EA’s problem with the Ultimate Team sales scandal | This Week in Business

first_imgBrendan SinclairManaging EditorFriday 12th March 2021Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareLast week we said some nice things about Electronic Arts in this space, so in the interest of balanced reporting, this week we’ll talk about loot boxes. There was a scandal in the FIFA Ultimate Team fandom this week as people on social media began passing around screen captures of chats and videos that purportedly show an EA employee trying to sell rare Ultimate Team cards to players for hundreds or even thousands of euros. (It’s unclear how rare those cards are — EA only tells people it’s a less than 1% chance — so it’s difficult to know if those could actually be considered fair prices.)Player outrage over the reports gained enough traction that EA released a statement saying it had begun “a thorough investigation” and would “take swift action” if it finds any improper conduct by its employees. It also had this line:QUOTE | “We want to be clear — this type of behavior is unacceptable, and we in no way condone what is alleged to have happened here. We understand how this creates concern about unfair balance in the game and competition.” — EA, in its very serious comment about this very serious scandal.If we take the statement at face value, EA is worried about “unfair balance in the game and competition,” which is an odd position to hold when you’re the one who created the Ultimate Team business model specifically so that players who threw obscene amounts of money into the game would have a significant competitive edge over those who didn’t.I understand why they would object to the aforementioned obscene amounts of money lining an employee’s pockets rather than the company coffers, but that’s the sort of objection you probably take care of in private rather than touting it to the masses as evidence of your pay-to-win game’s competitive balance.The company may also be reluctant to call it embezzlement or anything like that, as EA’s go-to defense for why loot boxes don’t count as illegal gambling is that virtual currency and items are not “things of value” as described in gambling laws. (Incidentally, that defense doesn’t seem to be very effective; it failed EA in the Netherlands and Big Fish Casino in a Washington court case.)Maybe EA is opposed to it because it doesn’t want its players getting scammed. I mean, it would be tragic if somebody spent a small fortune to get these rare cards but never actually received them. And by “tragic,” of course I mean, “FIFA Ultimate Team’s actual business model working exactly as intended.”Perhaps EA is just philosophically opposed to one-time transactions where the customer knows exactly what they’re buying, how much it will cost them, and won’t be bugged incessantly to buy piecemeal add-ons to complete the experience.One objection I can see here is that this supposed employee seller is dealing with people one-to-one through social media and direct messages. It’s simply not scalable in the way EA would need the business to be in order to service the entire Ultimate Team player base. This is where the actual competitive advantage comes in; only those players with access to this mystery dealer would be able to load their teams up with the best-of-the-best cards on demand. The rest of the field would have to keep sinking money (and time) into opening packs and hoping to come across these exceedingly rare cards, the way EA has always intended.EA could, of course, add the option to buy individual cards for hundreds or thousands of dollars. And some people would, of course, pay those prices. But EA won’t start doing that, because it makes the entire sordid business entirely too transparent. Charging people €1,700 for three cards so they can have a competitive edge is outrageous. Obscene. Exploitative. And it would be called out as such by parents, the press, and possibly even politicians. On the other hand, allowing people to spend €1,700 (or more) to get the three cards they want by gambling away a few bucks at a time, all without disclosing exactly how rotten the odds of getting those cards are… That’s just good old-fashioned innovation.STAT | $1.49 billion — EA’s net revenues from Ultimate Team modes in 2020 (about 27% of all the publisher’s revenue), according to EA’s annual report. STAT | $15 billion — Juniper Research’s projection of how much loot boxes worldwide generated in 2020, which would make EA representative of 10% of the entire market.STAT | $53.9 billion — The size of the worldwide console market in 2020, according to Ampere Analysis.QUOTE | “One of my favourite writers told me that she runs to have something she hates more than writing.” — Failbetter Games narrative designer Olivia Wood is just one of the professionals offering sage-like advice in this Academy primer for people interested in breaking into games writing.QUOTE | “We’re still in the nascent stages of the industry. All players will make mistakes along the way, ourselves included. But beyond any hurdles, this rapid trend demonstrates the tech industry’s confidence in cloud streaming.” — We asked remaining players in the game streaming market about the impact of Stadia Games and Entertainment’s closure, and Blade executive Florian Giraud was not alone in his optimism.QUOTE | “Shadow became a victim of its success.” — Shortly after we spoke with Giraud, Blade’s US arm filed for bankruptcy and its Parisian operation began receivership proceedings. This quote is from a statement Blade released saying it’s reorganizing to unload debt and keep its streaming game service afloat. It did not explain how exactly the company was victimized by its success.QUOTE | “If you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists.” — Now that Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax has closed, Xbox head Phil Spencer is pretty blunt about his motivations in the deal.Related JobsEnvironment Artists – New IP South East Creative AssemblyLead Sound Designer South East Creative AssemblyRemote Environment Artist Console Studio UK UK & Europe Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games QUOTE | “This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that.” – Spencer striking a very different tone last October, before regulators who could raise antitrust concerns had signed off on the acquisition.QUOTE | “The committee will continue to focus on identifying actions that can transform GameStop into a technology business and help create enduring value for stockholders.” — In touting its newly formed Strategic Planning and Capital Allocation Committee, GameStop neglected to explain what a technology business is, why it doesn’t qualify as one currently, or what it will change in order to become one.QUOTE | “…a pragmatic necessity…” — 10 years ago this month, Insomniac Games chief creative officer Brian Hastings breaks the news that the company is opening a division to make mobile games using a tone typically reserved for layoffs and studio closures. Read the column; it made more sense in the context of what was a very tense time for the industry.last_img read more

