"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
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Like me. Because of this stupid forum and all of you idiots- my life has been changed forever I fucking love you guys so much Thru all of this bullshit I racked up over $40k profits this year. How the fuck does that happen I only had $8k to my name. What the f.. Idk what I’m doing. and now, PETER SCHIFF FOLLOWS ME ON INSTAGRAM. right place at the right time. Here’s my story: I found you idiots at the beginning of this pandemic. Feb 2020 I was, Depressed, Scared, Bored Angry Everything. I had Lost my job. I was deemed non-essential. I couldn’t get unemployment but got $1200 in mail. That helps for sure. Like think about this ok: $8k + $1200 = ?% ... you know ? He added more than 10% to my net worth. Right? Legit increase. So thank you for that bro. Talk shit on it all ya want but that’s a legit percent increase from D, lol. That allowed me to over leverage way more than I was used to. I stumble onto this Shitshow of a Reddit called wallstreetbets. where everyone is insulting each other. And it’s hilarious. In March, of 2020: I start trading options and really ramping up my risk. I’m in and out of $AAPL calls every 2-3 days making $300-700 per week trading which is fucking awesome for me. Sometimes over a thousand bucks a week For 20 weeks roughly. Simple math and smart trading. Sort of. I think It’s a version of Buffett’s compounding interest. Make $1k per week for 25 weeks = Make $25k Simple. Easy Now I’m smarts as Waeren BuFét . I don’t have any way to make money buttttt now I’m deemed not essential as a medical device salesman. Trading is paying my bills. My friends are interested. I keep throwing in 100%+ of my account into trades. So stupid. And by May, 2020 = It KEEPS WORKING. And we are all encouraging each other like maniacs on here lol. By June = I’m up $20,000 on the year. And guys I don’t care what you say. I know it is a small profit, compared to some of the madness on here but... To me. It’s a lot of money. Percentage-wise I’m up wayyyyy beyond normal A whole lot of money and - I have no clue any other way to make money. I made $18k total money, in 2019. And lost a little money in the stock market. and then 2020 pandemic was the nail in my sales business’ coffin. And I’m poor as Dick when the pandemic hit. My savings, I had about $8k left. . I’ve never had too much money but I work hard. And at this point all I can think is that I know I cannot give up And trust me I wanted to give up. In February and March I thought I’d become one of these suicides because I became so depressed about the virus and my wife was becoming sick. She was diagnosed with lupus and man I didn’t know how hard life could be. I would never leave her side so I push forward for us. Let’s do this Time to fight the boss. I had never been tested like this with so much hardships. You know you hear stories about people who have very bad struggles, and never think you’ll be like that, because you work hard, but sometimes - a pandemic crushes your income to $00.00 The gov won’t pay you anything and your wife is deemed terminally ill. And then all of her hair falls out But despite all of this, By May of 2020: I’d already made my 2019 salary in few months. I don’t fully understand what is happening but I keep reading. I Keep studying at nights. Understanding stocks further. I Keep reading WSB. It is working. I’m able to pay my bills and rent and eat And put gas in my car And get coffee in the morning. Something I’d never had spare cash to do really, multiple months in a row now from trading- I’m able to live better than ever. But I’m up all night studying I’m chomping adderall to push thru the shit because in my mind I couldn’t go to bed yet I need to learn I need to take this opportunity. I’d think to myself, “This is never going to happen again,” So I’d rationalize staying up till 4:30am to catch pre-market opening bell and buy 1000 shares pre-market and then exit them at 9am. Trade options till 3pm then crash hard because it’s earnings day and you can’t miss this Shit. legitimate degeneracy. I’m not starving because I’m a trader? “Ok push forward,” I tell myself. “You can do this.” STAYING MOTIVATED THRU THE DARKNESS. my gains were steady until the end of the summer when my portfolio Doubled bc of Instagram . I thought I had made all the money in the world. Over 100% gains. Little did I know i was about to 100% the 100% The most incredible thing happened, Randomly, one day I smoke a fat fat joint and put in like 2 hours making a meme video for you tardos because I’m so high... I’ve never done it before. My first meme video is born When I post the video on my Instagram, I tag Peter Schiff , Peter Schiff’s wife shouts me out - and Peter shouts me out. And I’m eating dinner with my wife. And I see that notification. “Peter Schiff has followed you” I look at my girl like waaaaaait a second. Read that to me......... Then my phone... I’ve never seen it come to life Like this. HAS ANYONE EXPERIENCE THIS BEFORE? Peter and his wife shout me out on Instagram, and the wave of followers that came to my page was UNREAL. Turns out - Peter and his wife are legit 2 of the coolest people on planet earth. And they are both part of my 23 followers. Lol Whaaaaaaaaaat. He was on Joe Rogan guys. What. (I have had this account for years and am posting constantly on it with ZERO interaction. Maybe 1-3 like per post. Posting 10x per week. Why tf do I need a personal Instagram? - let’s talk stocks b). “Whaaaaaat is happening!?!?” I decide to go big. If fuckin Schiff is into what I’m saying. LETS FUCKIN GO. I walk into the wallstreet casino (market open) In early July 2020 - I put everything on fuckn $SLV boyz. I had about 40 contracts and over 500 shares (Once again, I know this position sounds small, but understand me- This is all the money I have. So it was a true god damn yolo in the Purest of its many forms. I’m so mother fuckin proud of this trade. It changed my life forever). By the end of July I’ve almost doubled my money. By late Aug early September 2020 You saw what happened to silver. Rockets to the moon then crashes back to earth I had made the perfect trade I bought a pair of silver AirMax 97’s the day I sold my position. To celebrate bc it was so unreal to me to make that kind of money so fast. I was up up +$40k on the year. $SLV was at $28.50 the day I decided to sell I Bounce. I sell it all. Instead of diamond hands. I spin a total 180 on my silver theories about it going to $50/oz and I sell everything and take all of my profits. I got a bad feeling. I started reading about JP Morgan. And then the ultimate red flag The slimy reptiles on tv began saying silver is good. Annnnnd I was like NOPE CANT LISTEN TO LIZARDS EVER EVEN IF THEY AGREE WITH YOU and I exited the entire position HAHAHAHA while people told me if I hold till December Ill make $150k. OKAY how’s that working out ? Because silver can’t fail - and it’s definitely going to $50/oz; by December. Because the COMEX. Bla bla bla. Manipulation move on. Only hold physical. Period. Anyway I don’t care what they say. This profit I made. is WAY MORE MONEY than I’m used to. $40k total profit and the year isn’t over - I take it I sell all my $SLV positions. In the following days after I sell- $SLV absolutely collapses from $29 to $22 Are. You. Kidding. Me. I can’t believe it. I did the yolo. Again It worked. And I fucking sold at the right time. I decide that’s enough. I’m gonna use this to pay for an education to work in surgical technology. I apply and I’m number 6 on the waiting list to get into class. But they say that it’s possible. So I wait. ... maybe I can really pull off the greatest thing I’ve ever done and get my shit back together. Dr. Jordan Peterson taught us to choose the best thing we can think of- how we can help People. Also, choose a job that is one you can be good at. Then shoot for that. That’s the goal. Thanks doc I get a call on oct 17th from the school. Oct 17. Is Eminem’s birthday. I started school 2 days later. I know some will make fun of this career, but... it’s essential. Pay is awesome for me. I like to work with my hands. this is an excellent, “trade-based,” Job for me- Because I will be good at it and make money. Pandemic made me change my attitude towards work. No man is above a job and if you have a trade you can work with your hands - then you will always have income. As long as you have hands. And if you have income, you can trade like a retard forever. If you can trade, you can make $40k on your cell phone without a job in a pandemic. Stand up, and scream at the top of your lungs if you feel me on this. Is anyone even reading this shit anymore? Seriously. If you understand what I’m saying, aka- If you were fucking BROKE and you made more money, in 2020 somehow, than you ever have in your life- You are a fucking legend. And so am I. WE WERE BUILT FOR THIS SHIT. So, I drop $25k for school. I swap $15k of my profits into physical silver bc of taxes are good. I swap the physical silver for cash, to eat when I’m hungry and live on when I need to now. And my physical silver I got at $25/oz is worth over $30/oz today. . And I still have my original $8k in investments , which I’ve (to date) turned into about +$18,500 literally, by just trading whatever is trending on an app called Stocktwits. Then searching WallStreet bets for The ticker and see if You retards are talking about it yet or not. Huge W I finish school on 09.09.2021 I will have a job that day and income All of this happened because of WallStreetBets. Things were so dark. So bad. No future. No prospects at all in business but bros... I was fucking trading. Like a complete fucking idiot And making money. And I still can’t believe it. I cannot believe this happened. PULLED UP TO THE PARTY IN A PINTO LIKE IT WAS A PORSCHE and I can’t believe I made all this money following this sTupid ass Reddit website and 100% autistic, over-leveraged, retarded meme trading the entire year. Huge Respect to WSB. This place was the light at the end of a dark tunnel. Seriously. Thank you so much. All of you. You saved my life. What a fuckin trip. We are immortalized. We made history in 2020. Merry Christmas Retards ~edit • • • • • • • • • My wife is much better (her hair grew back) and I’m having a baby boy this March. I’ll be working as an essential surgical technologist by the fall of 2021. I’m an idiot and a pussy I only will put $100 at risk in any trade - and I don’t can’t what anyone says about that. because my life is forever changed for the better, because of this forum Now ... The shitshow is not over. 2020 was a springboard for some shiiiiit 2021 we are coming into a commodity boom I think. Get ready for 100x more Madness TL:DR - $IPOC 19 FEB 2021 $15C
Albeit a week late, I want to share my 2021 portfolio for documentation purposes and for whoever is interested. I aimed to balance risk in this portfolio with some growth names and legacy plays. Down to brass tacks, I am putting my money in the highest quality companies (in my view) across a diverse set of industries I find attractive. Some of these names are overvalued in the short term. However, I have realized I am not in the business of beating Wall Street’s pricing, but would rather hold high-quality companies that I believe will grow faster that the market in the long term. In other words, I am totally fine paying a short-term premium for growth and quality. Below is a summary of the portfolio and big picture reasoning behind each investment. I'm definitely open to any feedback.
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF
Evolution Gaming Group
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (BATS: ARKG) - Invests in companies advancing genomics. The companies held in ARKG may develop, produce or enable: CRISPR, Targeted Therapeutics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Diagnostics, Stem Cells, Agricultural Biology.
Innovative industry. Since 2003 the cost to sequence a human genome has dropped from nearly $3bn to less than $1,000. ARK believes that as costs continue to drop, genomic sequencing will become a standard of care in oncology. It will introduce more science into healthcare decision making, enable personalized medicine, and accelerate drug discovery. ARK estimates that genomic sequencing revenues will grow 43% at an annual rate, from $3.5bn last year to $21bn in 2024.
Cathie Wood. She’s a beast stock picker. Out of all the ETFs she runs, her closest competitor trailed by 60%. Her worst ETF still doubled investors' money. Her strategy is to make investments into companies that she considers incredibly transformational and she has seen success doing it.
CrowdStrike (NASDAQ: CRWD) - Cybersecurity technology company that provides endpoint security, threat intelligence, and cyber attack response services.
Best in class technology. Remember about a week ago a bunch of Russian hackers breached SolarWinds? The same hackers also tried to hack CrowdSrike at the same time but were unsuccessful. I’ve wandered on to a bunch of cybersecurity forums, and the general consensus is CrowdStrike has developed the best cybersecurity solution by miles. CRWD is the undisputed leader in cybersecurity.
