Winners & Losers: Console heroes and Zuckerberg’s zeroes

It’s not been tech’s biggest week but there have been some big gains for gaming with big releases, and consoles, flying off the shelves (or at least out of the digital store). Records have been broken and fans have been entertained. 

Conversely Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have dragged their sullied reputations a little further through the mud. How unlike them…

Winner: Console gaming

Sony led the charge, announcing via their earnings report that the PS4 has become the second best-selling console of all time. It shifted 2.8 million consoles in the second quarter of 2019 which saw the current-gen gaming platform overtake the legendary PS1.

Who’s in first? The PS2 of course, having sold 155 million units.

So it’s, in first, the PS2, in second the PS4, in third, the PS1. Take a bow, Sony.

Related: The PS4 is now officially the second best console ever

Console gaming as a whole is looking rosy cheeked and healthy though, despite the incoming competitive threat of Google Stadia.

Nintendo’s recent earnings report showed two million sales of their new Switch Lite within 11 days of releaseEqually, for the six months which ending on September 30, saw their operating profit rise by 53%.

Following its release last week, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has largely been viewed as a return to form for the popular FPS series. So far the reviews, fan comments and sales figures have backed that claim to the hilt.

The game sold the most digital copies on PS4 in three days, ever. While this is partly just emblematic of the shift towards digital, the game’s sales figures (across digital and physical copies) do stand as testament to the series’ enduring popularity and, perhaps, the franchise is returning to something closer to the glory days of the original Modern Warfare.

Related: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review

Another huge release is just around the corner, as Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding drops on November 8. The first reviews are already in. Now’s the time to get excited.

Related: Death Stranding review

Trusted Reviews’ Jade King gave the title a rare five star rating, saying: “Death Stranding is unlike anything else out there right now. It’s huge, innovative and utterly unashamed in what it wants to be.

“Kojima Productions is heavy-handed in its implementation of modern political themes, but they tie into the narrative and involve the player in ways that feel compelling.”

It seems Hideo Kojima has taken a lot of artistic licence and created a unique game that could polarise people, but how often does a game like this come along? We can’t wait for the full release.

Loser: Facebook

Just as Facebook moved to announce their earnings this week, Twitter pulled their trump card. Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, announced that the social media platform would no longer accept paid political advertising.

Dorsey Tweeted: “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

This rather dumped Facebook in it. Their already bashed-up reputation, by comparison to Twitter’s new policy, has taken yet another knock. The platform has stuck to its guns and will continue to field, and be paid for, political advertising.

On Wednesday Mark Zuckerberg was expected to talk about Facebook’s earnings and finances. Instead, as CNN Business reported, he launched a lengthy defence of Facebook’s decision to continue with political ads.

Adding to the significance of Facebook’s decision, is a previous decision the company took in early October to remove a policy that stopped false claims in political advertising. The policy outlined bans for content that was “deceptive, false or misleading”. However, claims “debunked by third-party fact-checkers” are still banned. Fact checking takes time though, meaning false political ads can be thrown out and do the rounds before being taken down.

That seems like a huge backward step and, while Mark Zuckerberg claims this isn’t a decision motivated by money, it remains hard to take him at his word.

The two decisions in tandem that are potentially damaging and create a more secure future for the sort of ‘fake news’ we’d all like to see end. Well done to Twitter though, for showing us an alternative.

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