack    7.4  1980
95     The Muppets Take Manhattan    6.9  1984
96     Firestarter    6  1984
97     Cat's Eye    6.2  1985
98     Chariots of Fire    7.3  1981
99     Children of the Corn    5.6  1984
100     Child's Play    6.5  1988
101     Cocktail    5.8  1988
102     Cocoon    6.6  1985
103     Cocoon: The Return    5.3  1988
104     *batteries not included    6.5  1987
105     The Color Purple    7.8  1985
106     Commando    6.7  1985
107     Communion    5.7  1989
108     Crocodile Dundee    6.5  1986
109     Crocodile Dundee II    5.5  1988
110     Crusoe    6.4  1988
111     Cujo    6  1983
112     Dangerous Liaisons    7.7  1988
113     The Dark Crystal    7.2  1982
114     D.A.R.Y.L.    6.1  1985
115     Police Academy    6.6  1984
116     Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment    5.6  1985
117     Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol    4.7  1987
118     Police Academy 6: City Under Siege    4.1  1989
119     Date with an Angel    5.7  1987
120     Dead Calm    6.8  1989
121     Deadly Friend    5.5  1986
122     The Dead Pool    6.3  1988
123     Dead Ringers    7.3  1988
124     The Dead Zone    7.2  1983
125     D.O.A.    6.1  1988
126     Dominick and Eugene    7  1988
127     Dragnet    5.9  1987
128     Troop Beverly Hills    5.4  1989
129     Dream a Little Dream    5.9  1989
130     Earth Girls Are Easy    5.2  1988
131     Enemy Mine    6.9  1985
132     Escape from New York    7.2  1981
133     Lethal Weapon    7.6  1987
134     Lethal Weapon 2    7.2  1989
135     Explorers    6.6  1985
136     Fatal Attraction    6.9  1987
137     Jumpin' Jack Flash    5.8  1986
138     The Flamingo Kid    6.2  1984
139     One Crazy Summer    6.4  1986
140     Stand and Deliver    7.3  1988
141     Lean on Me    7.4  1989
142     Flowers in the Attic    5.6  1987
143     Highlander    7.2  1986
144     48 Hrs.    6.9  1982
145     Frantic    6.9  1988
146     From the Hip    6.2  1987
147     F/X    6.6  1986
148     Gleaming the Cube    6.1  1989
149     Heathers    7.3  1988
150     The Golden Child    5.9  1986
151     Good Morning, Vietnam    7.3  1987
152     The Great Outdoors    6.6  1988
153     Planes, Trains & Automobiles    7.6  1987
154     Throw Momma from the Train    6.2  1987
155     Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes    6.3  1984
156     Altered States    6.9  1980
157     The Rescue    5.3  1988
158     Hannah and Her Sisters    8  1986
159     Harry and the Hendersons    5.9  1987
160     Heavy Metal    6.7  1981
161     Honey, I Shrunk the Kids    6.3  1989
162     Hoosiers    7.6  1986
163     The Wizard    6  1989
164     The Name of the Rose    7.8  1986
165     The Journey of Natty Gann    7  1985
166     Twins    6  1988
167     Kickboxer    6.3  1989
168     K-9    5.9  1989
169     La Bamba    6.8  1987
170     Ladyhawke    7  1985
171     Lady in White    6.7  1988
172     The Land Before Time    7.3  1988
173     The Last Starfighter    6.7  1984
174     Legal Eagles    5.9  1986
175     Less Than Zero    6.3  1987
176     Little Shop of Horrors    6.9  1986
177     Look Who's Talking    5.8  1989
178     Lucas    6.8  1986
179     Major League    7.2  1989
180     The Man from Snowy River    7.2  1982
181     Return to Snowy River    6.5  1988
182     The Manhattan Project    6.1  1986
183     Married to the Mob    6.1  1988
184     Mask    7.2  1985
185     Maximum Overdrive    5.4  1986
186     Midnight Run    7.6  1988
187     Mississippi Burning    7.8  1988
188     The Money Pit    6.3  1986
189     Monkey Shines    6.2  1988