“Pick-and-shovel” investment into the world’s increasing digitization. Even in the absence of COVID, cybersecurity remains a key component of the world’s increasing digitization as cyberthreats have been an ongoing issue from the onset of the internet. In the last decade we have seen a bunch of hacks where companies have exposed sensitive customer information. It seems companies are just starting to realize the importance of cybersecurity.
Disney (NYSE: DIS) - Worldwide entertainment company that you all are probably familiar with.
Reopening trade. In 2019, parks generated 45% of total operating income for DIS. Full reopening and attendance in parks will be slow, but certainly benefit DIS when it happens. The company has been executing on several other segments in the meantime (i.e. streaming). It has proved competitive, increasing the margin of safety if parks take longer to reopen.
Fast-growing streaming division. DIS has proved agile as it successfully launched a streaming service, Disney+, that has already gained 86mn+ subscribers which was the company’s original 5 year target. This is promising as it shows management can adapt to rapidly changing technology trends.
Enphase Energy (NASDAQ: ENPH) - Designs and manufactures software-driven home energy solutions that span solar generation, home energy storage and web-based monitoring and control.
Shift to clean energy; ENPH emerging as market leader. Going into 2021, sentiments towards solar have been at an all time high. This trend is expected to continue, especially after the Georgia run-off results. Solar firms are expected to benefit from extended tax incentives on both the consumer and producer ends.
Technological advantage. ENPH has developed the industry leading solution and is rapidly taking market share from its primary competitor, SolarEdge. Pricing reflects this, but it's expected to continue. Among key competitors, Enphase has been one of the lowest cost producers. Its low-cost structure is a major contributing factor to its improving margins.
Evolution Gaming Group (OTC: EVVTY) - Swedish company that develops, produces, markets and licenses integrated B2B live casino solutions for gaming operators.
Early mover advantage. Evolution’s lack of competition enables it to rapidly grow in new markets and create a loyal customer base, with high switching costs. The company has effectively grown EBITA margins from 41.6% in 1Q18 to 64.8% in 3Q20. Margin expansion is expected to continue.
Massive untapped markets. Europe is estimated to be around $2.5bn (EVVTY has 50% market share), Asian market is ~15x the size of Europe (150% YoY growth for EVVTY in Asia). North America’s market is ~$210mn, a 42% increase YoY, with NJ and PA the only states currently operating (NY looks promising). Management thinks the US will be the largest in the long-term.
Undetected from Wall Street. Evolution has almost no analyst coverage in the US and very minimal coverage in Europe, presenting opportunity for additional growth as institutional money managers recognize this opportunity and draw attention to the stock. Additionally, Evolution has a founder-led management team that is highly aligned with shareholders (mgmt owns over 30% of the stock).
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) - Enables people to connect through devices. It’s products include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Zuck. It’s not a question of who is the next Jobs/Bezos/Gates/Zuck, because Zuck is super young. He has a history of being able to execute: IG acquisition / transition from desktop to mobile / denying multiple acquisition opportunities in his twenties.
Undervalued. FB is the cheapest among the FAANG stocks, yet has some of the highest growth rates. This is mainly because of its continuous political scandals. With Trump out of office, I think FB has a chance to stay out of trouble and start to realize higher multiples. The antitrust lawsuit is not a threat imo, it is actually an opportunity. If the govt forces FB to break up, we would get shares in the spin-offs, which would be valued at a higher multiple than FB. For example, if Instagram spun off from FB and traded at the same multiple as SNAP, Instagram’s market cap would be larger than FB’s.
Digitization of Real Estate (i.e. “iBuying”). Technology in RE is moving from being informational to transactional. Redfin’s iBuying service is dubbed “RedfinNow.” The service basically buys homes from sellers looking for a quick and convenient sale (close deals within 10-30 days). This segment isn’t profitable yet as it is just getting started, but promising as the management adapts to technology trends.
Inter-US Migration and housing outlook. People are moving out of the cities because of COVID / trying to avoid taxes / etc. which increases demand for Redfin’s services. With interest rates extremely low (and no expectation for them to increase), homebuying demand should continue to grow.
RDFN most attractively valued compared to Z and OPEN, with the most upside potential given its market cap ~$7bn. Some are predicting RDFN might start offering rental services as well. RDFN has the best LT margin potential.
Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) - Provides virtual healthcare services on a B2B basis to its clients and provides services to consumers directly and through channel partners.
Competitive positioning in industry ripe for disruption. Healthcare is a huge market yet to be significantly disrupted. COVID has accelerated this disruption. Providers who were once opposed to telemedicine now realize its benefits and several regulatory changes are promising for telemedicines growth potential. Medicare and other government-sponsored coverage is expected to include telemedicine benefits, increasing TDOC’s TAM.
Livongo acquisition. From the consumer POV, this will increase access to healthcare at a lower cost. Teladoc will have access to a larger amount of data it can interpret to refine its services and monetization strategies.
Sea Ltd (NYSE: SE) - Digital entertainment, electronic commerce, and digital financial services. The Company operates three business segments: Garena, Shopee, and SeaMonkey. The Company’s digital entertainment business, Garena, is a global game developer and publisher with a presence in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America. Garena provides access to mobile and personal computer online games. Shopee provides users with a shopping environment that is supported by integrated payment, logistics, fulfillment, and other value-added services. SeaMonkey business is a digital financial services provider. SeaMonkey offers e-wallet services, payment processing, credit related digital financial offerings, and other financial products.
Diversified consumer internet company with market-leading position. Sea caters to Southeast Asia and Taiwan, providing its online gaming, e-commerce, and payment platforms. Shopee has overtaken competitors, it is widening its market share lead. ESports is a rapidly growing market (15.7% YoY to $1.1bn in 2020) and Sea is outpacing market growth.
Pay for quality. The best companies keep going up for years in a row, and I think Sea is in the early stages of being classified as such a company. It’s worth $100bn but has effectively proved its ability to identify opportunities and expand business lines.
Still early stages of developing its consumer banking business, so we get the security of a bigger, established company with upside for an additional, lucrative business line such as fintech.
Waste Connections Inc. (NYSE: WCN) - Waste services company that provides non-hazardous waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services.
Recession resilient; re-opening trade. The waste management industry is recession resilient, it will always be around.
Non-hazardous waste collection. With a progressive government likely to push climate initiatives, recycling and non-hazardous waste collection are likely to benefit on the back end.
WCN has a large moat; there isn’t much of a competitive threat the way the industry operates. Management’s strategy is to generally only spend what FCF is available. This enables the company to make acquisitions while handling its debt load. Great for stable growth.
P.S. I have two other accounts - one with about 40 growth stocks and another with about 10 big names / ETFs. However, this portfolio has the largest allocation for 2021. My first time trying a more concentrated approach.
Artist:Joji Album:Nectar Label: 88Rising Release Date: September 25, 2020 Listen: Spotify Apple Music YouTube Music Deezer Soundcloud Background Not many artists have had a come-up as interesting and eccentric as George Kusunoki Miller, a former YouTube comedian/edgelord turned moody R&B singer. George first got his taste of internet fame as FilthyFrank, a character he described as everything a person should not be, he played the notorious persona on YouTube for over 6 years and eventually had to retire it due to him losing passion for it and suffering from stress induced seizures, which playing the character often caused. Throughout his time as FilthyFrank however he began experimenting with music, mostly of the satirical kind at the start, his first tracks were under the FilthyFrank persona, the first one being Who's The Sucker, a dumb track where he somehow manages to rhyme "nicer" with "vagina", go figure. A few years later, alongside the satirical rap, Joji began to make what he would consider as serious music, and this is where the timeline gets a bit messy, as he put out multiple tracks under multiple different aliases and the lines got blurred pretty fast, so I won't focus on aliases too much, but rather on the music he put out, around this era he released the therapeutical Medicine, the slow and melancholy We Fall Again, and Dumplings, which was Joji's best attempt at a trap banger. In 2015, he birthed the Joji alias, released two singles on Soundcloud under that name, and announced a project called Chloe Burbank Vol. 1, the project was later scrapped and is probably sitting on Joji's hard drive, unfinished, however, the two singles he put out, thom and you suck charlie, were the tracks that put him in the spotlight, not to mention that to this day, there are some of his fans that believe these 2 tracks are his best and will not be topped, but that's a discussion for another day. Following the overwhelmingly positive reception, Joji began to put out more tracks and singles, both under the aforementioned alias and Pink Guy, which was a character that blossomed into a satirical rap project, but I won't be covering that too much, and will focus on what he did as Joji instead, most tracks Joji put out were met with positive reception, some of the tracks, such as worldstar money, ended up on his debut EP as well. Sometime around early 2016, Joji ended up signing with 88rising, a label focused on building the bridge between east and west, he explained in an interview that he was initially a consultant for the duo behind the record label, however, once the duo noticed his music and how well it was received, they asked him to jump on board and he instantly took the chance, getting signed alongside the likes of Rich Brian and Higher Brothers. The label immediately undertook Joji and began distributing his catalog on their YouTube channel and helped him release more music, which was a couple of singles in the earlier half of 2017, and his debut EP in the latter half, the EP, known as "In Tongues", was met with mixed reception from fans and critics alike, with some describing it as his most concise body of work so far that is oozing potential, and others describing it as a bleak project that fails to set Joji apart from the sea of artists on the same wavelength as himself. Following the release of the EP, Joji began working on his debut album, known as BALLADS 1, the album's first single, YEAH RIGHT, was released on the 8th of May, the track was first believed to be a standalone loosie as it was released 5 months before the album itself, however it ended up being on the album and was confirmed as the one of the singles alongside SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK, CAN'T GET OVER YOU, which features a production credit from non other than Clams Casino, and TEST DRIVE. The album was well received, and was praised for containing a wider variety of sounds than its predecessor, it felt like a natural progression for Joji's sound and was a step forward towards a more mainstream approach whilst not sacrificing any of the rawness that Joji's older stuff had, which seemed to be what most fans were expecting from him. Moving forward Joji stayed mostly silent throughout 2019, appearing on the second 88Rising collaboration album, which was negatively received due to it's lack of creativity and sub-par performances from most label signees, he also appeared on Rich Brian's sophomore album, The Sailor, and released which is now known to be as the first single from Nectar, Sanctuary, a synth based poppy track that previewed a vocally improved and more confident version of Joji. What was assumed to be a loosie turned out to be the beginning of an album rollout, as half a year later Joji released Run, setting a new standard for himself both instrumentally and vocally, and a couple of months later he released Gimme Love, a double sided track with a fun, catchy beginning and a melancholy ballad driven ending, the last single, Daylight, was released on the 8th of August, the instrumental was produced by Diplo and the track itself sounded like Joji's attempt to break into the mainstream. Without warning, he also released two tracks that he classified as "NOT SONG", the first being Pretty Boy, which actually ended up on the album with a Lil Yachty feature, and the second being FTC, which sadly did not end up on the album, both tracks had videos and it seemed to me at first that the purpose of both tracks was to serve the lore that Joji has built around the album, which I will be touching up on in this write-up. A day before the album's release, he put out Gimme Cum, an enigmatic track with a mysterious message. Nectar itself was pushed back from it's original July release date due to the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, the album however was released on the 25th of September. Album Lore If there's one thing George is no stranger to, it would definitely be worldbuilding, as he has proven time and time again that he has a knack for it, especially with his FilthyFrank YouTube channel, where he managed to create characters, locations, and an entire universe out of a few satirical characters, his lore was adored by many and even though visually he never wrapped up the story he did release a book that served as closure for the FilthyFrank lore. This album's lore is not as straight forward however, and there are multiple theories doing the rounds on the internet, personally I will go by what sounded most convincing to me in terms of timeline and storyline, however do feel free to expand on what I've said or correct me, George has left