Does Destiny 2 solve the original game’s storytelling woes?

Screenshot: Destiny 2/Activision

Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.

The Great Destiny Debate

This week, Clayton Purdom kicked off his multi-part review of Destiny 2. He covered a ton of ground in this first entry, including most of the main story missions and the nitty-gritty of the game’s aesthetic and world. Down in the comments, the discussion turned, as it always seems to, toward the series’ struggle to communicate its story and mythology. Drinking With Skeletons is still very turned off by Bungie’s approach:

Honestly, what I most want from Destiny is just a commitment to its mythology. What is the Traveler? Why should we care? It has such wishy-washy writing that follows the blueprint of solid storytelling while excising as much specifics as possible. You get the sensation of following a narrative, but at the end, you haven’t learned much of anything. It reminds me a bit of the writing in Failbetter’s Fallen London universe, but in those games, the vagueness always leads to more specificity. They never outline what The Game is, for instance, but there are storylines that lead you deeper and deeper into it so that you do, eventually, develop an understanding of what is going on pulled from context clues and your own experiences. Destiny’s writing, however, keeps you at arms length, never rising above being the thinnest excuse to shoot more enemies and get more loot.

The perfect example is The City. It’s the last city on Earth, the home of the Guardians, the last bastion of the once-mighty human empire, and now it is occupied by a race of authoritarian aliens. And I don’t care. I never got to walk the streets of The City. There was never any discussion of its government or non-Guardian citizens. No talk about what living in the shadow of the Traveler—which, according to Destiny 2, seems to be a risk for bleeding impossible space-magic into the surrounding environment—is like. It is a Thing, blessed with Proper Noun status, but it might as well be called The MacGuffin, as Bungie can’t be bothered to build a world that calls players to inhabit it.

BarryBillericay found a little more to love in Destiny 2’s story:

This becomes spoilery, so if that’s something you care about with Destiny, then don’t read anymore until you’ve finished with the main story missions.

The story is a bit threadbare, even if it is streets ahead of Destiny, but I found it did bring up some interesting points as it explores (well, “explores” is a bit strong; don’t want to oversell it) the motivation of Ghaul’s attack. The quality of the Traveler’s light is not strained on those he bestows it on, but he ain’t exactly spreading it around. Why did the Traveller choose to give the Light only to humanity? Why only to specific humans, i.e. Guardians? What does it mean to be a Guardian? Ghaul is told devotion, self-sacrifice, and death. But try as he might (and again, it’s really glossed over), he cannot earn the Light, and so ultimately tries to take it by force. Ikora reminds us in one of the side Adventure missions that we cannot know why or with whom the Traveler decides to grace with privilege, oops, I mean Light.

Anyway, not earth-shattering stuff, but it was enough to make me interested and to think about something other than just shooting things.

Quiet Time

Art: Nintendo

This week, William Hughes dropped by with a review of Nintendo’s latest Metroid game, Samus Returns. As it just so happens, that title is appropriate on a handful of levels, this being the first entry in the series in many years and, as Will argued, a return to the sweet silence and desolation that defines Metroid’s best games. (Plus, you know, it’s a play on the title of the Game Boy game it’s a remake of, The Return Of Samus.) Down in the comments, Wolfman Jew wrote about how quiet isn’t one of the things Metroid’s descendants, the many “Metroidvania” games, often borrow from their inspiration:

While it’s an important element to Metroid, it’s arguably the element—outside of the broader loneliness of which it’s a part—that the massive deluge of modern Metroidvanias have often ignored. Guacamelee and Shantae are (very good) broad comedy games. Koji Igarashi’s Castlevanias have shops and side quests. Axiom Verge has narration. To a broader extent, a number of these games are visually “louder,” as opposed to the “color on black” approach of the first game and necessary greyscale of Metroid II, like Ori And The Blind Forest, Xeodrifter, and the Wonder Boy remake.

There are definitely quieter Metroidvanias (and on a visual scale Axiom and VVVVVV are closer), but even Hollow Knight and Dark Souls have characters, dialogue, and shops. This is not to decry them by any means, and I doubt Samus Returns is nearly as stark as the first two games (the melee mechanic and brightening up SR388 certainly make it more action heavy and visually “louder” than the monochrome Metroid II), but I do appreciate Nintendo pushing for that quiet time more than they have for a while. It’s a bit reminiscent of Breath Of The Wild, albeit not quite as distinct or focused as that one.

