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[Kickstarter watching] Project Phoenix, the rise and fall of Kickstarter's FIRST Japan-based video game project!
submitted by reboot_the_PC to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]
Full disclosure, I'm a backer for this. I've also backed a number of other games on KS and most of them actually did really well (Bloodstained yay!).
Something I love doing from time to time is going through video game Kickstarter projects to see what cool things developers might be coming up with. Some turn out okay, others, well, not so okay.
KS project deaths can be be quick and brutal and some would-be creators know when to call it quits when things don't work out
. Some move on or find another way to see their dream project realized making lemonade out of lemons. Some don't.
The ones that linger can mutate, becoming a shambling mass of what-could-have-been occasionally moaning a hint of whatever former life it may have once had to anyone within earshot, prodded by the pulse of the occasional update haunting email inboxes.
Project Phoenix is one of the latter.
A few helpful terms:
- Kickstarter - well known crowdfunding site. All money amounts mentioned here are in USD.
- CIA - Creative Intelligence Arts, the studio created to build Project Phoenix.
- game engine - the backbone for a game. Two of the most popular engines are Unity and Unreal and both were used to some extent by Project Phoenix. It's like the foundation for a house.
- AAA - designation used to describe studios such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Rockstar, Nintendo, Naughty Dog, etc.. These are like the First World tier developers of the game industry. Then you have everyone else. Does not necessarily describe skill or talent (AAA studios/devs create doo doo like anyone else). Think of it as shorthand to describe the economic might and studio size footprint behind a title. Undertale is not a AAA title, for example. But something like Grand Theft Auto V is. Does not tow cars or jump start cold ones in winter.
- JRPG - Japanese Role-playing Game (ex: Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy series, Persona series, Shining Force series)
- 2.5D - perspective that includes 2D elements and 3D elements. Examples would include many of the early 90s FPS games like Doom to more modern uses such as Square Enix's Octopath Traveler which used 2D characteNPC art set against 3D backdrops in the world such as deserts, mountain roads, towns and villages.
Some games mentioned:
- Final Fantasy Tactics - developed by Squaresoft (today, Square-Enix) for the PlayStation in the 90s. Considered a classic.
- Shining Force - developed by Climax Entertainment for Sega's Genesis/Mega Drive system. Tactical JRPG series considered an early classic of the 90s.
- Shadowrun Returns - created by Jordan Weisman and his team at Harebrained Schemes. Weisman is the original creator of the Shadowrun tabletop in the late 80s, early 90s under FASA. Microsoft now owns the Shadowrun property but Weisman was able to get a license to make a game for it. Returns is a tactical, turn-based RPG based on the Shadowrun universe in the the 2050s timeframe. Followed up by two more successful entries that were also Kickstarted, Shadowrun: Dragonfall and Shadowrun: Hong Kong (I backed this one).
KS maintains old projects for reference so the names and events here are public knowledge. As one of the backers, I also have access to the "backer only" updates, so I provided some context from those here, too. The same with the referenced articles from outside sources that have looked in on this weird saga from time to time.
Pledges were made, backers followed the promises, and a professional musician becomes the head of his first video game studio. Wanna take a ride
Oh hey! This is cool!
On August 12th, 2013, Project Phoenix
popped up on Kickstarter (KS going forward).
This was during a heady era of KS investment following the wild success of projects like Tim Schafer's Broken Age in 2012 which garnered a whopping $3+ million in donations. It, with others, drove a rebellious wave of excitement over what what seen as a fresh, new take on funding games that "AAA" studios may have found too risky, leveraging the connectedness of the internet and the dreams of anyone looking to bring something of theirs to life at the time. Effusive hype bled into projects like Project Phoenix touting itself as "Japan's indie RPG feat. AAA talent!" and as "a JRPG with squad based RTS game design, brought to you by veteran developers and creators from the East and West" with a targeted release in mid-2015.
It featured a large roll of people with direct experience in the industry. The director and producer was a professional musician, Hiroaki Yura, who had worked on titles like Valkyria Chronicles. Years later in an interview with Gamespot
, he would confess that even though he had never shipped a game himself before, his peers in the industry encouraged him to embark on this grand Kickstarter adventure to realize a game idea he had been nursing.
The quest would even be joined by the famous Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series) as the lead composer. The creative side was bolstered with a number of artists and sound engineers but the programming side had an "unknown" portrait as that person was "one of the leading Unity programmers in the world" whose identity couldn't be made known until "late in the development process". That same Gamespot interview with Yura by Gamespot
would reveal that the programmer was David Clark who, at the time, was also working on Ori and the Blind Forest. An even earlier article by Kotaku's Jason Schrier in 2015
had also mentioned Clark.
As backers, though, we had no idea just who this mystery programmer was. Clark would simply be referred to with a flattering reverence often reserved for holy figures by Yura, a theme we would become too familiar with over the next few years.
Project Phoenix exploded past its initial funding goal of 100k and then some, making a little over a million and change. A separate web page featuring a PayPal donation link was even set up for those "late" to the party. Nearly 16k eager JRPG fans pledged to see what would come next.
2013 - 2014
The next several months following the end of the campaign were a flurry of activity. New staff joined the team
, a test video of the animation was shown off
, more art was shared
along with world-building fiction
. Project Phoenix even garnered a mention on Classic FM
as part of its "12 video game soundtracks you have to hear in 2014" featuring Nobuo Uematsu. Things seemed to be hopping!
