Upper Echelon
Gaming • Lifestyle • Culture
Access the community for free or support Upper Echelon to interact and to get exclusive content.
Interested? Want to learn more about the community?
Welcome to the Upper Echelon Locals Community

Ill keep this short and sweet. Since the very start of UE I have believed it is important to engage with the community. At first I could keep up with almost every YouTube comment, and every message... but over time that has changed.

Now, I find it difficult to respond to most of what is sent, purely because of the volume, and to solve this issue I want to begin utilizing, and building around this locals page as a hub of interaction.

I will still respond whenever possible to direct messages or comments on other platforms, however this page will be an area where I am much more active, and post additional material.

What can you expect to see?

I have committed to never barring the videos, or livestreams behind a paywall, however there are some things that i can do.

  • Video Scripts (before and or after the video is live, for feedback/extra reading material.)
  • Topic Polls (take part in the selection process of what will get covered when there are multiple options.)
  • Merchandise discounts (with merch becoming a larger focus I will provide limited time discounts or promos to this page only.)
  • Reliable Contact Access (I will still attempt to respond to anything and everything I can elsewhere, but Locals will become a much more dependable way of reaching me.)

(more will be offered as well, if I can think of things that fit well with the platform)

Thank you everyone, welcome to the page, and I appreciate all of you that help me diverge from the unpredictable realm of YouTube monetization to establish something much more connected, secure, and reliable.

Interested? Want to learn more about the community?
What else you may like…
The Dark Side of Facebook.... (Meta) - (AD FREE)

Facebook is a platform that has captured nearly half the planet... but behind the logo, and the ethical theater they play is a company that knows what they are doing is wrong.

Today we examine leaked documents, as well as internal research, and observe a company that appears to have no regard for the damage it does to hundreds of millions of people.

Upper Echelon Fashion - The GC Windsor - (AD FREE)

The GC Windsor is a new equity partner with Upper Echelon. This patented mens accessory will seek to bring a new and improved angle to the neck tie that consists of better knots, higher quality, and an improved overall aesthetic.

For business inquiry, please reach out to [email protected] and please also visit the Kickstarter below to help us fund, and get your own set.



This is how Earth 2 DIES - (AD FREE)

I thought I was done... but Earth 2 has pulled me back in. This time, a leaked recording of their newest developer reveals what he claims to be a multi million dollar lawsuit filed against youtube critics, designed to have their channels flat out deleted.

The "CEO" of the project will allegedly be filing this lawsuit through a firm in Canada, intent upon not disproving critics... but flat out deleting them. I for one will fight that idea with everything I can muster.

The Great Lithium Gold Rush - (PODCAST AUDIO)

As Tesla ramps up production of Electric Vehicles... developing ever larger battery packs and applications... the world of Renewable Energy is headed for a major shock.

Current mining rates simply cannot support the expansion of lithium-ion battery storage at a competitive rate... leading o yet another raw resource rush (specifically Lithium) that will have drastic and negative consequences.

The Great Lithium Gold Rush - (PODCAST AUDIO)
The X Files - A Web of Future Predictions - (PODCAST AUDIO)

The X-Files (a popular science fiction cult fan series) has held tremendous popularity for many years. However, more than just a simple television program, The X Files appears to have accurately prediction a great deal of the civil unrest we see today.

From pandemic policy, to civil unrest and beyond... this show, and its writer, have done a remarkable job of staying relevant, years after the show has officially ended.

The X Files - A Web of Future Predictions - (PODCAST AUDIO)
A Pandemic of FAKE NEWS - Disinformation on Social Media - (PODCAST AUDIO)

Social Media is currently plagued by a pandemic of disinformation. Hidden inside advertising funnels, and deceptive news organizations are "satirical" article posts that seem purpose built to mislead the American people.

One such culprit is "Vancouver Times"... which is responsible for shoddy labelling, and deceptively crafted articles to such an extreme degree it beggars belief.

A Pandemic of FAKE NEWS - Disinformation on Social Media - (PODCAST AUDIO)
December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas, Upper Echelon!
I've found some smoking guns while browsing the Internet:
1) Instagram's #game hashtag shows particular content. I can't disclose it yet, since I suspect it is biased to serve my interests. Considering Meta Systems doesn't care about mental well-being (cf. Facebook Papers), I think it's good lead for investigation.
2) SuperPlanet EULA and ExoCorp EULA. There are some shady dealings.
3) May or may not be related to gambling streams: https://www.polygon.com/22715486/cookie-run-kingdom-devsisters-mobile-gacha-fandom
4) One more thing: https://geopoliticaleconomy.com/2023/11/26/west-vote-democracy-human-rights-un-sanctions/

September 19, 2023

Starfield Pronouns and Nexus Mods... I know you don't require the validation but AGAIN you nailed it. Thanks!