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Democrats matrix

Last Saturday morning, I went for a nice long run in South Florida and pondered the presidential primary contests. It appears that the GOP is down to three fellas. But it was the Democrat duel that made me think the most. I wondered how Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders was causing such an uproar in the Democratic primary. After all, what he is proposing with this “Democratic Socialism” has never found lasting success anywhere in the world, unless you appreciate equality of outcomes. Then it hit me: the message Sanders is delivering reminded me of the 90’s movie “The Matrix.” The basic premise of the film correlates to the governing philosophy of which Sanders promotes. In the film, humans have been overtaken by the “machines” and are being used as energy sources since their prior energy source – the sun – has been lost. The machines create a perfect, computer-generated world for their human batteries to reside in – the Matrix. However, there are humans who have escaped the Matrix and live in the “real world,” where life is imperfect and tough. It is a world all about survival, where they are constantly hunted by the machines. Even within the Matrix, there are agents who police the computer generated world making sure there are no disruptions – they can take on any form. My favorite scene was when the character Morpheus asks the lead character Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, to take a red pill or a blue pill. "You take the blue pill, the story ends,” says Morpheus. “You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." The idea of progressive socialism is our world’s Matrix. It is a utopian world that promises all that one would desire. It is based upon a belief that one can have as many “free” things as they wish. These “free” things are guaranteed by the “machines” of progressive socialism, who believe they can create this world that does not exist. Just as the Matrix’s machines needed humans plugged in as their energy source, progressive socialists need to collectively drain the energy of individuals to make their schemes work. When one is plugged into the matrix of progressive socialism, you do not exist for yourself. Your energy is usurped for the collective existence of the machines, and in exchange you are rewarded with the fantasy life of the Matrix. Then come along those who have been “unplugged” from the matrix; conservatives who seek to, as Morpheus stated, free other minds. Conservatives come along and confront those plugged in with the seminal question, blue pill or red pill. How very interesting that in American politics that blue is associated with the Democrat party and red with the Republican party. If you take the blue pill you can stay in the fantasy world of the Matrix…but the red pill will free your mind, and you will see how deep the rabbit hole goes. The red pill represents freedom and liberty, allowing the individual to separate from the collective. However, the real world is not one of fantasy and pleasure; it is about survival, working hard, and evading the sentinels – the hunter machines, the liberal progressive media. That is what it is like as the conservative today, and especially a minority conservative. The agents seek to prevent you from freeing more minds from the Matrix. They cannot allow you to educate and inform and have people taking the red pill and escaping their grip.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Many Christians are convinced that being “political,” or even voting, somehow violates their religious faith. They think Christians should be ”in the world, but not of it” abstaining from earthly messes like government and instead keep their eyes on the sky, patiently awaiting Christ’s return that will fix everything. Lucky for us, the Founders, virtually all of whom were Christians steeped in the Bible since school days, never bought that view, or they wouldn’t have started the revolution against King George that gave us our great nation. And we would all be British.

Four times in the Declaration of Independence the Christian God is credited as author of the values and rights on which America was founded and his protection invoked.  It is way past time to rise up and revive those values.  This election, Christians who are sick and tired of government’s chokehold, sick and tired of God’s man-woman marriage being mocked and branded homophobic, sick and tired of the moral rot in which our society is wallowing, must come out and vote against it.   

The only way to stop the relentless zombie march of the God-challenged secularists against believers is by voting for leaders from school board to president who pledge to tirelessly defend the original Christian morals of this country and have actually done so, not merely waved their mom’s Bible from a staged rally. 

Everywhere, an all-powerful “culture” and arrogant government are shredding the Bible as well as the Constitution. The immorality that God warns us against rampages across the society from a young woman seen by millions mimicking sex onstage, to the vile woman-hating lyrics of the songs our kids constantly have plugged into their ears, to the celebration of aberrant “marriage” that the Supreme Court declares normal, overturning the will of millions in 30-plus states. After the Supreme Court justices trashed God’s law, the White House--in gleeful party mode--lit up the rainbow colors of the same-sex marriage lobby, deliberately insulting the faithful in this Christian-majority nation.

Humans created by God in his own image are reduced to body parts and a non-profit that pretends to be a woman’s health provider dismembers babies in the womb for profit. And this outrage is funded by we the taxpayers. Television is a slaughterhouse of rape, mutilation,  murder and dissection of human beings as if they were so much hamburger. The victims are nearly all women. The most-searched topic on the Internet is pornography which horrifically abuses women, men, and even young children while destroying marriages and families.     

“Sex education” starting in grade school is convincing our kids that the same-sex affection so typical in the pre-teen years means they will be homosexuals for life, while gays are really only 3 or 4 percent of the population.    

Our citizens are increasingly addicted to drugs and other peoples’ money. Fully half of the population takes government support in the form of housing, food stamps, or other types of welfare. Half of the population also pays no federal income tax. The socialist worldview – taking from those who earn their income by working, and giving to those who don’t – is a page ripped  from the fevered Communist brain of Karl Marx who in 1875 decreed, “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” Now, after over 140 years of disastrous failures that have killed about 120 million of their own people (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.) this lethal atrocity is being resuscitated like the living dead.