The Hobo Code dove into the way the series’ combat encounters reinforce that solitude:

I’d also argue that Metroid’s tendency for frequent low-intensity battles contributes to this sense of quiet. I know that sounds contradictory, but the way each small battle whittles away your energy creates a natural ebb and flow between pausing to forage for energy at pipes and exploration. Metroid doesn’t have anything so crass as an explicit camping mechanic, but these pauses feel a bit like what camping is supposed to do in those other games. In addition, the way that death is a frequent worry, but rarely an actuality (as long as you “camp” occasionally) means that you maintain that flow of exploration without interruption. I am not arguing that the Dark Souls game loop is somehow lesser, but simply that “death” is loud.

And SingingBrakeman went a little outside the box to find a Metroid-style game that retained the silence of the original:

I can’t really think of any other Metroidvania games that retain the quiet, intense loneliness of the Metroid series’ earliest iterations. Heck, even Super Metroid featured several cute residents of the planet that would engage (wordlessly) with the player. I may be way off-case here, but I wonder if you could pull The Witness into this conversation. It’s more or less an intellectual Metroidvania, in that specific techniques are needed to overcome the game’s otherwise opaque puzzle mechanic, and the player often must seek out a step-by-step tutorial to understand each section and progress further; these tutorials function very similarly to acquiring gear upgrades in the Metroid series. Admittedly, it too is not entirely silent as it includes audiologs. They are very abstract, though, and no other living beings are present in the game’s island setting.

That’ll do it for this week, Gameologerinos. As always, thank you for reading and commenting. We’ll see you all next week!

‘Destiny 2’ makes up for the sins of the original

For all the hype surrounding the title, the original “Destiny” didn’t make a good first impression. It came across as a convoluted mess that mixed Bungie’s excellent first-person-shooter pedigree with a massive multiplayer online game.

The story was wallpaper plastered over an intriguing universe and a complicated leveling system. But something happened as “Destiny” evolved with the times. Bungie eventually improved on its concept with three expansion packs and several updates. The developer learned from its mistakes and capitalized on a sequel.

“Destiny 2” starts off with a bang that immediately establishes the stakes and characters important to the storyline. The Red Legion launches a surprise attack on the Guardians, stealing the source of their power, the Traveler, and conquering the last city on Earth.

As survivors of the assault, players become key members of the resistance. This sequel fixes the sins of the original by forcing players to earn everything from the ground up while guiding them through the ins and outs of gameplay and spinning a conventional but compelling tale.

Players will have to find their speederlike Sparrow and new ships via Bright Engrams that enemies randomly drop. They’ll have to go on missions, in which they venture into the dark forest and unlock the subclasses for their Titan, Hunter or Warlock characters. Meanwhile, “Destiny 2” uses its story, elaborate worlds and side missions to ease the grind toward level 20 and the end of the campaign.

Although the narrative is predictable, it does have a fascinating villain in Dominus Ghaul. He’s someone who desires the Light of the Traveler, but doesn’t understand why it chose humanity to bear its power over his Cabal Empire. He’s more three-dimensional than most video game adversaries. It’s a shame that players don’t encounter him more often before the last battle.

With a clearer narrative, “Destiny 2” focuses more on the gameplay. The creators of “Halo” don’t stray far from the path of the original. They double down on the elements that made it great — the cooperative gameplay. This campaign isn’t meant to be played alone, though one can.

It’s better when players form three-member fireteams and go through the adventure together. That’s how players can maximize their abilities and take on tougher missions. Titans are the vanguard that specialize in taking damage on the front lines. Hunters specialize in movement and damage dealing while Warlocks are healers who have devastating attacks. The subclasses offer varying takes on those roles.

Adding friends increases the chaos as they wander through the four major worlds, public missions and storyline quests that include armored vehicles this time around.

The big change to combat is the separation of weapon classes. Players now carry a kinetic and energy weapon in two slots. Shotguns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and swords are shifted over to the heavy weapon slot. Most of the time players will switch between kinetic and energy weapons depending on what type of enemy they’re fighting. They’ll rely on the heavy weapons for the bigger foes.