Patient records found at closed abortion clinics

first_img Facebook Google+ WhatsApp Facebook By Associated Press – September 21, 2019 0 317 Pinterest Twitter Google+ IndianaLocalNews Patient records found at closed abortion clinics Dr. Ulrich George Klopfer (Photo/ABC57) INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general says thousands of patient medical records have been found at three shuttered Indiana abortion clinics that were operated by a late abortion doctor whose Illinois garage was found to contain more than 2,200 sets of preserved fetal remains.Attorney General Curtis Hill said Friday that the women who were patients at Dr. Ulrich Klopfer’s clinics in Gary, South Bend and Fort Wayne had an expectation that their privacy would be protected, but their records were “abandoned” in the clinics when they closed years ago.Investigators searched the buildings and other properties Thursday, and Hill says no additional sets of fetal remains were found.He says preliminary findings indicate that all 2,246 sets of fetal remains found last week in the garage at Klopfer’s Will County, Illinois, home came from his former Indiana clinics. Twitter WhatsApp Previous articleTwo men found guilty of distributing heroin in South BendNext articleSt. Joseph County sex crime suspect turns self into police Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications. Pinterestlast_img read more

Iloilo City to kick off weight-loss program

first_img[av_one_full first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”][av_heading heading=’Iloilo City to kick off weight-loss program ‘ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=” subheading_active=’subheading_below’ subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=”]BY ADRIAN STEWART CO[/av_heading][av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]MANY Ilonggos want to join the Fit Filipino 1-Million Pound Weight Loss Challenge, which the local government will hold in line with the Iloilo City 80th Charter Day celebration.City government employees and private citizens already enlisted for the official weigh-in to be held during the flag-raising ceremony at the Iloilo City Hall on July 31, according to Rommel Castro of the Iloilo City Sports Office. “We are glad with the response we are getting from our fellow Ilonggos,” Castro told Panay News. “This program is open to everybody. In fact, we are encouraging more Ilonggos to join us.”The participants’ weights will be recorded, Castro said. Each day, they will have to perform a five-minute exercise for six months.“As long as our participants are dedicated to be physically fit and healthy, I’m positive the city government can accomplish its goal,” he added.Iloilo City was the first local government unit in the Philippines to express interest in the weight loss program spearheaded by trainers Jim and Toni Saret of the Philippine Olympic Committee.Around 2,000 Iloilo City Hall employees, led by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, and 300 Iloilo City Police Office personnel are expected to lead the activity to be conducted by The Medical City staff, said Castro.“We aim to become the Fitness City of the Philippines,” he said. “This weigh-in is the start of our commitment to donate at least 6,900 pounds to the program.”/PN[/av_textblock][/av_one_full]last_img read more