I need now just to rant onto the wind for a moment. A new game with a mechanic that allows choice, that appears in a new game's universe, doesn't define the new game. If you're offended by it, that's you're choice. If you don't like it, don't play it BUT that's a poor reason to miss the hours of fun packed into this game. Imperfect, yes, but fun. Our civilization is going nuts looking for and finding every way possible to feel like a victim and be miserable. It's a GAME. Play it and enjoy it or don't, that's OK too, but stop looking for "Communists" under every bed.

September 07, 2023

I just watched the Shameful Discourse video and, wow, I agree with your take. As a gamer since 1979, I can say the my first impressions were almost exactly yours - fun, nothing revolutionary in any way, broken in spots, but not enough to induce frustration-rage (certainly far less than almost any other AAA release in the last 2 years) and, though still sloppy in many ways visually and mechanically, a step in the right direction for Bethesda following the travesty of Fallout 76.

I was stunned to see the explosion of hate that came from some. It's a game with plenty to do and I don't have to buy card packs or premium currency to buy a $50 spacesuit. I can play for hours.

Thanks UE for earning your money as a real person in the real world, pointing out the good AND the bad and having you're own opinion to share.

post photo preview
The X - Files - A Web of Future Predictions
From 9/11, to Militarized police, Covid, and Lockdowns

Alright. Today is a bit different than normal. (though I can promise that some of the more traditional content is currently in the pipeline) Rather than examining a real world situation… id like to examine a world famous television program called “The-XFiles” and discuss how (if one wanted to, at least), they could see (when looking at it) a fascinating web of clairvoyant predictions… such as the covid pandemic… National riots… or even September 11th. 


Before diving in… one VERY SMALL disclaimer… because people have given me feedback that the disclaimers got too long. I am not weighing in today (on a political level)… I am merely showing a series of similarities for entertainment purposes.


Step one… context. The X-files is an American science fiction drama program… that ran from 1993… to 2018. During that time… there were 11 seasons… as well as one “mini season” or “spinoff season”... called “The Lone Gunman” (well talk about that in minute)


The X-Files gained popularity for its heavy usage of paranormal themes… but layered into a number of key episodes… are fascinating similarities to modern day life… well in advance of anything the show writers could have possibly known. 


Once again… without weighing in on specific political issues… lets take a look at Season 10, episode one… called “My Struggle” QUOTE “ Your own government lies as a matter of course, as a matter of policy. The Tuskegee experiments on black men in the '30s. Henrietta Lacks. What are they trying to do? That's the missing piece.”


As a sidenote… these referenced events… are entirely real. First… the Tuskegee experiments… were a horrific crime perpetrated by the USPHS… (The United States Public Health Service)... where 600 American black men were non-consentingly studied for the effects of untreated syphilis.


Henrietta Lacks… however… is a much brighter story… where the singularly unique and multiplying cancer cells of a young pregnant woman became the basis for medical research decades into the future. HeLa cells (as they are called) have saved countless lives… and also played a crucial role in the development of both a polio… and COVID 19… vaccination. Keep that in mind.


Continuing on. QUOTE “But it's not hard to imagine. A government hiding, hoarding alien technology for 70 years, at the expense of human life and the future of the planet. Driven not only by corporate greed, but a darker objective. The takeover of America. And then the world itself, by any means necessary, however violent, or cruel or efficient.


By severe drought brought on by weather wars conducted secretly using aerial contaminants and high-altitude electromagnetic waves, in a state of perpetual war to create problem-reaction-solution Scenarios to distract, enrage and enslave American citizens at home with tools like the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, which abridged the Constitution in the name of national security.”


A long quote… i know… but important… because looking past whatever portions we subjectively deem to me more or less absurd… there is truth here. “Perpetual war” accurately describes the state that America has existed in for decades. Many dispute that the war in Afghanistan was originally even legal… as America entered a 20 year conflict. The war in Iraq… was propped up by FALSE reports of WMDs… later determined to be inaccurate… but still… resulted in conflict from 2003… to 2011. 


Our sitting presidents (for the last 20 or more years) have ALL engaged in global warfare, through backchannel methods or technicalities… avoiding the official pathway set forth by congress… meaning that if we disregard smaller details, (details that are, in my opinion purely an artifact of the programs genre)... these quotes are not so much “science fiction”... but rather “dangerously close to the truth” 


Still. Continuing on… theres even more. QUOTE “The militarization of police forces in cities across the U.S. The building of prison camps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with no stated purpose. The corporate takeover of food and agriculture, Pharmaceuticals and health care, even the military, in clandestine agendas, to fatten, dull, sicken and control a populace already consumed by consumerism. And I encourage you all to go shopping more.”


