Recent reports show that, for the first time ever, mobile gaming revenues
are out performing both consoles and PC gaming by billions of dollars!
Mobile gaming, in other words smartphones, took in $37 billion in revenues
in 2016 compared to just $32 billion for consoles and #29 billion for PCs
This smartphone gaming boom has caught many industry experts off guard, but
looking at the increase in smartphone sales, no one should be surprised. In
some countries, such as the Philippines which by the way leads the world in
SMS messages sent, a shiny, new smartphone with all the bells and whistles
can be purchased in 12 monthly installments of just $6.50USD. That is an
atractive offer since it also incudes 300 minutes of calls every month during
the installments and 300 free texts every month during the installments.
And after it is paid for, they just buy a new one and give the old one to
a relative. So of course, everyone’s got one!
The smartphone’s convenience and portability can’t be beat. It’s only downside,
is of course, the small screen, but the youth of the world have sharp vision
and to them, it’s not a problem at all. Why be stuck in a chair in your home
with your mother watching over your shoulder when you can walk down to the corner
with your smartphone, (arranging a meeting with friends on the way), or go to
the mall with 100% freedom from any adult supervision.
Over the years there have been so many complaints about online games causing
problems especially with the younger ages. Too many hours playing a violent
games can breed violence, cause lower grades in school, inhibit real life social
skills, cause family issues, lead to cyber-bullying, lead to addiction, and in
some cases lead to suicide.
Some countries have actually needed to pass new legislation to curb the number
of hours children can play online games. In S. Korea, the internet cafes are
required to check the player’s age on their official ID card and required to
close at a certain hour – no late night gaming is allowed. In China, the game
software monitors the child’s playtime and shuts down after too many hours.
Okay, so the kids are spending tons of hours playing online games and it’s
getting more and more difficult to control. What to do? Have you ever heard
the expression “when you get a lemon, make lemonade”?
What if the kids were playing games that make them smarter? What if the kids
spent tons of hours playing math games? Science games? Biology games?
Some of these games already exist, but the kids don’t know about them and are not
encouraged to play them. How about the school or the community sponsors a game
contest using a game based on outer-space exploration? Would some kids get into
that? You betcha!
Take a look at this for starters: http://games.noaa.gov/welcome.html
The president of the Philippine Islands, President Rodrigo Duterte has announced
that he will shut down all online gambling throughout the Philippines. Some of
President Duterte’s closest allies and followers claim that the President has a
high moral stance and that is why he wants to end online gambling, such as, he
is trying to protect the youth of gambling addiction, but other people claim that
President Duterte simply hates drugs and the wastefulness of drug-money. Duterte
has been quoted saying that the online gambling industry in the Philippines ia not
paying their proper taxes.
So, just as in the USA, online gambling is not really a moral issue, it is about the money.
President Duterte has also taken a hard stance on drug use in the Philippines. Duterte
has gone so far with this drug-war that he has given the Philippine National Police
permission to shoot to kill any drug suspect that offers resistance to arrest. There are
reports that vigilantes have killed thousands of drug pushers and that they have been
paid by the government to do so. Duterte is also cracking down on corrupt judges that
let drug pushers off easy for a cash payoff.
Playing games will not end poverty, but rather to spend our game money on
solutions to the problems of the world, such as, poverty. Of course, that is
not going to happen, but I thought it might be an interesting discussion.
You may be thinking that there will always be poor people and you are correct,
there will always be those people in the lower income brackets. Poverty is
a relative term. However, there are some serious problems in our world today
that are caused by extreme poverty. For example, did you know that 17,000
children under the age of 5 die everyday due to problems caused by poverty?
What problems? First of all, starvation is not the main issue. It is things
like lack of sanitary living conditions, lack of santitary cooking utensils,
lack of clean drinking water, and lack of health care.
But what does this have to do with online games? Well, games in general
generated over ninety-one billion dollars in revenue in 2016! Mobile games
alone generated $41 billion. Retail sales of games took in $26 billions and
free-to-play online games brought in over $19 billion dollars.
Sometimes I wonder why so many people talk about ‘love thy neighbor’, then curl
up on the couch with their favorite device and play games while 17,000 kids
under the age of five die! Do we really care?
I am betting that you have never heard of the company named Improbable. Am
I right? And, while I’m at it, I bet you have never heard of an operating
system named SpatialOS. Right?
An OS so complex that it needs cloud computer servers:
These are the new names buzzing around in the online game industry. But,
who cares? And why should we care?
Okay, first, look at Improbable’s mission statement:
“What if it were possible to recreate reality as a simulation?
Or to build new worlds? To create simulations at a scale and
level of detail that have never been feasible before and to
make such technology accessible?” ~ Improbable’s web site.
You might be thinking… that is just a bunch of sales hype! However, Improbable
has developed an operating system specifically design to run HUGE Massively
Multiplayer Online Games. Basically, there is nothing like this online at
this time. This is new and this is BIG!
The next generation of MMOG will be hundreds of times larger. They will really
be alternate worlds. And Google has gotten into the deal. Google can see that
Improbable’s SpatialOS is no fluke and no amateur OS.
Google will be providing a cloud environment for Improbable’s developers. That
means, with Google’s huge cloud resources, that developers can create games without
the otherwise necessary man-power for maintenance, upgrades, etc. etc.
Soul, South Korea
Until now, cheating in online games was against the game host’s Terms Of Service
and against their Acceptable Use Policy, but NEVER against the law! In that, it
was not considered a criminal offense where the host calls the authorities and
the accused goes to court and then maybe goes to jail. If you were caught cheating,
you might be punished by the game host or even banned from the game. You would
need a new payer-identity in order to sign up again.
It has been fun for those players that buy cheats, (usually scripts that enhance
their game abilities), and it has been profitable for those players that have
been selling the cheats. Actually, it is the creation and sharing of the cheats
that is now against the law, not the use of that sofware.
So, the players that already have these softwares, such as, aimbots and wall hacks,
should be safe from the law, but those that created the softwares and whoever sold
or even gave the softwares away are subject to up to 5 years in prison or $43,000
in fines. Ouch!
Now, it is the game makers and publishers, (game hosts), like Valve, Blizzard, and
Riot that are feeling happy as this new law will give them huge leverage over the
players that are selling and sharing the cheat softwares.
Wow! This is BIG news! There is a big debate all over the US regarding poker
being illegal by federal law because it is a game of chance. Now, the New York state
legislators rule otherwise for their state! Yes, the New York Senate has classified
poker as a game of skill. Woot! If other states follow, this could put pressure on
the US federal government.
What happened? This past summer, the New York Senate passed a bill 53 to 5 legalizing online
poker at it’s eleven racetracks. The bill still has to pass the state Assembly, but with
the overwhelming vote by the senate, it’s a pretty sure thing to get approved by the assembly.
In which case, the state of New York will become only the fourth state to legalize online
poker after New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
New York’s constitution actually prohibits games of chance except those already existing,
but this bill will get around that by classifying Texas Hold-em poker and Omaha Hold-em poker
as games of skill. So, if the legislators say that poker is a game of skill, then it is. At
the federal level, congress says poker is a game of chance. Go figure!