On September 10th, 2013, Hiroaki Yura also held an AMA on Reddit
where, when asked by a backer concerned over the lack of specifics, he answered that Project Phoenix was to "set an example in Japan, just like how Supergiants Games did with Bastion, what a small team of dedicated individuals can do with a game". In another reply
, Yura hoped to surpass what inspired them in the first place citing titles such as "Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy Tactics Ogre, StarCraft and Warcraft, C&C series, DotA/LoL." The hype was reaching Peter Molyneux DEFCON levels.
The first odd sign this wasn't your typical KS video game project was when they suddenly made an announcement for an anime called "Under the Dog" on August 18th, 2014
, which was also a Kickstarter project.
CIA (the company Hiroaki Yura formed to build Project Phoenix) was collaborating with another company to produce the anime episode and pursue a series. It would even have a "special collaborative item reward in Project Phoenix." And just as he had done with Project Phoenix, Yura also did an AMA on Reddit for Under the Dog
, describing hopes for it to break free of the typical establishment shackles and pave the way for a new method of creating animation by keeping it under the greater control of those making it. There was even interest in making a game based off of the anime if it took off successfully.
A backer or two over on the Project Phoenix campaign page wondered if the company might be spreading itself thin like this, but for the most part, most everyone had faith in Phoenix to keep the course.
2015 - "...an assumption to rely on works by volunteers"
Long story short, Under the Dog was successfully funded and would later be released some time later.
Yet at the time in February, 2015, something bubbled up in the news over at Siliconera (who focus a lot on covering Japanese-related game content). It was reported that both CIA and Kinema Citrus (the studio working on Under the Dog) parted ways with CIA due to 'creative differences'
. The new producer taking over from Hiroaki Yura, Koji Morimoto (a veteran of the anime industry), had also discovered the following
"I found out: 1) there is a high possibility of rewards costing more than the initial estimates (since there were expensive rewards such as figurines, etc. being included), and 2) there was practically no budget set aside for the operational costs—probably based on an assumption to rely on works by volunteers. Those were the major concerns for me and that’s why I needed to check the financial aspect of the project first."
A few days later, an update
on Project Phoenix's merch store (yes, they were planning a merch store while the game was barely an alpha at this point) wrote "nothing on UTD will affect Project Phoenix going forward". Under the Dog would also never be mentioned again. It also noted they would be "posting applications for recruitment on the project, so if you have experience in creating a game keep your eye out for the next update." This was a bit worrying.
By early 2015, the most that backers had gotten was a lot of announcements, art, an underwhelming vertical slice
, and a tiny card-based mini-game
. Fans were concerned but still had faith that it could work. The solid quality of the art concepts (and the music samples) helped. Still, others were starting to worry, especially in the face of other projects that were leaving their nurseries that year
while Project Phoenix seemed to be dragging its virtual feet.
It also didn't help that the project was putting out the call for Unreal engine programmers
signaling that they were shifting gears from Unity. Again, the reasons why would only become clear a few years later from that Gamespot interview in 2017
and Jason Schrier's piece in 2015
. In both, it was explained that with the success of Ori and the Blind Forest, Clark was no longer able to commit to Project Phoenix leaving it scrambling for talent.
But as Hiroaki Yura put it then:
Unity had a lot of under-developed tools we need to create the game so our team made a decision to move to UNREAL which would cut development time and mess a lot.
In March, 2015, a "backers only" update came out emphasizing the time needed to transition to the new engine.
Changing game engines mid-project is almost never a great thing. It can be akin to deciding, part way through building a house, that maybe you want to change the foundation and where the basement was.
That's also money down the drain. For some projects, this is enough to kill them -- or at least force them to rescope just what they need to do such as making a smaller game than was intially envisioned.
Updates were also becoming infrequent. Sometimes a month would pass without word. In another apologetic update from Yura, he wrote of using "personal funds" to create concept art for a "very very famous animator" to animate "in a very awesome way" (AFAIK, that never happened or was shown to anyone). In August, another new name dropped into the project to keep us updated and demonstrating a new video with gameplay
Backers were again underwhelmed. The update even mentioned that they "currently lack someone to edit some opener logos, music, and disclaimers so please use your imagination". The suggested lack of professionalism from "AAA talent" was eating away at backers' confidence in the project. Some would go on to say:
It blows my mind that after all this time this is what you guys can show. Other projects did better with less funding. I get it, placeholders, WIP, whatever. The gameplay looks unoriginal and boring, the mechanics don't inspire anything or make me want to play it. I still regret having backed this project, my hopes of it becoming good are completely gone.
what is this shit? It went from promising a Final Fantasy Tactics/Tactics Ogre SRPG to THIS?!?! Are you kidding me? I am NEVER backing another videogame on Kickstarter.
By December, the project had to "clarify" that they actually do have a programmer
on the team after previous updates made it seem like they were scrambling to find one. In practice, though, the programmer wasn't a full hire and was participating in the project only sporadically with "his current work" apparently "delaying his full commitment here by about 2 months" and pushing the estimates for completing the game "2.5 years from the time we get our full-time programmer on board". Nobuo Uematsu was apparently still doing music for the game and there was hope he would show up in a future video. Updates on his progress would eventually dry up, too. And despite Classic FM's previous optimism, we didn't get that epic soundtrack to listen to in 2014 aside from a few samples. There was also a note on refunds and how they weren't considering those "at this time" because it meant "to give up on the project since there would be no money left to complete it."
Kotaku's Jason Schrier posted an article that December as well
, two days later on the 11th. In it, and from an email that Yura had sent over in response to questions Schrier had about the project, he revealed that they had been waiting
(for a bit over two years now) for David Clark to come onto the project after Ori. That didn't happen. Yura, as usual, cited Clark as a "good friend of mine" and a "godly programmer", but now had to find a new programmer.
