Jinkies, a lot of people are playing videogames during this [expletive] pandemic.
Market research firm The NPD Group said this week that overall spending on videogaming in the U.S. from April – June hit $11.6 billion. That’s up 30 percent year-over-year. My household certainly contributed a fair amount to that total.
But it’s not just money, videogames is where I spend almost all of my non-work, non-family attention. While we live in a platinum age of TV and streaming with so. many. good. shows to choose from, I’m just not watching any of them (well, except for Perry Mason because holy hell that production design).
When I do have time to myself, I choose to play games. Sure, part of that is to connect with friends during this extended, socially distant lockdown. Playing with the fellas is a highlight of my week — but it only happens once a week.
It dawned on me recently why I’m not watching much TV. Videogames give me something I lack in just about every other part of my life.
Videogames give me control.
Let me preface this by admitting up front that I am pretty lucky/grateful during this pandemic (and in life in general). I’m employed, my family is healthy, we have food and honestly, as pandemics go, we have it pretty easy. I have control over many things a lot of other people don’t.
But we are all definitely living in the darkest timeline and there is some new horror being perpetrated every day and aside from giving money to worthy causes, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it. We don’t run the post office. We can’t control our schools. And jackasses still refuse to wear masks.
Even escaping into the fictional worlds of TV shows and movies, we are still at the whim of the writers and directors. We have to go along wherever they take us. That journey may be powerful and entertaining, but it’s still not up to us.
But fire up a game, and like He-Man, you have the power. Sure, there are environments and enemies set upon us, but we get to choose how to react to them and those choices make an immediate impact (but do not impact our real lives). Shoot. Hide. Accept a side quest. Buy a new skin. Fly the chopper into a mountain. Whatever, man. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
This [expletive] pandemic isn’t going away any time soon so grab that control(ler) when you can.
I was so wrong. Don’t build your own PC
I am SUPER EXCITED to announce that my friend Kevin C. Tofel will be sharing some of his blog posts with 40 Bit. Kevin’s a renown expert on mobile technology, founder of the wildly popular site AboutChromebooks.com, and clandestine international cat burglar.
He also thought it would be a good idea to build his own PC. Perhaps you’ve had the same thought. But before you head over to PC Part Picker and dive down a rabbit hole of RTX video cards and liquid cooling systems, read Kevin’s post to save yourself some time, a fair bit of money, and probably a few headaches.
Fortnite Apple Fite
OK. So look. If you’re at all in the games business, then you are well aware of that Epic Games (which makes Fortnite) got into a big fight with Apple and Google this week. I don’t want to bog this newsletter down too much with business-y stuff so let’s TL;DR this thing.
Epic Games’ beef with Apple and Google is over how much of a revenue cut those two take from the apps listed in those respective app stores. Epic tried to do an end-run around the tech giants’ commissions by offering a direct payment method, which is verboten. Then Epic mocked Apple with a video satirizing the Mac’s famous 1984 ad, a move even my 9 year old called “baller” when he saw it.
In response to this end-run, Apple and Google booted Fortnite from their app stores. Epic then filed a lawsuit against both Apple and Google (also baller). Anyhoo, check out this timeline of events for a more complete breakdown because this is going to be an, errr, epic battle royale.
But I bring the whole thing up, dear reader, because some of you are parents with kids who play Fortnite on iPhones and iPads. Or, at least they did. Today’s moves means Apple devices with Fortnite already installed won’t get any updates, and new installs are not possible (it’s a little more complicated on Android).
For kids (and their parents) that is more bummer than baller. Thankfully, this is the only bad news I’m sure we’ll receive this summer.
High Score, the new Netflix docu-series on the history of classic videogames launches on Aug. 19. Ars Technica calls it “solid.” I call myself “hypocrite” because after saying I don’t watch TV, I’m definitely checking this out.
That’s it for this week.
Stay cool. Have a great summer.
Class of ’90 rulez.
-Team 40 Bit