Things that annoyed me today

Seems like everything is annoying me today, and I’m generally in a really bad mood that’s negatively affecting my ability to work, so maybe writing this post will let me vent a bit and settle back down.

Item one: Gamers are overreacting to EA’s ‘Star Wars’ controversy; publishers should raise prices: Analyst

Here’s the quote that makes me want to reach through my screen and slap this guy:

The analyst estimated cost per hour for a typical “Star Wars Battlefront II” player. He said if a gamer spent $60 for the game, an additional $20 per month for loot micro-transaction boxes and played around 2.5 hours a day for one year, it comes out to roughly 40 cents per hour of entertainment. This compares to an estimated 60 cents to 65 cents per hour for pay television, 80 cents per hour for a movie rental and more than $3 per hour for a movie watched in a theater, according to the firm’s analysis.

“If you take a step back and look at the data, an hour of video game content is still one of the cheapest forms of entertainment,” he wrote. “Quantitative analysis shows that video game publishers are actually charging gamers at a relatively inexpensive rate, and should probably raise prices.”

You, sir, are an impressively stupid fuck. For one thing, forms of entertainment are not fungible, and nobody but retard analysts think they are. Nobody sits down, figures out a “price per hour” value of entertainment from a selection of choices, then picks the cheapest one. It’s an irrelevant metric.

Also, look closely at this assumption:

if a gamer spent $60 for the game, an additional $20 per month for loot micro-transaction boxes and played around 2.5 hours a day for one year

He thinks gamers get 912.5 hours of play out of individual games. 2.5 hours a day, for one year. 2.5 * 365 = 912.5. Do I even need to explain how fucking retarded that assumption is? I don’t think so. And since a new game that costs $60 nearly always requires a decent rig to run well in the year after release, you can’t just ignore the cost of the gaming computer. That alone will be $600+, so he didn’t even get his dumbass assumption right. He’s off by a factor of two even if the gamer upgrades every 2 years and only plays the one game, ever.

And this guy claims he’s a gamer. So he’s a lying sack of shit, too, playing the “Hello fellow gamers!” card.

These are the “elites”, people. Total idiots who make decisions that affect millions of people with no more understanding of the decision they’re making than my dog has of calculus.

Item two: Thanks to EA’s greed making international news with the Battlefront 2 lootbox debacle, the governments of several countries are now planning to stick their noses in and regulate gaming. For the children.

The gaming community is pretty divided. I see strong support for government intervention from some people, and some people warning it’s a slippery slope and it’s going to ruin the hobby. The reality is, the government already regulates gambling. There’s no new power grab here, it’s just waking up to the fact that shady microtransaction bullshit often is exactly that: gambling.

Want to be pissed at someone? Be pissed at the douchebag studios who couldn’t just make decent games and sell them. Be pissed at the developers who purposely emulated slot machines in mobile games to suck money from children (via their parents) and people with poor impulse control. They did this. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. Welcome to real life, kids.

Item three: Electric semi tractors and the snake oil salesman Elon Musk

Electric cars are not ready for prime time, and odds are they never will be. There are a pile of reasons why, from cost of purchase and ownership, to infrastructure, to the issues they will cause with the electric grid if even a small percentage of the population starts plugging in a high amp charger at night.

Electric semis are even worse.

Do you know how big a battery in a typical Telsa S is? 90 to 100 kWh. Call it 100 kWh for the sake of this post. To charge a 100 kWh battery in 30 minutes, in ideal conditions, you need a 200 kW charger. 200 kW for 1/2 hour = 100 kWh of stored power, ignoring all losses and the fact that batteries don’t charge linearly from 0 to 100% charged.

A semi tractor will need a battery much larger than the Tesla S. The Tesla S weighs about 4000 pounds loaded, and gets ~250 miles of range in ideal conditions. A semi with a loaded trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, and needs to go 500 miles at a shot. A diesel semi can get about 1/5-1/4 the fuel economy of a normal-size diesel car, so let’s say the semi needs a battery 8x larger than the Tesla S. Double it for the range, and multiply that times 4 to make up for the efficiency loss.

So the truck needs an 800 kWh battery, minimum. And Musk claims it will be chargeable in 30 minutes. That means you need on the order of a 1.6 megawatt charger available for each truck, for 30 minutes.

Do you begin to see the infrastructure problem here? A truck can fill its tanks with diesel in 10 minutes, so you need at least 3x the charging stations (because it takes 3x as long to fill up the battery as the tanks) as there are diesel pumps on the highway now to accommodate the semi trailor traffic that already exists if they all go electric. You actually need more than 3x the charging stations as pumps, because a semi can carry a lot more than 500 miles worth of range in diesel, and will have to fill up more often with a battery.

Then you need to improve the power grid commensurately because believe it or not, there isn’t just a bunch of spare generation capacity sitting around waiting to be used. We’re talking about raising the base demand permanently. For reference, you can power a large neighborhood with a 1.6 megawatt electrical supply. Call it 100 homes, easy, and I’m not talking about dinky little one bedroom huts. It is not a small amount of power. Regardless of the generation method you used, it would cost well over $1 million per charger to add the requisite capacity to the grid. Who’s going to pay for that?

And it gets more complicated than that. It’s not great for the electrical grid to experience big swings of demand, which is exactly what will happen when trucks are randomly plugging in to suck down 1.6 megawatts of juice at a time.

Then, Musk is claiming he can deliver electricity for $0.07 per kWh, flat rate. The national average rate is about $0.13 per kWh. So what the fuck? He’s going to jack the demand for electricity through the roof with millions of electric vehicles, then magically sell it at way below market rates? Give me a fucking break.

I could continue in this vein for awhile, but the point is, it irritates the shit out of me that people take these proposals seriously without doing the math. And that the treehuggers and other True Believers attack the people who do do the math and see there are major problems in the plan for electric vehicle expansion.

Okay, that actually did help. I had several more things that were irritating me today, but I’m not going to spend more time on them. It’s time for dinner, then I want to get some work done.

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