This is where things get tricky. Its easy to write these words off as conspiracy… but lets examine the facts. “Militarization of police” … is largely considered to be the spark that led to a movement called BLM (Black Lives Matter) in 2020… and 2021. Officially outlined on their national organizations website… demilitarizing police is a primary objective… and yet years prior… (in season 10 of the X-files) the topic was front and center… as a root cause of instability in America. 


Whats more… A profit driven “corporate takeover” of the food, agriculture, pharmaceutical and health care industries might not be as crazy as it sounds. Clandestine agendas to dull, sicken and control a populace may seem hard to stomach here… breaching the barrier of reasonable skepticism… but what if I added a couple of points. 


What if Obesity in America resulted in roughly 173 billion dollars of annual healthcare cost. What if the American government simultaneously subsidized junk food… high fructose corn syrup… and vegetable shortening… which are deeply correlated to rapidly rising obesity rates. What if at the very same time… the American Government subsidized the healthcare industry… with over 920 billion dollars (as per 2021 figures from the congressional budget office)... and what if those projections were set to INCREASE over the next 7 years… to upwards of 1.4 trillion. 


That simple statement “Clandestine agendas to dull, sicken and control a populace”... contains SO MUCH more behind it… and yet… the show still manages to accurately describe the world we exist in. Less rooted in concrete fact… the “building of prison camps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with no stated purpose”... likely refers to a debunked conspiracy theory that utilized footage as far back as 1995… but by and large i would regard that as a detail that was thrown in for dramatic effect… and falls short with regards to actual legitimacy. 


Still… one more paragraph to get through. QUOTE “A government that taps your phone, collects your data and monitors your whereabouts with impunity. A government preparing to use that data against you when it strikes and the final takeover begins. The takeover of America. By a well-oiled and well-armed multinational group of elites that will cull, kill and subjugate. Happening as we sit here. It's happening all around us.The other shoe, waiting to drop.”


This is where most people get lost. “No way… not true”... but the part about tapping your phone? That IS true. Going back to the shows prior mention of the patriot act… we can see that American Citizens ARE being surveilled in a multitude of ways… driven by a growing priority on “safety” as opposed to “privacy”


Now for the tricky part… but bear with me. In August of 2022… a man named Alexey Pertsev was arrested. The reason? Alexey had developed (rather “coded”) a service called “Tornado Cash” which allows for anonymous crypto transactions. Independent from him… (unless proven that he colluded but I haven't seen a single shred of evidence to that effect so far)... Independent from him… a large number of criminals HAD in fact used the service for illegal activities… but rather than shutting down the CRIMINALS… or even the service itself if possible… the government decided to punish the architect of what should otherwise be a perfectly innocent piece of code. 


Just two days after the OFAC sanctioned tornado cash publicly… Alexey Pertsev was arrested in the Netherlands… still awaiting release. His crime… (as we understand it today) Simply writing code, for a tool… that someone ELSE used improperly… akin to punishing someone who creates an anonymous email platform… for the private correspondence that was sent by that platforms USER BASE.


It is, of course, an imperfect example that might still change… but surveilling citizens… imprisoning them without rights… or otherwise circumventing the constitution at every possible turn… absolutely IS an american reality… that we sleep through each and every day. 


To me… its all fascinating… but theres more to understand before the picture is actually complete. That particular episode… is called “My Struggle”... but its actually just part one in a multi-episode chain. My Struggle PART TWO… is where we get another barrage of connections… but for these… ill focus more on the over arching message rather than individual examples. 


My Struggle 2… (season 10 episode 6 to be precise)... contains a LOT of references… but none more important than the extensive parallels to covid 19. Early in the episode… there are mentions of “lockdowns” (an obvious parallel given the fact that much of the United states, and international world for that matter, were locked down for extensive periods of time despite very small initial expectations.)


Later in the episode there are references to the “advent of a global contagion”... and remember… there was a SPECIFIC mention of Henrietta Lacks in a prior episode… whose unique cell structure was instrumental in the process of developing a covid 19 vaccine. 


There are references to hospitals being “overrun”... which may spur controversy to say… but was a contentious narrative… pushed HEAVILY throughout the covid pandemic as well. There are visuals of masked rioters smashing windows… and even more connections to make… but one of the core principles here… was that patient DNA (during this… “outbreak”)... was allegedly changing.


Once again… I make no statements of fact on this… nor do I wish to weigh in at all on one side or the other… but Vaccines changing patient DNA is now a very substantial theory being pushed in certain circles. Depopulation… global elite organizations… all of it… is currently a subject of national debate… with growing support that some form of truth is likely hidden deep down… and a large contingent of supporters, who fully believe that the government is willfully engaging with this type of agenda. 