The only minor issues with “Destiny 2” is the jumping that still takes getting used to. Newcomers will die a lot as they adjust to the maddening peculiarities of the floaty double jump. Bungie offers some alternatives with a warping blink leap, but it is still a problem. The other quibble is the variety of enemies. For a game this big, it’s disappointing that many of them are reskinned version of other foes and take the same type of tactics to defeat.

Still, those annoyances don’t mar a great experience. “Destiny 2” is more polished. Even the Crucible, which is the player-vs.-player component is decent even if one is plastered by impossibly skilled opponents online. There’s still an opportunity to earn gear, which helps improve players’ strength in both modes and keeps them engaged.

Like its predecessor, “Destiny 2” will improve over time. Bungie will refine an already well-oiled machine. The team has proven that it will continue to support the community they built around the franchise, and it should make fans excited to see where the series goes.

‘Destiny 2’

3 ½ stars

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (October)

Rating: Teen

The Original Xbox One Console Has Officially Been Discontinued


The original Xbox One system launched back in 2013 and immediately became a big hit for Microsoft, despite its original $499 price tag and having the Kinect automatically included, something non-motion gamers weren’t too thrilled about. Still, the system has built up a good userbase, and we’ve seen a number of variations with the original system model, including awesome Call of Duty and Forza-based systems.

But, alas, its time has come. Microsoft has officially confirmed that it has discontinued its original Xbox One system model, in favor of the Xbox One S and the soon-to-be-released Xbox One X, which is set to arrive this November.

It kind of makes sense, because the Xbox One S is a sleeker system and supports 4K Ultra Blu-Rays, whereas the original Xbox One doesn’t. So it kind of is “old news” at this point.

“As is typical for the console industry, we stopped manufacturing the original Xbox One when we introduced Xbox One X,” the company confirmed.

Microsoft is now full steam ahead with its new system models, even going as far as to introduce a number of new Xbox One S bundles, including ones themed around Gears of War 4 (that sweet, sweet 2TB console), Battlefield 1, and, as of late, the Minecraft bundle that looks like a dream come true for some fans – although a bit hideous for normal gamers. Hey, can’t win them all.

And then there’s the Xbox One X itself, which Microsoft will be pushing on a hardcore level starting November 7th when it officially becomes available. Although it’s not really a must-have by everyone’s standards, there are a few 4K-ready gamers that can’t wait to get their hands on it, and many first and third-party developers have already pledged their support for the system, so we’ll suppose we’ll see what happens.

But let’s pour one out for the original Xbox One. It was a bulky console, sure, and we didn’t really need the Kinect, but it was a marvel for Microsoft at the time, and introduced a plethora of features over the years that are now standard for the Xbox One S. Take care, old friend.

Microsoft Officially Stops Selling The Original Xbox Ahead Of The X


Several outlets are reporting that Microsoft has quietly brought the original Xbox One to an end outside of selling refurbished versions of the console. The move comes ahead of the release of the Xbox One X on November 7, being heralded as the “most powerful console ever” by Microsoft and the next step up from the original. While fans can still purchase the Xbox One S, the original that would’ve been more affordable now with the updated console seems to disappearing from store shelves and is no longer appearing on Microsoft’s official page.

As The Verge reports, the smaller version of the console addressed criticism of the original and brought a sleeker design that distanced it from the old VCR look sported by the first Xbox One. While still a far cry from the gigantism of the original Xbox and the Red Ring curse of the original Xbox 360, it still wasn’t entirely popular.

It’s not all horrible news, of course. Folks seem to be ready for the Xbox One X, with it selling out on Amazon in its first 25 minutes and claiming it’s Project Scorpio edition was pre-ordered more than any previous Xbox console according to The Verge. Also the Xbox One S is a far more affordable option compared to the $500 X, with Microsoft offering several bundles under $300 that include up to 3 free games — though know that one of those free games comes from a likely not ideal pool of 4 games.

So even if you want a new Xbox and don’t want to shell out $200 for a refurbished Xbox One, things are looking solid. The S is now the introductory system, while the X is that high-end machine aimed at the hardcore. It’s either a great deal or it’s a sly way to keep a console rolling at its same price without the typical drop for the holidays.

