Weekly News Roundup (1 September 2013)
Another short WNR this week. From the feedback I’ve received, it seems people don’t really mind the the short WNRs. And by feedback, I mean a rather poignantly written email which simply stated “you suck less this week cause their [sic] was less carp to read”. And by “carp” I think the gentleman or lady meant crap, as I haven’t added a fishing section to Digital Digest. Not yet. Speaking of carp, I actually quite enjoy Asian carp. Bony, but worth the effort, in my opinion. And so my suggestion to the gentleman/lady that emailed me is: read less, eat more.
It took a while, but it eventually got there. A Southern Florida court this week summarily ruled against file uploader Hotfile in favor of the MPAA, in a ruling that won’t surprise anyone who has followed the case.
While Hotfile did put up a good fight, the actions taken against Megaupload (which occurred after the lawsuit was initiated), and the fact that Hotfile did seem to go out of there way to award those who uploaded the most popular files (which, surprise surprise, were mostly files of a pirated nature), has all led to Hotfile’s downfall. The owner/chief executive of Hotfile, Anton Titov, was also found personally liable for what could be hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damages.
Hotfile may yet appeal, but a summary judgement means that the judge deemed the MPAA’s case strong enough to not require a full trial to hand down a ruling. So it’s not looking good for Hotfile, although at the time of writing the website was still operational.
And the effect on piracy if/when Hotfile is closed down? Zilch, probably.
Can traditional TV networks learn a thing or two from Netflix? Well, Kevin Spacey thinks so, as the star of the Emmy nominated Netflix original series House of Cards says that giving people what they want is the future of film and TV, and the solution to the piracy problem.
With the debut season of House of Cards made available on Netflix all at once, and across the world at the same time, Spacey thinks this kind of universal availability is what will make a serious dent into the piracy problem. He says that if movie theater owners and studios can be convinced to allow for the release of movies on the big screen, the small screen and on smart screens all at the same time, it can become a new way to fight piracy.
An interesting idea that theater owners will never, ever, agree to, but it’s at the very least worthy of academic discussion. How will piracy be affected if a film is made available everywhere, on every platform and device, all around the world at the same time? I think it will go a long way towards reducing piracy, but some will always pirate, just because they can.
As for releasing all episodes of a season at the same time, I don’t think this is something the big TV networks will embrace either. If anything, they want to stretch a season over as long a time span as possible, although I suppose if a revenue model can be worked out where months worth of advertising can be gained from instant releasing, they’d probably go for it.
At the end of the day, it’s all about money, rightly or wrongly. I believe the right revenue model can found that strikes the right balance between giving people what they want (freedom and value) versus what the creative industry wants (money).
It may very well be too little, too late, but Nintendo has upped the ante by dropping $50 from the price of the Wii U. The 32GB version of the console, which includes a copy of the game Nintendo Land, will now retail for $299.99. In addition, a limited edition Zelda: Wind Waker HD bundle is also being released at the same price point. The 8GB version of the console will now be phased out.
This now puts the Wii U’s price at a point between that of the Xbox 360/PS3 and the PS4, but closer to the current-gen consoles than the next-gen one. The problem with the Wii U is that while it is technically superior to the Xbox 360/PS3, the graphical differences aren’t day and night, and these older consoles have a much better (and cheaper) game library. So even at the same price as the Xbox 360/PS3, the Wii U may still be perceived as poor value.
With the holiday sales period just around the corner, a period that traditionally favors Nintendo, there is still some hope for the Wii U just yet. Recent sale figures suggest that Xbox 360 and PS3 sales may have reached saturation point – most people who want one will have one already; the same cannot be said of the Wii U. So the Wii U can be seen as a cheaper next-gen option for the masses, for those unwilling to spend big on a PS4 and spend even bigger on a Xbox One. Nintendo will also have a stronger game line-up by then.
The next couple of months of gaming, for me, will be all about GTA V. IV was a relative disappointment to me, but I just can’t resist a good open world game. Or a bad one. No GTA V for Wii U though, which is a shame as I think the GamePad and asymmetric gameplay could have been used to great effect. Oh well.
I think that’s it for this short and reduced carp version of the WNR. See you next week.