But still… not quite finished. Now for the cherry on top. The same writer responsible for the X files comic series (specifically season 10)... is Joe Harris… who ALSO wrote… a short and somewhat related series… called “The Lone Gunmen” 


That series… (among other things)... during its pilot episode on March 4th, 2001 (just 6 months before the events of September 11th)… depicted a plot where rogue agents of the US government… hijacked a plane… and flew it into the world trade center. To this day… (whether you believe them… or not) theories have persisted that 9/11 was actually an inside job (or a “false flag) perpetrated by the US government… which means that this writer has not only predicted core aspects of American division 6 months before they happened in 2001… but also the divisive aspects of Covid 19… the global pandemic… BLM and rising instability… militarization of police… and civil unrest as a result of pandemic policy. 


What does it mean? I have no idea. Is it a coincidence? Maybe… but for today I wanted to examine a topic I find to be extremely interesting… and hopefully do so in a way that does not CAUSE division… but merely seeks to discuss it.

Read full Article
post photo preview
The Media Has FAILED With FTX
Political connections, and an attempt to sanitize one of the greatest financial failures of our lifetime.

The media's coverage of FTX… has been the single greatest failure I have ever seen in terms narrative honesty… and objectivity. Rather than performing their duty as an army of watchdogs… informing the public with accuracy and speed… they have morphed into some sort of… ethically bankrupt optical shield… meant to sanitize the reputation of Sam Bankman-Fried… and is fellow executives. 


I have no idea what will come of all this… no predictions to make about whether or not he will even be punished… but today i’d like to showcase exactly what the media has been saying… doing… and CHANGING… while looking at interwoven connections between a former crypto billionaire… and top level politicians… who will now be responsible for investigating him. Lets get started. 


First… we need to understand a basic overview of what happened. The entire story (as it stands today) is incredibly complicated, and impossible to fully explain… however… the bullet points… are as follows. FTX (up until recently) was the worlds second largest crypto exchange. Alongside FTX… was a company called “Alameda research”... and Alameda Research (through a series of faulty investments)... required a bailout from FTX… which was paid with customer deposits. 


This transaction… led to insolvency when users began to withdraw funds… which meant that both FTX AND Alameda Research… went bankrupt. Obviously its far more complicated than that… with backdoor exploits… hackers… accounting failures… romantic relationships… you name it (this will be a pretty wild netflix documentary some day)... but the basic premise is that Alameda Research and FTX were very closely connected… User deposits were INTENTIONALLY mishandled in one of the most egregious ways imaginable… leading to a multi-billion dollar bankruptcy… and a scandal that will go down as one of the largest regulatory failures in history. Cool. Again… there’s a lot more to this… but thats the basic gist things. 


So What’s next. Next?… is the media. For context… I need to quote something here and explain where it came from. After FTX collapsed… Sam Bankman Fried resigned as CEO. (which is good)… but who replaced him. His successor… is a man named John Ray the 3rd… who previously oversaw the bankruptcy of world famous energy company “enron” … For those that dont know, Enron is one of the largest examples of organized accounting fraud in history… concluding with multiple indictments… prison sentences… and further regulation as a direct result of its failure. 


Now… to understand why this matters… I have to read that quote… from John Ray the 3rd… with regards to how FTX was being managed. QUOTE. “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”


That is the prior CEO of a world famous Fraud Scandal… saying that what he sees here… with FTX… is worse. “Unprecedented”... means that there is no existing example he is aware of that adequately compares to how royally FUCKED FTX is… which hopefully adds enough context for us to understand that for him to say that… means absolute, unmitigated failure on the part of ALL previous executives… with very clear knowledge that what they were doing was wrong… very clear intent to deceive… and very real damage as a result.


Fantastic. Should be straightforward… right? Massive fraud… billions lost… and yeah… legacy media is slow on the uptake… but they should eventually catch up… right? Wrong. As the rumor mill went into overdrive… as speculation ran rampant in the early stages of this bankruptcy… Sam Bankman Fried granted ONE interview. (since then he has opened up a bit more… but initially it was just one)... with the New York Times. 


This interview… became a viral article titled “How Sam Bankman-Frieds Crypto Empire Collapsed”... which contained not one… not ONE SINGLE MENTION… of fraud… or illegal activity. This article… is one of the most blatantly slanted puff pieces I have ever seen in my entire life. Here’s an example. QUOTE “Even as he kept hiring down, Mr. Bankman-Fried built an ambitious philanthropic operation, invested in dozens of other crypto companies, bought stock in the trading firm Robinhood, donated to political campaigns, gave media interviews and offered Elon Musk billions of dollars to help finance the mogul’s Twitter takeover.”