(Via The Verge / Engadget)

Microsoft stops selling the original Xbox One

Microsoft is no longer selling its original Xbox One in the US. The software giant only offers retail versions of the Xbox One S and Xbox One X at its online store, with just $199 refurbished models of the original Xbox One available. Kotaku UK reports that while the original Xbox One has vanished from the US store, Microsoft’s UK store simply lists the old console as “sold out.”

The original Xbox One, that resembled a VCR unit, first launched nearly four years ago priced $100 more than Sony’s PlayStation 4. The gap and the fall out from Microsoft’s mixed messaging on the Xbox One led to Sony taking an early lead in the console wars. Microsoft closed the price gap by unbundling the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One, six months after originally launching the console. While the Xbox One has struggled to match the sales pace of the PS4, Microsoft has refocused its efforts on games and better hardware.

Xbox One S

Xbox One S
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Microsoft launched the Xbox One S last year with a slimmed down look in a robot white style, and also stopped manufacturing the Xbox 360. The smaller console was widely praised over the original console’s design, and also included 4K support for Blu-ray discs and apps like Netflix and Amazon Video. Microsoft is now focusing on the Xbox One S for the entry console, and it’s upcoming Xbox One X for hardcore Xbox fans.

After opening preorders last Sunday, Microsoft now says the Xbox One X is the “fastest-selling Xbox pre-order ever.” It’s hard to calculate exactly what that means, as Microsoft hasn’t provided numbers for its “recording-setting” sales. However, Microsoft sold out of Xbox One X units at Amazon in 25 minutes, and it says fans “have pre-ordered more Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition consoles in the first five days than any Xbox ever.” Microsoft is now planning to open Xbox One X standard edition preorders next month.

Samsung jumps into risky but lucrative original drugs market

South Korea’s Samsung group announced it would start producing original prescription drugs, heralding its shift into a risky but potentially lucrative business area.

The sprawling conglomerate’s biopharmaceutical affiliate Samsung Bioepis said on Monday that it would join forces with Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical to develop drugs in “unmet disease areas”, starting with a treatment for acute pancreatitis.

Launched in 2012, the Samsung affiliate has until now focused on creating biosimilars — discounted near-replicas of prescription medicines produced after the original patents have expired.

The tie-up with Takeda signals the company is proceeding with a long-expected shift into novel biologic drugs. Samsung declined to reveal details of the “risk-sharing partnership”. 

Analysts greeted the move positively but cautioned it was a just first step in risky territory.

“With today’s deal, we can finally see that [Samsung] are moving forward in developing new drugs, which they have neglected until now,” said Um Yeo-jin, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities. “[But] the deal is just the first step — a way for Samsung to show something, that its plans are becoming more specific.”

Given technical, regulatory and legal hurdles, developing new drugs is a fraught and expensive process, with studies suggesting that only one in 10 new medications passes from clinical trials to government approval. 

However, the potential is huge. Research group Evaluate Pharma expects prescription drugs sales globally to grow at 6.5 per cent a year to be worth $1.06tn by 2020.

Similarly, the global market for biologic therapeutic drugs — those genetically engineered from human genes as opposed to chemically synthesised — is expected to reach $386.7bn by the beginning of 2020, according to BCC Research.

Samsung Bioepis said it was “confident” of the market for biologics and biosimilars in the next five years. “Entering this space has been a goal since day one, and at this stage of our company’s development, we believe this is the next logical step,” it said. 

“With novel biologics, we will look to bring medicines to treat unmet diseases by breaking down two major hurdles facing biologics development — cost overruns and time delays.”

The company added it would continue searching for “co-development opportunities with multinational pharmaceutical and biotech companies”.

The initial focus on pancreatitis will suit Takeda, which has highlighted gastrointestinal treatments as one of its key areas of focus along with cancer and neurological therapies.

Takeda is Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company by revenue, but its net profit for the June quarter was a little more than half that of rival Astellas. 

It has also failed to produce a blockbuster in-house product for almost two decades, with some of its more successful and promising drugs in recent times coming courtesy of acquisitions, such as this year’s $5.2bn purchase of Boston-based cancer drugmaker Ariad Pharmaceuticals.

