Archive | September 2012

NFL Replacement Refs Deserve a Break

Finger pointing at the fall guys has become the norm in the NFL.

It’s no big secret to sports fans that the NFL is currently using replacement referees to officiate their games. This became the dreaded reality of the NFL ever since the labor dispute between the NFL and the official refs turned into a lockout. Ever since the announcement was made, media, fans, and team members have all been whispering about how bad the games are going to be.

From the get go, little was expected of the replacements outside of blundering calls, and missed fouls. In some cases, it really seemed audiences were more interested in watching the refs for mistakes, rather than the players. Botched pass play? Let’s look for a missed holding call an official ref would have never missed! Foul taking back a big gain? Clearly the fault is the replacement making a judgement call an official would have never screwed up. The replacements have had these kinds of scrutiny driven comments on every game, no matter the outcome. This, coming from the same fan base that has been largely claiming the games are being rigged by the officials for years. Blind hatred is being directed at what has become the easiest scapegoat to pick on. All sides are united, a rare occurrence, in attacking these men who’ve been handed their cards, and can’t do anything about it. The flop, turn, and river have already been laid on the table, and people are expecting them to win with a seven high, the absolute weakest hand in poker.

To be fair, mistakes have been made. You can point to them, but don’t fool yourselves into thinking official refs would have resulted in a largely different outcome. You also cannot rightfully blame the replacements for the state of things. They didn’t picket line the NFL offices and force the officials out. They didn’t feed dirty money to the owners to stonewall the negotiations. It was the NFL and the Official Refs that couldn’t come to an agreement. It was the NFL and Official Refs that got the league into this officiating situation. So, don’t go blaming the replacements for sour milk. It’s the people they’re replacing that left it out of the fridge in the first place.

TGS Proves Sony Still Doesn’t Get It

Sony held their press conference at TGS yesterday. With Microsoft not attending, and Nintendo having done all of their Wii U announcements last week at their own event, it was Sony’s chance to bring the boom with all attention on them. Out of all the announcements of new Vita colors, slimmed PS3s, and lack of games, one thing was made clear: Sony Still Doesn’t Get It. Sony refuses to get it. Sony will probably never get it.

This is nothing against the slimmed PS3. That’s a good thing. Sony is cutting down their manufacturing costs to increase profits per unit. Not having a price drop, however, in the wake of the Wii U launch? That is foolish, and shows they have that same damned arrogance from back when their stock was worth 112 dollars a share.For those who’ve been under a rock the past year, their stock is now at 13 dollars, and that’s after a considerable RISE. No, the issue comes with their holiday bundle push. They’ll be offering up “Special bundles” with Uncharted 3 or Assassin’s Creed 3. Good, great. A bundle with one of Sony’s top exclusives, and another with one of the most anticipated games of the holiday season. The issue? They both come bland blank black systems (The B3 bomber).

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This, above all else, really shows Sony is just too damn inept to survive in today’s world. They have time and time again served up special bundles with the same bland black systems. The 360, on the other hand, has served up many bundles with special limited edition consoles with unique looks. To illustrate, MS is going to release this consoles around the same time as Sony’s offerings:

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Do you see the difference? Do you see who’s trying harder to make system sales rather than being full of it and thinking they can be lazy? Heck, even Nintendo offered a special edition Wii for it’s 25th anniversary for Mario. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who want’s something like that in their living room? Well, for those who aren’t gamers, let me be straight with you, gamers don’t really think about living room aesthetics. They just want stuff that looks cool on their own. There are also collectors that will gobble up any special edition they can. These kinds of things are effective marketing tools, and marketing is something Sony has failed at for over a decade.

An example of how powerful a prettied up console can be as a sales driver. Microsoft offered a special edition Panzer Dragoon Orta console in japan only. Only 999 units were offered through pre-orders through a Sega Direct. These 999 units sold out in a day, in a country that treated the XBox like it was cancer.

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It really is baffling that Sony has been so slow or timid to offer limited edition consoles, at least in the US. Japan has gotten numerous special edition consoles, and all have been desired by fans in the US and EU. Sony just seems to expect people to buy their stuff with no need of bonuses or smart marketing. Hopefully, with the PS4, they’ll finally realize everything tipped in their favor can lead to a system sale.

Understanding CES and the Target Market: Not You

There is something to be said about CES. It is a place of wondrous advancements in consumer electronic technology, where masses can see the future. What the masses must understand, however, is that these advancements are not for everyone, and almost certainly are not for them, not yet. Those massive 80+ inch 4K TV sets everyone is showing off? Those are for the ultra rich. That’s right, ultra rich. The rich will still be hard pressed to buy these kinds of TVs.

Over the past few days, I’ve read hundreds of comments made about these TVs, and the technology, and how “Stupid” the companies are for developing them. They see things they cannot possibly afford, and immediately write them off as wastes of money and time by the companies. Well, here’s a dose of reality for everyone. If the companies don’t “waste” their time and money developing these technologies, there won’t be any advancements at all. These early, big screen launches are a means of recouping some of the R&D costs. Every single piece of recent technology had similar offerings. HDTVs launched in the mid 90s at prices well over $10,000. DVD players actually launched AFTER HDTVs (How’s that for a mind job?), and were over $1000, with $50 discs. How about MP3 players? That was something scoffed for the price and the limitations of internet speed, but who’s laughing now?

So, when you see these new pieces of cutting edge tech, and feel the need to remark on how out of range they are, or unnecessary they are, stop. Take a moment and think about the past two decades. You probably thought the same thing about HDTV, Blu-Ray, DVD, MP3 players, laptops, and smartphones. Do not be foolish with blanket statements, simply because the future is not the today of your price range. Like all things technological in your possession, there was a time when they too were not for you. Here’s to the future!