Archive | décembre, 2012

Social Network Addicition

21 Déc

Social Network Addicition

If you just can’t go to bed without having to go on Facebook or if you can’t spend a whole day without checking if you received any tweets, it is that you are most likely addicted to social networks. It is an addicition that is even possibly compared to addicition types of drug addicts. According to scientists it does 95% less damage than any other drug. However, the absolute need for the substance is more than present. More than 50% Americans could sacrifice coffee, chocolate, or alcohol rather than their cell phone in a week period of time. In france, over 68% of it’s Facebook community logs in every day and spends over 52 minutes on it. However, time spending on a computer flies faster for everybody, may they be on facebook, playing a game or browsing videos: 52 minutes pass quicker in one’s mind may it be on Facebook or any other thing watching the computer screen. However, even if the time spent on such social networjs varies, the dependance that people have is the same and does affect a majority of the users if they are adolescents.

A study lead by Columbia University focused on 1000 people aged between 12 and 17. It showed that such addicitions to social networks could lead to negative consequences: frequent users may be more enclined to use alcohol or cigarets due to exposure to party pictures. In France, over half of the people between 8 and 17 are connected according to the CNIL. This even worse knowing that having a Facebook account before the age of 13 is forbidden by Facebook policies themselves. But of course it’s that easy to hide one’s age on the internet, where being anonymous, and moreover possibly, a different person, has never been this achievable. These children have an average of 210 friends, among which a very large amount are complete strangers to them. Finally, a study lead by the German Health Ministry estimates that the dependance and the addction then is as important for girls (77%) than for boys (65%).

If there is one thing to retain from all those studies on addiction to social networks, it’s that risk to be dependant is real; especially concerning younger people. The barrier between addiction and abusive consommation is very thin; therefor parents must be extra vigilant on how their sons and daughters use these social tools.

Vidéo

Epic moments in Starcraft video game tournament: Will video games stay solely a way of entertaining people? Or may it be seen as a professionnal source of income?

16 Déc

 

It is now much more than a simple hobby, the console games and computer games have become a true professionnal sport in our days. We are now talking about e-sport (electronic sports). In South Korea, entire TV channels are built on gaming competition; they play video games as a tennisman would play tennis: for a living. This new social revolution dosesn’t stop getting bigger and spreading accross the world since the success of Starcraft (a futurist strategy game) or Counter Strike (a war game).
Another proof of such a development in video games is the development of a whole economical system around it as well (other than the actual selling of video games). In the United States of America and in Europe, pro gamers teams sponsored by big computer and gaming gear companies (Intel, MSI, Razer, Steel Series) are trained by ex-champions in video games tournaments. Their feats of strength are shown on the web on streams such as gamers like Athene and Swifty do almost daily. Matches that are diffused on the web are even commentated on sometimes by other professionnal gamers or other geeks that now a lot about the game in particular (as commentators would do for big NBA or NFL games).
The company Gameo finances the French web site Millenium, which manages more than one team of gamers. Millenium.org makes matches available daily on streams et proposes many news relating to Online Gaming around the world. Gameo is now giving salaries to some Millenium gamers which is a big thing in France due to laws: the first one was Yoan Merlo (also known as Tod) 26 who is known world wide. Since almost 10 years, after his feats in Korea and China, this gamer can now start to make a living out of his passion. However, pro gamers may change teams very easily as well, as the regulations outside of the tournaments are very loose: many gamers in the aAa team (against All authority) quit their team for the CyberNation team : a hight tech internet cafe in the area of Nation in Paris, giving the gamers all the gear they need to fully practice. The world of video games then knows forms of corruption as well as other sports have known for decades before.
In Korea, some players such as Lim Yo Hwan (also known as Boxer) 31, or Kim Won Ji (also known as FruitDealer) 26, have been making a living out of their talents for a long time. They attract hordes of fans when they move for tournaments and sign as many autographs as soccer stars or movie actors. Boxer even has a fan club counting 600,000 followers and even a movie DVD showing all of the best moments in his career. The great majority of Korean gamers aren’t that rich and successful. They stack in tens in small rooms with other gamers. They train on a computer each in the hope of being the next great stars of e-sport.
In the waiting of a possible « starification », the professionnal gamers rely on the sponsors and on the tournament prizes to allow themselves to live from playing video games. Now, online tournaments happen every day on games such as Starcraft 2. There are many contestants (mainly men), and depending on the importance of the event, the winners can have prizes from hundreds to thousands of dollars. On the Intel Extreme Masters, the greatest world wide video game tournament, the Korean gamer Ace won 13,000 dollars for winning the finals of the Starcraft 2 tournament. The team Natus Vincere shared over 35,000 dollars for their feats and wins on Counter Strike.

Video games are a huge source of entertainment and interest for many people. But is it still correct to call them « games », may they be online or not, seeing the way they have evolved since recently.

World Of Warcraft : Online Funeral

11 Déc

World Of Warcraft : Online Funeral

A young Korean girl was found dead after gaming for several days in a row. He was indeed addicted to some Online Game to the point of neglecting his health, hygiene and well-being. The game in this case happened to be World Of Warcraft, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). World Of Warcraft is the most played MMORPG in the world by far especially for the high quality added frequently by the developpers, keeping the gamers always interested in the game, or for other gamers, maintaining their addiction up to date.