“Takeda is struggling with the productivity of their research and drug discovery. Their pipeline is completely dry, particularly for late-stage products, and this is why they are trying to boost it through external partnerships,” said Atsushi Seki, pharmaceuticals analyst at UBS in Tokyo.

“Samsung Bioepis must have the technology to develop new drugs, so that’s why Takeda would have chosen them,” said Kang Yang-koo, an analyst with HMC Investment Securities.

Mr Kang estimates it will take at least three or four years for the pancreatitis drug to reach the market. Mr Seki said that sort of timeline meant the Samsung Bioepis partnership would be part of Takeda’s long-term strategy.

Additional reporting by Kang Buseong

Samsung Bioepis teams up with Takeda to develop original biotech drugs

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Bioepis Co Ltd said on Monday it will fund and develop multiple original drugs in partnership with Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, expanding its business scope beyond copies of existing biologic drugs.

Original biotech drugs represent a business ramp-up for Samsung Bioepis, which has so far invested $1.3 billion in drug development since being founded in 2012 and has received approvals for two biosimilar drugs in Europe and one in the United States.

Bioepis is part of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group’s biopharmaceutical bet as a future growth engine, along with contract manufacturer parent Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd.

The partnership will develop novel biologic drugs in “unmet disease areas”, Bioepis said in a joint statement with Takeda, adding the two companies will immediately begin working on a treatment for severe acute pancreatitis.

They declined to disclose other terms of the development program.

Interest in biosimilars has soared in recent years as copies of some of the world’s best-selling biologic medicines have hit the market at big discounts.

As a relative latecomer to the industry, Samsung Bioepis quickly proved its development capabilities by becoming the first firm to launch a biosimilar version of Amgen’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel in Europe last year, generating over $250 million in sales so far, according to Bioepis.

It has also received both European and U.S. approval for its copy of Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade, and awaits European regulatory decisions for its biosimilar versions of AbbVie Inc’s Humira and Roche’s Herceptin. [nL3N1KF4OL][nL4N1A40FZ][nL4N1A40FZ]

Samsung Bioepis will also seek partnerships with other drugmakers to become an original drugmaker that can conduct all phases of novel biologics development in 10 years, spokesman Mingi Hyun said.

Samsung Group hopes the biosimilars business will develop into a new growth driver as global demand for smartphones slows, weighing on the outlook for the mobile business of flagship firm Samsung Electronics.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Facebook moves to produce original video content

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Watching video online is getting more social.

Facebook introduced a platform Wednesday called Watch that will allow users to discover new shows that their friends are also viewing.

“Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive. It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things,” wrote Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg in a post.

Taking on Google-owned YouTube and Twitter, it is Facebook’s latest effort to get more video content on the social network. The move also allows the company, which has more than two billion monthly users, to go after more lucrative video ad dollars.

Other tech firms such as Amazon, Netflix, and Apple have also tried to entice more users to spend more time on their sites by releasing video content. But if Facebook wants to become like Netflix, some analysts say it will be a taller order for the tech firm because people don’t associate the website with long-form television shows.

Videos on YouTube, on the other hand, are shorter in length and also include comments from viewers.

“When you say ‘a YouTube video,’ that conjures a set of qualities that are very different from a Netflix show. I think there’s a big gap between those type of experiences and it depends where Facebook wants to sit on that spectrum,” said Paul Verna, an analyst with eMarketer.

Verna said he thinks Facebook is trying to sit somewhere in the middle.

“They want to be more than a one-minute viral cat video or a Tasty recipe video, but they don’t necessarily want to be the place to go where people watch Game of Thrones or Orange Is the New Black,” he said.

Longer video content also gives companies “more of a runway for more advertising,” he said.

Facebook’s director of product, Daniel Danker, wrote in a blog post that the company believes that Watch will “be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports.”

Danker pointed to baseball games, a cooking show for kids by Tastemade, and a reality show called Nas Daily as some of its offerings. Some of these shows, such as a series called Returning the Favor hosted by Mike Rowe, have episodes that run for about 20 minutes, screenshots of Watch show.

The tech firm said Watch will be available to a limited group of people in the United States, but did not say how many and when.

Facebook also said that it is funding shows that are community-oriented and have a series of episodes, but did not specify the amount.

Other social media sites including Twitter have also been striking partnerships to bring more original content to its website. Like Twitter, Facebook has also been emphasizing the social conversations that happen while watching video.