multiple things left open to interpretation therefore I would not be surprised if there were multiple different meanings to the same thing. Our story begins in the music video for Gimme Love, where we see a young Joji who appears to be a small time engineer that is eager to climb through the ranks of the company he is working for, as he rises however he appears to become more stressed out and agitated at all times, lashing out at his coworkers and breaking down consistently, throughout the music video we can see that the more he progresses, the more roadblocks he runs into, which causes his behavior to become more psychotic and manic, as the shots move forward we see him accept awards, lead his very own research team, run failed experiments on his coworkers that causes them to bleed, and eventually receive military covert status, which did not come without sacrifices, as we see him smile less and less throughout the video. In the second half of the video, we see Joji steal the rocket he helped build by locking out his crew members, and launch himself into space, disappointing everyone he worked with and stabbing them in the back he appears to be quite happy however, eventually his mood flips as he is faced with two choices, engage or eject, the following shot does not allow us to see which one he picked as we are facing his back, all we see is Joji making the choice and gearing up for what's to come. The lines get blurred around this spot and many people have different theories as to which video is the right one chronologically, personally I believe Daylight comes next, and my theory is Joji is having some sort of fever dream featuring his previous coworkers, most notably the older people who went through layers of plastic surgery, who appear in the music video for FTC, where they are seen wearing badges that features the same organization Joji worked for, throughout the video they are seen rummaging through the wreckage caused by Joji, clearly looking for something specific, which ends up being the award Joji won. Back to Daylight, Joji appears to be some sort of intern working for the director and the actors, towards the end of the music video we can see Joji waking up from the aforementioned fever dream, clearly in a daze, as the shot widens we see that he is alone, in a barren wasteland, with nothing around him except for a tent and what appears to be a device used for communication, he plants a few seeds in the soil and sits by the device, hoping for a sign of life. Next comes Run, where we are once again met with Joji having a nightmare, the entire video symbolizes being trapped in a place you don't want to be in, as Joji appears to be in a never ending limousine with people he has no interest in whatsoever, towards the end of the nightmare we actually see Joji running across a massive wasteland, the same wasteland we saw him in at the end of the Daylight music video, throughout the video, we see Joji become consumed by the soil itself, which I would assume is a representation of his fears back then, seeing as he was alone and had little to no hope of being saved whatsoever. Joji wakes up from this nightmare and appears to be in some kind of spaceship, if the videos were released chronologically, we would be completely lost at this point, lucky for us, we already know what the spaceship is, as we see a picture of the Sanctuary crew in the final shots of the Run music video, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the crew is the ones that saved him from death and picked him up from the mess that he placed himself in, hence the name Sanctuary, which means refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger The crew itself is seen in action in the music video for Sanctuary, where Joji appears to be fighting and defeating some sort of one-eyed alien supervillain at the start, however, once he is defeated, both Joji and the crew themselves become aimless, as they are living monotonously without a goal, thankfully(???), one of the crew members sees this and decides to take matters into his own hands, by surgically removing his own eye, which portrays his transformation into the new supervillain, and following this up by killing a crewmember and escaping on his own, once again giving the spaceship it's own purpose. Unfortunately the music videos that were put out after the release of the album appear to be too subtle for me to think they are connected in any way, shape or form, there are many theories of course but I can't help but feel like that most of them are a reach. The most plausible explanation for this lore that I can think of is that the whole escaping from earth on his own, landing in a barren wasteland, trying to plant seeds in it, and eventually being picked up by a group(88Rising, wink wink) is a metaphor for his transition from FilthyFrank to Joji, the barren wasteland stands for how hopeless he felt at the time and the seeds symbolize the loosies he was slowly dropping before ditching his channel to become an R&B superstar, which if true, solidifies the idea that George was done with FilthyFrank long before he actually left the channel itself. Regardless, I thought the lore was very enjoyable and it was nice to see Joji back in one of his elements at least, most fans would have been disappointed in me if I had not touched up on it a bit seeing as it was a huge part of the albums release and they are intertwined in some sort of way. Review
When it's lovely I believe in anything What does love mean When the end is rolling in
It is important for me to preface this review with the fact that this Joji album is not like anything we've ever heard from him before, this is not the one man army, garageband using, sample meshing Joji that we knew in the past, this is Joji with an entire team behind his artistic vision, a whole group of people working with him to help him push his sound to the next level, and unfortunately, while the quality of the music has clearly went up, when so many people have their own input on something eventually the lines get blurred and the album loses its artistic direction and cohesion, which is one of my only complaints with this album, and I'm glad I got it out of the way first. Artistic direction and cohesion aside, this album contains some of Joji's highest highs to date, especially the singles, that's not to say that there aren't some deep cuts on here that shine as well, but once you listen to the album in it's entirety you quickly understand why the singles were chosen as singles, especially when you consider how sonically different they are from the non-singles. Sanctuary, the album's first single, is a sweet, poppy and synthy track that features a high pitched and melodic Joji, some of the track's lyrics are somewhat abstract but they are quite visually descriptive and that's always a plus in my book, the instrumental itself is quite spacey and has a nice retro vibe to it, already a huge step forward from what we've already heard from George, the track's climax reaches towards the end and gives us a beautiful bridge,with Joji crooning about wanting to be held by a significant other.
I fell for your magic, I tasted your skin And though this is tragic, at least I found the end I witnessed your madness, you shed light on my sins And if we share in this sadness, then where have you been?
Run is one of the more cinematic cuts on this album, the track is truly a double edged sword because although it's one of Joji's best, it has set an extremely high standard for both Joji and the album, leaving fans such as myself worried about whether or not he will ever reach a similar high, the production is clean, Joji's vocal lines are as dynamic as ever, the guitar melody is infectious, the lyrics are better than anything Joji has ever written and he is putting his heart and soul into every word, the electric guitar solo at the end is also something worth mentioning, which sits perfectly right in front of Joji's distant and wide vocals, ending the track on a strong note.
Look into your heart and let me know Do things turn black and gray as they go? When I'm far too gone, can you show me love? Give me love
The lyrics above come from the album's third single, a 2 sided track that starts as a bouncy, percussive, fast paced, and catchy song, with Joji chanting and pleading to be given love, softly singing about being surrounded by apathetic people, after the second chorus the entire song comes to a halt in order to make room for a mellow guitar and Joji's harmonies, which are absolutely stunning if I may add, the track, much like many other tracks on here, ends on a cinematic strong note with a string section and a grandiose piano. The final single, Daylight, is no doubt unexplored territory for Joji, the instrumental, which was produced by Diplo, starts off slow and minimalistic, with a simple yet groovy bassline, and reaches its apex on the chorus, when it suddenly becomes extremely lush, heavy, and thick, the track is most definitely a solid attempt at modern day and mainstream pop music, clearly made with the intention of receiving radio play. All of the singles show up in the first leg of the album, which is absolutely phenomenal, the opener track, Ew, starts off light and easy, with a somber and distant arpeggiated piano backed with Joji's soft vocals, who's singing about heartbreak and the loss of many relationships, sounding as bitter as ever lyrically, the chorus includes a grand string section and a chord progression that is fully panned to the right and sitting all the way behind the mix, and surprise surprise, the track itself ends on a cinematic strong note, much like many of the other tracks on here.
I've got no aim, a million rounds, is nothing real? A hundred pounds of heavy steel, it feels so loud Tied to my chest, it feels so loud I'll take a peek to across the peaks This grass is neat and I'm quite unique But I'd like to be, but I'd like to be
Up next comes MODUS, a moody track that has an intro similar to the opener track but later on has Joji melodic rapping to a murky trap instrumental, with Joji of course sounding better than ever, lyrically speaking, many of the themes on this album are similar, Joji is mostly singing about relationships, heartbreak, and the need for a significant other, the lyrics themselves give the album a nocturnal, bitter, hopeless vibe, which is what we've come to expect from Joji's music nowadays. The third track, Tick Tock, is a plucky banger of an instrumental that has Joji rapping over it with pitched up vocals on the chorus which is something that's a little bit reminiscent of his older, more amateur work, the vocal layering on the verse is also something worth mentioning, really showcases Joji's dynamic range and how much he improved as a whole, the track is nothing groundbreaking in terms of what we've heard so far and remains lowkey for the most part but is without a doubt one of my favorites on this project.
On Nectar, one of the yet-to-be-announced tracks was produced when the artist was only sixteen years old. “I’m excited to see if it sticks out or not to the listeners.” he reveals.
Joji Interview with Schön! Magazine.
While not officially announced by Joji himself, it is safe to say that Upgrade is the aforementioned track, a small interlude that seats itself in the earlier part of the album, the track starts with a grandiose piano, which is quite unnecessary if you ask me, because once we have it out of the way all we get is a very obviously barebones instrumental made from a different time, the telltale sign being non other than the ukulele that we have seen in George's earlier work. It upsets me that Joji has not made this fact much more known because this track has been consistently the subject of criticism by critics and fans alike, but at the same time I understand, because at the end of the day George left that track in there for the die hard fans, not the critics. Up until this point there is no doubt that Joji has played it safe, sure the album is much more grand and cinematic than its predecessor, but there's no denying that the signature sound is still there, we still get the hazy and moody slow bangers, if Nectar was only the first half then Joji might have had a strong album in his catalog, maybe even a classic, but I understand him wanting to expand and experiment with other sounds in order to grow as an artist. The midsection gets a little bit tricky, as Joji begins to get out of his comfort zone and the album features start appearing, to me it sounds like Joji did not know how he could keep the listener interested in the second half of this album and decided to opt in for a bunch of features as a quick fix, some work out fine, some better than others.
Handsome young man, never pull up on time Lookin' in the mirror, lookin' good should be a crime, crime All this pain I'll never let show (No) My real thoughts, you'll never know (No)
Lil Yachty on Pretty Boy
I never really listened to Lil Yachty that much aside from the obvious hits he had over the course of his career, but he clearly shined on this track as the feature, for starters, the track is very light-hearted, definitely one of the more lofi tracks on this album, the highlight for me without a doubt is the bridge, which sounds like something straight out of Pink Season, George was clearly having genuine fun with it, some even speculate that most of the bridge was made using samples from his earlier work as Pink Guy. High Hopes, which features Omar Apollo, is one of the more lowkey cuts in here as well, the percussion on the instrumental and the detuned guitar on here remind me of some of Joji's stuff from BALLADS 1, unfortunately however the track doesn't stand out much, at least not as much as Afterthought with BENEE, another track where Joji's melodies and vocals shine through once again, and BENEE's feature definitely adds some character to the track, at least enough to the point where the feature made some sense On Normal People, Joji recruits childhood friend rei brown, in an attempt to capture lightning again after their first collaboration, Once In A While. Unfortunately lightning didn't strike twice here for me and the track felt quite lackluster and uninteresting, especially for such an anticipated track and when compared to their first song, many of the tracks and collaborations on the second part of the album really felt like Joji just trying to recapture the magic of his earlier work, and while some of those attempts did work at the end of the day it does feel like a cheap cop out.
Oh, understand, girl, I'm out of sight To the other side, I don't want no stripes Got my insides loud like motorcycles Girl, don't notice it, I don't notice it
Another example of Joji attempting to recapture magic is NITROUS, which marks Joji's second time collaborating with Clams Casino, the track is very reminiscent of their first track together, both Joji and Clams Casino however killed it, the track's instrumental is very murky and nocturnal, much alike most of the album, but that doesn't stop Joji's delivery, which is very fun-loving and upbeat.