The New York Times… while interviewing one of the largest financial criminals we have ever seen in human fucking HISTORY… drilled down on how generous he supposedly was… and glossed over his political influence peddling with a single word. 


To really drive home the point here… (reading again from the article) QUOTE “He has also found other ways to occupy his time in recent days, playing the video game Storybook Brawl, though less than he usually does, he said. “It helps me unwind a bit,” “It clears my mind.”... Yeah… Storybook brawl? Is some shit tier crypto card game… that was ACQUIRED by FTX in March of 2022. The New York Times article? (on a scale of journalism to advertisement) is closer to an advertorial than an expose. It is some of the worst reporting I have ever seen.


Sadly… that’s just the start. As evidence continued to emerge that high level executives KNEW about this fraud, and that SBF had intentionally committed multiple separate crimes... Mainstream Legacy media continued to try and desperately sanitize his reputation at every turn. Heres one from forbes. “Queen Caroline… the fake charity nerd girl behind the FTX collapse.” (Caroline Ellison… by the way… was the CEO of Alameda Research… and former girlfriend of Sam Bankman Fried. She was aware of the fraud, participated in it, and largely contributed to the wipeout of billions in customer assets.)


Thats fine… right? Title isn't so bad… she was behind the failure… Sure. But thats not what it originally said. The first version went like this. “Queen Caroline… The risk loving 29 year old… embroiled in the FTX collapse.”... Yeah… thats a VERY different tone. Subheader? “Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison is a math whiz who loves Harry Potter and taking big risks. She is also one of the supporting players in Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX catastrophe — and a new darling of the alt-right.”


…. What the fuck does that even mean. “Darling” of the alt right? Everyone HATES her. “Risk loving”?... or should they say financial criminal who misappropriated user capital. “Math whiz?”... “Loves Harry Potter”?? “Taking big risks”??? You mean… obliterating the livelihood for hundreds of thousands of misled investors????? What IS this garbage. 


How about another one. Washington Post. QUOTE “Before FTX collapse, founder poured millions into pandemic prevention.”... Ok… that isnt technically “wrong” on its face (though there is more to that story)... but what was the ORIGINAL title. “FTX Collapse Dooms founders effort to prevent another pandemic”.... What the fuck. Instead of framing this as one of the greatest financial failures in human history… they frame it as a man just trying to do good… and “prevent a pandemic”... (actually it was his brothers company lobbying for 30 billion dollars from the government… after being funded by Alameda Research) which is a very different thing.


This article is sickening. The entire thing refocuses the conversation around the idea that all Sam Bankman Fried wanted was to help the world… do good… and make a positive impact… which at this stage is some of the worst journalistic reporting you could possibly do… but it goes further. 


In yet another interview given to Vox… SBF appeared to just… ignore legal counsel and start saying whatever the hell he wanted. This is probably the best reporting on the matter… because its not even an article… its just screenshots of Sam incriminating himself. Gold star on that one… but we need to ask the question… WHY did he do this. My own speculation? He may have believed that he was in friendly territory. The New York Times article writer was very clearly skewing the narrative in his favor… and so perhaps this VOX writer would as well. 


Turns out… FTX had given a substantial sum of money, through their philanthropy foundation… to Vox’s “Perfect Future” vertical… where Kelsey Piper (the journalist who published his messages) currently works. Also… Kelsey Piper and Caroline Ellison (his ex girlfriend, and CEO of alameda research)... both KNOW EACH OTHER as discovered in previous tumblr posts. SBF may very well have expected a journalist… that his girlfriend knew (in some capacity)... working at a company, in a department that he helped fund… to be charitable to him… and thus he opened up more than he should have... Expecting more damage control on his behalf. Thankfully… that didn’t happen… (props to you kelsey) and his messages were merely posted for the world to see… but you gotta wonder.  


Heres another one… Reuters… “Sam Bankman Fried DID THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM… A FAVOR.”... i shit you not… this is a real thing, posted by an actual media outlet… in reference to what may very eclipse enron as one of the most damaging, intentional, and fucked up fraud schemes in all of modern history… but … thats a good thing. The article centers on the idea that bad actors often accrue political power that makes it hard for them to be brought to justice… which is true… but that has already happened here… and let me show you precisely how.


As FTX went down in flames…  the house subcommittee on financial services declared an investigation. Chairwoman Maxine Waters announced the decision in a press release… which SHOULD be a positive thing. Right? … I don’t know. You tell me. Here’s Sam and Maxine Waters in a picture together. Here’s Another one. Here’s her blowing him a goddamn kiss after one of their meetings… and the connections dont stop there. 