Our nation has always provided the truly needy a generous safety net as it should, but in the last seven years the safety net has morphed into a feather bed. The “social gospel” preached by liberals actually contradicts the real Gospel. The Apostle Paul warned, “… if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work…such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”  2 Thess. 3:10-12. God knew what great human satisfaction comes from work, and so he gifted us each with talents and abilities so we would find fulfillment using our God-given skills.

But the idea of “income redistribution” in the name of “equality” defies God’s plan for earning our own way. Taking from others is really a government-driven form of stealing, forbidden by the Bible’s Eighth Commandment. Its evil twin, coveting whatever your neighbor has, is banned by the Tenth Commandment yet promoted by this government as class warfare. Our 20 trillion dollar debt is an even more deeply troubling form of theft, stealing from our own children and grandchildren.

This is why the big-government juggernaut is a hugely destructive immoral force that must be defeated. It steals our children’s futures, and even takes possession of our bodies, erasing our freedom to make our own medical decisions. It hunts down Christian dissenters from its perverse orthodoxy, compassionate groups like Little Sisters of the poor, or a Christian cake baker who declines to participate in a same-sex wedding; even pastors who refuse to marry “couples” of identical gender. In these and hundreds of other ways, it denies us as Christians the “free exercise “of our religion promised in the First Amendment.

When evangelical Christians vote, they overwhelmingly vote Republican because the GOP’s freedom ideology is more aligned with their belief system than the Democrats. And those who don’t vote are, by their absence, unwittingly voting for the other side.  

It’s been estimated that about four million Christians who had voted for George Bush stayed home in 2014 rather than support Romney. Significantly, according to the Census Bureau, of the 220 million eligible voters (registered and not registered) nearly 60 percent didn’t vote. If even half of those 132 million voted for leaders with Christian values (and 70 to 75 percent of citizens proclaim they’re Christians) that would mean 66 million new Christian voters!

Such an outpouring would dramatically change our wayward nation into one that again reveres and practices the moral principles that God has set for us. Evangelist Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan’s Purse, the charity helping desperate Christians and non-Christians alike world-wide, says, “If we turn our nation back to God, I believe that God will help us fix the problems that we face.”

Accordingly he is visiting each state with his Decision America prayer rally. “I’m going to every state to challenge Christians to live out their faith at home, in public and at the ballot box – and I will share the Gospel,” he says. “I want the evangelical Christians, the Bible-believing Christians to stand up and vote.”

Although as Christians we know God is in control, our faith can’t be an excuse not to vote. Would our God want us to idly watch as the nation he so favored is demolished, or would he want us to choose leaders who uphold the standards he has put so lovingly in place for us?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Anonymous has declared 'total war' on Donald Trump, threatening to 'dismantle his campaign'

Hackers affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivist collective have vowed to relaunch cyber-operations against US presidential candidate Donald Trump from 1 April. They threaten to 'dismantle his campaign' by taking his election websites offline in a large-scale and orchestrated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
In December 2015, Anonymous officially 'declared war' on Trump after a radical speech in which he said Muslims should be banned from entering the United States. The operation at the time resulted in a number of websites being targeted by hackers, but failed to have lasting impact.
A new video statement has been posted to YouTube which claims the 'loyalists and veterans' of Anonymous have decided to ramp up cyber-operations against Trump – dubbed #OpTrump – on a far larger scale than ever before.
"Dear Donald Trump, we have been watching you for a long time and what we see is deeply disturbing. Your inconsistent and hateful campaign has not only shocked the United States of America [but] you have shocked the entire planet with your appalling actions and ideas. You say what your audience wants to hear but in reality you don't stand for anything except for your personal greed and power."
The video, which features the traditional Guy Fawkes mask-wearing spokesperson speaking directly to camera, called the operation a "call to arms" for hacktivists across the globe.
"We need you to shut down his websites, to research and expose what he doesn't want the public to know. We need to dismantle his campaign and sabotage his brand. We are encouraging every able person with a computer to participate in this operation. This is not a warning, this is a declaration of total war. Donald Trump – it is too late to expect us."

