Monday, 9 May 2016

The Call of Duty Complex

Blame anyone who complained about MuchMore's relaunch as M3 back in 2013 for me saying this but, Whoever said "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" needs to be punched in the face. And kicked in the groin. And set on fire. And die.

For progress to be made, some things (especially MuchMore) NEED to be broken. Not only will they be fixed, they will be better than before. Change is a good thing, and yet, having too much of a good thing is a bad thing. So? Get rid of what makes it horrible, not what makes it great. Problem solved! That's evolution. That's change. That's the way life works.

Don't agree? Then allow me to retort: CALL OF DUTY!

Let's be honest. The main entries developed by Treyarch and, especially, Sledgehammer Games' own Advanced Warfare were better than any of the games churned out by Infinity Ward in recent years. Treyarch in particular deserve recognition for building upon what made Modern Warfare so great by adding new features and tweaking the core gameplay just a bit. Obviously, it wasn't enough, but at least it was better than Infinity Ward's "If it ain't broke..." approach.

Compare Black Ops II's Strikeforce missions, branching paths, and "Pick 10" multiplayer, to Modern Warfare 3's linear campaign and reshuffled killstreaks. ...OK, so all those changes weren't perfect, but the only thing rehashed about Black Ops 2 was the graphics. Treyarch had the right idea. For Call of Duty to stay relevant, it needs to evolve and continue evolving.

Why else do you think that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (and by extension, Modern Warfare 2, depending on who you asked) is still regarded as the franchise's high point? Compared to what came before it, it was very different. It changed the shooter game and opened a Pandora's box of imitators. Now the franchise itself has become an imitator, and its shift to sci-fi does little to hide the obvious.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Whoever said that needs to be shot. At least when MTV ditched music television, they still remained a pop culture icon to this day. If it wasn't for Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto V would still be played from a top-down perspective. People who say "If it ain't broke...", can go fuck themselves.

...Though, in retrospective, MuchMore should have never became M3. Not when music videos are still the only programs worth watching on that channel.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Netflix Went Worldwide WAY Too Soon

Once upon a time, if you put something out there on the internet, the whole world could see it. Then, one day, someone decided that entertainment companies can put something out there, but only their native country can see it. The rest of the world was like: "Wow, what a jackass!"

That last bit also happens to be the reaction from Canadians who aren't satisfied with just watching House of Cards and Bojack Horseman. That last bit is the reaction Canadians had to Netflix's border-hopping crack down. Hungry for the full catalog of titles available in the U.S? Too bad. If you try to use a VPN or unblocking service to cross the border, Netflix will deport your ass faster than you can say Bordertown.

When your streaming service is now available worldwide, the first thing you want to do is make sure your content isn't available worldwide too. That's the message Netflix is sending to Canadians. It's true that Netflix does want to have a worldwide-viewable catalog, hence the shrinking movie lineup (which could also be chalked up to them spending more money on original programming), but actions speak louder than words, and Netflix's actions as of late have said otherwise.

Since Canadians can't rely on unblockers, now they're prepared to just pirate everything Netflix offers the United States that they can't get up north. After all, it's not stealing when you take something for free that you aren't allowed to pay money for in the first place. That's the biggest problem with geographically-restricted subscription services: people who were willing to pay money for something are now "stealing" that very something because the owners, apparently, don't want their money.

Now flip it in reverse! Netflix Canada has given us new episodes of Scandal before the Americans can stream them, exclusive series like From Dusk 'ill Dawn & Shadowhunters, plus exclusive streaming rights to the new Star Wars movie. Surely someone in another part of the world is looking at us with envy. As awesome as these bonuses are (and they are FREAKING SWEET!), it would be even better if we ALL were able to enjoy them. If we could all enjoy From Dusk 'till Dawn and Star Wars, without having to use an unblocker, it would truly feel like Netflix is available worldwide. If we still lived in a world where "if you put something out there on the internet, the whole world could see it", that's would be the reality.

Instead, everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too and, once again, the customer has the short end of the stick. If Netflix truly wants to have a worldwide catalog of shows, then they need to stop making these region-specific deals. The same goes to all businesses: the only way to slow down piracy is to make your goods accessible to the customer. The pirates are winning because they provide a better service. When your business avoids anti-consumer practices, like geo-blocking, piracy becomes an afterthought.

Then we'll all live happily ever after.