Hardware vs. Software Backwards Compatibility

There is a lot of debate currently over if the next generation of hardware from Sony (and maybe even Microsoft?) will support backwards compatibility.

In a word, yes, they most certainly will.  As I am favorable to the Sony line of video game consoles, I am obviously more educated on their practices and the user experience I have with them, not to mention the long-term investment of my gaming collection in the PlayStation brand.

But, “in what form?” is the question that should be asked about backwards compatibility — not whether or not it will be around… Backwards compatibility comes in two fashions, looking forward:

1. Disc-based (hardware) backwards compatibility.
2. Software (storefront/online/digital) backwards compatibility.

Disc-based BC is less appealing to Sony as they can’t continue to make profits off discs after the fact, besides downloadable content, and that, at best, is probably not as profitable as we might think for most games.

By making consumers’ libraries of disc-based libraries incompatible with a potential PlayStation 4, it has the following potential benefits for Sony:

1a. Consumers will repurchase games they have.

This is obviously very attractive to all the businesses involved. The repurchasing of games that are “re-mastered” via disc, and also “re-mastered” (aka “made compatible”) with the current generation of hardware. People get to rebuy the 30 dollar/50 dollar/60 dollar games they bought in the past for varying amounts of money and benefit from software BC, which is explored below.  This will also get them “new” sales from consumers who only bought games used to begin with.

1b. Consumers will “switch to Xbox” if their current libraries are cut off from them.

This is the counterweight to 1a. However, this is not the only option presented to gamers who are suddenly cut from their existing libraries. A portion of them will obviously become floaters, but they may also come back later in the generation when the hardware is cheap.

There are some that will undoubtedly choose the next Xbox (or Wii U?) as their “main console” for this reason alone, but whether or not Sony actually cares about this depends on how much focus grouping they can do and whether or not disc-based backwards compatibility actually IS a factor to keeping existing consumers who own a PlayStation 3.

I personally would assume that 1a > the losses from 1b in the long-run plus the costs of accommodating disc-based backwards compatibility (which may or may not include actual extra hardware in the box).

The result and purpose of the loss of disc-based backwards compatibility is decreasing/eliminating the confidence in optical media severely due to its resulting loss of one of its greatest benefits — longevity of ownership (aka the selling of games back as used games and resold to a new consumer), and giving more confidence to online media.

Now, exploring online-only backwards compatibility, we can almost be 100% sure that anything bought online will be made to work with whatever future PlayStation 4 is available, whether they have to update all the games with a new build or software-based solution. The benefits that come from this are (assuming all the points I brought up above are true):

2a. Customers repurchasing games online — aka “more control.”

Customers “rebuy” games that cost little to nothing to create and service. Not to mention they are cutting out the middle man — the retail store. Sony and the 3rd party get a second income from this and at a greater rate due to less hands in the pot.  This also obviously eliminates used games.  You can’t sell a used digital game.  That makes no sense!

2b. Confidence increasing in Online purchases vs. Retail Purchases

Customers will be less apt to buy disc-based games at a retail store due to the fact that their disc may or may not be backwards compatible in the future. This probably only affects about 30 to 50% of the gaming community that actually enjoys playing old games on a new system. I’m sure that most of the people who buy games sell all of the games they buy once they’re done playing them.

The result of supporting Software BC is BENEFICIAL for the following reasons:

1. Boost confidence in online purchases, which leads to:

  • 1a. elimination of retail new games
  • 1b. elimination of used game sales

2. More long-term profits by having an increasingly larger selection of games available online at a more favorable cost to profit ratio.  There is never a “lack” of games to buy and play, even when a new console is launched.

The most clean example of what is happening is the transition from PSP -> PSVita.  People are buying PSP games to play on their PSVita, and all of the UMD games that consumers may have bought have become unusable on the new system, yet everything that was available/purchased online works on PSVita for the most part or will be patched to be able to.  Anyone who has a UMD game that they want to play on the PSVita will have to repurchase it, no exceptions.