In a separate written message posted online, Anonymous listed a number of websites chosen to be the initial targets in the attack including,
Alongside these chosen targets, the post lists a slew of unverified personal information purporting to belong to Donald Trump, including a social security number, personal phone number and the contact details of his agent and legal representation.
This is not the first time a hacking group has attempted to take on Donald Trump. In January 2016 a separate group called the New World Hackers carried out multiple DDoS attacks on his official election campaign website – effectively taking it offline for a short period of time. Recently, Anonymous leaked messages from his phone's voicemail account which included personal communications from journalists, sports stars and boxing promotors.
Anonymous, which is a loose collective of hacktivists, routinely engages high-profile targets as part of its cyber-campaigns. Previous subjects have included the Islamic State (IS), the Vatican and most recently the Turkish government.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sanders would make college taxes worse

Many people of mature years are amazed at how many young people have voted for Senator Bernie Sanders, and are enthusiastic about the socialism he preaches.

Many of those older people have lived long enough to have seen socialism fail, time and again, in countries around the world. Venezuela, with all its rich oil resources, is currently on the verge of economic collapse, after its heady fling with socialism.

But, most of the young have missed all that, and their dumbed-down education is far more likely to present the inspiring rhetoric of socialism than to present its dismal track record.

Socialism is in fact a wonderful vision -- a world of the imagination far better than any place anywhere in the real world, at any time over the thousands of years of recorded history. Even many conservatives would probably prefer to live in such a world, if they thought it was possible.

Who would not want to live in a world where college was free, along with many other things, and where government protected us from the shocks of life and guaranteed our happiness? It would be Disneyland for adults!

Free college of course has an appeal to the young, especially those who have never studied economics. But college cannot possibly be free. It would not be free even if there was no such thing as money.

Consider the costs of just one professor teaching just one course. He or she has probably spent more than 20 years being educated, from kindergarten to the Ph.D., before ending up standing in front of a class and trying to convey some of the knowledge picked up in all those years. That means being fed, clothed and housed all those years, along with other expenses.

All the people who grew the food, manufactured the clothing and built the housing used by this one professor, for at least two decades, had to be compensated for their efforts, or those efforts would not continue. And of course someone has to produce food, clothing and shelter for all the students in this one course, as well as books, computers and other requirements or amenities.

Add up all these costs -- and multiply by a hundred or so -- and you have a rough idea of what going to college costs. Whether these costs are paid by using money in a capitalist economy or by some other mechanism in a feudal economy, a socialist economy, or whatever, there are heavy costs to pay.

Moreover, under any economic system, those costs are either going to be paid or there are not going to be any colleges. Money is just an artificial device for getting real things done.

Those young people who understand this, whether clearly or vaguely, are not likely to be deterred from wanting socialism. Because what they really want is for somebody else to pay for their decision to go to college.

A market economy is one in which whoever makes a decision is the one who pays for that decision. It forces people to be sure that what they want to do is really worth what it is going to cost.

Even the existing subsidies of college have led many people to go to college who have very little interest in, or benefit from, going to college, except for enjoying the social scene while postponing adult responsibilities for a few years.

Whether judging by test results, by number of hours per week devoted to studying or by on-campus interviews, it is clear that today's college students learn a lot less than college students once did. If college becomes "free," even more people can attend college without bothering to become educated and without acquiring re any economically meaningful skills.

More fundamentally, making all sorts of other things "free" means more of those things being wasted as well. Even worse, it means putting more and more of the decisions that shape our lives into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats who control the purse strings.

Obamacare has given us a foretaste of what that means in reality, despite how wonderful it may sound in political rhetoric.

Worst of all, government giveaways polarize society into segments, each trying to get what it wants at somebody else's expense, creating mutual bitterness that can tear a society apart. Some seem to blithely assume that "the rich" can be taxed to pay for what they want -- as if "the rich" don't see what is coming and take their wealth elsewhere.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

anime has a R rating

I think people in Japan (and in many other countries including in Europe, other parts of Asia and even in Central/South America, etc) are far more open about animation and media.

Many of the problems seem to be aimed at America and in some ways, British culture. Where there seems to be these concepts that when you reach a certain age, you 'throw away childish things' and 'become a man'. Which can be seen all over, including being perpetuated in many 'cartoons' aimed right at kids as well. The typical story of a boy who 'wants to be a man'. So what does he do? He goes out and throws away all his toys, straps on some token of 'manhood' (from a sword to a three piece suit) and goes out and acts like what he thinks a man is.

We can all remember this stereotype in shows like Hey Arnold!, Rocco's Modern Life, Fairly OddParents, Spongebob Squarepants, Chowder, Gumball and heck, even Disney movies. The problem is, while those shows and movies are obviously parodying the message and pointing out that these things AREN'T what being a man is all about....many kids actually get the opposite message. And watch all these cartoons thinking that being a man IS about throwing away all your toys, going to work, getting married and ignoring everything about your past.

