GameStop Is Exposed during Conference Call
These are dire times. Everything has been shut down. No concerts. No sportsball games. Everything has ground to a halt. We are sitting at home in self-imposed isolation reading news headlines that look a lot like the ones that one might see in a montage at the start of a zombie film. We are all feeling a little bit ruffled. We are all slightly on edge. Not everyone is having a bad time of it though. There is one group of people that are (or were, rather) having a rather good time of things. Things are coming to a grinding halt, social gatherings have been prohibited, and GameStop could not be happier to fill the void. Over the last few years the floor has fallen out from beneath GameStop’s business model, and yet as soon as the Carona-chan closures started hitting their business has started picking up like it was the week before Christmas!
On this week’s podcast we mentioned the fact that GameStop had sent out a memo telling their employees to obstruct police attempts to close down their stores in areas where retail has been limited to essential goods and services only. According to the tortured logic that GameStop were peddling was that internet access is essential for working from home, and GameStop sells products that connect to the internet, so that totally makes GameStop essential retail – and that is super duper worth risking people’s lives for! But a lot has happened since then.
A YouTuber by the name of Camelot331, an individual located in a one party consent state, was able to sneak his way onto a GameStop conference call, and then put the content of that call up on his channel – and it was sufficient to make their previous stupidity pale in comparison. The call comprised multiple clearly audibly upset GameStop managers imploring their corporate overlords to institute common sense procedures in order to minimise the transmission of the Caronavirus – and time and again were rebuffed by barely coherent word salad replies which usually ended “we are monitoring the situation daily”. GameStop executives told their managers that if an employee becomes infected with the Caronavirus then corporate will send through a cleaning crew, and then following that the employees who were just working alongside the sick worker are to go back to work immediately after! One particularly distraught sounding manager asked whether the stores could at least suspend trade-ins on account of the putrid state that items are often in when they arrive there. The answer to her question was a big fat no, on the basis that you can catch the Coronavirus from any surface, and the government has not specifically said that you can contract the virus from a controller so “We’re still going to take them in without a doubt.” According to the GameStop executives there was no way to completely control for the Coronavirus, and so there was no reason to implement policies to attempt to control it. Despite having absolutely no controls being put in place to protect the health of GameStop employees and their customers, the GameStop managers were told that they would no longer be able to call their superiors at the GameStop headquarters (because they are all now working from home). Finally, one of the managers asked whether GameStop corporate could contact employees to reassure them that their safety was important to the company, and was told that managers should just reassure employees themselves.
GameStop is in fact the example that you would point to when explaining precisely why non-essential businesses are not being trusted to operate on the honour system throughout this pandemic. GameStop executives are just behaving gleefully irresponsible to an almost criminal extent here – and it is this kind of attitude which means that everything has to be shut down. GameStop has certainly been shut down.
GameStop Has Been Shut Down
GameStop has been a busy company this week. They have been telling their employees to flaunt the law. They have been exposed in all of their glorious shitbaggery during an absolutely astounding conference call. And then following the conference call GameStop’s only concrete response was to DMCA falseflag Camelot331’s video on the matter. Faced with angry and anxious citizens, and corporations flaunting government edicts, this has left governments with very little choice in how to handle the situation.
Faced with this absolute shitshow Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf has had to move to revoke GameStop’s business license within the state – and has hit GameStop stores across the state with notices of closure:
DO NOT REMOVE THIS SIGN
NOTICE OF CLOSURE
Notice is hereby given that as of this date the Operating Permit (License) of:
Name of Establishment: GAMESTOP
Is immediately suspended until further notice.
Date: 03/20/2020 Time: 12:00PM
Until otherwise notified, DO NOT ENTER location without proper protective attire – including a N95 Respirator Mask
It is funny how being forced to cease your operations across an entire state can change your perspective on things. GameStop are now ceasing their walk-in business across the entire US. They will still be operating their online business, and will be providing curb side pickup at stores. Time and again the constant theme of the Coronavirus pandemic has been the fact that an institution could have made some modest accomodations to public health at some earlier junction, but decided not to do that – and are made to suffer way more a short time later. Be safe and do not be like these shitbags.
