Five things on Friday #341
Things of note for the week ending Saturday January 28th, 2023.
Two editions in two weeks? Ambassador, you are spoiling us. What can I say? Sometimes the words come and sometimes they don’t. I’ve learned to recognise and embrace the former and make my peace with the latter.
No matter what, the words will come when they’re ready.
It’s funny, even writing that now - we had to submit something a few months ago, the words wouldn’t come. I knew they would, eventually, when they were ready but they didn’t for a long time. I had to have faith. Faith in myself, faith in my ability.
Faith in the words.
And sure enough they came. All 1200 of them. In one go. No edits. Madness.
Reading back over last week’s edition, it feels reflective - looking back a fair bit - at old links, older stories. The symptom of diving back into the unused link logs since October. The good news is that’s done now - so this edition is FRESH.
At least, I’m aiming for it to be.
So let’s find out if I’ve done it, yeah?
1. DEALING WITH LAYOFFS, IN TECH, GAMING, JOURNALISM AND MORE
Since Meta’s 11,000, Google’s 12,000, Twitter laying off 4,000, and Microsoft’s 10,000… and that’s before the swathes of journalists were laid off from everywhere from Adweek to the Washington Post this week, there are a lot of people looking for work right now.
Hard to dismiss this is a ‘post-covid rebalancing’ when so many livelihoods have been impacted (plus: it patently isn’t just that).
The point is: it’s rough out there.
Having personally been through redundancy a few times (on all sides of the table) it is a horrible experience.
From a purely gaming-based perspective, there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel. Over on Linkedin, the incredible Amir Satvat has pulled together some fantastic resources for those looking for new employment (including this superb community vacancies spreadsheet - featuring 13k vacancies!).
If you find this helpful or useful at all, don’t thank me, thank Satvat.
If you’ve been hit by any of the layoffs and need some help, with connections, CV help, just a friendly chat - whatever - then do please get in touch.
2. CALL OF THE VOID: SEVEN YEARS ON
The lovely Holly (hi Holly) shared this during the week and it is a fascinating read.
Written by a self-professed analyser of plane crashes, it looks at every inch of detail we know and pulls together a compelling argument for what truly happened to the still missing flight MH370.
3. THIS WEEK IN GAMING
This week: LOTS TO TALK ABOUT.
Xbox dropped Hi-Fi Rush out of nowhere (certified banger - oh and, as it turns out, one of the devs worked on Viewtiful Joe - what a game!)
Dead Space arrived to rave reviews (not my cup of tea - I don’t like scary games, OK?!)
Goldeneye re-released on Nintendo and Xbox (1997 nostalgia hit)
The PlayStation DualSense Edge (aka ‘the Pro controller’) landed on doormats for all pre-orderers (hello).
Aaaand vampire-teamup-killathon, REDFALL, looks all kinds of ace (10min gameplay video).
OK, so what else?
So look, I need to confess. Let’s just get this out of the way right now:
I am very excited about PS VR2
Yes it is a lot of money but a), I really want to play it (I’ve been saving for it and the other half may have offered to go halves with me for Christmas) and b) I can kind of (?) justify it because this is both in the interest of my job and my hobby/passion - and that’s that. If you’re unaware when this thing comes out, on tech specs alone, it should easily be the best VR kit on the market. Which is kinda nuts?
Game wise, there is a LOT.
Personally, on day one I’m looking at No Man’s Sky and Gran Turismo 7 (both free upgrades), Horizon Call of the Mountain (in the box), and almost certainly a paid upgrade for Tetris Effect. I’ve got a teeny tiny eye on Tentacular (it looks bonkers) and outside of that, I’m also keeping my eyes peeled for the heavily rumoured VR2 port of the critically acclaimed Half Life: Alyx.
I’d probably give a kidney for Wipeout upgrade path but that’s for another day.
Do you VR?
If so, which one? What do you play? Where? I’m interested. Let me know in the usual way (the reply button). Thanks x
What am I playing?
After describing my gaming funk last week, I’ve downloaded a few new games from Game Pass and PlayStation Plus just to give me an indie-shaped break from a heavy AAA completion.
First up on my list is: Jett: The Far Shore (on PlayStation Plus Extra).
Super lush. Super gentle. Super exactly what I need right now.
Hi-Fi Rush has arrived (see trailer linked at the top, available on Game Pass) just at the right moment also so I’ve got some really nice little games to tide me over until the next AAA eats up all my time.
Plus there’s the small matter of Destiny 2: Lightfall to look forward to next month. February is looking aaaaaall kinds of busy.
Might have to book some time off 😁
What are you playing/looking forward to playing next?
Fun fact/aside: something for the Warzone 2.0 players, you can refuel the heli at the gas station - who knew?
4. SOMETHING SOMETHING AVATAR IS ACTUALLY KIND OF GREAT?
TWO BILLION DOLLARS? WHAAAAAAAAAA.