This is a list of financial services committee members. Red to yellow… the highlighted names indicate which members Sam Bankman Fried (and his executives) directly donated to for campaign finance. The head of “policy and regulatory strategy” at FTX… was donating to Jim A Himes (now part of the committee investigating FTX. He was also donating… along with Sam Bankman Fried Himself)... directly to Josh Gottenheimer… Another member of the committee now investigating them.


Want some more? Damn straight you do. Sam was donating to Cindy Axne… (another investigating congresswoman)... as well as Sean Casten. Not only him… but the head of Engineering at FTX… Nishad Singh… was ALSO donating to Sean Casten… AND SO WAS CAROLINE ELLISON!... but STILL… not fuckin done… because his BROTHER (Gabriel Bankman Fried)... who was funded by Alameda research (which was stealing customer funds from FTX)... used to WORK for sean Castens campaign. 


It doesnt end there. Committee member Ritche Torres? Got tens of thousands of dollars from SBF. Jesus Garcia? Got HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars from Sam Bankman Frieds political action committee… (called protect our future)... and Jake Auchincloss (yet another committee member tasked with investigating Sam, and FTX…) was given thousands of dollars by FTX executive Mark Wetjen, and SBF himself. This committee… is INFECTED with people that should not be allowed anywhere NEAR this investigation. The conflicts of interest on the table right now… are insane. 


Still. One more thing. It turned out through now exposed financial records… that Alameda Research (after stealing customer funds)... was loaning those funds out… directly to executives like SBF…and Ryan Salame. Ryan Salame? Yeah… he gave tens of millions of dollars to republicans during the 2022 midterm cycle… and nearly 100 times… he sent 2900 dollars to Winred. The amount is because you cannot donate more than 2900 dollars as in individual to a specific campaign per election cycle… (its more complicated than that… but thats the gist of it)... and I do not know precisely which candidates received all of these donations… but that could be even MORE financial services committee members with a direct conflict of interest… because FTX executives… were donating money to their campaigns… after getting loans… from a company that stole from users.


Bottom line… (because if I dont cut it now, ill rant about this for far too long…) FTX is now being investigated by politicians who have a direct financial incentive to be dishonest. They should all be removed from the committee immediately. The media? Is covering for him!... They are sanitizing his reputation, attempting to paint a picture of “math whiz harry potter fans”… and “do gooder philanthropists” who just wanted to help people… but made a couple mistakes. The media is… right now… proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is a dishonest, corrupt, and untrustworthy machine… with little to no value… and a total lack of journalistic integrity. 


Whats to be done? I don’t know. Awareness is all I can personally do… but its awful to watch… when the only real outcome should be life behind bars. Thats it.


Read full Article
post photo preview
The Worst Trend in Gaming (that no one is properly discussing)
Required SMS and no pre-paid plans

Alright. Everyone saw the title… and they’re wondering “what could this trend possibly be… and why should I care.” … to answer that question as quickly as possible… the trend is SMS protect and phone verification by major video game titles (such as overwatch 2… as well as the upcoming Call of duty modern warfare)... and while many news creators have briefly touched on the subject and churned out constant videos for maximum viewership… i haven't seen anyone yet thoroughly discuss WHY this is a terrible thing… beyond shallow citation of a few social media outbursts… and backlash on reddit. 


It seems to me that instead of delving into WHY the move itself is an impending catastrophe for average players… video game creators are simply regurgitating the social atmosphere on their most trafficked media sites. Thats fine, and certainly some of the largest creators in the entire Youtube ecosystem that cover video games are raking in colossal viewership by doing this… but over the years I have started to take pride in looking for coverage angles that have largely been ignored… and right now… this feels like one those angles.


Its been covered on the surface, ad nauseum, by more channels than I count. “Phone verification bad”… “gamers are angry”… “privacy”... “unfair”... “restrictive”... etc etc… but not a single one of those videos (that I have seen) will tell you precisely WHY it is such a terrible trend… none of them delve into source material on how it will directly impact hundreds of millions of people… and not a single one of them adequately examines the topic beyond reading headlines.


Effectively… Activision blizzard is one of the largest publishers in the entire industry (Sony is fighting tooth and nail to prevent call of duty from becoming exclusive to xbox in any capacity during the takeover by Microsoft)... and a now multi-faceted decision to require SMS protect phone verification in major titles BY activision blizzard… is becoming the next frontier of harmful or disruptive policy in video games. 