Facebook users will be able to see through different sections what are the most talked about shows, what is making people use the “Haha” reaction emoji, and what their friends are viewing.

Meanwhile, the company has been making a push to become “video first” by rolling out a live video tool and a Snapchat-like Stories features that allow videos and photos to disappear after 24 hours.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Facebook launches Watch tab of original video shows

Facebook has a new home for original video content produced exclusively for it by partners, who will earn 55 percent of ad break revenue while Facebook keeps 45 percent. The “Watch” tab and several dozen original shows will start rolling out to a small group of U.S. users tomorrow on mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps.

By hosting original programming, Facebook could boost ad revenue and give people a reason to frequently return to the News Feed for content they can’t get anywhere else.

Watch features personalized recommendations of live and recorded shows to watch, plus categories like “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh” and “Shows Your Friends Are Watching.” Publishers can also share their shows to the News Feed to help people discover them. A Watchlist feature lets you subscribe to updates on new episodes of your favorite shows. Fans can connect with each other and creators through a new feature that links shows to Groups.

Facebook says it plans to roll out access to Watch to more users and more content creators soon, starting with the rest of the U.S. before expanding internationally. Users with access will see a TV-shaped Watch button in the bottom navigation bar of Facebook’s main app that opens the new video hub.

Facebook admits that “we’ve also funded some shows” as examples, but notes that these are only a small percentage of all the available shows. “We want any publisher/creator who is interested to be able to create a show in the future,” a Facebook spokesperson tells me. “So there will be hundreds of shows at launch, and we’ll hopefully scale to thousands.”

Business Insider reported some leaked details about the redesign earlier today, but pegged the launch of original programming as starting August 28th, when the shows actually will begin to roll out tomorrow.

What Facebook’s First Shows Look Like

Facebook’s shows will run the gamut from live event coverage to reality TV to scripted programs.  “More and more people are coming to Facebook in order to watch video” Facebook’s director of video product Daniel Danker tells me. “When they come with that in mind, we want to make a place for them where they can find that video, connect with the creators and publishers they love, and know they won’t miss out if there’s a new episode from one of those creators.”

Here’s a list of some of the original programming that will be available on Watch:

  • Tastemade’s Kitchen Little – This cooking show sees kids watch a how-to recipe video, then instruct a pro chef how to make the dish with comedic results
  • Major League Baseball – The MLB will broadcast one game a week live on Facebook
  • Major League Baseball “12:25 Live” –  A comedic look at baseball with help from the fans
  • Mike Rowe – Rowe finds people who’ve done great things for their community and gives them a special experience in return
  • Nas Daily – Vlogger Nas (Correction: Not the rapper) makes videos with his biggest friends each day
  • Gabby Bernstein – Motivational speaker and author answers fans’ life questions in live and recorded segments
  • A&E’s “Bae or Bail:” – Reality TV game show where couples face their fears and see who runs
  • All Def Digital’s “Inside the Office” – A look inside the office life at Russel Simmons’ hip-hop media empire
  • Billboard’s “How it Went Down” – A documentary series of musicians sharing crazy stories
  • David Lopez’s “My Social Media Life”  – A reality show about the social media star’s life
  • Golden State Warriors’ “Championship Rewind”  – A behind-the-scenes look at the Bay Area’s NBA championship 2016-2017 season
  • Univision Deportes’ “Liga MX” – Live coverage of LigaMX soccer matches
  • National Geographic’s “We’re Wired that Way:” – Mini-documentaries about weird quirks of humanity like songs you can’t get out of your head
  • National Geographic’s “Safari Live” – Watch live safaris led by National Geographic’s guides
  • NASA’s “Science @ NASA” – Explore science topics in quick four to five-minute episodes
  • NBA’s “WNBA All-Access” – A behind the scenes show with women’s basketball stars
  • The Dodo’s “Comeback Kids: Animal Edition” features determined animals facing difficult conditions or challenges meet people who refuse to give up on them.
  • Tommy Mac – A master woodworker gives live tutorials on how to make furniture

What’s clearly absent is the type of longer-form scripted dramas and comedies people are used to watching on television. Instead, there are plenty of mini-documentaries, reality shows, and sports coverage.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes that “We believe it’s possible to rethink a lot of experiences through the lens of building community — including watching video. Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive . . . You’ll be able to chat and connect with people during an episode, and join groups with people who like the same shows afterwards to build community.”

