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Comment Re:Stopped reading at... (Score 2) 592

Indeed, and the glaringly obvious answer if people are starving now and refuse to or are incapable of working is that you pay them to do the work in food. Instead of charities just gifting food and medical aid, use it to incentivise a work force to work towards the kind of improvements that will lift large parts of the continent out of danger. Let's not rely on the corrupt governments to instigate these improvements, empower the people to create their own better future.

Comment Re:This is Sony (Score 1) 293

Don't forget that Sony were also worried about cannibalising what they saw as the real future of portable music - MiniDisc. The holy grail for Sony seems always to be to own the consumable part of the market (Betamax, MiniDisc, CD, DVD, BDR, not to mention their various portable gaming formats, etc - they've had their thumb in pretty much every pie to some extent).

Comment Re:This is Sony (Score 2) 293

Particularly nauseating given how well they've demonstrated they'll look after your personal information. My last Sony purchase was a PS1. Admittedly the last time I tried it about 12 years ago it was still working, but only if I stood it upside down so the lid rested on the ground. Sony used to be the watchword for quality, then sometime in the 90s they figured they could trade on the name but reduce quality to boost profits.

Comment Re:Digital distribution and death of second hand (Score 1) 172

This is almost always the issue when the board aren't properly invested in the long term future of the company. The approach is always: gut the company, make a fast buck now, then jump ship (hopefully before it sinks). There's no incentive to invest in new technology, there's no incetive to take risks with different approaches - why would the board care about that when they can just milk what they've got for profits right now then move to a company that's already done the hard work and investment later. It's the sickness at the core of most of our business, a natural side effect of the transition from family owned business (where you were leaving a legacy to your offspring) to global megacorps, where your next bonus is all that counts.

Comment Re:Not competitive (Score 1) 172

The regularity of the occurence is the most baffling part, though. I don't frequent Game stores all that often but I've almost always encountered used prices either more than new, the same as, or even when lower it's only one or two pounds on a £40 game (with the loss of any included DLC, the risk that the disk is scratched, etc). Back in the days when Gamestation was independent they used to do some great deals on pre-owned games, since Game took over the trend has been constantly upwards almost to the point where there's no real difference. I can understand the desire for more profits but surely this turns a lot of customers away.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 172

Excellent journal entries, I'd advise anyone with a little time to go read them. On the credit front, my GF was one of the lucky ones. She'd pre-ordered Mass Effect 3 for me and when we received notification that they couldn't meet the order as they'd been refused stock (and gave us a £5 voucher to make up for it) I instantly realised we were talking days or weeks rather than months or years left on the clock for Game and told her to cash the voucher and her ~£25 of loyalty points in.

I can understand how people would be annoyed at having missed out, but on the other hand I'd be extremely wary of sinking more than you're willing to lose into any company in this economy (or in fact, in general - I hate buying big ticket items that have a long time to deliver like sofas, etc, leaving several hundred pounds invested in a company in the hope they'll be able to deliver). I can imagine a lot of those same people still have HMV vouchers/credit, for instance and will learn little from this experience.

Comment Re:I was just about to post similar (Score 1) 172

But the point is it's also a terrible use of expensive shop space. Why pay so much rent if all you're going to do is fill it all with empty boxes? I don't need to see 20 copies of the same empty box side by side on a shelf. Just have one box and a bunch of "Take this token to the counter to buy" things behind it. That way you instantly claim back masses of floor space for things like demo units that instantly give you a killer advantage over both superstores (who just want churn) and the internet. Same deal with used games, I don't want to wade through 300 used games to find the one I want, replace that with a system whereby used games get scanned in and I can just run a search on a terminal and instantly see if what I want is in stock (and even better, they could tie it into a bunch of services like "view similar titles" that might get them some residual sales of games I'd not previously heard about). Again, massive win for the customer plus reclaim a bunch of valuable floor space. None of this stuff is rocket science, you can't just hope to run a shop as though it's the 80s where customers had no real alternatives on the high street and the internet/supermarkets never happened.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 172