Lets just do a quick overview on what the policy actually is… before delving into WHY you should be very concerned. On the surface… its a simple change. Overwatch 2 (which has now SLIGHTLY backtracked on this)... and Call of duty Modern Warfare 2… on release… required (or will require) that users implement a verifiable phone number in their battle.net account. This is described as an effort to “prevent cheaters or disruptive players” as a part of their self titled “defense matrix”... but theres more. 


According to an official Overwatch 2 announcement… QUOTE “A phone number can only be used once when making a new account, and certain types of numbers, including pre-paid and VOIP, cannot be used for SMS Protect.” Thats the key right there… because when you take this one… seemingly innocuous policy change… that has sparked a fair bit of social media backlash, sure… but how bad could it really be… and zoom out on a global scale, connecting a series of dots that so far no one appears to have connected… you will realize that this change is RIDICULOUS… and should never be allowed to proceed.


Lets really dig in here. First is definitions. Telecom companies largely offer two types of services. Pre-paid phone plans… and “post paid” phone plans. Pre-paid is pretty straightforward… you buy minutes or data and you use it till its gone, topping up when you feel like or waiting till theres more next month… and “POST paid” phone plans follow a subscription billing format where you have a set payment amount per month (usually over the span of multiple years under contract) with higher data limits and more features. 


Activision Blizzard is now taking two of their most popular titles… (call of duty being one of the most popular entertainment franchises in all of history) and pushing for a POST PAID ONLY SMS verification framework. Now… for everyone who already HAS a postpaid cellphone plan… maybe its yours… a family plan you are under… or your parents pay for it… who knows… for anyone who already HAS this… the change isn’t all that concerning. Make the account, use the number… play the game… etc. However… for anyone who does NOT have a postpaid phone plan… this is a highly disruptive change that effectively takes the relative cost of a game you want to play… and multiples it by over a thousand percent. 


Let me explain. In various PR statements… the Overwatch 2 developers (Blizzard)... stated that “Moving to free-to-play for Overwatch 2, together with enabling cross-platform with cross-progression, means anyone can access the game and join their friends, for free, which we are incredibly excited about.”... Thats a nice sentiment… but it is entirely untrue. Overwatch 2 is now “free to play”... but if it requires SMS phone verification from a NON pre-paid plan… no it isnt. 


Even the cheapest non prepaid plans from major carriers will run you 30… 50… even 70 dollars a month. A few simple searches of popular phone plan vendors will show you that pre-paid plans are cheapest… post-paid plans are more expensive… and if you are locked into a two year post-paid phone agreement… at 30 dollars a month (for example)… thats over 1200 dollars in total. 


Overwatch 2… now being “free to play so that friends can join each other”... now has a hidden cost of … what… maybe a thousand dollars? Or at the very least hundreds depending on your plan…  and is melded together with a telecom contract that not everyone has. 


Lets expand on this. According to statista… 40% of global respondents in a survey on personal phone plan… selected “prepaid”... with 6% stating they did not know. What does that mean? Well… if prepaid phones just “don't work” with overwatch 2 and call of duty modern warfare… its 40% of the population that cannot play the games unless they pay hundreds of dollars to do so (opening a third party contract in the process)… or resort to illicit methods of duping the system. 


Not a good change… but were just getting started because the reality behind this trend is actually unbelievable if you consider global finance trends… and connect a series of dots as far back as 2008. 


According to “pandemic research” from an organization called DING… (Referring to GPI… or “Global Prepaid Index”)... 7000 participants were surveyed (globally)... resulting in 79% of responses indicating that they engaged with “at least one touchpoint in the prepaid market”... 


Thats a high number… but if the prepaid market included a number of different industries and options… how does it relate. Simply put… it relates because 61% OF that 79%... indicated that their touchpoint with the prepaid market… was phones… thereby indicating that roughly 48% of these participants… have prepaid phone plans. 


Now, this number is marginally different when compared to 40% from statista… but we can explain this by delving into research behind pandemic spending and consumer decision making. According to lowenstein…  QUOTE “As of the third quarter of 2020, there are about 74 million prepaid subscribers in the United States, according to New Street Research.”... 


Thats actually LOWER than the global average… sitting at roughly 25% but if we read on… QUOTE “The other major development this year is COVID-19 and its impact on the economy. At COVID’s onset in March, several Wall Street analysts predicted a “shift to value,” which would mean a rise in prepaid’s share of the market, which occurred in a major way in the 2008-2009 recession. That hasn’t really happened yet. This is due, in part, to the fact that the delta between postpaid and prepaid prices is much narrower than it was 10 years ago. Another factor could be that the Cable MVNOs have taken some share that might have drifted to prepaid. However, if the recession deepens and the economic disruption is protracted, we could well see some significant shifts in subscriber behavior toward prepaid.”