And they said it would be rubbish.
They said no one would care.
And yet here we are and renowned cinematic pioneer and outrageously decent director of all movies that spend >50% of their time in the water, JAMES CAMERON, has delivered a corker.
I don’t care that the editing wasn’t that great. I don’t care that the story beats felt saggy in places. I don’t care about the moans and complaints that it wasn’t ‘that good’. Rubbish. It was magic and the dollars speak for themselves.
Sitting in the IMAX with my Mum and the Mrs the other night watching this for the first time - in 3D with HFR - I was completely and utterly transported back to Pandora. A place I first experienced for 15mins on ‘Avatar Day’ back in August 2009. A place I loved to visit in the way it was supposed to - in 3D IMAX. And at some points, in the water scenes specifically, it was like being in a God damn aquarium; I could not believe what I was seeing.
The pinnacle of special effects. A must-see for cinema fans. For event film fans. For everyone. I don’t care if you disagree, don’t even bother telling me.
I will only accept messages that say: ‘Oh damn, James, you were right’ - thanks.
Read more: Avatar to become only the 6th ever film to pass the $2bn mark.
5. MY BROTHER IN CHRIST, HOW IS IT 2023 AND YOU ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT THE METAVERSE?
We nearly did it. We nearly got through the whole newsletter without having to do it and look, I’ll be honest, I really wanted to write a newsletter without mentioning it.
But three things happened this week that made me think I had to do it.
First, the idiots at McKinsey are back at it again. This time with this rubbish:
It can’t even make it out of the first paragraph without misappropriating gaming success/moves for metaverse tosh.
Two thousand words of utter nonsense that not only manages to wilfully convolute the successes of Roblox (54m DAUs) and Fortnite (30m DAUs) with empty Web3 wastelands such as Sandbox (literally 700 DAUs) - I’m not kidding - but also manages to completely ship the bed with these amazing three ‘key steps’ for success:
‘Start with Why. [Ask yourself] why does the metaverse fit into our growth and innovation agenda?’ - clue: it doesn’t
‘Get Practical. Try not to be gimmicky’ - ummmm
Hire a Chief Metaverse Officer. HAHAHAHAHA I WISH I WAS JOKING.
I just can’t anymore with these guys.
Second, if the McKinsey piece made me laugh out loud, this next joke made me genuinely angry. I don’t even want to link to it.
HOWEVER if you’re going to write stuff like this:
‘As we all know, it is a hugely challenging time for the SME community amid the difficult economy and shifting consumer behaviours. This becomes even more pertinent for bricks and mortar operators who also have to contend with the ‘death of the high street.’
The good news is the metaverse have[sic] the answer.’
Just makes me so angry. If you’re a small/medium enterprise struggling with the death of the high street do not invest in sodding metaverse.
Irresponsible and dangerous idiocy.
And get a damn editor and a fact checker.
I’m not linking it. They don’t deserve the clicks.
Third and finally, as much as I do love an OREO love in (I spent two years of my life at Publicis working on the brand across UK and Europe), I wouldn’t be being true to my values if I didn’t call out this ridiculous piece of (admittedly US-centric (and fortunately nothing to do with the brilliant European team)) work that is this ‘OREO metaverse activation’.
Remember the golden rule: when people say ‘metaverse’, they either mean ‘video games’ OR they mean an empty 3D website.
Which one is the ‘The Oreoverse’ do you think?
I’ll let you decide.
THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY.
This week, in interesting transport links, here’s the world’s longest passenger train - over 100 carriages and measuring at 1.9km - it truly has to be seen to be believed. So… off you go then.
Greg James on finding it boring being asked about children all the time. There’s a number of you that will enjoy this (non-paywall link right here if helpful).
Tom Lehrer has given away all his rights to his music. This is worth a click for the song alone.
If you’re leaving Twitter, here’s how to archive your Tweets via the Wayback Machine. Useful.
A Ford dealer put the new SUV on its local equivalent of Deliveroo… and sold three of them.
DnD back pedalling swiftly (thankfully). Someone tell me if I’ve got this wrong?
Netflix thinks it’ll make $720m from banning password sharing. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays of for em.
A belated 52 things I learned in 2022 (you may have seen this already but it’s still worth a revisit).
Speaking of belated, I managed to complete 13 different games in 2022. Here’s a thread of those games (with mini reviews) in case you needed some inspiration.
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
It’s been nice to boot this thing back up again. I would make this longer but it’s now 9am on Saturday morning, coffee has been consumed, and the weekend chores are calling.
How are you doing out there?
Hit that reply button, it’d be great to hear from you.
Until next time,
Whatley out x
PS. In Bristol? We’re hiring: a campaign production manager and a senior account manager for the PR & Comms team.
Another great edition. The flight 370 article was a good bit of detective work. I imagine if he wrote an article on the Metaverse, it would be much shorter: "It's crap". We hope for the day when you can't find anything new about it.