We all know video games are going to online distribution systems exclusively within the next 10 years. Sony’s 10 year plans include outlooks like this, I’m sure.  PS4, coming out in 2014, sticking around until at least 2024 as an actively-developed-for platform. I’m sure every single game that is ever released on the PS4 will be mandated to be released online as well.  If it gets to the point of games being streamed from some server somewhere, you won’t even have a copy of the data you buy anymore. Poopoo on us if those servers go down one day, or the rights to stream those games disappear and you no longer have the right to that software once it happens, even if you did pay for it.

The super long-term plan for Sony is to eliminate disc-based backwards compatibility.  It is simply unfavorable to the industry as a whole to keep it around. It is a wholly consumer-positive practice and during this transitional period we are making into Online-only purchases (and soon cloud gaming) there will be growing pains for consumers who think they own something when they buy it.

The loss of disc-based/hardware backwards compatibility is bad for the consumer.  To promote or not care for the loss of disc-based backwards compatibility is to be anti-consumer.

 

WoW Chat #21934: Slevinn -> davepoobond

In trade chat…

[2] [davepoobond]: i am almost at 3 million gold

Slevinn: how do you make so much gold

Slevinn: i will give you a bj for a million

davepoobond: r u a grl

Slevinn: yes

davepoobond: how big r ur boobs

Slevinn: 34c

davepoobond: what is the psi of your mouth

Slevinn: i have no gage reflex

davepoobond: psi!

davepoobond: pounds/square inch

Slevinn: is that like sucking pressure or what

davepoobond: yes

Slevinn: more then you can handle

davepoobond: sounds interesting

davepoobond: how much experience do you have

Slevinn: enough

davepoobond: do you have any personal references

Slevinn: haha not that play wow

davepoobond: i see…

davepoobond: i have inside sources that say 34c is small, do you beg to differ?

Slevinn: yeah

davepoobond: are there any extra addons

Slevinn: 4

davepoobond: 4 what

davepoobond: i meant like perks

davepoobond: what makes you different from the competition

davepoobond: 34c isnt small, its a nice size

davepoobond: i looked it up on google

 

ViSalus Sciences: How Being A Scam Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

Recently I was introduced to a… unique company.  I don’t want to say “pyramid scheme,” but it really is a legal version of it — known as multi-level or referral marketing.  Wikipedia will give you a big insight into what these terms mean and how they are related to each other.

ViSalus Sciences is a company that is in the business of weight loss.  Excuse me — I should rephrase that.

They are in the business of MARKETING weight loss products, and having you do most of the leg work for them.  That’s what multi-level or referral marketing is.  It’s a marketing tactic that markets to people, either in-person or through someone you know, rather than traditional means such as television.  They have representatives from their company come by to talk to you after you are invited to a “Challenge ‘Party'” (notice the double quotes) or some sort of get together by a friend or acquaintance under the guise that the product that they are selling is healthy for you.

It may very well be healthy for you.  It may even help you lose weight.  But when a company talks about how their product is good for you for about fifteen minutes, and then spends the next hour or so explaining how you can MAKE MONEY while using it and becoming an “Independent Distributor” (read: selling the product to your friends, and then they sell it to their friends, and you get a cut of that), you have to question the intentions of this company.

Right?

… Or are you allowed to?

There’s no question that obesity is a problem in the United States.  The underhandedness of it all comes from playing off the emotion that if you reject the product for any reason (since they say anyone can benefit from losing weight or becoming more lean) then you are seen as someone who doesn’t give a shit about their body and scrutinized for it.  Of course, it’s totally not because you don’t agree with what you are presented with, and question why it was presented to you in such a manner!  They tell you you are going to die if you don’t change the way you live.  And that may very well be true.  But what they mostly want you to do is to buy into their marketing plan.

ViSalus Sciences doesn’t care if you lose weight or not.  What they really want you to do is to market their products to the next guy, and have them market it to the next guy.  Yes, I understand that businesses exist for the sole purpose of making money.  But there is a reason why certain business ethics are in place and why business models like a “pyramid scheme” are outlawed, and others like “multi-level marketing” or “referral marketing” are walking the fine line.  The reason why these are so controversial and not legitimate business models is because they are UNSUSTAINABLE.  What happens when there are no more people to sell your product to and make money off of?  In this case, what happens when everybody is skinny?  The whole system falls apart, and only the people at the top are left with any money.

