Open Forum Radio – Episode 411
OFR Season 9 (Episode 32) – Welcome Back OFR
Tuesday, July 3rd 2018 10:00 EST.
Introduction & Roll Call: Derek & Vladz
(Feedback at OFRfeedback@gmail.com)
Welcome back to the show from OFR Studios as we are back from Nashville.
- Did we all have a good time?
- What did you think of Nashville?
- Would you go there again?
- Suggestions on future OFR meet up locations or events (PAX South, PAX East, somewhere out west?)
- Similar to Nvidia’s GeForce Now
- In a recent European survey users how it felt about cross-play, and the responses were indifferent. 58% of respondents said they didn’t care much about it. When asked if cross-play was a reason to buy a console, 54% disagreed with the statement (in fact, 38% strongly disagreed), while only 13% said it might be a consideration in which console or service they would buy. “The data shows that most gamers simply do not care about cross-play.” 48% of respondents disagreed that cross-platform play would be an incentive to buy a game they otherwise might not, versus 17% who agreed; and 49% of respondents disagreed that cross-platform functionality would make them more likely to play online than they currently do, compared to 17% who agreed. The data shows that although there are some gamers that find cross-play intriguing, the majority are simply not fussed.
- But when I see this!! Minecraft Cross-Play Trailer Xbox & Nintendo Switch – Wow, looks like a partnership that could be incredible.
- Bethesda open to cross-play for Fallout 76, but Sony won’t play ball
Put the needle on the record – System of Record (SOR) Supply Chain Planning (SCP)
- What is the 411 on gaming companies? Could game companies could be using slave labor?
- …generally, since reporting laws were put in place, major companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Activision, Facebook, and Sony have done their part to reduce or eliminate the chances that the products you purchase from them were not partially the product of and/or financed a human rights violation. The 2017 reports show a mostly steady continuation of conflict-free sourcing, though with a bit of backsliding on the reporting aspects from a few companies.”
- What are conflict minerals?
Conflict minerals is a blanket term for minerals mined in conflict zones around the world that are then sold to fund continued fighting. These minerals are a source of concern not only due to the potential to fund armed conflict, but also due to frequent human rights abuses perpetrated as a part of the mining process (slave labor among them) and as a result of the conflict itself. The four most common of these–tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold–are collectively referred to as 3TG and are present in many items we purchase regularly, including electronics such as gaming hardware.
High demand for these minerals necessitates mining operations all over the world, but a large quantity of these minerals (especially gold) can be found in and around the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, many mining operations are run by armed factions using slave labor to produce the minerals, which are then sold to fund continued conflict in the region.
- Given that it would be virtually impossible for your average person buying a console to determine if some part of it had funded armed conflict in Africa, the responsibility to ensure ethical sourcing falls on the companies manufacturing these products. This can be a tricky business, as supply chains have multiple layers: companies get these products from suppliers, who in turn acquire them from smelters or refiners (SORs). Those SORs historically haven’t always responded to their clients’ inquiries (usually via surveys) asking them where the minerals came from, and will sometimes ignore or refuse third-party audits that would certify them (or not) to be conflict-free.
How did companies we might use do?
Apple is easily the best of the lot, and worthy of commendation for an abrupt initial turnaround and consistency ever since. In 2014, only 135 of its 225 SORs were certified as conflict-free. The following year, of 242 SORs, every single one participated in the survey and was certified as conflict-free. The company’s 100% survey completion continued into 2017 for a third year running, with 250 suppliers responding. In fact, last year Apple simply removed 10 suppliers who refused to participate in a third-party audit by a given deadline.
Microsoft’s supply chain is one of the largest and most complex of any that we report on, which complicates their task while simultaneously making it far more crucial for them to get it right. Last year, Microsoft had a 99% survey return from its 252 suppliers, with 249 of its 303 SORs certified conflict free. 2017 Essentially, nothing has changed. It’s a testament to the status of current conflict mineral sourcing that Microsoft’s lack of movement in 2017 still netted it a spot in the “best” column
Sony continued a frustrating trend from previous years of providing very vague information on all counts, including a refusal to say how many of its surveys were actually completed and returned. This trend that is even more exasperating when you look at its due diligence report. The company mentions that its survey response was improved from previous years, though we have no idea by how much or what that actually means. However, Sony did tell Enough that it had a survey return rate this year between 80% and 89%.
Though every company has such a report as part of their filing in which it lists the known risks involved with the survey, Sony’s was by far the busiest list, including acknowledgments of its suppliers’ “failure to adopt a conflict-free sourcing policy” and its own “failure to encourage SORs to participate” in the certification process. Sony does list a plan for remediation in its report that includes measures such as cancelling contracts of non-compliant suppliers or gradually ending business relationships, but based on the wording of the report, it has only gone so far as to contemplate these measures in the last few years.
The only direct action the report reveals Sony has taken is to send a letter to the suppliers to ask them to become compliant and complete the survey. Sony says that this has improved the return rate of surveys (by how much is unknown) and since that was deemed “effective,” Sony will continue that approach.
With Sony’s non-committal data, it’s tough to say exactly how conflict-free Sony products actually are. Of 311 identified SORs, 261 were reported as either certified conflict-free…or undergoing the audit process. The breakdown of this is unknown, and the remaining 50 SORs were neither validated nor undergoing an audit to become validated.
With this little information and a dismissive due diligence policy, it’s no wonder that Enough’s conflict minerals company rankings have Sony in the “worst” category. Sony only earned about 28% of the possible points in Enough’s survey, and were among the worst tech companies assessed, beating only Samsung (15%) and Toshiba (8%)
Since Nintendo is not publicly traded in the United States, it is not required to report on its conflict minerals sourcing. However, in 2016, the company was refreshingly transparent on the issue via its Corporate Social Responsibility Report, with all of Nintendo’s suppliers for the previous year (2015) responding to the survey. 72% of its 309 SOR supply chain was certified conflict-free at the time, and a further 7% were in the midst of the audit process. That was a drastic improvement from its depressing 47% conflict-free certification percentage in 2014
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Gets Barack Fu Bonus Game – This looks funny. Calling in a drone strike! “Kenya feel me?” Yes, the 44th President of the United States will be joining basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal in the upcoming beat-em-up Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn.
Best 😀 & Worst 🖕 of the week (Try to stick to 1 Best thing and 1 Worst thing)
Best: Hanging with my buddies in Nash Worst: Walking in the door home to find out the air conditioning stopped working
Best: Nashville Meetup Best 2: Car Upgrade
Best: nashville trip Bester: vacation was much needed but gained 7 pounds. back on the grind again
Our World (Top 3 Things you saw, heard or played)
COD WWII, Stacking Hay, Competitive Sweating, Westworld Luke Cage, Week off work w/ kids, Street Fighter 5 braven amazon prime video , jason mamoa bad ass , also love garret dillahunt , luke cage ssn 2 the music was the showpiece for me through out , westworld ssn finally holy hell , lots of codww2 ,
- NFL 🏈
- World Cup!
Shout-outs: 🖕 Family, friends, friends of the show OFR Crew, 🖕 Happy 4th of July to everyone! Ofr crew meetup was great , rocketchip , extreme shaft , stuart from page 2 screen , meef j, anthony alex , fred french , sorry to the ohio boys vic joe and dragon 59 for no time to meet up. it was late and your state flower is the orange barrel, too many reroutes ,