The game was developped by Blizzard Entertainment and is the prequel to the Warcraft series which last episode was Warcraft III : Frozen Throne ; now it is the gamer’s task online to participate in the story of Warcraft in the latest World Of Warcraft game. The game let’s gamers choose between two factions (Horde and Alliance), then they must select a race within these factions. Finally, each races has a potential of being a different class (Warrior, Hunter, Rogue, Saaman, Mage, Warlock,…). No class is specific to a race though: the choice of race is then done so that the gamer fully impersonnates the avatar in game (though some classes aren’t available to some races of course to some extent). It is the next part where the addicition truly takes place. The gamer starts on a chain of simingly unlimited quests making him travel around the HUGE map of Azeroth designed by the developpers. This is the phase called « Leveling ». This is where a feeling of nostalgia and well-being and somehow weakness of not being to the maximum level yet, will come into place in the gamer’s mind. Then eventually, the avatar will reach the maximum level. This is when the gamer truly starts to play World Of Warcraft: he then chooses often choose between two paths; either he becomes a « Player Versus Environment » (PVE) gamer or a « Player Versus Player » (PVP) gamer. In WOW it is possible to do both PVP and PVE of course, however, the gear is something you obtain with the use of marks of valor belonging respectively to one of those paths; therefor a well PVP geared avatar will not have a good gear for PVE and vice-versa. In that way a gamer needs to fully gear a character in both those aspects in order to fully experience all the possibilities his class has to offer. When obtaining this gear, may it be in PVP or PVE, the gamer gets greatly addicted to the game: the gear is a virtual reward that he may interpret with as much emphasis as a physicak reward may give to another person.

Of course gamers succeed sometimes in getting both top PVP and PVE gear and rankings, but then Blizzard always manages to bring a new patch (around every 5 to 8 months). They bring in new gear, new content, reset all rankings; of course the new gear is better than the old one so players will feel regret if dropping the game: Online Games evolve while gamers have theur avatars disconnected. It is indeed a fundamental principle of online community: World Of Warcraft is, by the way a community counting about 11 million people (having an active account). If all of those gamers were in France, they would represent about a sixth of the population.

Though I think the death of  this young girl is a tragedy (dying for her « psychological » well-being in a game) it is also a case where weak-minded people give themselves to addictions which lead to neglect of hygiene (mental and physical) and then death. Companies such as Blizzard are just doing good business by producing almost flawless games and by adding new content regularyl to keep their costumers attracted (which is work for them in the end).

Can such a game as World Of Warcraft, as beautiful as it seems to the people addicted to it, be really categorized as other Online games in the market.

Vidéo

Hollande, a weak loser? or a strong-willed warrior?

5 Déc

Francois Hollande and his Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault are in the front lines in a battle against the French people always complainign as usual and the sarcasm and mockeries of the UMP and the rest of the right political wing: the Socialist Party on the other side compliments the President as to say he represents a Presidence of fighting much in need in times like these.

He assures his presidence will be exemplary, simple, and in contact with other people’s thought (he made it clear he wanted to be as close to the people as he could be). However he states the Prime Minister as a man only supposed to help apply the political ideals he thinks of during his mandat: a bit like the UMP and the right wing Presidents would do with their Prime Ministers after all.
He wants no exception to the 75% taxation: by doi!ng this Francois Hollande can only hope to invert the current state of unemployment in France, but will only be sure to have a double decrease in popularity. His popularity has decreased more at the end of this summer than any other French President under the 5th Republic has ever experienced. French people are far to occupied by their future and already started to criticize harshly the four month fresh Socialist Government ways. 6 French out of 10 (59%) think to be rather unhappy of the beginning of Francois Hollande’s mandat (Le Parisien).
The first sign of the man and his claimed autority has started to stand firmly his position as his he belives this way will still lead the French people to salvation. He went to apply his 75% taxation law on everybody in the population, including footballers and artists.The socialist Party, lead the First Secretary Martine Aubry claims that the president is mobilized and mobilizes as much as possible to make France withstand the crisis better. Arnaud Montebourg the ministier of Productive Recovery then famously mentionned: « the battling presidency has begun ». How ever there is a left wing within this left wing (a part in the Socialist Party that differenciates itself from the rest) that criticizes the President on his neglect of improving social change for the majority of people in France. They claim that it is not over yet and that he still had much to do up until now already.However Martine Billard co-president of the Left Party strictly denounces such critique and announces very self-confidently that there will be no « shift » in Hollande’s policies.
Now in the UMP, Copeist and Fillonists together, regardlessly of the UMP presidential elections that were making such a fuss, mocked the President and his announcements: as many of people think, Hollande is way too optimistic and thinks he will fix great problems in an already troubled country in very little time, WITHOUT A MAGIC TAPE or GLUE. He has not realized the seriousness of the situation yet and focuses on trivial matters.
In the National Front, Marine Le Pen openly made fun of such a weak government, after having called sarkozy’s government an « overactive » one (in a pejorative way as well of course). Even I have to disagree with her however: Hollande has forgotten the regular presidents’ standards and now thinks and acts such an army’s man, even if he has to act in the same haste as Nicolas Sarkozy, Hollande’s predecessor, did. Hollande’s speaks of « fights » and many people are saying he just might be doing Sarkozysm by now already.

Is this weak and contested man who has been the French President since such a little moment finally going to wake up? For my part, I would have probably voted Socialist for those elections if Strauss-Kahn would have shown up, but if Hollande gets buffed from such critique than maybe in a few months he will be the man of the situation.