By the way you move, I know you want me to Tell you all the rules, I know I'm searching too Give me all your clues and things to guide me through The end of the world, the end of the world
Produced by the one and only Kenneth Instrumentals, Mr. Hollywood is one of the more heartfelt and personal tracks on this album, Joji is singing about his evergrowing popularity and how it will never affect what is important for him, which in this case is the girl he's singing about, like many other tracks on this album, you will often hear something that will remind you of Joji's older work, in this case it is the ad-libs on the chorus, which are very reminiscent of his ad-libs on BESIDJU, regardless the song has at least a bit of substance which makes it one of the more commendable tracks. The final run of this album is where Joji flips the script here, there are a few tracks that have questionable artistic decisions, such as Reanimator, with non other than Yves Tumor, the track serves as an instrumental interlude before the final two tracks, however with a feature such as Yves Tumor I honestly expected much more than what we got, and what we got is basically a 3 minute track, with the first minute and a half being nothing than a drone-y, synthy instrumental, and the second half being quite a lackluster performance by Joji and his guest, much like some of the other tracks on the album, it seems like it received a similar treatment, where the track was initially unfinished and still half-baked, and rather than attempting to finish the track they opted for an easy way out, which in this case was making more than half of the track an instrumental and then calling it an interlude just to be safe.
"that weeknd synthpop track sure is doing huge numbers, maybe i should also make a synthpop track as well"
I would be down to argue that if Blinding Lights by The Weeknd had not existed, 777 wouldn't have existed either, Joji's constant attempts at breaking into the mainstream and commercializing his sound have always left a bad taste in my mouth as it felt like it came from a place where authenticity is lacking, nevertheless I find it bizarre to make a track that is very similar to one of the most successful tracks of the year and not attempt to push it at all, that's not to say that 777 on it's own is not a good track, however there's no denying that the sound selection on the instrumental, some of the flows, and the chorus itself hold blaring similarities to The Weeknd's track, I understand why he would make such a track however and find it admirable at the very least. Thankfully, the album ends on a strong note, the final two tracks are both beautiful even though they're worlds apart, Like You Do, is a quintessential love ballad from Joji, a stripped down instrumental with beautiful piano chords and a laid back vibe, Joji is singing about his current partner and how what they have might not work out, even though he feels like they're perfect for one another, the closing track, Your Man is a massive change in tempo, with an upbeat, electronic, deep house-esque instrumental, we hear a Joji that is optimistic, which is a nice change of pace, especially considering how bitter most of his albums and projects have been up to date.
Since I met you All the gloomy days just seem to shine a little more brightly Consider what we've got 'Cause I can never take you for granted
Like You Do
Conclusion There's no denying that some tracks on here sound like a bastardized version of Joji's signature sound. Joji is trying his best to commercialize his sound without sacrificing the rawer elements of it, which unfortunately results in a jumble of sounds. This album is not free of criticisms as there are many issues in here that need to be worked on, it's much less cohesive than its predecessor and at times sounds like a bunch of rough ideas put together in order to create the world's most average musical equivalent of a photo collage, but if we were to just set all of that aside and just look at this album for what it is, then there's definitely something in here for everyone. George might have not made a classic, and he certainly hasn't found his sound yet, but this album is an indicator that he's on to something, and once again I am already anxious to hear what he has in store next. Talking Points
What did you think of this album? Is it a good follow-up to BALLADS 1?
Do you think Joji works better alone or when he has a team behind him?
Do you think Joji will yet again set another high standard for himself next project?
What are your predictions for Joji's sound in the future?
Now that he's more keen on having features, who do you think would compliment Joji's sound the most?
Here on a Sunday night to give you autists some time to cross-check my info, start your RH instant deposit, and let your wife's bf know you're coming back with a vengeance. Here's an in-depth analysis on DraftKings and how to maximize profits over the foreseeable future to squeeze this for every tendie we can. Now that many states face revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic and wider budget deficits, there needs to be a push to fill that gap and nothing is better positioned than sports betting. As you all know, $DKNG came to market through a SPAC merging with Diamond Eagle back in April, at the worst of the pandemic when live sports were dead and there was more uncertainty than ever for what was to come. Jason Robins, Draft Kings CEO, has balls of steel and knew that they needed to get to market quickly for a sports betting run-up the likes of which we've never seen. Sports are now on their way back, with a huge amount of positive catalysts coming up in the next few months to skyrocket this stock to the moon and beyond.
I want to clarify that a large amount of my conviction from this play comes from the incredible management team leading the company. CEO Jason Robins is a stand-up guy and has led the company through a huge amount of scrutiny since its founding in 2012. He comes from a data analytics background which could not be a better fit for the sports betting business. He prioritizes the high speed data that fuels the DraftKings platform as its most valuable asset and speaks often on the commitment his team has to ethical values and encouraging a trustworthy environment for its users to gamble their paychecks on the DraftKings platform. I've linked a great interview to get to know the CEO and give further insight into DraftKing's plans moving forward below and highly recommend anyone going in on this play give it a quick watch. Jason is optimistic about the future of state's legalizing mobile sports betting moving forward and says they will continue to invest boatloads of money into customer acquisition costs through TV ads and billboards on a state-by-state basis. Link: https://youtu.be/2OVFB9piEC0 Any of you who have come across DraftKings commercials, YouTube ads, billboards, know that their marketing is on point. This is a great play because DraftKing's expansion has occurred thus far on a state-by-state basis. This means that there's a large part of the nation (actually the majority) that is still ignorant to the sports betting wave that is coming in 2021. DraftKings is positioned extremely well to lead the way into the ~25 states still waiting to pass the bill.
The fact that the top 4 states in the country still have not legalized online sports betting presents a HUGE opportunity to ride this wave with little downside risk. Sports have already gone through the worst-case scenario during COVID shutdowns and survived—now we’ve got a great amount of positive catalysts coming up (NBA season, March madness, Super Bowl, etc.) that the general population is begging for some action on, paired with more money in their pocket from significantly less entertainment costs since the pandemic started. The Wuhan Virus gave DraftKings a shot in the arm to streamline its way into most (if not all) of the remaining state's ballots during Q1 and Q2 due to the huge cut in tax revenues that the lockdowns caused across the country. Governor Cuomo of New York released a statement last week stating he is now considering the passing of mobile sports betting in order to raise the state's tax revenue during a time where Congress completely skipped them over in terms of providing aid through the stimmy. New York is a huge catalyst moving forward. In my opinion, this is a make or break for how things look for DraftKings moving forward, and will largely influence how other states react. Mobile sports betting scares states as it is new and so accessible, but if you do research into the Powerball and other loterry companies, it just took a push in the right direction for states to realize how much money they are leaving on the table by not participating in these emerging markets. Sports betting has already benefited the 9 states which passed the bill (NJ leading the way) and has NY as well as every other governor, feeling major FOMO. Current states where online (mobile) sports betting laws have passed:
Legislation aside, the other huge catalyst is DraftKing's unique approach to owning its own data and proprietary tech stack. I believe that this will be where DKNG separates itself from the competition that is rushing to this space and will give it the upper hand in acquiring, and retaining, a large percentage of new users across opening states. From investor presentation:"Upon close of the business combination, DraftKings will become the only vertically-integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States. Through the business combination, DraftKings expects to realize synergies by transitioning its risk and trading sports betting platform to SBTech’s, instead of relying on a third-party platform. In addition to reducing costs, DraftKings will control its backend system and product roadmap, differentiating the company from other U.S. operators and giving it the ability to tailor its sports betting product to U.S. sports and users." "SBTech is a global leader in omni-channel sports betting and gaming, with more than 1,200 employees in 10 offices worldwide. Since 2007, the group has developed the industry’s most powerful online sports betting and casino platform, serving licensees in more than 15 regulated territories. SBTech’s clients include many of the world’s premier betting and gaming operators, state lotteries, land-based casinos, horse racing companies, and iGaming start-ups. The group supplies highly flexible betting and gaming solutions to clients looking for exceptional configurability and the quickest route to market, complemented by proven business intelligence and reporting capabilities. The SBTech offering includes its seamless sportsbook, Chameleon360 iGaming platform, managed services, on-property sportsbook and omni-channel solutions that provide players with constant access to sports and casino products across all online, mobile and retail channels. Supported by unrivaled expertise in trading and risk management, acquisition and CRM, and the highest standards of regulatory compliance, SBTech’s partners consistently achieve rapid growth, enhanced brand loyalty and record revenues." DraftKings prioritized OWNING their own backend technology via this merger with SBTech, making them the first, and only company in this space to own their risk and trading platform. This gives DraftKings a huge edge to the rest of the market. It forked up the cash to keep everything in house not only to provide a better customer experience, but also to widen the moat against competitors as new states come onboard. The key here is to clarify that DraftKings and SBTech combined to be the only player in the market with 100% vertical integration and control of their own backend. Jason Robins and the rest of the management team are placing their efforts on having the best technology and the best product and really going all in on owning the U.S. landscape opening up, with as little need for cross-platform interaction as possible. This acquisition of SBTech was a complete game changer because it allowed them to be independent from paying revenue share to a third-party for betting lines and risk management services. Clarification: no other sports betting/fantasy sports/casino company currently has 100% vertical integration on the level that DraftKings has established.
This is where the market is missing the mark. Take the time to read over analyst reports, news articles, and interviews and you'll quickly notice 99% of the general market is completely glazing over DraftKing's iGaming sector. This industry has been a CA$H COW in Europe for awhile now, and is only getting started in the United States. Out of the companies that occupy this space, DraftKings is the only one to create one synergistic platform for Fantasy sports/Sportsbook/iGaming. This will be a huge value proposition that will ultimately rocket DraftKings to the top of the gaming market and solidify it as THE gaming powerhouse moving forward. The infrastructure driving DraftKing's products and Tech (all in one platform) Anyone that's watched the run of Skillz and the hype pushing PaySafe, knows how much anticipation there is for iGaming to become the new norm in the world of gambling. DraftKings has emerged as the market leader in each state they've launched in, and continue to gain more and more market share. Once new users get introduced to their platform, the cross-selling opportunity is limitless and creates an extremely sticky customer acquisition cycle. Competitors like Penn and MGM are dinosaurs in this space and have been playing catch-up to DraftKings since 2012. The new age of gamblers don't want to drive to a physical casino location or buy a home desktop to gamble. Everything will be mobile and run in real-time. DraftKings has been building an incredible live-sports ecosystem (first to market) and innovates the possibilities of what you can bet on a daily basis. Just download the app for yourself and do some exploring. I believe this is going to boom in the TikTok/millennial crowd as more states start to hop onboard.
Pulled from the investor presentation, $DKNG has smashed every one of their 2020 assumptions listed below. For any stats guys out there, I would love to see some models at how much of this market is still up for grabs. DraftKings has positioned themselves to be at the head of this movement, and I believe that 2021 will be the year we really see them take off into triple digits share prices. The catalysts are there, and the market is ripe for the taking. Their projections are extremely conservative and management lets the numbers do the talking. In my opinion, this is a bet on the management putting the dots together to EXECUTE as state legislation starts to go their way, once NY happens this shift will occur rapidly. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgadata/1772757/000110465920032214/tm2012476d1_425.htm The management is incredible and truly displays a vision for wanting to prop up shareholder value in the long-term through valuable data, a fully integrated platform, and aggressive customer acquisition to take control of this market as states realize the economic deficits which they are facing going into a new year. This along with the unprecedented hype that is going to be involved with sports events this year, will skyrocket DraftKings to new heights. This is not a bet on sports betting alone, it is a play on a data-heavy and analytically driven behemoth, with strategic partnerships (league, team, and celebrity partnerships) and one of the most aggressive marketing strategies I have ever laid eyes on. The stock soared earlier this years upon news of the Michael Jordan partnership (https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/02/investing/draftkings-michael-jordan-deal/index.html) and there is many, many more big moves in the pipeline.
