Apple did a thing yesterday. I want an Watch.

You know what they announced already. It’s news. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The Apple Watch. The Apple Pay system.

Yeah. All of that is fine and dandy. But oh boy, Apple has a way making things. And I want to sign up for one of these immediately:

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I know the battery life not being disclosed at this point is a huge deal, but I DON’T REALLY CARE, I JUST WANT ONE. PLEASE. IT LOOKS SO NICE AND IT MEANS I DON’T HAVE TO UPGRADE TO AN IPHONE 6, AND I WOULD REALLY LIKE ONE, APPLE. PLEASE.

Twenty-five victories later, I’m back in Gold Nova III.

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After playing at a casual rate for the past few weeks, I’ve finally been repromoted back up to Gold Nova III. After being demoted thanks to a Rush mission and finally realizing that I am just scrub-tier and not in ELO-hell, I’m back on the up-and-up it seems. And I feel like I’m playing better all around.

I haven’t gotten any aces in matchmaking or any huge plays as the last person alive—nothing montage-worthy, certainly—but I feel like my aiming and my reaction times are getting better. I’m making better choices with how to play the positions that are out there on… Dust II.

Yeah, I’m grinding Dust II for ranks more than I’m playing the other maps available to me, but when you only have to wait sixty seconds tops instead of minutes as the queues for the other maps are, it’s quite the appealing scenario when you’re trying to play as many games as you can before your self-imposed bed time. Or something like that.

But for the rest of tonight, I’m going to take a break, have another beer, and put my feet up. Or play more FreeSpace. Yeah, probably that.

On Twitch becoming an Amazon property.

Who’d have thought that Monday would see so much Twitch acquisition news? And in that case, an announcement of an acquisition?

For nearly a billion USD, Amazon has picked up one of the highest trafficked sites on the Internet. It seems like a discount for service that serves a video to millions of users every day.1 The proposition’s value compounds considering the high audience events shown on a near-daily basis. With the ever-increasing number of ongoing events such as Riot’s LCS drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers per broadcast, it makes sense that Amazon would want a part in this.

Then there’s the news that Amazon’s new ad service would be pricing its ads on metrics like impressions instead of clicks. Most social networks use the impressions metric when it comes to displaying ads to their users.2

Later in the day of the announcement executives from Amazon and Twitch went on to a live town hall to explain the acquisition in detail. While Twitch’s CEO stayed on message, the Amazon executive shared why the company moved forward with the bid.3

To me, there are two major points that stand out about this acquisition.

The first is that this decision seems to be a business-minded decision on Twitch’s side. Any sort of acquisition—as long as it was in cash—would allow Twitch’s to continue with its current plans. I don’t think that Twitch had financial issues prompting it to find a buyer. I think part of their long-term plan included an acquisition or a large cash infusion. I also think that going public would not have been the right move for Twitch. Due to the current economic climate, the stock market would’ve more than likely eaten Twitch alive.

The second point is that I think expanding the customer base for the ad service was a goal. With Amazon as the parent company along with their new ad service, the acquisition becomes more of a perfect union of sorts. Amazon is looking to plant its new ad service into uncharted territory and Twitch is looking for more ad buyers. The acquisition will give Amazon practical data for their ad service. Before this acquisition, they’ve been allowing users to use Google’s AdSense service. Rest assured, that won’t be the case in the future.

My main reservation? Amazon’s hamstringing of Comixology after acquisition.

Before the announcement, I joked that if the Amazon deal went through that it would mean the end of support for Twitch’s apps. These apps, which are on consoles and platforms like the Xbox 360, the Xbox One, and iOS, are solid performers. Under Amazon leadership, Comixology, a widely heralded comics storefront for mobile devices, notably deviated from native iOS purchasing after being acquired earlier this year, upsetting a lot of users by complicating the purchase process.4

Nowhere in the statements released regarding that purchase mentioned anything about Comixology maintaining independence, though. As for Twitch, Amazon Games VP Michael Frazzini said that Twitch will remain independent in a town hall broadcast the day of the announcement. Regardless, I still think that support for apps on platforms like Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Xbox is vulnerable. At the same time, I think customers that use Android-based devices like the Kindle Fire have nothing to fear.