The oddities don’t stop there, of course.

When you dig deeper into (or, rather, get poured on with) the details of their referral program, it starts with you getting your ViSalus powder meal replacement substance for free when you refer three of your friends into buying one of their kits — the most expensive being a $250 “Transformation Kit.”  That’s probably a tough sell, but its the “most rewarding” from ViSalus’ standpoint when they’re trying to sell you into selling their stuff.  What’s more, is if you keep selling to people and then THEY sell to other people, and so on, you start getting checks cut to you in terms of percentages of what they buy and keep buying.  Pretty sweet, right?  And eventually you’ll get to a point where they’ll actually pay you for the lease of a BLACK BMW at 600 bucks a month!!!!  Oh, did you read the part where it has to be black?  That’s okay, if you don’t want black, they’ll give you 300 a month for something that isn’t black.

So, wait.  Did you read that right?  What the fuck does the color black have to do with any god damned thing?  I’d probably just chalk it up to the CEO of the company wanting his minions to look like a fleet of stealth fighters driving into the parking lots when they have any stupid meetings or expos for their marketing clients.  Maybe it’s an inside joke and he actually hates black BMW’s.  I don’t know what the fuck they’re trying to get at.  Besides, what happens when you repaint your black BMW into a red one?  Do they still give you 600 dollars?  It’s still technically black on the pink slip if you don’t change it, right?  Are they going to send someone to your house to inspect your car’s color?  Who knows, maybe they send a person to your house to gain intelligence on other matters, like when you take a shit or beat off.  And it doesn’t stop there… you could potentially be making millions of dollars with this marketing plan.  Hooray!  And you’re not even an actual employee of their company, yet you’re bringing in 10% of their gross income!  Makes a lot of sense.  Toss in a bunch of other random shit like a magazine subscription to the aptly named “Success” and you’ve got yourself some fireplace-burning material in addition to pumping weird chemical powder into your body and all the other benefits that come with it.

I think what irks me the most about the company, other than its obviously questionable business model is that on the first page of a Google search there are literally two to three results asking if the company and its referral marketing business model is a scam.  That is a red flag in itself.  You should not see that for any legitimate company.  You don’t search Target and see “is Target a scam?” as the second result, right?  I’m sure if you dug deep enough you’ll see some randoms on the Internet gloating about how they may have scammed Target or how some idiot doesn’t understand how a credit card transaction works.

Not only that, I have a sneaking suspicion that ViSalus themselves are actually putting these “Is it a scam?” articles up on these random web sites.  ViSalus is owned by a huge marketing company known as Blyth, and they have probably flooded the internet with articles of this nature to bury any real “evidence” of any legitimate complaints about the company.  Nearly all the articles you can find about ViSalus asking if it is a scam talk about the dicey things they may do, but end up praising them and saying how good the products are… topping it all off with a referral link to their own referral page to have you buy their shit.  If these articles were actually by individual writers, then they have no knowledge of journalistic ethics (what’s that?) since there is a HUGE conflict of interest apparent and no way to actually tell if they are saying what they’re saying just to get you to buy into it all.  This is what makes the company possibly being a scam a self-fulfilling prophecy.  They apparently say that it is a scam… only to conclude that it isn’t.  But by flooding the internet with these types of articles, it makes you question what they’re really up to.

To conclude, I’m not saying that the products they sell don’t work.  I’m not saying either that there isn’t money to be made by falling into their weird referral marketing program.  I just know that I want to stay the hell away from this company, and if anyone wants my suggestion, it would be to do the same — and make sure you skip on giving them any of your personal details.