Long-term I am extremely bullish on people wanting risk to make up a daily part of their lives. The psychology of sports betting resembles that of the lottery and is becoming a must-have for people to have the choice to place bets from the convenience of their mobile phones. We are moving into a future where if risk and leverage are not involved, people will have little interest in dedicating their time to things. This shift can be seen with the boom in retail options trading (shoutout wsb gang) and will have a similar effect in sports, iGaming, and random prop bets/surveys that Draft Kings is innovating heavily in. This is not to mention the infrastructure that DKNG is continuing to build out to rival that of Europe in terms of live sports betting (which makes up three quarters of revenue for online sports books in the UK) and expanding their horizons to lesser betted on sports such as tennis, golf, soccer, etc. If you've gotten this far, congrats you're just a few steps away from striking gold. Any feedback, comments, rebuttals, bear scenarios, etc. please comment. Good luck.
DraftKings has state legislation action coming, incredible management, is data-driven, is vertically integrated/owns its tech stack, has exposure to the full range of new world gaming (Fantasy/Sportsbook/iGaming), and is ahead of its competition forming league, team, and celebrity partnerships. $70c 1/21/22 $90c 1/20/23
Hi everyone! I am working non-stop provide the best research and analysis regarding DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG). I originally posted my overall investment thesis on the company a few weeks back and now I am breaking down and analyzing the latest news and developments regarding DKNG! And no, it is not the ticker symbol for Donkey Kong. DraftKings in my opinion, is the best pure play investment if you want some exposure to the sports betting, iGaming, and daily fantasy sports space. They're founder led (3 founders to be exact) and they're invested into the company themselves right alongside all of us shareholders or potential shareholders. Within the last week, there has been some exciting developments regarding DraftKings. I will share them below: DK Gift Cards Are Live! You can buy a DK gift card as a stocking stuffer for Christmas if you want. I’m really excited to hear this news. It’s only going to increase the brand awareness of DK and that’s what we want. According to the press release on DK’s investor relations website, they’ve partnered with InComm Payments to facilitate the launching of the gift cards. InComm payments is a global leading payments technology company that has a network of retailers that DK will be able to leverage through this partnership. Convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Speedway and Dollar General are just some of the many convenience stores in Incomm Payments’ network that DK will be able to leverage. For now, the gift cards will be offered in $50 and $25 denominations. The great thing about this to me is that they’ve beat their competitors to this. That shows managements initiative and ability to get things done which I complimented when I first picked this company. As of right now, you’re not going to be seeing any “FanDuel” (boo FanDuel *thumbs down emoji*) gift cards in the stores. Tim Richardson, the Senior Vice President at InComm Payments was quoted as saying “DraftKings will benefit from having its brand present in tens of thousands of Incomm Payments’ retail partner locations across the US”. Overall, good news for DK. New York State – Getting desperate? Do they need some online sports gambling revenue? I want to make this clear before I write about this topic – sports betting is already legal in New York state. The problem is, it’s only legal in brick and mortar (retail) locations. Just under a dozen upstate casinos can operate brick and mortar sports books at the moment. In typical DK fashion, they’re already active in a casino in New York State. DK offers in person brick and mortar sports betting through the Del Lago Resort Casino in Waterloo, NY. My news update I’m sharing is that it appears New York state might be considering expanding to online sports betting too due to a budget shortfall they’re experiencing (they need more tax revenue). This news came out on Wednesday, 12/16/20 during the day time. Governor Cuomo had a press conference during the day. The press conference was primarily focused on giving an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state. During the presser, the topic of New York state’s budget shortfalls came up. As a possible financial solution, Cuomo said “Are there other ways to get revenue? How about marijuana? How about sports betting?” He’s referring to the possible tax revenue that could be collected if sports betting offerings were expanded beyond just the brick and mortar offerings. What if every New Yorker could place a sports wager from the comfort of their own home on their cell phone? The battle for legalizing online sports gambling in New York has been going on for years. Governor Cuomo has always been opposed to it. One of the reasons Gov. Cuomo has cited in the past is that he thinks a constitutional amendment would need to be made to New York state law to allow for mobile sports betting in the state. However, one state representative from New York that has been pushing hard for online sports gambling begs to differ. In response to Cuomo’s comments in the presser earlier that day, State Senator Joseph Addabbo said that there would be no constitutional problem with mobile sports betting because the servers could be placed on site of grandfathered in physical casinos. Addabo said that New York state’s need for revenue is “real and immediate” This is a situation to keep a close eye on. The impacts of legalizing mobile sports betting in NY would be substantial for DK as it would open the population of 20 million people in NY state the opportunity to place wagers on the DK Sportsbook app through the comfort of their home. I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult for DK to mobilize once they get the green light for mobile betting as they already have the standing relationship with Del Lago Resort Casino for in person betting. The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) granted DK a provisional license to conduct online gaming and sports betting in the state of Michigan For this update I also want to be clear – retail (brick and mortar) and mobile sports betting are already legal in the state of Michigan. It’s just that there’s a lot of yellow tape for Sportsbooks like DK to navigate within a state even after sports betting has become legalized. This provisional license provided by the MGCB was provided to DK and 14 other sportsbooks (including rival FanDuel) on Thursday, December 10th last week. Now there are just a few more regulatory requirements that DK has to meet in the state of Michigan before they can go live. According to http://www.michigan.gov, “Before launch happens, the platform providers must complete additional regulatory requirements including independent testing of platforms and games and MGCB approval of their internal controls, which ensure gaming integrity. The firms also must secure occupational licenses for certain employees.” You can read the full article on Michigan’s government website here. Knowing that DK has a knack for being quick to mobilize once they’re given opportunities in respective states, I fully expect them to pass these last few tests with flying colors. The DK Sportsbook app has already been available in the state of Michigan for “free to enter” games. Once they pass the last few requirements, actual wagers will be allowed to be placed. And money will be allowed to be made! Another promising sign coming out of the state of Michigan, is that on November 30th, 2020, DK became an official sports betting partner of the Detroit Pistons, the NBA basketball team in Michigan. DK Chief Business Officer, Ezra Kucharz, was on the record after the deal closed saying “As our first professional team activation in the state of Michigan, we are thrilled to join forces with the Detroit Pistons ahead of our pending market introduction”. In my opinion, I anticipate we’ll be seeing DK online sports betting in Michigan some time in early 2021. This concludes my update and analysis on DraftKings. TL:DR
Draftkings now offers gift cards and you can buy them in convenience stores (first sports betting company to do so)
DraftKings received a provisional license to conduct sports gambling in Michigan
Governor Cuomo of NY said he would consider legalizing "mobile sports betting" to raise additional tax revenue
If you would like to read my original deep dive and analysis on DKNG, you can check it out here:
After the unfortunate death of Grace, we move on to the next episode, three, titled “Alex”. Now, I obviously know who Alex is, but at the time he just kinda came out of nowhere, so let’s see what this new character has to offer. Last time they did this it was Sketch, which was a fucking shambles. Let’s go. The camera pans across to an alarm as we see a map and some sailing paraphernalia as some dodgy music starts playing (perfect opportunity to use Fisherman’s Blues but whatever). Some bloke (Alex) then counts down the seconds before his alarm goes off and then hops up and gets dressed. He picks up a list with 6 numbers and some writing written on it and he also picks up a die. Alex then takes some breakfast to a woman who I assume is his grandmother and then gets a call from his dad who asks him if he’s ready to move house the next week. Alex’s grandmother makes a rather disrespectful gesture at the sound of Alex’s dad’s voice, who mentions that she’s being put in a home soon. She then calls him a “silly old twat” when he hangs up (wow, how she gonna do her own son like that?) and asks if he even wished Alex any luck. She tells him he doesn’t need it anyway and Alex is next seen messing about with his die and list at a bus stop. Alex is next seen being shown around Roundview by Doug, who tells him that his father changed some of his subjects around (what a silly old twat). Alex is introduced to his class, which Liv, Mini, Alo and Nick are also in and we find out that Doug is now the head teacher (finally, the real MVP is leading the line). Alex messes about with his die again as he and Liv share a glance. He sits in the canteen and notices Grace’s memorial, while also looking at Liv as she pours some vodka into her drink (just casually in the middle of a school I might add). He catches her eye and they smirk at each other (fuck me, first Rider, then Matty and now Alex. Liv does love a proper impromptu relationship). Alex takes out his list of six options (which I’m not gonna type out, but they’re all a bit odd) and rolls his die. He lands a two, which is “punch the next person to walk in”, who just happens to be young Alo Creevey. He’s arguing with Nick, who’s complaining that he’s partners with Rich for some project, but he’s obviously not in for the foreseeable future. Alex then gets up and fucking sparks Alo out of it in front of everyone before helping him up, apologising and telling him it’s “only numbers” as he walks off. Liv seems impressed (didn’t realise she liked some good old assault). We then see Liv at her locker, who approaches Mini and confronts her about avoiding her lately because she doesn’t want to talk about Grace, which Mini denies. Mini gets upset and storms off, the lurking Alex in the background viewing the whole thing. Liv notices him and asks him what his deal is and why he socked poor Alo. He then gives this whole “numbers” thing (which I get is supposed to be a quirk of some sort, but it’s really cringeworthy to me). He then demonstrates, rolling a three and then kissing Liv. She reciprocates...by slapping him. She then sort of smiles and they introduce themselves to each other. And then she’s walking to his house (like I said, it doesn’t take much to convince old Liv to do anything). Alex then finds his Gran in a closet and introduces her to Liv. She tells Liv she “likes to colour” of her and they share a laugh. Alex then serves then beans on toast (good bit a food that) and Alex’s Gran does some reminiscing. However, things go south when she starts talking about being put in a home and about Alex’s dad. As he sees Liv out, she invites him to the pub, Alex telling her he might come. Alex then reads to his Gran and ignores a call from his dad. He arrives at the pub (despite not knowing what time they were going at) and sees the gang minus Rich (and Matty and Grace obviously) looking rather dejected. He goes over and asks if any of them want a shot (Alo getting confused and thinking Alex is offering him out). As Alex goes to get drinks, Alo complains about him and Mini tells Liv they don’t need any new friends (honestly, the way characters treat each other in this show, it’s hard to believe they’re friends at all). Nick comes up beside Alex at the bar and he asks Nick what Grace was like, Nick telling Alex he’s alright but just to “leave that alone” (yeah, why is Alex such a nosy twat?). Liv introduces them all to Alex, Mini quickly downing her shots before going for a dance with some prat. Alex notes Alo’s annoyance at Mini’s behaviour as he points out that they’re all “a little on edge” (I don’t really think Angie’s psychology class would be needed to spot that to be honest Alex). Alo then gets up to dance, nobody joining in, Nick telling him that’s gay (this show would be cancelled today just for that joke alone). Alex then gets a phone call and goes outside as Nick agrees to dance with Alo. Being the only two alone, Franky and Liv gaze at each other, not speaking. Alex has another angry phone call with his twat of a father and then goes to some shady casino with Liv. After an intense poker game with a load of Asians which ends in an Alex victory, one of the players goes mental and accuses Alex of being a “fucking cheat”. Alex then invites the man for a game of heads and tails for the money, daring the man to choose tails, which