One thing Yura notes in his email to Schrier is that they were "making this game part time". Nowhere in the original campaign proposal was this made clear, other than in saying in ambiguous terms "Many of them have taken time out of their personal schedule to contribute their expertise towards Project Phoenix's success. So while everyone has donated a lot of their time, there’s only so much more we can do for free." while later stating "Luckily, we have industry veterans on staff who are reliable, not only in the art of programming, but also in the art of project management."
None of which seemed to be working in their favor.
Yura and friends seemed to still trying to figure out staffing heading into the year but they eventually did get a programmer proficient in Unreal tech, Daniel Dressler, which was announced in February, 2016
After that, there's not much to say about 2016. The drought of real updates was concerning but in hindsight, there was probably a good reason why. One could almost say, it was a "tiny" glimpse of things to come.
Because meanwhile, in another corner of the Kickstarter universe, a game called TINY METAL showed up in September
. Created by AREA 34 who were "based out of Los Angeles", the game was asking for 50k in funding to create what was observers regarded as a spiritual successor to the popular Advance Wars from the Game Boy Advance, a fan favorite, JRPG-based tactical, turn-based splash from 2001. The studio had a whole roster of AAA talent, too. It was like this studio came out of nowhere to tackle a classic thirst for chibi tanks.
TINY METAL failed to meet its funding goal of 50k but they mentioned that they had managed to secure funding from elsewhere to at least build a basic game and that was what they would continue moving forward with.
On April 23rd, an update explaining The Pathfinder class arrived
. But below the class description was something unexpected -- a breakdown of what was going on with the development of Project Phoenix from the money end written by Daniel Dressler.
In it, he described how much less money there was to work with. Roughly 260k was off the top of that million+ figure for KS fees, PayPal fees, and fake pledges that didn't come through. In order to fulfill things like physical rewards, 350k of what was left would be set aside and "will not be touched". If Koji Morimoto were a ghost, he would probably be moaning in the background as these words were read. That left roughly half a million in change by their estimates to fund development in 2013. But the thing that crippled the finances for the project was the decision to go fully 3D from 2.5D once they were flush with funding.
Costs ballooned. Also mentioned was that "The programming was going to be done by a genius, once he finished up work on this other major indie game" (again, likely a reference to David Clark who would no longer be joining the project and which, as a reminder, they waited nearly two years
to join them). To help cover the extra costs, Yura allegedly invested 500k of his own money earned from his music work back into the project.
Towards the end, mention is made of a "tiny project" whose success would mean that "private investors" would invest "significant capital into Project Phoenix". These mystery moneymakers funded the creation of a new staff and a new project.
And like clockwork, no one really put two and two together until much later. Again, there were more than a few backers that were upset:
Thank you for the update. I know you will never read this but that's only fair since I'm adding this project name to my junk filter because the money I gave you (well not you Daniel since you came in 3.5 years in to the project and are now the de facto spokesperson) is not worth the frustration of seeing Kickstarter emails in my mailbox only to find out it is this project and it is still in development...
It sounds like the entire development was a house of cards predicted on getting some anonymous "genius" to do most of the work for little or no money, and having to actually hire people caused your entire budget to fall apart. What utterly inept project management...
Thanks for the update. It's a constant reminder why I never buy into a kickstarter project anymore. Keep it up!
And again, Kotaku's Jason Schrier reported
on this particular update, saying "Although this campaign always seemed shady to me—too many sketchy claims and lofty promises—it’s a bummer that 15,802 backers will never get their money back."
Dressler's explanation compared Project Phoenix's troubles as broadly similar to those that every other project faced. From a certain perspective, he's not wrong. Many crowdfunded projects faced the same general issues especially as more money came in. But as time went on, the Potemkin villages dotting CIA's countryside would slowly come apart in the face of other projects that didn't fit the narrative such as Harebrained Scheme's Shadowrun Returns (and its subsequent sequels). All Kickstarted successfully and each one made in Unity.
But one reply came from a developer who was also a backer who offered their time to help get the project back on track and urging contact.
Every word I've heard, from this and other updates, signify huge red flags to me. Your mini project will not be enough. You need an efficient pipeline. Contact me if you are serious about finishing this game.
Others would chime in and urge CIA to take them up on their offer of help.
Because of CIA's penchant for vagueness (har har), one question on backers' minds was whether any money from Project Phoenix, since it was in such dire straits at this point, had gone over to this mysterious game. While the money didn't go into building someone's house, going to a wholly different project wasn't a great prospect, either.
On June 12th, Hiroaki Yura released another update
clarifying that their new project was not using funds from Project Phoenix and was a concept developed with Dressler "several years ago". The game was to be a "proof of concept" to demonstrate an ability to deliver a "successful game", convincing the potential investors backing this strategy title to back Project Phoenix. Because of this, he noted, "progress on Project Phoenix has slowed temporarily as a result".
And remember that developer who offered their help in April? They also had something to say in response to this update.
I talked with Mark, who is a backer like all of us and volunteers his time to CIA. He relayed to me that Hiro saw my offers and isn't interested as their "problem doesn't lie with project management"...
...and goes on to say...
...so unless this project has somehow transcended how video games are made and discovered a new set of issues, they are simply not interested in the supporters, or finishing this project as their first priority. I lost $120 on this, nowhere near what some have, but I don't feel right sitting back and saying nothing.
Then in September, PC Gamer interviewed Yura at PAX West 2017
where he was promoting a game called TINY METAL as CEO of the studio in charge of making it (now referred to as AREA 35 instead of AREA 34).
So maybe it wasn't surprising that a few months later on November 15th, a "backers only" update appeared in the Project Phoenix campaign for that same game. If you haven't already guessed, this was their "tiny project".
