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November 4, 2021
🤤 Good morning! I got some water in my keyboard last night and all I could type was bibibibibi, and then all I could think about was Bibimbap.
$53M for nothing

Making games is still the craziest thing.

Take the simple hit, Unpacking:

  • My partner has been loving playing Unpacking, a sort of meditative puzzle/clicker out of Australia (The Guardian).
  • The maker, Witch Beam, lists just six people on the game developer website. 
  • Yet it’s been very well received and sits firmly in the Steam Top Seller charts, as it tells its story in pixels, not words or cutscenes.


  • GTA V maker Take-Two Interactive canceled a game it has had in development since 2017 that cost $53 million and won’t see the light of day. It’s crazy! (VentureBeat).
  • The stakes at play with these potential hits is pretty wild. Take-Two, which also owns 2K, revealed that GTA V has sold 155M+ copies of the game, and generated $6B+ in revenue since 2013.
  • Anyway, so there’s money to play with, and money to be made by focusing on hits.
  • And, this canceled game was from Hangar 13, which had previously released Mafia III and Mafia: Definitive Edition, neither of which were said to be great.
  • Some details on the $53M game from Jason Schreier, who wrote this for Bloomberg
  • “The project, which was code-named Volt, had gone through multiple iterations since it was first conceived. The current version struggled due to reboots, technological hiccups, and challenges caused by Covid-19, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
  • “The game, which has been in development in various forms since 2017, was set to feature superheroes competing in online gameplay. It was set to be a new intellectual property for Hangar 13, but 2K executives didn’t see it as a worthwhile investment because of the amount of time needed in development before it became a finished product, the people said.”
  • As SchreierThe game was set to be a new IP, always one of the big challenges in gaming. But still, $53M for nothing seems pretty wild.
  • At the same time, that mostly means a bunch of people were paid for their time, but it’s still a terrible result: years and years of work, not much to put on their resumes!

🤔 Nothing has five new products in the works, so get ready for more endless teases! Let me guess: either a higher-end/lower-end set of earbuds, or a new color, or some kind of over-ear headphones, a power bank, and its phone, if that counts? (Also, the power bank and a Nothing phone are already strongly rumored!) (Android Authority).

🔨 Amazon’s Fire TV products now have a much better update policy: “at least four years after the device is last available for purchase on our websites,” meaning even a 2018 product bought right now will get at least four years of updates. (Android Authority).

🏃‍♂️ “Peloton Tread is back, and it’s very good(Gizmodo).

EA Sports might lose FIFA and that’s not so bad because the FIFA franchise is increasingly “widely reviled” as this article puts it. Also, EA has registered “EA Sports F.C.” as a trademark in the UK and EU (Wired).

🎮 Nintendo releases big Animal Crossing: New Horizons update earlier than expected (Engadget).

💵 Facebook skirts Apple’s App Store fees with custom subscription links for creators (The Verge).

⛔ Israeli spyware company NSO Group placed on US Department of Commerce’s Entity List, aka blacklist, just like Huawei. Three other companies added, too (The Guardian).

🚀 Boeing gets green light for satellite internet constellation, with 147 satellites (The Verge).

👉 Ford shows off their electric crate motor in a fantastic Resto-Mod 1978 F-100 truck. It matters because people are hoping crate electric motors will get dropped into old classics to give them a new lease on life (Jalopnik). More on the sudden electric conversion boom (Ars Technica).

😎 “Should we dim the sun? Why we need to talk about solar geoengineering” (CNET).

🌞 On that note, the sun’s out of hand recently: Now a “Cannibal coronal mass ejection” is coming! (Space).

🤔 “Will the melting polar ice caps actually bring on an ice age due to lower ocean salinity?” (r/askscience)

Wednesday Weirdness
nokia text

You might remember that on this day back in 2002, Kelly Rowland was angry with Nelly over a text message written in Microsoft Excel on a Nokia 9290 Communicator, as per the video for the 2002 hit “Dilemma.”

  • That said, Rowland said she doesn’t know what Excel is, which is a kind of blessed existence.
  • And, former Symbian OS developers have pointed out it’s not Excel at all: “Everyone, this ain’t Excel, the phone is a Nokia and Microsoft never released Excel for that OS — source, I worked on this OS.”
  • Nelly spoke in 2016 about it, saying: “That was the thing at the time! That was the new technology at the time. It looks a little dated now.”
  • But honestly, I think it gets murkier: I don’t think Kelly was writing in her spreadsheet to Nelly. Instead, she’s bothered about her current or former boyfriend.

In any case, some have moved on from those times in 2002. Some have not.


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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