‘Telecoms city’ on cards for Cape Town

first_img28 September 2009Plans to establish a R1.5-billion, purpose-built “telecommunications city” in Kuils River to the north of Cape Town has secured the support of the city government and local business-led organisations, and construction is currently planned for early 2010.Stellendale Park, to be developed by Cape Town-based Visual International, will comprise buildings designed to host business process outsourcing (BPO) and contact centre operators, telecoms infrastructure to service the facility and surrounding areas, and data centres.Substantial interestThe conceptual plan for the precinct shows eight buildings, most of which are seven floors high with a two-storey basement, including one building which is planned to be 20 to 30 floors high.“At the moment, detailed design is being focused on the first building and will follow on a building-by-building basis,” project director Peter Grobbelaar told SAinfo this week.The buildings will also cater for retail services – including coffee shops and restaurants – a creche, a hotel and a conference centre.“The interest from the prospective telecommunication, [information communication technology] and data centre customers to take up space is very positive,” Grobbelaar said. “The first BPO customers show substantial interest, and suitability and site visits have already commenced.”Business process outsourcingThe developers decided to target the BPO market as the sector is expected to grow both locally and internationally, while the South African government also offers support for BPO operators wanting to establish operations in the country.“SA [is well positioned] to exploit this opportunity given our track record with suitable personnel, technology and infrastructure,” Grobbelaar said, adding that another factor encouraging investment was the country’s cost competitiveness.Green buildingsAs an added incentive, the developers are guaranteeing prospective tenants or purchasers a four-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa, though they are confident of achieving five-star status.“Green buildings” are energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible. Specific measures include better design to reduce heat and maximise natural light and fresh air circulation; using energy efficient lighting and air conditioning; and water-efficient plumbing and water harvesting.The project has so far gained the support of the City of Cape Town, the local ratepayers association and local residents.“The project is supported by Accelerate Cape Town as the catalytic BPO project supported by their members in terms of their Cape Town Vision 2030, which is aimed at making Cape Town a top 10 global city,” said Grobbelaar.It has the full backing of Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPeSA) Western Cape, a non-profit agency dedicated to the development of the contact centre and BPO industry in Cape Town.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Interview and Interrogation Training: Rationalizing Without Minimizing

first_imgThis week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Dave Thompson, CFI, vice president of operations for WZ, talking about the importance of rationalizing without minimizing.Often, you’ll talk to a subject who has something that they’re resistant to share. One of the number-one reasons they don’t want to tell the truth is that it might cause further embarrassment. Telling the truth could also increase other fears that subject might have.An important thing for a subject to be able to do is to save face when telling the truth.- Sponsor – In a related sense, it’s like your New Year’s resolution to eat better. All of a sudden, you’ve had a piece of cake or some other type of dessert. Now, you know that you had that piece of cake or dessert because you know you’re just not committed to your diet. But if people ask you, “Why did you have that dessert?”, then, at least in our minds, we can tell ourselves how “it was only one time this week” or “I’ve already lost three pounds, so I should reward myself.” Or, “Everyone else was having cake; I didn’t want to be rude.”What we’re really doing is rationalizing our actions, which allows us to save face and avoid feeling worse than we already did. An important principle of rationalizing during an interview or interrogation is that rationalization does not remove moral responsibility or show or suggest any signs of leniency towards your subject.For example, using words like “accident” or “mistake” when describing why someone did something they shouldn’t normally do allows somebody to call their behavior a mistake (“Well, it was a mistake; I didn’t mean to do it.”). This thereby removes intent and removes consequences.So it’s important that while we want to allow our subject to save face, that we don’t cross that line into showing any signs of leniency, making any promises, or, eliminating any consequences that still may come, based off their actions. Every loss prevention investigator should strive to enhance their investigative interviewing skills as part of an ongoing commitment to best-in-class interviewing performance. This includes holding ourselves to an elite standard of interview and interrogation training that is ethical, moral and legal while demanding excellence in the pursuit of the truth. The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement, loss prevention, security, asset protection, human resources, auditors, or anyone looking to obtain the truth.To learn more, visit www.w-z.com or www.certifiedinterviewer.com.This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated January 21, 2019.  Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Milan offer Zlatan €6m for 18 months

