"Yakuza: Like a Dragon" was one of the best games I'd played since the year 2000, and the sequel is shaping up to be a potential masterpiece. They are really leaning into the goofiness, I must have rewound the "Crazy Taxi on a bike" Engrish part with the "Supa Cdazy Derivry!" ten times. The dating simulation with the "Pokemon Snap" mechanic also looks hilarious. By contrast though, I'm also sure that the game will feature a very dramatic, serious story with a lot of emotional impact, just like the previous release. I'm hoping we wind up with a perfect "peanut butter and jelly" contrast between seriousness and comic relief.
Financialization and Budgets
I've written many times before about how my employer is willing to pay me, and people like me, significant salaries just to raise the share price of their multi-billion dollar global operation by an infinitesimal percentage of one percent. It's interesting to see that phenomenon put into graph form.
Corporations have been able to levitate their stock using financialization sleight-of-hand; by having people like me leverage for them the microcomputer plus internet booms to increase efficiency; by having interest rates at near-zero levels for decades; and by sacrificing product durability via cost-cutting material choices. But now we're coming to the end of the road on all of those trends.
There is too much debt for further financialization shell game tactics to continue to get the same returns they used to; jobs like mine have been reduced to re-designing corporate home pages pointlessly for the billionth time-- long gone is the era when computers could revolutionize business; central banks are finally forced to raise interest rates in a last-gasp attempt to save their respective bond markets; and one can't get cheaper than plastic as far as bill of materials goes, things can't get any cheaper or worse made than they already are.
Watch out below!
Now I'm seeing studies pop up with claim that because humans fart too much, we should replace them all with "AI". I remember when Leftoids used to claim to be the humanists who looked out for "the little guy", while their evil greedy Right-wingers were a bunch of heartless assholes. Unsurprisingly, that was just a ploy to obtain power-- now that they have total power, it turns out they're are one hundred percent in the tank for Big Business and giant corporations, who are doing their bidding to help them consolidate their control.
As for the corporations themselves, this "let's just get rid of humans" is a desperate last-ditch tactic to squeeze the lemon one last time, to levitate their profits for a further amount of time-- collateral damage to "the little guy" be damned. It's also short-sighted: one everyone loses their livelihoods, who is going to buy the products the corporates produce? But, these global power brokers aren't thinking long-term: they are largely making it up as they go.
On a different financials note, here are the Lazio books for this past fiscal year. The wage bill sat at 69.5 million Euro. Unlike essentially every single other club at our level, we are sustainable but still competitive, which is a huge testament to the steady hand of Claudio Lotito. I know he has his critics, and even I have been frustrated with him variously in the past-- but on the balance it's tough to argue that he's done a great job as a responsible steward of the team.
Microsoft and Gaming
I'm sure many of my readers are already up-to-date with all of the Microsoft leaks lately, but for those who aren't, a massive dump of confidential Microsoft communications, including full email chains, along with marketing and roadmap materials, were made public by combinations of internal leaks and through the various court cases in which Microsoft find themselves embroiled.
In the 80s and 90s I thought Bill Gates was one of the most evil people on the planet. The 2010s and 2020s have proven that I was right all along. His company took on his evil form. Now, even though he's been out of the direct Microsoft picture for a long time, the company culture has evidently-- as these leaks show-- not changed, despite the external "look at us, we're the nice guys now, contributing to the Linux kernel and stuff!" persona they've been attempting to cultivate.
The most revealing part of these leaks have been email chains involving Phil Spencer and other Xbox brand affiliated, upper-Microsoft people. In them, they openly discuss the notion of forming proxies to gobble up as many shares of Nintendo stock as possible, allowing them to force Nintendo to bleed through their cash savings via poor investments, so that Microsoft can come in and scoop a suddenly-vulnerable Nintendo up. They also reveal that they are trying to figure out a way to buy Valve. Obviously, Microsoft owning Steam would largely destroy the PC as a viable gaming platform.
It was also exposed that the Xbox Series X only makes up 25% of the "Series" console sales. The "Series" platforms are being outsold roughly 2:1 by the PlayStation 5-- it's something like 18 million units versus 35 million. 25% of 18 million is 4.5 million Series X systems, versus 35 million PlayStation 5 units. That is a bloodbath. Like always, dating all the way back to Bill Gates and his accomplice essentially stealing CPM from Gary Kildall, Microsoft can not compete on a level footing-- so they use underhanded tactics to get what they want.