Although the game started making the publicity rounds earlier in 2017 as far back as May for the Nintendo Switch
, Hiroaki Yura, CIA, or any association with the project was left a vague breadcrumb trail. AREA 34 had listed completely separate roster of developers who were cited instead in press releases and its own updates on their KS page. Now it appeared Yura was promoting TINY METAL as a second Christmas
for the studio's survival.
Yura urged backers to try out the demo for TINY METAL. For backers who thought they deserved a copy of the game, the reply was that doing so would "be in breach of our terms of agreement with both the major stakeholder groups of the project; our investors and our publisher." which, predictably, didn't sit well with more than a few of them.
Then Yura wrote the following:
Unties, the publisher of TINY METAL and a division of Sony Music Entertainment has already expressed interest in publishing Project Phoenix. We are so close. This is the first time to tell anyone outside my friends, but I am going through a lot with my personal life and I have been separated from loved ones at the moment, and it is honestly one of the worst experiences in my life... and going through an extremely hard ordeal. Been beaten by backers about Project Phoenix that I lied and cheated is one thing, as I understand how some people feel about me and honestly, I feel responsible and deserve the beating. However, been beaten when you try to reach for something to keep a promise, and sacrificing so much... losing my family and at the same time protecting the families of my staff, is the biggest challenge I've faced yet in my life. So just this once, please look carefully at the work we've put in. TINY METAL is our only salvation. With so little resources, many staff from Project Phoenix has toiled to make a simple yet fun little game and this is our result. If you truly like what we've made, please help us, we need all the help we can get. We don't want your money, we just need you to tell your friends and family.
Gauging the backer replies, while a few were understanding, many others were not:
...You stole our money. Failing a project is fine but to stop making the game altogether and making another game with the money is damn right disgusting.
This is a dead horse you keep beating. Yes, the horse ate our money, shat on us and then died. But it is definetly dead. Please make your peace with that and move on.
But there were also supportive words there, too:
Remember the story of the Phoenix, and you can rise from the ashes after tragedy. I believe in you. <3
This project is clearly a train-wreck, and is having a real effect on those involved. Some of these comments, however, are just gross.
After the November update, something new appeared on Project Phoenix's Facebook page.
Tariq Lacy, a former employee of AREA 35 (the Japanese indie studio working on TINY METAL) who had been working there for a few months, put up a post essentially saying that Hiroaki Yura and his company, CIA, had used funds from Project Phoenix to make TINY METAL.
Although Yura and Dressler repeatedly said in the past year that TINY METAL was funded by sources outside of Project Phoenix, the long delays and lack of real progress had already incensed furious backers waiting for the other shoe to drop. Lacy's story was all the proof some needed. In return, Yura accused Lacy of "being a toxic employee who has sexually harassed our female staff amongst many other problems" which he later apologized
for. Lacy's entry was "factually incorrect" and deleted but not before some news outlets noticed, setting the stage for a little Mortal Kombat
In a Twitter conversation with PC Gamer following the news
, Lacy also noted that AREA 35 and CIA are one and the same. Not only that, but they were also in the same building with "shared office space and PCs". Replying to this piece of information, Yura confirmed that both companies are at the same address but both have "different staff and purpose." Further:
"CIA’s core business is audio production and Area 35 is game and animation development," he said. "We used to have CIA do all of the above but we needed corporate identity and clarity hence we separated the companies. We have absolutely no money from CIA that went into Area 35, it was created by our own money from the executives." The majority of Area 35, he added, is held by himself and a partner."
Then the studio's project manager, Gian Carlo Peirce, replied to PC Gamer in an email adding:
"Creative Intelligence Arts has held onto enough funds to create the backer rewards and their fulfillment, but the development funding has been exhausted. We’re not the first and we won’t be the last Kickstarter to have these kinds of challenges, but we’re committed to seeing it through with a quality game..."
Dressler, who also worked on TINY METAL, had a post on Steam, now preserved by the Internet Archive,
refuting the accusations of a former staff member
that AREA 35/CIA embezzled funds from Project Phoenix. He also noted that the "entire portion of the project phoenix development budget was invested into development ages before I even joined the company." At least now backers knew why updates for Project Phoenix that year were so glacial. Or had a pretty good guess.
Then, according to an interview with Siliconera in December
, TINY METAL also needed to sell 150k copies to "resurrect" Project Phoenix. In the interview, Yura throws the work that Airborne Studios (the company CIA used for art assets early on) under tank treads by saying "We aren't happy at all, it looks too cheaply made." going on to say later answering another question "We felt, although we did our best with Airborne, it's not their fault. In terms of the pipeline, it's nobody's fault. It's my fault because I did not prepare enough money for that failure. I did not prepare enough time for that failure. I accept that. I would never blame the artists or the pipeline."
When pressed to answer what the studio would do if the sales target came short 50k units, Yura replied:
We don’t need to discuss our internal business decisions. There are a lot of things I can’t tell you about. What I can tell you, in general, is this is not the only thing we do. We have other jobs that will basically feed us. That 50,000 [units] would be nice to concentrate on this, but if we can’t do that we can do recordings. We can do other work. We can do programming work for other companies. If we make the right game we hope, it will sell. If we don’t, it won’t sell. Then it will be another challenge to get Project Phoenix’s budget.
A few days before TINY METAL's release, Gamespot posted an interview
with Hiroaki Yura who provided the publication with documented proof that the game was funded by investment outside Project Phoenix. As mentioned earlier, this was one of interviews (along with Jason Schrier's) who revealed who the "genius" level programmer Unity programmer was along with some other tidbits.