Western media as a whole doesn't help. Hollywood is pushing this concept all the time with commercials, prime time dramas/sit comes, sports, even political commentaries on CNN and MSNBC are constantly talking about 'getting our kids off the cartoons and games and into the adult world', as if these things are evil and we should have never even had contact with them in the first place. American media is pretty much assaulting adults with an image that if you want to be an adult, there's only one option. Throw away everything 'childish' and watch all the CSI, Survivor and CNN like everyone else. The irony of these types of things being 'for adults' while something like Spongebob or Batman: TAS should be obvious, but many don't see it.

Even things like comic books are still looked down upon. The fact that they aren't even considered 'acceptable' until they have a live action remake speaks volumes about how American (and some other western) audiences view animation and comics vs live action works. A terrible live action version of Deadpool starring Keanu Reeves would still sell better in the box office than the absolute best animated Deadpool movie that could be made. Not based on any objective quality, but simply because it was live action. And that's the sad state of America's bias against animation....

The only exception is 3D animation. But that's honestly because the studios put hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising behind each movie. And make the money back in DVD/BD sales. The instant those movies stop making that money (like 2D did with Pocahontas, Mulan and Titan AE), studios will stop supporting 3D animation as well.

I know this sounds like a rant, but I'm seriously feeling like the American media industry is stagnating and has been getting worse the last 15 years or so. Endless crime drama clones, reality shows, copying British concepts and remakes of old movie concepts. And they've even resorted to copying anime (The Matrix, Speed Racer, Astro Boy, Speed, Almost Human, etc) while claiming animation and anime is an inferior medium. I honestly feel like there needs to be a major barrier of ignorance taken down so the American audience can just know more than what Hollywood is allowing to be shown to them.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Playstation 4.5/4k

More reports are rolling in that Sony is planning a half-step successor to the PlayStation 4. Following up on a Kotaku report of a PlayStation 4.5 earlier this month, Digital Foundry and the Wall Street Journal have both independently confirmed the basics surrounding the machine.
Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal said Sony is planning to announce the upgraded system before the October launch of the PlayStation VR headset. The new PS4 will be capable of outputting higher resolution graphics, and is also intended to help provide PSVR with extra muscle necessary for competing against the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets running on high-end desktop PCs. However, the paper notes that it is "likely" all games would run on either system.
Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter reports that multiple sources referred to the system as PlayStation 4K, but added that the extra GPU power Sony was said to be planning would not be enough to ensure native 4K resolution for standard AAA PS4 titles.
"Everything we've heard positions PlayStation 4K as a machine capable of playing current and next-generation ultra HD media, while also offering support for other aspects of the 4K spec, such as high-dynamic range and a wider colour gamut - aspects of the 4K spec that could be introduced to gaming," Leadbetter said. "However, in terms of additional computational power, we've got be realistic about what Sony can deliver with a mid-generation refresh."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Millennials vote Republican after 40k salaries

My generation is a disaster, politically. They typically hold views that either are in direct contradiction of one another, or make zero sense altogether. As The Atlantic noted in 2014, Millennials support President Obama and the concept of universal health care, but oppose Obamacare. They hate political parties, but are the demographic that give Congress its highest marks of approval. We’re also the only age group, where a majority–53 percent–holds socialism in high regard. Yet, there is a silver lining, as both The Washington Post and The Atlantic noted that once Millennials get jobs–their support for socialism drops dramatically as they become more economically conservative. Fancy that; once you start getting an actual paycheck after working yourself to death–and see how much is taken out by Uncle Sam–income redistribution really doesn’t seem like a charming idea, huh (via WaPo):

Are millennials ushering in a sea change of public opinion? Do they signal the transformation of the United States into a Scandinavian social democracy.

The expanded social welfare state Sanders thinks the United States should adopt requires everyday people to pay considerably more in taxes. Yet millennials become averse to social welfare spending if they foot the bill. As they reach the threshold of earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year, the majority of millennials come to oppose income redistribution, including raising taxes to increase financial assistance to the poor

Similarly, a Reason-Rupe poll found that while millennials still on their parents’ health-insurance policies supported the idea of paying higher premiums to help cover the uninsured (57 percent), support flipped among millennials paying for their own health insurance with 59 percent opposed to higher premiums.

When tax rates are not explicit, millennials say they’d prefer larger government offering more services (54 percent) to smaller government offering fewer services (43 percent). However when larger government offering more services is described as requiring high taxes, support flips and 57 percent of millennials opt for smaller government with fewer services and low taxes, while 41 percent prefer large government.