When you open Watch, you’ll be able to scroll through a long list of categories of shows to view. Alternatively, you can either swipe over or arrive from a notification about a new episode to view the Watchlist of all the lastest shows released by creators you follow. Once you’ve opened an episode you’ll see all the details about it, with one tab for joining a live comment reel with other viewers, and an “Up Next” tab displaying what you’ll view after the current episode if you prefer a glazed-eyes lean-back experience.

There’s no specific content restrictions on swearing or violence beyond Facebook’s existing community standards, but Facebook will monitor for shows that get flagged.

Publishers can choose to insert ad breaks if they want to earn money off their shows, though the guidelines on where and how long they can be are still being finalized. If publishers want to give away their content, they don’t have to show ads. Another option is to do product placed or branded content, in which case the creator has to tag the sponsor paying them for transparency. Shows will have their own dedicated Facebook Pages, and creators can set up special show Groups where fans can ask questions and geek out together.

Beyond the Watch tab, you can also discover shows through the News Feed if a publisher you follow posts an episode or friends are talking about it. That gives Facebook the opportunity to artificially boost the presence of shows in News Feed to build a bigger audience for the new content initiative.

Evolving From Spontaneous To Deliberate Viewing

Facebook first launched its dedicated video tab in April 2016, but it only hosted the more generic News Feed videos people were already seeing from Pages and friends. Now Facebook is in the business of funding original content, initially through direct payments, though it seeks to switch entirely to a revenue-share model in the future to make its original programming effort sustainable.

Facebook’s competitors like YouTube and Snapchat have already experimented with creating original video content. YouTube Red funds several original series, giving bigger production budgets to some of its biggest stars. Snapchat has tried making its own shows in-house, but now focuses on signing deals with partners like TV studios to get fresh, vertical video content into its Discover section.

Facebook’s benefit is that Watch is cross-platform, allowing people to view videos from all their devices, while also being a daily destination for 1.32 billion users. It’s already become a powerhouse in serendipitous video discovery via the News Feed, and Watch will surely provide enough suggestions to get people hooked on shows they weren’t expecting.

But through premium original programming, Facebook is also trying to become a home for deliberate video consumption where people come to view a specific show. While there are already plenty of reasons to visit Facebook, original shows give people a reason to spend longer staring at their screens. If it can drive enough viewers to these shows thanks to its 2 billion total users, Facebook could offer significant revenue-share payouts, attracting better and better content creators.

Facebook’s been trying to eat the whole internet for years now. With Watch and these shows, it’s breaking out of the web to challenge traditional television, which is seeing viewership slide. As ad spends follow eyeballs from TV to the web, Watch could give Facebook a way to net more attention and dollars.

Call of Duty: WW2 should be more like the original Medal of Honor

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The unique Medal of Honor, introduced all the way back in 1999, did not require explosions or spectacle to be exciting. Missions had you play as an American spy through Environment War II and often took put away from large-scale battles, deep powering enemy strains. Instead of getting strapped into a helmet and bandoleer, you’d be disguised in a Nazi officer’s uniform. Somewhat than capturing them with a Thompson, you’d sneak earlier enemies employing only your wits and a phony ID once in a while, a suspicious soldier could possibly stop you in your tracks, peer correct into your confront, and bark “let me see your papers!” If he noticed via your masquerade, or you panicked and whipped out your pistol, the alarm would seem and the mission would be a bust.

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That moment, when you ended up forced to maintain up your phoney files, was agonising. It was when all of Medal of Honor’s pressure came to bear. For a several seconds, you ended up created to truly feel totally powerless. Also, it impressed a little something particularly sinister about the Nazis themselves. They were not just foot-soldiers with rifles and bombs. They ended up bureaucrats. They ended up systematic. They wished to make absolutely sure everyone was just like them.

Medal of Honor

In a person tiny occasion, with no any capturing or spectacle, Medal of Honor encapsulated fear, uncertainty, and a wonderful feeling of what was at stake if the Allies missing – the full large image of the 2nd Environment War. But four several years afterwards, a considerably louder, brassier activity would get there to replace it. Get in touch with of Responsibility rapidly turned the most preferred WWII shooter and it had very distinct tips about what constitutes pleasure.