he does. He flips the coin to the man, which lands on heads. Liv collects the money and Alex shakes the man’s hand and they start to walk away. However, the man discovers that Alex used a double sided coin and he and Liv have to leg it. Alex then has to go back to his Gran and gives Liv some of the money. He kisses her cheek before she heads off. He then takes out his phone, goes on some gay dating app and hooks up with some man (well, that came out of nowhere). Alex gets offended when his fling offers him some money, Alex exclaiming that he’s “not a rent boy” before ripping up the money, kissing the man’s cheek and leaving. Alex does his countdown before alarm nonsense again before caring for his grandmother and ignoring his father. We then see him in school as Liv approaches and he rolls his die again. He lands a one so he and Liv break into someone’s house. The house they’re in is messy with porn magazines scattered around (Sid’s house maybe?). To mess with the guy, they clean up, leaving his room spotless. Liv starts making a move on Alex, who starts to explain something to her (likely that he’s gay) but they have to run when the man (who’s not Sid unfortunately) comes home. They head back to his but Alex finds his dad at home. They have an icy exchange, Alex wanting not wanting to put his grandmother in a home and offering to look after her. He leaves and tells Alex he’ll be back later. We then have a nice scene as Alex dances with his grandmother, Liv joining in. We then see Alex at college, introducing Nick to the concept of the die. Nick starts reading off his list which involves outcomes such as hanging himself and getting into heroin (that might’ve been the best tragic humour this show has done). Alex tells him to starts smaller and they start to make a new list until they’re interrupted by some bloke who’s making an announcement (he’s literally the biggest Percy Weasely I’ve ever seen). He announces they’re having a memorial service for Grace, his manner proving to be off putting for Liv, Nick, Alo and Mini who don’t want to go. However, things turn sour when Mini accuses Liv of trying to speak for all of them, causing Liv to get upset. Alex goes after her and finds her crying. He consoles her and Liv kisses him. However, just as Mini approaches to, Alex reveals to Liv that he’s gay (which shouldn’t be surprising considering each generation needs a gay character. This wouldn’t be Skins otherwise). She calls him a headfuck (I can’t stress enough how overused that word is in this generation) and accuses him of being spineless. She gets angry with him as Mini reveals herself and piles on, Alex leaving. Liv then tells Mini to do one. Alex sprints out of the school and back home. He calls his grandmother, finding her in bed, her eyes shut. He looks at her bedside locker, picking up the empty pill bottle that was lying on its side. Alex takes the picture of the boat that was in her hand, kissing her head as he starts to cry. We then see Liv at Grace’s memorial, stony faced among the tearful crowd. Percy Weasely whips out a keyboard and him and some other girl sing, to Liv’s disgust. Mini and Franky join her and they look on at the distasteful glorifying of Grace’s death. Franky marches up and pulls at Percy’s keyboard, insulting him (wait, there might be enough time for redemption for Franky...). Liv joins and smashes his keyboard and then flashes the crowd (...Liv. Why’d you do that?). She runs off crying and gets a phone call from Alex, who’s watching her from afar. He apologises and offers to help her. “With everything”. A blue van pulls up near the sea (or just some stretch of water at Bristol. My UK geographical knowledge isn’t amazing, but isn’t Bristol coastal? Like near Wales and that?). The gang (minus Rich of course) get out and we see a man loading stuff onto a boat. Alex stands aboard and they all sail out. They have a drug fuelled party out at sea. When Liv asks Alex if he stole the boat (yes Liv, I forgot how simple it is to steal a whole fucking boat) but he says he rented it because he thought they all needed it. When Liv questions his motives as he didn’t know Grace, he tells her he “needs a friend right now” and then motions at Mini, telling Liv that “so does she”. As Liv and Mini try and fail to reconcile, Mini sits down on something. She then becomes curious to what it is, freaking out when she finds Alex’s grandmother’s body resting inside. The gang then question Alex’s decision to bring a dead body to their boat party (which is understandable. Alex is alright but he could definitely be the type to murder them all and sink the boat). He goes on to explain that he wants them to help him bury his grandmother at sea. Before they dump her in the water, he reads from that sailor diary, the gang crying about Grace, before they throw her on the water, the casket floating for a few moments before Alex does some weird finger gun shit, counts to down from three, then shoots the casket, it sinking on his cue. Franky then rings Matty, going to voicemail, then telling him it’s her and “don’t ever come back”. Liv and Alex agree to be mates and Alex does another die roll, rolling a six, “Always run away”. So they both jump in. Liv throws the die and they both swim after it. Okay, new character introduced. And he’s actually pretty good. Obviously he’s a bit overly enigmatic and is definitely not a realistic teenager, but he’s got a pretty good story and just made the season more interesting and brought it back to life. I know this episode was a bit bleak, but Alex’s pretty ridiculous ongoings in this episode really shadowed the entertaining stories that we saw in Gen One and Two. He was a real breath of fresh air, as was this episode in general. Anyway, take note of: - Character of Alex - Fractured morale among the group - Gang somewhat coming to terms with Grace’s death - Franky’s voicemail to Matty - Alo and Mini’s romantic tension So yea, that was a refreshing episode. It might’ve been a bit over the top, but Alex was the kind of character needed to keep this generation interesting and to add something new. And the overall plot of this one was quite good for all the characters. Overall Rating: 8/10
Nintendo's missing franchises and their chances of coming to Switch (long read)
“I want X for Switch”, “when is X coming to the Switch”, “X is perfect for the Switch!” How often have you heard or said these sentences? Quite a lot, probably, especially about Nintendo franchises. Nintendo fans really like first-party games, and they’re always asking for their favorites to come back. Problem is, even though Nintendo owns dozens of franchises, there’s only a few that are guaranteed to show up during any given console, so fans of smaller franchises are left wondering when they’ll play them again. Well, today I’ll try to mostly answer these questions. I’ll take a look at several, Nintendo-owned franchises and try to figure out what are their chances of coming to Switch. I’ll be basing myself on this such as release schedule, success of previous entries, popular demand, market niche and internal interest at Nintendo. However, keep in mind two things. One: Nintendo owns a shit-ton of IPs, and I won’t cover them all. I’ll focus on the ones that have multiple entries, and even then, I might skip a few if I feel I have no meaningful insight. And two: No matter what I or anyone else says, the chances for any of these games to come back is NOT ZERO. Nintendo is unpredictable and they’ll sometimes bring something out of the blue when you least expect it. This year alone we saw the return of Brain Age (a franchise not seen since 2012), Clubhouse Games (a sequel to a game from 2005), and Famicom Detective Club, a franchise with two games from 1988/89, which then received a remake in 1998 and then nothing until twenty two years later. Granted, it’s another remake, but it is still a modern installment in a franchise twenty two years dormant. If Famicom Detective Club can come back in 2020, so can your favorite franchise. Now, let’s begin, in alphabetical order: Art Academy Starting off with a small one. Art Academy is a series of drawing games that started on the DS in 2010 and then released pretty consistently over the following years, with three entries on 3DS and two (well, one and a half) for the WiiU between 2010 and 2016. Already this feels like a franchise with a pretty consistent release schedule, even though it hasn’t been seen for four years now. I don’t think any of the games were blockbusters, per se, but they also don’t need to be. They’re small games, probably inexpensive to produce that seem to do consistently well enough to get new sequels. There are several obstacles that present themselves to the release of a new Art Academy, but I think all of them are easily overcome. For starters, AA is the type of casual game that thrived during the DS/Wii eras, a Touch Generations game. Since the Switch released, many have noted that Nintendo may want to distance themselves from that era due to the failure of the WiiU, and there may be some truth to that, but I feel like this is starting to change. Again, this year saw the return of both Brain Age and Clubhouse Games, both casual, Touch Generations DS games. I feel like, at the start of the Switch’s life cycle, Nintendo was indeed trying to focus on core gamers, but now that they have secured that core gamer audience, they may be more comfortable releasing more casual fare. Furthermore Art Academy is developed by Headstrong Games, a British developer that doesn’t seem to do much other than AA. However, in 2017, that team was absorbed into its parent studio, Kuju Games. This move, which happened the year after the last AA game released, may have something to do with the franchsie’s MIA status. But, Kuju games is still active, having released a game just last year, and I don’t see why they couldn’t take up the mantle. Finally, some speculated a few years ago that AA was dead due to the Switch not having a stylus but, OH WAIT, Brain Age fixed that too! All in all, even though Art Academy is hardly a hot franchise, there’s very little standing in the way of its return, and little reason to doubt that it will. Chances: Good Chibi-Robo! We may have started on a positive note, but here comes a downer. Chibi-Robo is probably not coming back anytime soon. This cute little robot debuted in his self-titled Game Cube game, developed by Skip Ltd. Like most games by the developer, it was quirky and fun, and not very popular, but had its fans, and Chibi-Robo must have endeared someone at Nintendo, because he kept showing up here and there. He got two DS sequels, though the second one was Japan-only, already a red flag. In 2013, he starred in a 3DS eshop game that was very different from the main games, more of an experimental spin-off, and was not well-received. But the real final nail came in 2015, with Chibi-Robo Zip Lash! The game was announced to be a 2D platformer, and many fans identified the change in genre (from a unique adventure game to one of the most over-saturated genres in Nintendo consoles) as a total sell-out, and they were totally correct! The developers basically admitted that they did it to try and get more players (red flag). Series producer Kensuke Tanabe then said that if the game didn’t sell well, it could be the end of the franchise (RED FLAG). And then, the unfortunate but inevitable happened. Zip Lash was a critical and commercial bomb, and neither the developer nor the franchise has been seen again. Aside from the inevitable Smash Bros mentions, Chibi-Robo has only been seen on that infamous flaming tweet from 2018 (I told you someone at Nintendo really likes them). To make matters worse, there are increasing signs that Skip Ltd may be going under So, a struggling franchise makes a desperate move to gain fans, a developer expresses concerns for its future if the game bombs, said game bombs and now the developer may be going out of business? It seems the writing is on the wall. Now, even if Skip goes under, that is not necessarily the end of Chibi. Nintendo would still retain the rights, as they did for Trace Memory and Hotel Dusk after developer Cing went under. As for whether or not Nintendo would want to give the franchise a second (third? Fourth?) chance, it doesn’t look good Chances: Very bad Custom Robo From one diminutive robot to another, the Custom Robo series is and robo-battle series that began on the N64. It was Japan only, as was its N64 and GBA sequels. Afterwards, Nintendo did try to expand it, releasing a GameCube game in NA, and a DS game in NA and Europe. However, despite the fact that players of these games will attest to how good these games are, they didn’t seem to do very well, and the franchise has not been seen since 2007. There was one statement of internal interest, when a developer in 2014 said that he heard demands both inside and outside the company for a new entry, but that there were no plans for one, and he was unsure when there would be. Six years on, it seems there still aren’t. In fact, the developer itself, Noise, is also strangely MIA. Though they are officially still active, with their website being updated for 2020, they have not worked on a game since 2015. Then, in 2018, many fans watched in horror the news that Nintendo let the trademark expire. Some have pointed out that this isn’t as bad as it seems, as it refers specifically to games on optical discs, which Nintendo doesn’t make anymore, but I don’t know enough about the subject to say for certain. Regardless, it’s evident that Nintendo still owns the franchise, as Custom Robo content appears in Smash Ultimate. On the other hand, one of the series creators, Kohji Kendoh, is still thinking about it. He is working for another developer, and released a suspiciously similar game called Synaptic Drive just this year, as well as talking about Custom Robo in social media. It seems like a Mighty no9/ Yooka-Laylee/Bloodstained situation, in which the owner of an Ip is not using it, so the creator releases a spiritual successor. Bottom line, there seems to be demand for