Millennials wouldn’t be the first generation to flip-flop. In the 1980s, the same share (52 percent) of baby boomers also supported bigger government, and so did Generation Xers (53 percent) in the 1990s. Yet, both baby boomers and Gen Xers grew more skeptical of government over time and by about the same magnitude. Today, only 25 percent of boomers and 37 percent of Gen Xers continue to favor larger government.

Now, that doesn’t mean conservatives should just stop emphasizing the importance of free markets and economic liberty because the tide of history seems to be with us once young Americans become employed and start making money. The good news is that the notion of Millennials becoming less economically left leaning once they start making $40k and more remains steady. Additionally, younger Millennials (18-20 year olds) aren’t as liberal as their older peers. So, alas, maybe there is hope for Millennials on the economic front; they just need to find jobs.

Sony Computer Entertainment headquarters in California now

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a mantra that seemingly holds little meaning at Sony; it's just decided to undertake the most dramatic reshuffle of its videogame business since the 1990s right in the midst of stellar sales of its most successful home console yet. Business units will be rearranged and merged, organisation trees pruned and spliced, and most dramatically of all, the PlayStation business' headquarters will shift from Tokyo to California. News of the changes has, understandably, been mostly shrouded in that special version of the English language spoken only by corporate PR people (a dialect uniquely horrible and utterly meaningless), which has left many of the company's customers and even its partners wondering exactly what it all means.
In some senses, this is just tidying up. The separation between Sony Network Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment was a well-intentioned one at the outset; there was a future vision which imagined that network services, like the PlayStation Store and PlayStation Now, would eventually be something much, much larger than the PlayStation console itself. The idea was that Sony Network Entertainment would end up being a business unit that worked not only with SCE but with every other aspect of Sony's business, underwriting the future success of the company as a whole. That future might still come to pass, but things haven't played out as originally anticipated, partially because the company's grand plans for network services have been undermined by the success of rivals and partially because PlayStation has done far better than expected. As a consequence, Sony Network Entertainment presently mostly provides services for PlayStation consoles; it makes perfect sense for it to be brought together with the PlayStation itself. Optimistically, one can hope that removing this paper screen in the corporate structure will also help to fix some of the lingering problems with Sony's network systems, which are all-too-often an unreliable negative counterpoint to its otherwise impressive hardware and software.
"one can hope that removing this paper screen in the corporate structure will also help to fix some of the lingering problems with Sony's network systems"
Rather more dramatic is the move from Tokyo to California - and the rather less widely reported change to the company's global management structure, which will seemingly see the European, US and Asian divisions of Sony Interactive Entertainment (the new merged entity) sharing a single top-level management team. It's not clear whether this will have any impact on the actual independence of the regional teams - SCEE and SCEA always had quite a surprising degree of autonomy - but a structural change like this is usually designed to reflect an intended outcome, and in this case it's not unreasonable to expect that the regions will be working more closely together after the changes take effect.
What of that move to California, though? Isn't PlayStation, like Sony itself, quite intrinsically a Japanese brand? Aren't many of the values and qualities of the console and its software that actually appeal to consumers down to the fact that it's a Japanese creation? I've seen those arguments and plenty of others shoot back and forth over the Internet in the days since the announcement; and I have to confess, I have a little sympathy. In the eras of the PlayStation and PS2 in particular, the Japanese roots of the consoles were a major selling point; the systems became a window on to a world that was fascinatingly different, culturally and creatively, and I don't think it's unfair to say that much of the subsequent success of Japanese pop culture overseas owes a debt to the gateway drug of PlayStation. If the whole thing is now going to be based in California, is it going to lose that cultural value somehow?
" In the eras of the PlayStation and PS2 in particular, the Japanese roots of the consoles were a major selling point; the systems became a window on to a world that was fascinatingly different"
Well, no; I think fearing that PlayStation's identity will be lost in this move is a consequence of misunderstanding what PlayStation's identity has actually been all along. Sure, the Japanese origins of the console were a big and important part of its DNA, but if anything, the appeal of PlayStation since the early years has been founded in Sony's willingness to entrust the keys to the kingdom to its overseas offices. That exhibited itself in software development - WipEout being a key title for the first PlayStation is an early example of a tradition that went on to deliver pillars of support to the platform from overseas developers, from God of War to Uncharted to Killzone and plenty of others besides. It went further than that, though; Sony Computer Entertainment divisions outside Japan were trusted to develop key technologies and services that would come to define the future of the platform, and key staff from those overseas divisions became a part of decision-making processes at Sony in a way that has very rarely, if ever, been the case at PlayStation's rivals.
That's what leaves PlayStation in the situation it's in today - with one of the most impressively multi-national core teams you could hope to put together to run a platform business. From Sony boss Kaz Hirai on down, top executives on the PlayStation side of Sony speak fluent English and have extensive overseas experience; while people like SCE (soon to be SIE) boss Andrew House and PlayStation architect Mark Cerny have come to the company from overseas divisions, risen to enormously important positions and work seemingly seamlessly with the Japanese organisation. That might not seem like any great shakes in some regards, but in the context of a Japanese business, it's a big deal; it's indicative of a willingness on Sony's part to really embrace the idea of being an international business, not just a Japanese company that does some business overseas. That's the DNA of PlayStation, more than anything else, and it seems eminently unlikely that that's going to change with the move of headquarters to California. It's not like Japan Studio, the actual source of most of Sony's interesting Japanese titles, is going anywhere, and if Sony's commitment to Japanese game development wasn't clear, consider the enormous amount of cash rustled up, upsetting every damn budget in the company in the process, to ensure Hideo Kojima was on board after leaving Konami.
"at the moment only about one in every 18 PS4 units sold is being sold in Japan"
There will, of course, be changes; an organisational shift like this is expensive and messy, and Sony wouldn't be bothering to do it if it didn't want to see some changes. One can easily guess at one of the catalysts for the move; the Japanese market is less and less relevant to the home console business with every passing year, and at the moment only about one in every 18 PS4 units sold is being sold in Japan. In contrast, Vita does reasonably well in Japan, but is an irrelevance everywhere else in the world. It's not hard to see the argument that putting so much of the decision-making capacity for PlayStation in the heart of a market that no longer buys home consoles has the potential to warp perceptions and force errors. The creativity and imagination of Japanese developers is essential to PlayStation; the country's business environment and consumer market, by contrast, seems like an active impediment to Sony's success. Far better to put Sony's videogame business overseas, where it'll be in the same environment as Sony Pictures and Sony Music - the media arms of the company with which it arguably has far more in common than the remaining Japan-based divisions.
Plenty of analysts are spending plenty of time teasing out Sony's new structure and organisational chart to try to understand what will happen to PlayStation in future; the bottom line of what I'm trying to say here i that we shouldn't expect very much change in the short to medium term, at least not of the kind that will be remotely apparent to consumers. The firm may, to some degree, be ignoring exhortations not to fix what isn't broken; but it will also be keenly aware that PS4 is a goose that keeps laying golden eggs, and won't be waving any knives in its vicinity where possible (unlike the ones presently being brandished at me by the Metaphor Mixing Police). We can expect no major changes of course for Sony's console strategy in the next year or two; if there's to be real fall-out from this change, it will be in planning for the longer term, as the new management team tackle the question of what PS4's success means for the future of the once-presumed-dead console business.