Lets cross reference this to be sure. According to the new york times (in 2009) titled More Customers Give Up the Cellphone Contract... QUOTE “Sprint and T-Mobile, the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers in the country, are particularly aggressive about courting prepaid customers. In the fourth quarter, 355,000 of the 621,000 customers that T-Mobile added were prepaid users.”... 


That figure is over 50% of new users being under a prepaid format, as telecom companies specifically target that particular demographic and service… during the third quarter of 2008… (aka… the great recession)... and according to lowenstein… “if recession deepens… and the economic disruption is protracted… we could see significant subscriber shifts… towards prepaid.”


Hopefully the picture is now forming… but lets keep adding pieces to the puzzle. The United states… right now… is undergoing “Quantitative tightening”... this is a complex thing… but loosely refers to the fed raising interest rates periodically to combat inflation. The target is 2%... right now we are WAAYYYYY above that.


According to economist Steve Hanke (and also according to the data itself)... as of October 2022… the dollar is gaining relative strength against MOST other currencies around the world. In context… UN agencies… and the IMF… are directly warning of a global recession if the FED does not ease tightening. 


However… the federal reserve is a domestic agency… and at the root of their policy making agenda… is domestic inflation. As of right now, there seems to be no impact of these warnings, and no plan whatsoever to reverse course… leaving us on a pathway to global recession (according to numerous experts)... in the aftermath of a pandemic driven financial whirlwind… and none of us REALLY know how bad it will get. 


Pulling all of these puzzle pieces together… we see a very clear picture. Something like 40 to 50 percent of the global population… uses pre-paid phones. Protracted economic downturn radically increases not only the percentage of people USING those phones… but the advertising and consumer priority placed on acquiring customers who do so… and all of these factors are coming together at once… as a financial storm gains speed on a global scale. 


Video games like Call of Duty and Overwatch 2… are implementing SMS protection… that REQUIRES a certain type of telecom contract… at a time when the ratio of users who are actually willing to HAVE that contract (due to excessive cost) is about to dramatically fall. During 2008 and 2009… users were switching plans in DROVES because a pre-paid option would save hundreds, if not over a thousand dollars per year depending on household size… and yet if the same thing happens now… you would be barred from accessing what are purported to be “free” video games. 


The question is actually quite simple. If this trend were to continue, and take hold (think about microtransactions… or loot boxes… or games as a service… and how one example became many… became widespread industry norms) Are we ok with denying access to roughly half the global population of users who ordinarily WOULD be able to play… because a third party and HIGHLY expensive telecom contract is now required… in a period of time where pre-paid cheaper options are infinitely more desirable.


To once again reiterate… this problem does not affect users who currently enjoy the benefits of a postpaid plan… but if we broaden our perspective just a bit… this new trend would be extremely damaging to the accessibility of popular games. 


To that end… im left wondering “why”... Sure it may combat the disruption of a small minority who routinely create new accounts when suspended… but it also means more information stored by third parties (like your phone number) that is vulnerable to data breaches. It means less people (hundreds of millions of them) who actually COULD play the game without this new policy… will be denied access without spending obscene amounts of money in another contract… 


From top to bottom… its a change that harms a very large portion of the accessible market by turning something that otherwise should be available… into a highly expensive non-option. I have no idea why they would actually DO this… because gaming publishers do NOT care that much about player-experience when compared to raw profit and accessible market… that much is certain… so why on earth would this policy change make sense. 


Speculation? Maybe they have a massive telecom deal. Maybe they are literally getting paid to do this because there WILL be some portion of the player base that open postpaid plans just to access call of duty… or make a battle.net account. Is it the ever tightening initiative of total surveillance and interconnectedness? Is it a back room contract with major technology firms? I have no idea… but the fact remains that this is one of the least discussed yet most concerning trends that I have ever seen arise in the video game industry period.


It’s got plenty of backlash on a surface level… but going deeper it is legitimately harmful. Blizzard has pretended that their goal with a free to play version of overwatch 2 is to increase access… and make it so “everyone can play together”... AND they have since walked back this phone requirement to only BRAND NEW battle.net accounts… but this new Defense matrix policy change has the precise opposite impact of “increasing access”... by actually DENYING access… to nearly half of all people with cell phones… at a time when that number is going to DRAMATICALLY increase. 


Bottom line… sometimes things happen in the video game world that deserve severe backlash. This is one of them. It should be commonly accepted in the space that this is a damaging move… an unacceptable overreach… and the exact opposite of pro-consumer behavior. Maybe they will still do it… but at the very least we should all be aware. 

Read full Article
See More
Available on mobile and TV devices
google store google store app store app store
google store google store app tv store app tv store amazon store amazon store roku store roku store
Powered by Locals