Custom Robo. A developer saw it six years ago, and the creator is seeing it now. Whether or not thinks this demand is enough to revive the franchise, is tough to say, but doesn’t look great. Not as bad as Chibi-Robo, though Chances: Bad Daigasso! Band Brothers Here’s a franchise Americans never got. Daigasso! Band Brother is a rhythm game released for the DS in 2004 and stars Barbara the Bat, who has an uncharacteristically risqué design for Nintendo. The game was Japan-only but seems to have been successful, it received a sequel in 2009 (released in Europe, but not NA), and another in 2013 for the 3DS. Despite not having received new games since then, the series is far from inactive. Barbara the Bat in particular, like Chibi-Robo, seems to have fans inside Nintendo because she pops up everywhere. She had cameos in a few other DS games, she was an AT in Brawl and a spirit in Ultimate, she was a costume in Mario Maker, she appeared in a comic strip with WarioWare’s Ashley, and the series has a Twitter account that was super active all the way up to April of this year (more on that later). In 2017, that account even tweeted a comic strip of Barbara demanding a Switch. That was probably not a tease of anything, as it’s been 3 years and nothing, but stuff has happened with the franchise even more recently. Last year, in 2019, six years after the release of the 3DS game, there were 30 songs added to the game in celebration of the series 15th anniversary. So as late as last year, Nintendo was celebrating this franchise with an in-game event. Now, the servers for the game were shut down earlier this year (hence the end of the Twitter account), and the game was removed from the eshop (as it is basically pointless without the servers), but with recent news that the 3DS has ceased production, it’s pretty clear that the game’s end is a consequence of the 3DS’ end, and not a lack of players. So if the series is alive, but can’t be on the 3DS, it has to go somewhere, no? Bottom line: the games are successful, the series is active, and the character is popular. I don’t know if Barbara the Bat’s next tour will be an international one, but I’m confident it will happen Chances: Very Good Dillon’s Rolling Western DRW is a unique western-themed tower defense game released on the 3DS eshop in 2012. It received mixed reviews, but had a dedicated fanbase, and was successful enough to spawn two sequels, one in 2013, and a post-apocalyptic themed one in 2018. With a game having released just two years ago, its reasonable to say the series is not dormant, so the prospect of a new game is always likely. The developer, Vanpool, who mostly works on smaller scale stuff like this, is both still active and still working at Nintendo. So, really the only reason to believe the series wouldn’t continue would be if the latest game bombed really hard. It’s hard to say that it did, as sales figures are unavailable, but it was a 3DS game in 2018, probably didn’t set the charts on fire. But then again, unless Nintendo had some really unrealistically high expectations, I don’t think it could have bombed hard enough to kill the franchise that fast. There’s not much more to say. There aren’t any rumblings of a return, but also no reason to be pessimistic. Chance: Above Average Earthbound Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: There will not be a Mother 4 The Creator of the series, Shigesato Itoi, has said that he would not work on a fourth installment, as he feels the story is complete. Now, normally, Nintendo could just say “screw creative integrity, let’s make a fourth game anyway!” but Shigesato Itoi directly co-owns the series’ copyright so they actually can’t. So unless Itoi changes his mind, or he dies and Nintendo decides to ignore his wishes (neither scenario is completely outside the realm of possibility), Mother 4 is not happening. So, if new Mother content is made, it’d be either a remake, or Mother 3 localization. We all know demand for this last one is overwhelming, Nintendo themselves have acknowledged it multiple times, but it still hasn’t happened, and it doesn’t seem things have changed. A remake is possible, but don’t hold your breath for it. Despite the series’ popularity, I think all we’ll see of it is the first two games in NSO. Chances: Bad Excitebike This is a hard one to pinpoint. Excitebike is one of those classic NES games that Nintendo likes to reference all the time, like Ice Climber, Balloon Fight, Wrecking Crew and Duck Hunt. Unlike those, Excitebike actually received sequels and established a franchised. There was a great entry on the N64 and three entries on the Wii, but nothing more since. I can’t imagine the Wii entries were super successful, and there really hasn’t been any word from Nintendo about any interest in reviving the series, either from developers, or the fans. The developer of the Wii games, Monster Games, is still active, and still makes racing games and extreme sports games, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo in 5 years. Now, one point I see often, and that I’d like to address, is the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want multiple games from the same genre on the same console. I can’t agree. With the exception of the WiiU, every Nintendo home console since the SNES has had multiple Nintendo-published racing games released for it. WiiU didn’t but that console is an exception to many norms. I don’t see why Mario Kart, behemoth that it is, would stop any other racing game from being made, especially when they are so very different (although the fact that MK8 has an Excitebike track doesn’t inspire confidence). No, I don’t think Mario Kart is the problem, I think is just lack of interest. And though Excitebike is not a franchise Nintendo will ever truly forget, it’s not really revving up for a comeback either. It could happen, it could not Chances: Medium Fatal Frame This horror franchise wasn’t originally a Nintendo product, being released on the PS2 by Tecmo. However, since the fourth game, each title in the series has been published and copyrighted by Nintendo, and this seemingly applies to all future entries, as the series producer said the series’ future is up to Nintendo. So, how does that future look like? Well, the last game in the series, Maiden of Black Water, was a WiiU game, which means it didn’t sell well, but not as badly as you might think. From all I could find, which is admittedly not much, sales for the game seemed to be only slightly less than previous entries, a gap more than explainable by its console. So, if the series was getting sequels before, the WiiU game’s sales wouldn’t be the reason why there wouldn’t be more. And though Nintendo of America has had to take baby steps into accepting the franchise overseas, Nintendo of Japan seemed satisfied with it, releasing four games between 2008 and 2014. So sales aren’t an evident problem, what about the developer? That developer is Tecmo Koei, who is not only active and buddies with Nintendo, their current project is none other than Nintendo’s big holiday title. There’s obvious trust there. As for interest, there is a lot. From Koei Tecmo calling it a valuable IP, to the series producer stating multiple times, including this year, that he’d like to bring it to the Switch Now, this comment pretty much confirms that a new Fatal Frame is not in development as of now, but it has a chance of happening. And remember, the last game is on WiiU, and if we know anything about those, is that they like to come to Switch. And though I don’t see Nintendo breaking their necks to make a new entry, I don’t think they’d oppose it if Tecmo pitches it to them, especially if it’s just a port. Chances: Good Fossil Fighters This game is not Pokémon, or so its fans tell me. Fossil Fighters is a DS game from 2008 where you collect various species of dinosaur and battle with other ~Dinosaur Trainers~ Fossil Fighters in RPG battles. It didn’t receive great reviews, but was successful enough to get a sequel two years later, and another one on the 3DS in 2014. Three games in six years is a pretty good release schedule, and things were looking alright, until that 3DS game came. It was primarily developed by a different studio, and it showed. The game received abysmal reviews, and fan reception was similar. Sales weren’t awful, but not great either. Since then, the series has been completely quiet. The developer, Red Entertainment, is still active, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo since the 3DS game. As for interest, there hasn’t been a peep from Nintendo about this series at all. No interviews describing vague interest in bringing it bad, no acknowledgment of fan demand, no cameos in other games (aside from Smash, which doesn’t count, Smash has everything). Even fan demand doesn’t seem too high, most of what I’ve seen is a Change.org petition which has been up for a year and has not reached its 2500 signatures goal. It looks like this series could become a fossil itself. Someday some might dig it up and revive it to use in battle, but I’m not feeling it. Still not as bad as Chibi-Robo Chances: Bad F-Zero This is the reason you’re reading this. Oh, F-Zero. If fan demand alone was the deciding factor, F-Zero would be top priority. People want F-Zero, people beg for F-zero, people who have never played, beg for F-Zero. And Nintendo knows this, they’ve acknowledged it. They themselves haven’t forgotten it. Even putting Smash aside, there was an F-Zero minigame in Nintendo Land. There are F-Zero tracks in Mario Kart. They’ve done everything but make a new F-Zero game, but why the hell not? Well, it’s important to understand that the F-Zero series declined in sales throughout its life. The best-selling game is still the first, and though the following games were fantastic, they sold less and less, and yet, strangely enough, between 2003-2004, Nintendo released THREE F-Zero games. Around the same time, they also released an anime. There are several great articles and videos about what happened to F-Zero, but the best point I’ve seen is that Nintendo tried, in 2003, to really push F-Zero, but it didn’t work. So, with their attempt failed, they let the series sleep, and just never woke it up, even as fan demand increased. In 2015, Miyamoto commented on the series, and said that, though he heard the demand, he was unsure on what to do with the series, on how to make a new game. Many fans scoffed and said he’d just need to make a modern F-Zero and that’d be great, but I think internal concern runs deeper. Just doing F-Zero failed in 2003, so why would it work now? That said, I think there is hope. Fan demand is powerful, and more and more we see a new generation of Nintendo developers pushing the company forward. These younger developers are the ones behind new IP like Splatoon and ARMS, and great reinventions of existing ones like Odyssey and BotW. It’s possible that these same younger developers could hear the fan demand, and want to take on the series without the hesitation of their older peers. It’s been 16 years, but Kid Icarus was gone for 19, wasn’t it? Stranger things have happened Chances: I want to believe Golden Sun And here’s the other one. Few Nintendo fans are as vocal and dedicated to their dormant franchise as Golden Sun games. For those who don’t know, Golden Sun was a couple of excellent GBA RPGs released in 2001 and 2002, with a DS sequel in 2010. Such erratic release schedule would make predicting the series’ future difficult at the best of times, but the DS game was seen as a disappointment by many fans and sales were unimpressive. With ten years having passed with no new game, is the series done for? Well, let’s look at it. In 2012, one of the developers gave an interview in which he straight up said that, if there was fan demand for it, there would “naturally” be a fourth game. We know that developer interview doesn’t immediately guarantee a sequel, but this is also a much more positive statement than Custom Robo and F-Zero’s “We know there’s demand, but we don’t know what to do with it”. This is “If there’s demand, it will happen.” So, is there demand? You bet your ass there is. And it feels like it is growing. There was a high-profile hoax about a fourth game in 2017 (a similar hoax happened some time before the third game, by the way). The series received notably more content in Smash Ultimate than series of similar standing (quite possibly an acknowledgment of its popularity). And last year, Cory Balrog, director of 2018’s GOTY God of War, tweeted about all the franchises he would trade for a new Golden Sun. Nintendo could hardly have asked for a higher profile endorsement within the industry. So if fan demand is there, why hasn’t it happened yet? Well, it helps to look at the development history of the series. The first game took eighteen months to develop, considered a long time for a handheld game at the time. And though the eight years between the GBA and DS games may have you believe it took a long time to greenlight a sequel, that’s not the case. Signs point to internal discussion about a sequel to the GBA games as early as 2002, with developers quoted as saying that Nintendo was asking them to make a new one. One of the series producers also said that the series takes a long time to make because of its complexity. After the DS game failed to meet expectations, its understandable that Nintendo may not have been as enthusiastic for a new game as it was before, but it seems like, even if the series is alive and well, the long hiatus would not be uncharacteristic. In that same interview quoted before, the developer even said that a new game would take a long time. In fact, if GS4 had started development shortly after that interview, if it took as long as Dark Dawn, the game would be wrapping up production around now. Then there’s the developer, Camelot. Aside from Golden Sun, they pretty much only make Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. They release schedule is also super consistent, with a new game every other year, sometimes every year. We already got a Mario Tennis