Not to mention the shops are awful for browsing. What they need is some system where I can pick up a game I've not seen/heard about, scan it at a booth and pull up gameplay video, reviews, etc, even be able to try it out before I buy. Having 20 copies of an identical empty box with three lines of blurb and an artist rendition of the game tells me nothing as a potential customer. They should be doing more of what tabletop game stores do. Run game nights with leagues and competitions, help people connect with other local gamers who enjoy the same types of games, turn it from somewhere you only go if you want the game right now and everywhere else on the high street is sold out to somewhere you actively want to go and spend time. They could do most of this with volunteers (give them some kind of loyalty rewards/discount vouchers for helping out) and it needn't cost them much at all. That's how a bricks and mortar game store differentiates itself from internet/supermarket stores. Cramming people in like cattle and filling all available space with stuffed Yoshi dolls isn't going to cut it.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 172

I wonder if it's to do with capacity at peak times. Perhaps having two or three stores during their peak run up to Christmas generates enough additional profit (or at least they were hoping it would but it sounds like they miscalculated) to cover the surplus stores for the rest of the year (and since they can't just rent and outfit the stores they need for those three months, it's better to have them open than closed so long as they're breaking even). The Game and Gamestation proximity thing is easier to explain, as they were originally competitors and Game bought Gamestation out. Likely they had sufficiently long leases on some of the Gamestation stores that, again, it made more sense to keep them open and breaking even than close them but still pay rent.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 2) 172

The article alluded to the one benefit bricks and mortar games stores can offer, unfortunately it's one thing Game never got right. It specifically says game stores are needed so that customers can try before they buy, yet Game and Gamestation where always awful for this. If you were lucky there'd be one or two consoles switched on, more often than not the controllers wouldn't be hooked up so there was no "trying" component, and god forbid you ask them to reconnect them or, even worse, throw in a different game to the one that's looping through the start screen demo... not gonna happen. The stores themselves are cramped, every available space crammed with junk merchandise, the staff waver between jumping on you if they think you're looking at a big ticket purchase like a sale or ignoring you if you have questions about anything else (right up until it's time to pay where they'll offer you five or six point of sale offers you're clearly not interested in).

I genuinely think they should make the stores more like a hangout, big comfy sofas, a whole bunch of consoles (with some kind of hub system so you can choose which games you want to try). They could easily stop people abusing it by limiting the amount of time you can play games (have you create some kind of account in store and then use a system similar to OnLive, give you 30 minutes per title to try it out). There's not really any need to have every available shelf space crammed with copies of games, either - use that space to make the place a more inviting venue for customers. I avoid Game stores like a plague as you really feel like cattle, churned through the store (it's so crammed you can only move in one direction), channeled through the point of sale then dumped out onto the street. I'd rather wait two or three days and save money than subject myself to that. Create a more relaxed, fun atmosphere and people will be willing to spend time in your store and that in turn will lead to spending.

Comment Re:Or better yet... (Score 5, Insightful) 149

We didn't listen to those people during the last 25 years of fossil fuel burning, so why do we need to listen to them now? There will always be fundamentalists at both ends of the spectrum, that doesn't mean the rest of us can't recognise a need to move away from fossil fuel burning and towards cleaner alternatives as a good thing and accept some compromises. It's just a shame big oil's lobbyists prevented us doing so much earlier.

Comment Re:They have already said early on (Score 1) 119

Did you not just answer your own question before you asked it? The reason it's being given away is because your participation is valuable to them. Sure, it might go away at some point, but it's doubtful it will just be turned off without warning. On the other hand solving speech to text is not a trivial thing, especially considering language is constantly evolving, if they're deriving benefit from being able to gather this data then it's not something they'll suddenly stop gaining benefit from in the near future.

Comment Re:It's a sunk cost (Score 1) 119

Not to mention that the US isn't the only market where they could get a foot in the door. Auctioning of the spectrum is currently a hot topic here in the UK with current and potential new carriers all squabbling about who should be first in line. Given the smaller size of the market and the comparatively large size of business done via mobile/internet (largest ecommerce spend per head in the world) it would be a great proving ground for Google to trial such a service without committing to a larger, logistically more troublesome market right off the bat.

Comment Re:work (Score 4, Interesting) 139

No, this doesn't make sense. If there's some guy selling copies of your work on the local market, and he's an amazing salesman, it's not hypochritical of you to approach him and ask if he wants to sell the real thing instead. If that deal falls through then it's still not hypochritical to go report him to the police. And in any event, one party being a hypochrite bears no weight on the legality or illegality of the other party's actions. I'm certainly not going to stand up and argue in favour of MPAA/RIAA as I think they're vampiric entities that need to be ended, but like GP I feel I'm missing whatever point Dotcom is making.

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