Here’s a few extra reference materials from Yahoo-related web sites (so you know that it isn’t some fucker posing as a legit consumer):

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/From-gang-member-millionaire-forbeswp-3869850001.html?x=0&cmtnav=/mwphucmtgetnojspage/headcontent/main/3869850001//date/desc/11/s101325

Same article as above with a different name:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2011/08/08/entrepreneurship-nothing-to-lose-and-everything-to-gain/

http://news.yahoo.com/blyth-increases-stake-visalus-sciences-20110415-153430-696.html

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110605130954AAGG2va

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070701165240AALx2cL

Update 9/12/11:

And it keeps getting worse.  Not only do they have your friends selling you this shit, they have five-year-olds explaining it to you like they know everything.  BUT HEY!  Don’t forget about how you can REFER YOUR FRIENDS!  Yes, even a five-year-old knows how multi-level marketing works — its that simple!  Here’s one video that pretty much shows how bad this company wants you to get sucked into its ploy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U091N-ZrXYk

The comments are nothing short of hilarious.  Especially the one that says:

“So many of these responses amaze me. I would be willing to bet most of these people know nothing about these shakes, eat at McDonalds or Burger King every week and talk about eating properly. I have had these shakes as my breakfast for 2 years and would drink them for the rest of my life. They have more quality nutrition packed into each one than I can get from just about any breakfast. I exercise daily, which we encourage, and eat fruits, veggies, fish, daily. No need for such negativity.”

By some guy named “TheViGuy.”  Well, that isn’t some viral marketer employed by ViSalus, right?  Wrong.  It is.

It looks like there’s even more five-year-olds-explaining-multi-level-marketing videos on YouTube, too.  Enjoy.

 

WoW Chat #21923: davepoobond -> Edierit

In trade:

[2] [Edierit]: wts [Reins of the Swift Spectral Tiger] [Reins of the Spectral Tiger] [Vial of the Sands]

davepoobond: how much for spectral

Edierit: [Reins of the Swift Spectral Tiger]460$ [Reins of the Spectral Tiger]320$ [Vial of the Sands]55$

davepoobond: 460 gold?

Edierit: nono

davepoobond: what do you mean then??? i only have gold???

Edierit: sorry,enjoy your time

davepoobond: hello?

davepoobond: please cod it to me for 460 gold

Edierit: nono

davepoobond: why not????

davepoobond: you want 460 gold for it?

Edierit: i need money ,dude

davepoobond: but gold is money??

Edierit: is real money,i want ,im poor

davepoobond: why are you poor

Edierit: i have no job ,so

Edierit: goodbye man,enjoy your time

davepoobond: but your job is warlock?

 

Jingle Bells Song #21904

Jingle Bells
Santa smells
Easter’s on its way
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a beat up Chevrolet!

(Repeat x1)

Dashing down the road
In a beat up Chevrolet
Down the street we go
Gasping all the way

Horns on traffic go
Engine smoking thick
What fun it is to drive and make
People get real sick, oooooh

(Chorus x2)

Now my time’s not right
What a real sad sight
Motor’s blown some oil
Making my blood boil

Rods and pistons gone
What a horrible funk
Because I owe JD Byrider
Five grand for this piece of junk…oooooh

(Chorus x1)

Jingle Bells
Byrider smells
Creditors on their way
Because I owe $5000 bucks
On this beat up Chevrolet!!!

 

Joke #21875

Two rabbis walk into a bank.

While waiting in line, bank robbers storm inside, not only robbing the bank but also forcing the customers to hand over their own money and jewelry.

One rabbi slips something into the hand of the other rabbi.

“What is this?” the rabbi whispered.

The other rabbi replied, “It’s the fifty bucks I owe you.”

 

Joke #21873

A young black guy walked into the local welfare office, marched straight up to the counter and said, “Hi, I’m tired of handouts, I want a job.”

The man behind the counter replied, “Your timing is amazing. We’ve just got a listing from a very wealthy man who wants a chauffeur/bodyguard for his nympho daughter. You’ll have to drive around in a big white Mercedes — the suits, shirts, and ties are provided. Because of the long hours of this job, meals will also be provided for and you will also be required to escort the young lady on her overseas holidays. The salary package is $200,000 a year.”

The black guy said, “Ah c’mon, you’re bullshitting me!”

The man behind the counter said, “Well, you started it!”