on Switch two years ago so, if not for COVID, their new game would probably have released this year. All things point, then, for the next Camelot game to hit the Switch next year. Smart money would be in Mario Golf, but maybe it is finally Golden Sun. Finally, I don’t think, as others do, that Xenoblade is the reason GS is not happening. Again, I don’t see evidence to support the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want to publish more than one game in the same genre. Both the GBA and DS had more than a dozen Nintendo-published RPGs, and the Wii and 3DS got RPGs even after Xenoblade released for them. I don’t see why Xenoblade would stop a Switch Golden Sun, especially when they are very different kinds of RPGs. GS is actually closer to Octopath Traveler, whose success was enough to impress SE, why wouldn’t Nintendo want a piece? Really, I think the biggest obstacle is that Nintendo might want to prioritize the safe investment of Mario sports games over Golden Sun, but the more I research, the more I feel like GS’s chances are higher now than they were at any point in the last ten years. I feel there’s hope this sun will rise again Chances: Above average Kid Icarus Sorry to keep you waiting. Kid Icarus was an OK NES game that had a forgotten Game Boy sequel and then nobody cared about it for 19 years until it was unexpectedly revived for the 3DS in 2012. This story is a testament to the fact that, just because its been a long time, it doesn’t mean it will never happen. But in order to know if it will happen again, let’s understand how it happened in the first place. It’s important to mention that reviving Kid Icarus was not the intent behind KI: Uprising, it was the idea of its director, Masahiro Sakurai. Nintendo had given him a project and Sakurai decided to use an established franchise for it. He briefly considered Star Fox, but decided to use Kid Icarus, for which he probably had a soft spot, considering he had added Pit to Brawl some years earlier. So, there wasn’t an exec at Nintendo who woke up one day and decided to bring Kid Icarus back, they gave the director a project, and, after some deliberation, he decided to use Kid Icarus for it. That director is currently busy developing Smash Bros DLC, but even after that’s over, he probably won’t revisit Kid Icarus. He has shot down the idea of him working on a sequel or a port. His words were: "For now, my thought is that perhaps we'll see someone else besides me make another Kid Icarus in another 25 years." Yikes. That’s pretty damning. Sure, Nintendo could get someone else to make the game, but if it was only Sakurai that was interested in the series in the first place, what is the hope of that? Well, that statement is not super accurate. Before Uprising, there was actually a Kid Icarus reboot in development for the Wii. It was cancelled, and thank God for it, as it was an awfully stupid gritty reboot, but it showed that there was interest in the franchise even before Uprising. Naturally, you’d expect interest to be bigger now than before. The fact that Uprising not only grew the series’ fanbase, but the that there are Kid Icarus characters in Smash Bros, means that the franchise has a permanent place in the interest in Nintendo fans. Smash in particular means that there are 18 million people who know Pit and Palutena and would turn their heads if a new game was announced. Furthermore, Nintendo’s new CEO is interested in bringing 3DS franchises to the Switch after the success of the Switch Lite, especially now that the 3DS is officially dead, so the opening is there for it. There is definitely demand for a new Kid Icarus game, but it is too sporadic a franchise to be certain, and if it were to happen, Nintendo would have to find someone new to do it. But, in the end, the series is definitely in a better place now than it was 10 years ago. Chances: Medium Legendary Starfy Legendary Starfy was a 2D platformer for the GBA that was apparently really successful, as it received four sequels in the span of five years. Not only that but, like Barbara and Chibi-Robo, Starfy himself was quite popular. He had cameos in Mario & Luigi and Super Princess Peach, music of the series was in Donkey Konga, he is a regular Assist Trophy in Smash and was a costume in Mario Maker. Though the series took until the last game to come to the West, there were plans to bring the first four games too, as well as consideration for expanding the series to the Wii. The series was widely advertised, with animated commercials and tons of merchandise, including plush dolls, CDs, pencils, birthday balloons, casino cards and two manga series. When asked if there were plans for a sixth game, the developer answered “Yes!”, no ifs, not buts, straight-up Yes. And then… nothing. The series just stopped. And the reason why is: I have no idea. Maybe if the last game bombed spectacularly, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, Japanese sales declined with each entry, but not by that much. Maybe NA sales weren’t what Nintendo was hoping for, but surely not enough to kill such a steady franchise. The confusion only grows when we look at its developer, Tose. Now, this is interesting. You’ve probably played a Tose game without knowing. They have worked on over A THOUSAND GAMES, but they never receive credit. They merely assist with development in the shadows. As one exec puts it: "Our policy is not to have a vision. Instead, we follow our customers' visions. Most of the time we refuse to put our name on the games, not even staff names." They are a ghost developer. Even its Wikipedia page admits that the list of games on it is purely speculative. There are probably hundreds more, that we don’t know about. The only exception is the Starfy series. That series was their vision. So why did they stop? Could they have decided that it was against their vision to make a game of their vision? We can only speculate. The fact that the series’ end was so unexpected, and its developer so mysterious, means that any speculation about it is a shot in the dark. All I can say is that there’s no particular reason to expect it. Chances: Not Good Nintendogs Here’s a big one. Nintendogs was one of the biggest successes of the casual era, on par with Brain Age and Wii Fit, but unlike those, it remained a multi-million seller during the 3DS/WiiU generation. And though Nintendo may have tried, at first, to distance the Switch from that era, the return of Brain Age and Clubhouse Games indicates that other casual games would follow, and Nintendogs would be a no-brainer. There is, however, one big problem: the Switch does not have a microphone. While Brain Age on the DS also used the microphone a lot, it was not essential to it. You could easily make Brain Age without it. But not Nintendogs. Issuing voice commands to your virtual pup is integral to the experience. No microphone means no Nintendogs. But with that said, Nintendo did go to the trouble of making a Switch stylus, seemingly just for Brain Age, so maybe they could make a microphone peripheral. Sure, a microphone would be more complex to make than a stylus, but not inconceivable. They did something like that with the Wii Speak. I’m sure for that nintendogs money, Nintendo would do it. Worst case scenario, Nintendo releases Nintendogs and forces you to use the NSO app’s voice chat to talk with your dog. You know they’d do it. There’s also the fact that another developer released a nintendogs clone for the Switch last year, but I don’t think Nintendo gives a shit. Chances: Good Nintendo Wars You may know this series better as “Advance Wars” and you may also know that it is fantastic. In fact, it is one of the highest rated Nintendo franchises on Metacritic, and had a pretty consistent release schedule between 1988 and 2008. All was looking pretty god. But unfortunately the series has been dormant since the last entry on DS. Part of it may be because the series, though originally Japan-only, was never all that popular in Japan. In fact, that last game only saw a limited release as a My Nintendo reward in the region. There is, however, still demand for the series, both externally and internally. Producers from both Nintendo and developer Intelligent Systems have expressed enthusiastic support for a new entry, although they’ve also expressed some uncertainty on what they’d do with it, similar to the Custom Robo and F-Zero responses. The developer for the series is Intelligent Systems, who do a ton of stuff and will be discussed multiple times in this post. They used to release multiple games a year, but have slowed down this past game to just one or two games a year, another possible reason why Advance Wars has been deprioritized, especially in comparison with that boogeyman of Advance Wars and Smash Bros fans alike: Fire Emblem. There is real concern that Nintendo might not want to make a new Advance Wars when they could just make the similar but more popular Fire Emblem instead. That said, IS has already released a Fire Emblem and Paper Mario for Switch, and though we definitely will get at least one more FE during the Switch’s life cycle, there’s enough years left for IS to release some other games, whether they be AW or one of the three other franchises we’ll discuss in the future. Problem is, of those franchises, AW might be the most difficult to produce, and the most risky, so it could probably be lower priority. When asked about the series last year, one IS producer gave a pretty evasive answer, so things aren’t looking too good, but they aren’t hopeless either. Chances: Medium Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents This rhythm series for the DS is widely beloved by those who played it, but its life cycle was pretty limited. One game in 2005, and Americanized version in 2006, and one sequel in 2007. Nothing more since The games were critically acclaimed, but not blockbuster hits. The series creator said back in 2016 that he would love to create a new game, but nothing else has been said about it. The game’s developer iNis, doesn’t appear to be super active either. All in all, there is very little pointing to a return Chances: Bad Pilotwings The biggest obstacle to seeing this series of arcadey flight sims on the Switch is that the series has a very specific purpose: it’s a tech demo. All three games were launch titles for their systems and explicitly meant to show off each system’s new tech. The original game was made to show off the SNES’ Mode 7, the N64 game was meant to show off the console’s polygonal graphics, and Resort was meant to showcase the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D. With the Switch’s release far behind us, and its graphics not really needing a showcase, Pilotwings chances seem low. Granted, Pilotwings doesn’t need to be a tech demo, but it could be how Nintendo views it as. There is some fan demand for it, but not as much as F-Zero or Golden Sun, and no developer has commented on the possibility of a return. Pilotwings has always been moderately successful, but not enough to justify constant releases. The only glimmer of hope is the comment from Nintendo’s CEO about wanting to bring more 3DS franchises for the Switch, but it’s quite possible that he didn’t have Pilotwings in mind when he said that Chances: Bad Punch-Out!! Another series popular enough to get a Smash character but not popular enough for consistent sequels, Punch-Out is a beloved classic with a consistent fanbase, but with a very erratic release schedule. After the SNES game in 1994, the series lay dormant for 15 years until it was revived for the Wii in 2009 and then laid to rest again. One explanation is that the series was never really popular in Japan. Neither the NES or SNES games were even available as full releases in the country, being instead, distributed as prizes or rewards. And though the Wii game got a full retail release, it sold very poorly. It’s always been a game more for Americans, so it is understandable that the Japanese developers at Nintendo aren’t super enthusiastic about it. That said, it was Nintendo who pitched the reboot in the first place, so they may want to do it again someday. The developer for the Wii game was Next Level Games, who release a game every three or two years, and they also develop Mario Strikers and Luigi’s Mansion. Having already released LM3, it’s likely they’ll release another game for the Switch some time soon. That could be Punch-Out, but it is just as likely that it could be Mario Strikers, or something else entirely. Some think that the series use of flagrant national stereotypes would impede it from coming back in today’s political climate, but frankly, I don’t think that’s as definitive a problem. Worst case scenario, they simply make a new cast, just like Super Punch Out, but less racially insensitive. Another interesting development is that Mike Tyson has been talking about wanting a new Punch-Out this year. I don’t think Nintendo cares what he says, and they definitely don’t want to associate with him again, but it is a pretty high-profile person talking about the series, which is bound to raise interest. Whether that’s enough for Nintendo to consider a new game? I don’t think so. But regardless, Punch-Out is popular enough that the door is never truly closed for it. Chances: Not Good Pushmo This acclaimed puzzle game was released for the 3DS eshop in 2012 and was successful enough to get three sequels. Although it hasn’t been seen since 2015, there doesn’t seem to be anything impeding its return. The developer is our good friend Intelligent Systems, and, of the aforementioned IS franchises still to launch on the Switch, Pushmo, being a simple, but beloved, puzzle game, seems like the safest investment. It likely could be developed alongside another major game. There is demand for it, and considering Nintendo’s eshop efforts, Pushmo would fit in perfectly alongside Snipperclips and fellow 3DS eshop puzzle star Boxboy. All in all, there’s no reason not to expect Pushmo to come back. Chances: Good continued in comments
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