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ The ball is in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s court, as Milan reportedly offered a six-month deal with an option to extend the contract for an additional year, worth a total €6m. The 38-year-old is set to leave MLS club LA Galaxy in December and a return to Milan looks very likely, after the reports on established contact between the player and club’s representatives. Now it’s reportedly up to the former Sweden international to make his choice, and the Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Milan has offered to pay the superstar €6m if he stays on for 18 months. It’s previously been suggested that Ibrahimovic would want €1m per month, but Milan look prepared to offer him one third of that. The initial deal offered by sporting director Zvonomir Boban to the player’s agent Mino Raiola is said to be a six-month contract. Over the phone, Zlatan has told Boban that he will decide on his future within a few weeks. Milan are back in Serie A action this weekend, when Napoli come to visit and need to respond from a slow start to the season, leaving them 14th in the League after 12 games.last_img read more

St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital Delivering First Class Health Care

first_imgAbout $300 million has been spent on upgrading work at the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, in St. Ann, over the last several years, enabling the facility to be on track of becoming one of the finest health care facilities in the region.Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, not only sees the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital as a “clear example of what can happen whenever private and public entities come together,” but also as “a top class facility which is functioning like any Type-A hospital in the country.”“What is clear is that St. Ann’s Bay Regional is providing quality health care for the people of St. Ann and many other communities,” Dr. Tufton tells JIS News.“This hospital is a type-B with 304 beds. It literally serves three other parishes and a few adjoining ones. It also serves the primary health care system in those parishes…some 70 health centres and a population of some 350,000 to 400,000 citizens,” he adds.Dr. Tufton says the demand in terms of traffic passing through the hospital is even more intense, considering the tourism factor and the St. Ann’s Bay Regional being so centrally located within close proximity to the resort town of Ocho Rios.“If you live in Jamaica you will obviously traverse this area at some point. If you are a hotelier it is a nice thing to know that there is a facility of this quality in the event any of your guests should have a need to go to the hospital,” he tells JIS News.The St. Ann’s Bay Regional has also earned accreditation for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and is a training facility for both interns and nurses.The facility has formed a very strong bond with a number of corporate and private entities which have spent a considerable amount of money to bring the hospital to a level seen nowhere else on the island’s northern coast.          Over the past several years, private organizations, such as the Issa Trust Foundation and others have pumped millions into upgrading of the facility, including a recent renovation of the facility’s paediatric ward.Dr. Tufton  notes that  the hospital serves as the main trauma centre for the busy high-speed highway serving the North Coast.“It is also the referral hospital for the three  general hospitals and 70 health centres located in Portland, St. Mary and St. Ann,” he adds.Dr. Tufton points out that the hospital’s female medical ward has been upgraded through  public-private partnership at a cost of $136 million.In the meantime, Regional Director for the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), Fabia Lamm, tells JIS News that one of her proudest moments is to see the transformation of the male surgical ward at the hospital.“One had to see it before to appreciate what it looks like today. We all know the problems that were there – leaking roof, poor infrastructure and poor aesthetics. It is now totally transformed and for that we have to give a ‘big shout out’ to the organization, American Friends of Jamaica. This would not have been possible without their assistance,”  she says. For his part, Chairman of NERHA, Tyrone Robinson, says it is a joy to see the improvement in customer service at the hospital, calling it “a lot more visitor friendly.”He adds that the waiting time to see a doctor has also been drastically reduced, noting that they have spent  $2 million to purchase 100 agronomic patient waiting chairs, “to improve the aesthetics and comfort of the out-patient area.” The hospital’s Chairman, Michael Belnavis, says  “these are the best of times at the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital.”“Staff moral is very high and our patients are being treated in an environment that is first class and probably second to none here in this country.”last_img read more

