PROFESSIONAL NERD.

PERSONAL BLOG.

What I'm Reading - 4/25/2018

Three to five links every weekday - except when flights get cancelled last minute.

 Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become Human

HOW RED BULL INVENTED THE SPONCON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Red Bull’s marketing model, honed in the decades since founder Dietrich Mateschitz wrested most of the control of the company from his Thai partner and took up racing sponsorships, is to identify influential people within hyper-targeted subcultures and loosely congregate them around your brand. It’s a tactic that Red Bull perfected in the ‘90s and one that nearly every other company has sought to imitate since: the ultimate sponsored content campaign. To get the good talent and keep them, you don’t make them do TV spots or shout out your beverage—just give them cash to do what they already do and align their personal brand with your own. When you identify talented enough pseudo-shills and position yourself as an unobtrusive force, you don’t even have to make the content yourself.
 
Red Bull started with some racing teams, of which it now owns several, having purchased and entirely rebranded them. In the early 2000s, it moved into more general athletics. It owns at least 10 sports leagues and sponsors more than 500 individual athletes. There is a Red Bull-sponsored festival in Germany where, for more than a decade, people have competed in the art of riding flying home-made contraptions off ramps. The energy drink holds a double-dutch tournament, a paper airplane-flying championship, and most recently, a handful of eSports teams.

NEW HARRY POTTER GAME, LAUNCHING TODAY, LETS PLAYERS ENROLL IN HOGWARTS

In the first step of what could be an endless exploration of the wizarding world of Harry Potter,  the Los Angeles mobile games studio Jam City  is releasing its Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery game on the App Store and Google Play.
 
Developed in partnership with Warner Bros., the game will launch under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games — a label dedicated to creating first-person gaming experiences for mobile devices and consoles based on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

BITCOIN IS THE GREATEST SCAM IN HISTORY (OPINION)

I’m tired of saying, “Be careful, it’s speculative.” Then, “Be careful, it’s gambling.” Then, “Be careful, it’s a bubble.” Okay, I’ll say it: Bitcoin is a scam.
 
In my opinion, it’s a colossal pump-and-dump scheme, the likes of which the world has never seen. In a pump-and-dump game, promoters “pump” up the price of a security creating a speculative frenzy, then “dump” some of their holdings at artificially high prices. And some cryptocurrencies are pure frauds. Ernst & Young estimates that 10 percent of the money raised for initial coin offerings has been stolen.
 
The losers are ill-informed buyers caught up in the spiral of greed. The result is a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary families to internet promoters. And “massive” is a massive understatement — 1,500 different cryptocurrencies now register over $300 billion of “value.”
 
It helps to understand that a bitcoin has no value at all.

DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN’S RISKY STORYTELLING APPROACH IS A NEW DIRECTION FOR DAVID CAGE

For more than two decades, David Cage and his company Quantic Dream have been carving out a niche in the gaming world. As the studio’s founder and the director of its games, Cage has been honing his particular brand of storytelling, one that blends the scripted performances and visual language of film with the interactivity of video games to create a unique type of narrative-driven adventure game.
 
Quantic Dream’s last three games — 2005’s Indigo Prophecy, 2010’s Heavy Rain and 2013’s Beyond: Two Souls — eschewed traditional game mechanics in favor of gesture-based controls that were meant to simulate the feeling of whatever actions the player was performing. Each game offered a branching narrative structure in which the player’s decisions — every dialogue choice, every button press, every failed quick-time event — secretly influenced the direction and outcome of the story, including whether characters lived or died.
 
All of that is still true in Quantic Dream’s latest game, Detroit: Become Human, which launches in a month on PlayStation 4. Except for one fascinating piece: Cage decided to pull back the curtain on his story. Detroit lays out every branch on its narrative tree, and thus feels like something of a refutation of the designer’s past work. Cage is leaning into the video game elements of a project more deeply than he has in almost 20 years.

What I'm Reading - 4/26/2018

What I'm Reading - 4/23/2018