The PS5 Is Disappointing
Console manufacturers cannot seem to go for more than five years at the top without becoming hopelessly arrogant and complacent. When Sony stole the generation with the PS4 they had just spent eight years on the back foot with the PS3, and came into the contest with a great deal of appetite and energy. Sony has just spent six years at the top, and it really shows with the PS5. This week Mark Cerny has laid Sony’s plans for the PS5 bare, and there is nothing particularly compelling about it, to be frank.
The PS5 is going to have backwards compatibility at launch. Sony has tested the top 100 PS4 games on the PS5, and they feel confident that most of them will be fully playable at launch. By contrast every non-Kinect Xbox One game will be playable on Series X at launch – and that will include the Xbox and Xbox 360 games that are currently compatible with Xbox One backwards compatibility! PS5 backwards compatibility is sure to get better over time. Maybe it will even one day become capable of playing games from earlier console generations than the PS4? Regardless, this limited backwards compatibility makes the console extremely uncompelling at launch, as one is unable to use it to replace their PS4.
Sony lowballed the PS5 GPU, and then after getting spooked by the massive GPU in the Series X they have rushed to overclock the shit out of the PS5 GPU to make up some of the difference. The PS5 was set to have a 9.3tf GPU (with 36 compute units) and a 3.5ghz CPU – but then the Series X was revealed to have 12.16tf GPU (with 52 compute units) and a 3.6ghz CPU (which can run at 3.8ghz without hyperthreading. Beaten on both axes. In response to the Microsoft machine Sony have moved to implement the ability for developers to dynamically overclock the PS5 GPU to run at 2.23ghz, and thereby squeeze 10.3tf from the PS5’s GPU. The problem with this though as to accomplish this developers will have to proportionally downclock the PS5’s CPU to something lower than the standard 3.5ghz – so whether developers choose to maximise graphics or maximise CPU, the Series X will still beat the PS5 in both respects. This sounds really cobbled together and shitty. The Series X GPU runs at 1.825ghz, which is probably close to the speed at which the PS5 GPU should run on stock clocks. The worry here is console durability, with the GPU running so much higher than at stock clocks. Overclocking is something you do to get an extra year out of a component before having to upgrade, not something that should be relied on to this extent out of the box. The overclock is good in one sense though – it raises the base performance of the next generation, so once the PS5 Pro enters the market it will be held back just a little bit less by the shitty performance of the standard PS5.
The PS5 does beat out the Series X in one sense though. The Series X uses a current generation SSD with a bandwidth of 2.5gb/s of raw data, or 4.8gb/s of compressed data. By contrast the PS5 uses a next generation SSD with a bandwidth of 5.5gb/s of raw data, or between 8 and 9 gb/s of compressed data. This gives developers a fair bit of freedom with maximising RAM and CPU use. The fact that it is lightening fast to pull information from the SSD means that developers will have to permanently store fewer assets in RAM, effectively meaning that the PS5 has a little more RAM to play with. Alternately, developers could instead opt to have the PS5 use uncompressed assets while they have the Series X use compressed assets. The PS5 can move raw data at faster speed than the Series X can move compressed data, and so the Series X would have to dedicate a CPU thread to decompressing the data while the PS5 could just use it as is. Also, loading times will be essentially nothing. At 5.5gb/s the PS5 SSD will be able to completely fill system RAM in a little over two seconds.
It is difficult to know what to make of the PS5. Its processing capabilities are not where they should be. It will not be a replacement for the PS4 at launch, unless Sony decides to get serious on backwards compatibility. The high speed of the PS5’s SSD is intriguing, but it is tiny at 825gb. It might be tempting to have Final Fantasy VII Remake parts 2 and 3 working slightly better at launch, but other than that the PS5 does not seem terribly compelling, and will not likely be all that compelling for a long time after launch.