Friday, February 05, 2016

ESA almost irrelevant

Two weeks ago, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) lashed out at market research firm NPD. Most of us know that NPD has been the primary source of industry information when it comes to games sold at retail in the United States. The ESA hosts a conference each year that caters to retailers and allows publishers to show off their new wares: E3. Unsurprisingly, because of their shared interest in catering to companies that generate revenue from retail-based game sales, NPD and the ESA are long-standing partners. And the ESA honored this partnership by publicly shaming NPD. Again.

What's wrong with these people?

Besides the obvious insensitivity, it is comments like these that tell you how close an association like the ESA is to becoming irrelevant. For one, the industry is changing drastically, and that should not come as news to anyone watching over the last ten years. Today, at $75 billion across categories, the worldwide market for interactive entertainment is more than three times larger than it was ten years ago. People now play games on a wide variety of devices, publishers draw earnings using several new revenue models, and the process of development and distribution has unprecedentedly low barriers to entry. But perhaps most importantly, gaming has, finally, graduated to becoming a mainstream form of entertainment.

"The very ground that the ESA was built on is starting to crumble"

In the United States, video games represent a $24 billion industry and are now bigger than newspapers ($21 billion), radio ($17 billion), magazines ($16 billion), film box office ($11 billion) and music ($9 billion). Of every dollar spent on entertainment, $0.13 goes towards gaming. It is remarkable then that the best-known association that looks after the interests of an industry that has tripled in size, has somehow managed to become less important.