Get in touch with of Duty’s opening amount is a deliberate, almost cocky assertion of intent. Dropped into France on the evening before D-Working day, you spend the initially few of minutes sneaking close to by yourself, choosing off patrols employing a tinny small pistol. It can be evening-time, you might be preventing almost silently, and you might be way inside of enemy territory – basically, it feels very Medal of Honor. But then you get to a industry, plant a radio beacon, and glimpse up. The sky is crammed with parachuting American soldiers. They briskly land, shout some orders at a person another, and then an monumental fire fight bursts into daily life. Quickly, you might be no lengthier just a person guy, capturing two, perhaps three enemies at a time. You’re part of an army, and you might be preventing towards an full German platoon.

In 2003, it was magnificent. Get in touch with of Responsibility was greater, brasher, and far more bloody than Medal of Honor. Instead of tiny, isolated beats, it communicated history employing seem and scale. The feeling it gave of WWII was not articulate so considerably as sensory and uncooked. If Medal of Honor, in its stealthy concentrations, teased at some inner dread, Get in touch with of Responsibility slapped and shouted correct into your confront: it was the war at complete volume.

Call of Duty

Narratively talking, it also had a little something that Medal of Honor did not. In a war tale, it is really reasonable to assume some large emotional moment. A tragic loss of life, probably, some noble sacrifice, or a fantastic, superb victory. Missions in Medal of Honor, normally getting put inside of grey German factories, could possibly be rigorous but they ended up in no way melodramatic. Get in touch with of Responsibility, by contrast, was unabashedly sentimental. In a person mission, your commanding officer took a bullet and died for you. In another, you valiantly held off waves of tanks to the melancholic swell of opera audio. To this working day, Get in touch with of Responsibility does shameless theatrics better than any other shooter. And if a WWII action activity needs a person detail, it is really that defiant, emotional main.

The forthcoming Get in touch with of Responsibility: WWII sees the collection return to its roots, 10 several years given that it moved into far more present-day territory. I consider the activity could master considerably from Medal of Honor, the collection that Get in touch with of Responsibility place out to pasture. Because exploding a nuclear bomb in the middle of Contemporary Warfare, Get in touch with of Responsibility has been having difficulties to a person-up its possess action scenes and extraordinary stakes. Between outlandish new gizmos, celeb-voiced villains, and at last heading into space, Get in touch with of Responsibility has created many, flagrant tries to preserve our notice, and in the method has felt ever more uninteresting.

At the very same time, thanks to video games these kinds of as BioShock, Pink Dead Redemption, and Long gone Home, we, as gamers, have created a style for far more substantive tales. We want far more relatable people and situations. We want a plot that respects our intelligence and isn’t afraid to make us consider a small. We want pressure and thrills that stem from matters other than explosions.

Call of Duty WWII

In small, Medal of Honor’s quiet manufacturer of drama – its potential to make you sweat, and mirror on the importance of what you ended up performing via tiny interactions – is back in vogue. Medal of Honor revered both its gamers and matter make any difference. By comparison, when Get in touch with of Responsibility still expects us to go giddy with pleasure each individual time a little something blows up, it dangers coming throughout as patronising. A higher view of its viewers and far more adherence to truth are probable the photographs in the arm Get in touch with of Responsibility needs.

Get in touch with of Responsibility: WWII has the likely to provide them. With the full history of the war at its disposal, and no sci-fi gizmos, WWII, with any luck ,, will be compelled to notify a far more grounded tale, a person that performs on our minds as considerably as our senses. Exactly where in 2003 large explosions and epic-scale battles felt new, and reduced-important depictions of the war ended up receiving stale, in 2017 the traits are reversed. Spectacle is rote, and it is really the lesser, quieter tales that are on the chopping edge.

For that motive, if WWII goes back to basic principles – if it relies on people, personal pressure, and true history to make pleasure – it will epitomise the best of the 2nd Environment War shooters. It will never just be capturing the spirit of Medal of Honor, it’ll be returning to the audacity and willingness to attempt distinct matters that created Get in touch with of Responsibility a fantastic collection in the initially put.