About funding Project Phoenix should TINY METAL do well:
...We were first introduced to Sony during the work on Project Phoenix, and though this is not official, verbally we agreed that if Tiny Metal does well, then we will probably work on Project Phoenix.
...and then on why he started the project:
...I've got lots of friends who've worked on the AAA side of the industry, and when I spoke to them about it, they wanted to do it. And then they all pointed to me to produce and direct it, because I'm bilingual. But the thing is, I've never delivered a game, but I've had backing from Uematsu-san, several key artists from Square-Enix who've worked on Final Fantasy, people from the Warcraft team--it was just sort of overwhelming.
...and on what led to the first major delay with Project Phoenix because of the art:
...It wasn't A1's fault, but I think the visual design was too 'chibi,' like super-deformed. It looked too immature, and the content of the game was much more mature than that. So we were running out of budget, we were running out of time, so we announced our delay and we started planning for [Tiny Metal] to try and make money for Project Phoenix.
TINY METAL was released on December 21st, 2017 after a short delay and published by Sony's Unties garnering relatively solid, if not enthusiastic, response from critics in general and players on Steam.
Months passed with the next update arriving on July 31st, 2018, dropping another bombshell with Japanese courts confirming that Lacy's charges against AREA 35 were bogus and legally requiring him to publish a public apology
Although Lacy's claims of embezzlement were ruled untrue, it didn't explain why Yura and Dressler created a fog of war over their relationship with TINY METAL as far back as early 2017, opting instead to cryptically drop hints from time to time as if this were an adventure game from Sierra On-Line. Though, judging from a number of backers' furious reactions when the curtains were finally drawn back, the reasons why might not be that surprising.
"BRING OUT YOUR DEAD" ("But I'm not dead...!")
The last update
for Project Phoenix was March 26th, 2019, where Yura wrote that they were "currently cultivating the programming team, but before we're able to fully recommit to Project Phoenix, we're working on titles independent of this project." No mention of genius level programmers, an Academy Award™ winning sound engineer, or very, very good animators was made though he noted that Nobuo Uematsu was still contributing music.
Six more artists were also joining the team led by Takuya Suzuki, a former artist at Blizzard, along with Erasmus Brosdau formerly of Crytek, to start creating world assets "sometime later this year". Once those are done, he writes, "we hope to have our programmers ready to take on the task."
There was also no further mention of whether the physical rewards were even a thing at this point, the 350k part of the budget that was set aside to cover those. Maybe backers did get them and just decided not to say anything making it another unsolved mystery (Robert Stack not included).
By now, more than a few of those with access to the project and able to post replies to the Kickstarter updates do this instead:
CIA/Hiroaki Yura did answer a question about whether there might be a new roadmap to which someone replied:
The balls on you, seriously! " It's going to be very turbulent ahead, but we definitely want to nail down this game." Are you getting a good chuckle out of this, Hiro?
There have been no further updates since though people are still leaving refund demands as recently as January, 2020.
But there was one update outside of Project Phoenix.
A few months after that March update, a sequel to TINY METAL, TINY METAL: FULL METAL RUMBLE, was released by AREA 34 (and developed by AREA 35) on PCs
and the Nintendo Switch on July 11th. As for whether this
game will actually resurrect Project Phoenix, it's probably a safe bet at this point that it hasn't.
Nearly seven years later, Project Phoenix has metamorphed into a zombie trainwreck washed up by the tide of exuberance during Kickstarter's peak video game era, becoming another example of a massive KS failure in the video gaming space.
Through a variety of factors, it somehow burned through a million dollars of goodwill -- more once you account for Yura's alleged injection of capital -- and attempted to survive with a secret project quietly built behind AREA 34/35 names and rosters as a byzantine Plan B for their funding woes.
From what can be told going through the (now largely outdated) staff list still posted at their campaign page and the few names that came up during their staffing spree years ago, most of the principals have either moved on to other work (one former artist is now working on James Cameron's Avatar 2, Airborne went on to do work on titles like Apex Legends, Dressler is working on a new game). Others continued doing what they do outside of the project (their "day jobs") likely having fulfilled whatever contractual obligations they had at the time and few if any of them mention their association with Project Phoenix nowadays.
Project Phoenix's .info page
now exists only as a largely abandoned forum, a bare shadow of its former self
. Its Twitter
has remained silent since the last announcement. Responses to the last news on its Facebook page
varied from disbelief to shock and happiness that it was still a thing before silence descended once more. A few people out there are still excited to get alerts on the project. The only activity on its campaign page are demands for refunds.
Even Hiroaki Yura's twitter doesn't mention the project at all aside from his bio linking to the nigh abandoned .info page.
But in an interview with Escapist Magazine
in November of last year, he referred to Project Phoenix as a "snafu", a lesson learned informing him on what ventures to pursue nowadays. And that was that, an epitaph likely as close to anything anyone will get for what its campaign page still hails as "Kickstarter's FIRST Japan-based video game project!"
EDIT: Many humble thanks kind stranger for the gold!
Why the Rodrigo Lopes dispute might have been the most ridiculous Twin Galaxies dispute yet
submitted by ersatz_cats to speedrun [link] [comments]
Well, the Twin Galaxies clown rodeo has been at it again.
Now, I know what many of you are going to say, but I'm definitely not writing this to encourage people to take Twin Galaxies seriously. This is so folks can have a good laugh, or at least get the gist of what went on without having to go to the site. Links are provided for attribution. Only follow the TG links if you doubt what I say is true. (Note: Most of what follows was from the dispute thread, and does not represent original research on my part.)