With regards to growing share of digital revenues for game companies, the ESA states: "Scores of millions of consumers purchase innovative content in myriad ways." That is about as vague as a statement can get. It suggests that beyond the mandatory hyperbole, the very association that looks after one of the biggest games markets in the world is clueless to even quantify the market at its most basic level. Worse, according to its website, the ESA currently has 33 members, of which only four are digital-only companies. By comparison, its counterpart in the United Kingdom, Ukie, which represents a market that is roughly one-fifth the size of the US, counts 250 members. And this includes many of the same names and big publishers. The ESA also tells us that nowadays consumers are spending money via "subscription services, digital downloads, and via their mobile devices." Yet we notice an absence of companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Valve, Supercell and King, each of which represents a household name in gaming and holds a vested interest in the US market.

You can't sit with us

Last week, Electronic Arts announced that instead of buying itself a booth at E3, it had decided to leave the show floor and will be organizing its own fan-oriented event elsewhere. After years of criticism that E3 doesn't provide enough coverage on game categories that lie outside of retail, now one of the majors is fleeing the nest. At the same time, we've reached the peak of the current console cycle, arguably the very core of the traditional games industry, which means that the focus in the next few years will move to mobile, PC, virtual reality and eSports.

Central to all of this, of course, is an inevitable decline of specialty retailer GameStop. While some of its digitally focused assets like Kongregate continue to do well, the firm has made a clear decision to diversify its overall retail offering with the acquisition of related businesses such as Cricket Wireless, ThinkGeek, Spring Mobile and Simply Mac. Confronted with a decline in the number of unique physical titles released every year, dropping to under 200 in 2015, GameStop is now experimenting with becoming a publisher and partnered with Insomniac Games on Song of the Deep. And with the holiday season behind us, we anticipate that GameStop will announce layoffs and a reduction of its overall retail footprint during its next earnings call, possibly arguing that it is the result of a seasonal pattern. The very ground that the ESA was built on is starting to crumble.

Step up or step off

The games industry is riddled with people that hold strong opinions. Consumers, developers, press: everyone's a critic. But when it comes to stepping in and advocating for a real cause, there's a lot left to be desired. Case-in-point: as the top trade body for the games industry, the ESA probably could have done more when the chaos around Gamergate erupted last year. At the very least, something a bit more proactive than emailing a boilerplate response and then only after being asked by a reporter.

"...we need true leadership, not a bunch of people ready to step on others to elevate themselves. If the ESA finds there is not enough market transparency, it should encourage and not criticize"

As an industry researcher, I share the frustration and challenge that comes with analyzing and accurately capturing what is clearly the inevitable future of interactive entertainment. But beyond my own personal fascination and business agenda, this is also an industry that struggled for years to gain relevance with mainstream audiences. Anyone who works in the industry, regardless of what side of the fence you're on, has dealt with incredulity and mockery. Now that games are finally getting the respect stakeholders have fought so long to obtain, we need true leadership, not a bunch of people ready to step on others to elevate themselves. If the ESA finds there is not enough market transparency, it should encourage and not criticize.

We all understand that the industry is changing and that digital is the future. And it would suit the top trade body for the games industry to take some initiative and provide guidance. Different from ten years ago, there now is a generation of academics and analysts who would like to see games truly evolve. In the past few years a slew of academic programs at esteemed institutions like NYU and USC have popped up that encourage young adults to consider a career in programming, design and development. As a colleague recently remarked: "Game developers hone skills that are applicable across a range of industries, and not just gaming." At the same time, there still exists a lot of uncertainty around recently emerged categories like mobile casino games and free-to-play games that target kids. These are all areas where a strong regulatory body could play a critical role, build relationships and find common ground.

So, with the very foundation of the games industry shifting, I invite the ESA to step up to the plate. What we need is leadership from an association that is in touch with the industry and cares for its constituents. Instead of booing the ESA should be building bridges. And in return, we can help you lose the ever-stronger stench of irrelevance.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

iOS the 2nd perferred gaming platform after 3ds

Apple's iOS may be losing market share to devices running Google's Android, but the iPhone maker should continue bringing in more money from games on its platforms for years to come. That's according to a new report from DFC Intelligence covering the global games and apps market for smartphones and tablets.

By 2018, DFC expects annual revenues from iOS games to hit $9.7 billion, compared to $2.7 billion for games from the Google Play store. For reference, the report lists the current record for single-year mobile game revenue on a platform as $6.6 billion, a mark reached by the Nintendo DS in 2008.

Even as Apple continues to lead the way in mobile game sales, DFC anticipates the company's iPhone and iPad lines to be outsold by a proliferation of Android devices. The report predicts a worldwide total of 829 million active Android phones in 2018, compared to 265 million active iPhones. A similar disparity is projected to surface in the tablet market. As for how Apple can grow revenues while losing market share, DFC cited the user-friendliness of the iOS ecosystem, and the way it allows purchases to be accessed through multiple devices.