JCAA to Host Symposium at Sangster Int’l Airport Dec. 5

first_imgThe Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), through its Flight Safety Department, will be hosting a symposium on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, beginning at 8:30 a.m.It will target foreign operators, contracted ground handlers and maintenance providers in an effort to advise them of the surveillance and certification responsibilities of the JCAA.“The symposium will be an outreach to all stakeholders where we will share the perspective of the JCAA, our roles and responsibilities, so that our main priority of safety and security can be maintained at the highest level,” Deputy Director General, Regulatory Affairs, Rohan Campbell, told JIS News.Meanwhile, Manager, Airworthiness Oversight at the JCAA, Gary Carr, informed that the regulatory requirements for foreign operators are among the topics to be discussed as well as breaches of these requirements, which have been observed in the past by the JCAA.Mr. Campbell noted that the event should positively impact stakeholders’ operations, so they can operate successfully and grow.The JCAA said that through the symposium it hopes to improve its relationship with stakeholders by creating awareness of the JCAA’s role in its surveillance of foreign operators, which should result in seamless inspections at aerodromes and reduce the possibility of delays and service interruptions.last_img read more

New center in Carlsbad is raising awareness for traumatic brain injuries

first_imgNew center in Carlsbad is raising awareness for traumatic brain injuries Posted: February 2, 2019 Updated: 3:44 PM KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, center_img February 2, 2019 Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – 10 years ago, Lance Barger was pitching batting practice in Colorado.  Hewas struck by a baseball to the head and his life changed instantly.   From getting medical help to living life, it has been a constant battle.  According to Lance and his wife, there wasn’t anyonethat really knew what to do or how to help.   They had to step up and actually become the ones that helped themselves.  10 years later they are wanting to help others.  They believe there are people just like them out there that have nowhere to go and nobody to turn to.  They talked about Junior Seau not knowing what to do.  They have reached out to Roberta Walker from Encinitas that recently was involved in a bicycle accident.   They are at  KUSI to bring awareness and to tell anyone that is watching that they will be able to help.They just started TBI CENTER OF CARLSBAD.   They are in search of a building but right now but at the moment  are working out of their home.Silent warriors are living among us. Their injuries are often invisible on the outside. We aim to support survivors and their families to live a healthy life following a traumatic brain injury.Traumatic brain injuries happen from concussions, strokes, brain cancer, assault, car accidents, freak accidents and more.  The longer a person is unconscious determines the severity of the head injury.  Additionally, numerous impacts, even without loosing consciousness, have a long term impact on an individuals health.People with TBIs are more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, ALS and suffer strokes.  The long term effect of repetitive mini concussions (zingers) also lead to CTE.There are few doctors that understand and are able to treat the pain associated with TBIs.  Lance has experienced head pain since his injury on January 22, 2009.  He has tried every narcotic and treatment option available through various Neurologists over the years.  Nothing has worked (severe the trigeminal nerve, Botox treatment, methadone, morphine, eye injections, nerve pills, etc.).  The poor understanding within the medical community has only brought additional frustration to a difficult situation.  We found more information through diligent research over the years post TBI than any doctor has every been able to provide.  The result was starting the TBI Center of Carlsbad to share the information and empower TBI Warriors in their path to their healthiest life.TBIs are considered a silent injury because doctors and others cannot see the injury.  Symptoms include: a short temper, easily confused, difficulty with speech, mental fatigue, more rest needed, heightened and/or altered senses (smell, taste sound, vision), social withdrawal, pain and nausea.  These symptoms do not easily show up on tests and may come and go for years before subsiding, or never subside at all.Lance began working with Dr. Jill Stoddard at the Center for Stress and Anxiety to address his PTSD.  She has a location in Carlsbad that they meet.  Being monocular, he is an amputee.  The emotional weight he carries is a difficult.  His PTSD was measured higher than a soldier returning from combat.  Dr. Stoddard said she would be willing to come on the show as well.last_img read more