Admittedly, I did have some hopes Twin Galaxies might be turning around, following the infamous Dragster dispute. It was legendary how poorly that dispute was handled, with a clear cut case for removal of Todd Rogers' Dragster time firmly established on day one. And yet, if you recall, TG head custodian Jace Hall seemed content to argue endlessly with Omnigamer, the author of the Dragster analysis, over the fact that his Dragster simulation was not a comprehensive model of the entire universe, accounting for everything from hardware malfunctions to cosmic rays to, I don't know, fucking gnome wizards. Jace sought a burden of proof even higher than the highest criminal standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt", aiming for a target somewhere along the lines of total omniscience. This open-and-shut case went on for months, uncovering several other bogus scores of Todd's, as well as his fabrication of evidence and outright lies over the years. The dispute was eventually settled, not by the scientific certitude Jace Hall called for, but rather by the testimony of former TG ref Robert Mruczek. https://i.imgur.com/LcOMFL5.png
But I'd hoped TG administration were cognizant of how embarrassing that dispute was, and were committed to doing better in the future. Despite TG's many blemishes, they do have a lot of history, even if the legacy scoreboard needs a massive overhaul. And the Billy Mitchell Donkey Kong dispute, which I still say was handled impeccably, seemed to validate that hope, at least for a while. However, some subsequent disputes have gone back the way of Dragster again. This latest dispute... well, disputes
... against speedrun liar Rodrigo Lopes have taken TG dispute nonsense to a whole new level. Who is Rodrigo Lopes?
Rodrigo Lopes is a long-time speedrunner from Brazil with a lot of talk and very little video. His claimed records were not recognized by Speed Demos Archive (and thus are not recognized by speedrun historians today), not due to an outright ban or (before now) tangible proof of cheating, but because he refused to share the whole videos.
Rodrigo did make an SDA post in 2008,
claiming many significant speedrun world records, but only offering video of the last few moments of each run as proof. While not recognized in the speedrun community, Rodrigo does have a prolific history at Twin Galaxies (going by the username "Siliconian"), with 1,622 scores/times from the old referee era. Add in his 6,846 scores/times from the current "TGSAP" era (thousands of which are on various tracks on mobile games), and you have his current (as I write this) total of 8,468 scores at Twin Galaxies, giving him the most TG world records and the site's highest "Expert Skill Index" rating: https://i.imgur.com/1H6cnGn.png
Rodrigo was also a founder of Brazil's "Team Metroid", whatever that means, as well as (put on your shocked faces) a Twin Galaxies referee.
In 2006, Richard Ureta was recognized with a new TG world record on Legend of Zelda for NES, with a time of 32:02. Ureta's glory was short-lived, as Rodrigo quickly declared his intention to beat that time.
(Rodrigo's writing can be hard to read. It should be noted that English is not his first language.) Three weeks later, Rodrigo announced he had overtaken Richard
with a time of 31:36 (later re-timed to 31:37). As was standard practice at TG at the time, a physical tape was mailed to a TG referee to verify, and no copy of it was ever made public, although Rodrigo did upload the final dungeon to YouTube some time later.
(Bet he regrets that now!)
Earlier this summer, questions were raised about this 2006 "world record",
and why it didn't appear in Summoning Salt's world record progression video on Legend of Zelda
, as it was faster than both Ureta's run and the best publicly available run of that era by Tom Votava.
This led to a formal dispute of Rodrigo's record at TG,
in the hopes of collecting emerging evidence and discussion in one official place. Rodrigo claimed this dispute, initiated without clear evidence at the start, was proof that jealous haters were out to besmirch his good name. But of course, it didn't take long for hard evidence to emerge of cheater-ation: https://i.imgur.com/Y2LBsdu.png
On the left is the enemy spawn formation of the third room of level 9, taken from LackAttack's current world record. And on the right is the same room's spawn formation from Rodrigo's run. Every known speedrun of the game that takes a direct path from the last Triforce piece to level 9 has the proper spawn formation for that room as seen on the left, except for two outliers that have the formation seen on the right: Michael "TSA" Damiani,
and Rodrigo Lopes. One might be led to think the two have something in common
.... other than a little mutual disdain: https://i.imgur.com/uUgJb8n.png
Zelda experts chimed in on the TG dispute thread, explaining the underlying game mechanics governing these enemy spawn patterns. There are a few ways to get this irregular formation, such as leaving and re-entering level 9 or back-tracking a few overworld screens for no apparent reason, but each possibility would be inexplicable in a speedrun, resulting in a loss of time that would be strictly disqualifying for the final time Rodrigo claimed. The spawn pattern seen in Rodrigo's run simply couldn't happen following a straight route from the last Triforce to level 9. The most likely cause would have been using Up+A upon entering level 9, giving the player as many chances as they wanted for a flawless level 9 to splice together with their complete game up to that point.
So we have an old TG score, with no public video, from a player who as late as 2017 claimed to have a secret better route
that could get sub-30 (under TG's no-glitch rule set), but only if he gets lucky bomb drops. In other words, he claims outright mastery of the game while still not knowing that item drops in Legend of Zelda are now calculated,
and have been for years.
But none of that matters, because he still refuses to share the whole video of his run. Hold up. He still has the video?
Oh yeah, did I mention that? He told this to TG user Starcrytas in a PM: https://i.imgur.com/nky0EXr.png
Years ago, he mocked people who are afraid of showing off their record runs: https://i.imgur.com/wQbau8s.png
But now, when asked about whether the video could be made available
, it's always a variation of "Oh, it would be a pain to find," or "This is unfair," or "I don't take this that seriously, I just play games for fun," or "I don't have the time to do all that." Even though he does
have the time to keep submitting dozens and dozens of new scores on mobile games. Wait wait wait, he's still submitting scores!?