It’s too early to forecast the success of the deal, but I believe within the next year there will be results with which to reach a conclusion. If Amazon reports revenues from its ad service as part of quarterly reports it may be a little bit easier to infer success. If not, observers can only rely on the circlejerk of personalities and salespeople to gauge reaction… and those folks aren’t always reliable.

Twitch had to do it… for some reason.

Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo made a post two days ago concluding what I just realized last night about the latest Twitch controversy. His post explains the entirety of the situation that Twitch is now in, but this block of speculation at the end feels like it has some weight to it. 1

I don’t see a company prepping for a Google takeover, I see panic. Panic and a lack of understanding of what it should be doing. I think Google would want to keep all the old data instead of deleting it and enforce the DMCA on existing videos by processing takedown requests as they come in, which is all the law requires.

Why is Twitch doing this? Who the hell thinks any of this is a good idea? I think if Google was behind these changes you would see a much more organised and experienced transition. Part of me thinks the Google deal fell through or something and this is Twitch’s attempt to tighten down costs and try to stand on its own.

It’s just weird that all of a sudden there are all these changes over at Twitch and all of them seem to be misguided, harmful to the service, and don’t really solve any of Twitch’s problems.

I would imagine that the PR folks over at Twitch have been on crisis mode for a few days now.

I just don’t understand why they would proceed with a filtering system now. Why not just wait until the Google acquisition goes through? Does Twitch’s value increase by adding a copyright-abuse sniffer system? It doesn’t make sense.

Matchmaking in CS:GO is starting to look like a mixed bag, like it’s supposed to be.

I’ve been playing CS:GO for a fair bit of time now. I enjoy warming up to either deathmatch mode with the M4A1-S or the AK-47. After a warmup, I step up into competitive matchmaking when I feel well enough to play. The high energy moments of Silver/Gold fixtures is exciting and almost always unique experiences. For the most part, I feel like I’ve learned something out of each failure and missed opportunity… until recently.

After the ranking system demoted me thanks to dropping several games on Rush, my luck seemed to have taken a turn for the worst. My performance was near the bottom of the scoreboard. Unfortunately, no one else I would end up with was taking charge or making calls. I would end up making decision that the rest of the team would follow that would result in losses game after game.

Yesterday, CS:GO demoted me again for a reason that I can’t explain.

I was positive that before I launched into a certain match on Inferno that I was a Gold Nova II ranked player. The little blue strip in my player card would show two golden stars with small golden brackets on either side.

I launch into the game to check the scoreboard to watch people connect. Still two stars listed beside my name. Someone on my team mentions they’re Gold Nova I. Another calls out Silver Master Elite. For a moment, I consider that I could be the highest ranked player on our team.

The game begins. Before I could go to the buy menu for the opening round I hear the narrator announce: “Counter-Terrorists win.” The five players on the opposite team had executed a ‘kill’ command before the round started.

This continued without answers until halftime.

A troll offers a “good half” to us. I ask him if they’re looking to de-rank their accounts. He confirms.

Seconds later, the sixteenth round ends just like the others and we’re given a victory. The rank notification at the bottom of the scoreboard shows the bad news. One gold star.

I’m not sure what reason the system came up with to demote me. I finally realized what I should have realized from the start: specific ranks aren’t important.

There’s a reason that the Global Elite category is a level all its own. Players who smurf into lower-ranked games that claim their “main account is a Global” play the game on another level.

It makes me wonder if they have super god-like machines that allow them to play better than anyone else. Of course, of that’s the case, I could never compete on the higher levels of matchmaking with my laptop. As capable as the i7 MacBook Air has been, it can’t compete against a system packed with over three grand’s wroth of components.

And I don’t care about that anymore. Even though I’ve reached Gold Nova II again, I just want to have fun with a semi-serious game like CS:GO.