Yup! I mean, not right now, but he was submitting new scores right as this dispute against him was going on. When I started tracking on November 12th, he added 50 scores in four days, all of which went through the normal adjudication process. Basically every variation he could find on Angry Birds and Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia on Android. Gotta pad those TG ratings somehow, right? A whole new level of TG nonsense
What really sets this particular circus dispute apart from the others we've seen is Twin Galaxies' normally impossible-yet-predictable evidence standards went completely out the window. At times, it felt like Jace Hall was just making shit up on the fly.
On November 7, three months after the discrepancy of spawn formations had been noted, Jace Hall finally felt compelled to step in. As we discussed, Jace adheres to a dubiously high evidence standard for removal of a legacy score. Video of the crime in action? How do we know that video wasn't staged? Confession of the killer? How do we know it wasn't coerced? Rigorous scientific determination of a claimed run's impossibility? Sure, but did you factor in the human element? What if math is wrong? What if we're living in a computer simulation and none of this is real? Can you truly rule out robot warlocks from the future?
This time, Jace acknowledged that the evidence was both compelling enough to warrant action but not as "definitive" as is his preference, putting himself in a "unique" situation: https://i.imgur.com/cSEKbcn.png
Rather than do the reasonable thing and say "Let's remove this probably-cheater's scores until he can cough up some damn vids," Jace decided this stalemate would best be broken with a generous offer to the speedrun community: https://i.imgur.com/3S3ucse.png
Yes, you read that correctly. Jace called for no fewer than five notable Zelda speedrunners to sign statements affirming their belief both in the evidence against Rodrigo and in Twin Galaxies' competence. What exactly would a signed statement of opinion prove that the evidence itself did not?
Good question, bud! Either the evidence makes the case, or it doesn't, right?
Omnigamer, who has no shortage of experience dealing with Jace Hall, trashed him on Reddit
over this maneuver: https://i.imgur.com/M3wtocf.png
Before I continue, I should point out something I've noticed here. For years, Jace Hall has expressed, let's say an "emphasis" on getting players to provide and verify their real info at Twin Galaxies. We're talking real names, phone numbers, and actual physical addresses. See for instance the last thirty seconds of this Facebook livestream
from last year. Or this interview from 2014
(at the 2:15:13 mark). Jace says that TG doesn't sell peoples' info, and that this point of emphasis is because Guinness prefers to deal with real names. Okaaay... But what's odd to me is, he brings up this desire for your info even in contexts that have nothing whatsoever to do with submitting that info to Guinness, such as "We need you to give us your personal info before we can accept your testimony on this score dispute."
At any rate, nobody signed Jace's exact statement, but a few Zelda speedrunners did show up and offer their expertise in the dispute thread, including Fcoughlin and cantaloupeme (who was expressly curious why Twin Galaxies needed his address).
"Four Swords" runner Tompa contributed as well. A couple of people even ran "TG Rule Set"
as a new category on SRC, both getting a better time than Rodrigo (obviously with the correct level 9 spawn patterns). Half-measures
That silly offer to the speedrun community got even sillier just hours later, when Jace decided to amend his terms. Rather than offer a resolution where all of Rodrigo's scores would be wiped from the leaderboards (as one would tend to do with cheaters), Jace backpedaled and said, due to insufficient evidence, only Rodrigo's pre-TGSAP scores would be removed, and maybe the ban wouldn't be lifetime after all: https://i.imgur.com/tJ30WAA.png
"TGSAP", for those who don't know, stands for "Twin Galaxies Submission and Adjudication Process", the new community-based system for score/time verification which supplanted the old private referee system. Under TGSAP, full video is required, to the extent that even previously verified scores/times can be removed simply on the basis that the video has since disappeared from public view.
(Again, that's talking about scores/times submitted under TGSAP. Legacy scores are treated differently.) Honestly, it's a commendable standard for modern adjudication, but anyone who has looked into cheating in gaming/speedrunning knows that even full, permanent video hasn't stopped people from producing convincing cheats (not even under TGSAP specifically).
TGSAP doesn't require handcams, nor does it sufficiently account for things like macro use or ROM modification. TGSAP is good, but it's not perfect.
The idea that someone would be found to have cheated enough to warrant removal of mail-in scores, but not enough to warrant removal of online video scores, is baffling, not to mention arbitrary. Jace Hall didn't seem to balk at the prospect of stripping Billy Mitchell's scores in the face of the MAME evidence, and many other disputes are dispatched quietly and efficiently. But a special few of them drag on for months, with the phoniest of rebuttals being offered at times. As I said before, I would have liked to believe things had changed at TG, that things were moving in the right direction such that these decisions were being weighed with respect to the evidence and not TG admin's reluctance to remove a particular player's scores. But these maybe/maybe not half-measures make me wonder. Was TG's reluctance to strike all of Rodrigo's scores due to Rodrigo's extensive and continued participation on the site? Was it due to his high placement on their site-wide rankings? Was TG afraid of the embarrassment that would ensue if their top player was found to be a cheater? Or hell, is this nonsense all just another way of stirring up bullshit drama? The bogeyman
In attempting to defend his overabundance of caution (if you could even call it that), Jace Hall then delved into several references to potential legal action against TG which could result from score/time removals such as this: https://i.imgur.com/Zw07f1N.png https://i.imgur.com/1tdXPjw.png
First of all, as far as we know, nobody has actually sued the current Twin Galaxies over a score/time removal. Billy Mitchell has famously threatened
to sue over his scores getting wiped, but he hasn't actually followed through, and is unlikely to ever do so as his case is dead-on-arrival. Yes, in the U.S. you can technically sue anyone for anything (though I don't know how it works in Rodrigo's home country of Brazil), but no actual case can be made against a scoreboard simply de-listing a player's scores without comment. Twin Galaxies did literally that two years ago against notorious scumbag (and former TG ref) Ron Corcoran.
At best, this is a potentially operation-crippling level of over-caution, or at worst, this is Jace Hall using the specter of legal threat to justify a position which in actuality has more to do with some other unstated motivation.
But here's where it gets really ugly to me. Remember Jace's offer for five speedrunners to slap their real names down on the table and testify that they think Rodrigo's run is baloney? If he really truly does think this is a case with actual legal liability, what on Earth are we supposed to make of that "offer"? "Here, people who have nothing to do with this website, you put your names on this instead." He literally says their statements need to be strong enough to "move the needle toward resolution", with the stated concern being that TG could get sued. Is he trying to base Twin Galaxies' decision directly on other peoples' testimony such that TG can say "You can't sue us, we're just going by what was reported, you'll have to sue those other people instead for telling us you cheated"?
But honestly, I don't even think that's what's going on here. Jace talks about all of this so openly and freely. What does every lawyer tell you to do when faced with legal threats? "Keep your yap shut!!" No way did Jace consult with a lawyer on any of this, or at least if he did, no way is he actually taking that lawyer's advice. He's just a cowboy, shooting from the hip. He tells us what he wants, but he can't seem to be up front about why some disputes are so easy to settle while others can't be resolved even in the face of definitive proof. The Human Element
Speaking of the Dragster dispute, what contentious, drawn-out Twin Galaxies dispute wouldn't be complete without a suite of ancillary disputes, as investigators begin to notice that the main disputed record isn't the only fishy item on that player's score page? Rodrigo's time on Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
on GameCube has been questioned as potentially impossible. (Again, only the last few minutes are made public by Rodrigo.) There are also some alleged discrepancies with his time on Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past
But the real juicy stuff goes all the way back to our old friend, our old pal, the Atari 2600. No, we're not racing any dragsters or storming any barns or wascaling any wabbits this time. But we do have a Tasmanian Devil sighting! Recall that Todd Rogers in 2004 claimed an impossible (for multiple reasons) score on the Atari game Taz, complete with a photo of his television showing the impossible score.
Todd's defense at the time was that he was actually playing on a secret 1984 version of Taz which scores differently, a version which nobody to this day has ever found. (I will say that Rodrigo has not yet to my knowledge resorted to the "prototype defense".) That score was the subject of its own dispute
parallel to the Dragster dispute two years ago. Unlike Todd's claim, Rodrigo's score on Taz is actually possible in the sense that the game will technically allow it,
but it's still not possible in the sense that no human can consistently play on the insane speeds the game runs at past about 300,000 or so points.
Check out the console and emulator leaderboards for that game: https://i.imgur.com/4VMsP5A.png
Rodrigo managed the same super-human feat on Asterix,
which is basically the same game: https://i.imgur.com/ugzy0hE.png
Not quite as stark a contrast is Rodrigo's Asteroids score,
again on Atari 2600. The top console score is 79,660 points, while on the emulator leaderboard Rodrigo is rockin' 111,390: https://i.imgur.com/Q7jILnh.png https://i.imgur.com/uUFk6ZJ.png
In fact, each of these sketchy Atari scores of his are on emulator, rather than actual console. It turns out, it's a simple matter to slow down an Atari emulator during game play and then play it back at full speed,
creating the illusion of real-time play one might pass off on a trusting referee.
Another sketchy emulator score by Rodrigo is on "Alligator People". But this time, the score actually is just impossible,
ending in a 3 when scores can only end in a 5 or a 0. https://i.imgur.com/zs9y619.png
Hey, maybe we can just round the score down and call it good. Talk, talk, talk
But enough of actual scores and evidence. Let's get to the most indelible element of any lengthy Twin Galaxies dispute: Name-calling and petty bickering!
The question of how exactly Rodrigo's scores were verified was a topic of discussion. Rodrigo had 14 scores with "referee" listed as verification method (meaning, the score was verified live in-person), and with Rodrigo firmly in Brazil, there doesn't seem to be any way that could have happened unless he and his buddies in "Team Metroid" were verifying for each other. But insofar as Rodrigo did submit tapes to a TG ref who wasn't his teammate, he had a specific preference to submit those tapes exclusively to TG referee Robert Mruczek.
(It also appears that his competitor Richard Ureta "Sleepz" was subjected to no less than triple-verification
while Rodrigo skated through.)
I'm not going to get into the question of whether Mruczek was in on the scam, as opposed to merely being identified by the cheaters as a ref who trusts them. But just because I'm not going there doesn't mean others didn't. You can see much of this squabbling for yourself on the open thread, but I wanted to show off a couple "deleted scenes", if you will, captured as part of my screencapping.
First we have "RTM" (Robert Mruczek) popping off at [REMOVED BY ADMIN]. Who, might you ask, is [REMOVED BY ADMIN]? Thankfully, TG admin's redaction isn't very thorough, as the original version of RTM's quote was still up in a reply from Marcade, just a bit lower on that same page. That reply, as you see, later got the axe altogether: https://imgur.com/a/dCLvnCa
I mean, sure, it was petty and off-topic, but have you seen these TG dispute threads?
Marcade made another reference to Mruczek, which again got edited out. But this time, Jace addressed it specifically: https://imgur.com/a/G5oyriI
Back again with the "But somebody could sue" bit? Like, seriously, how was that any more slanderous and worthy of censorship than half of what goes on in those threads? Why were Marcade's comments about Mruczek so much worse than his remarks about Rodrigo in the same comment? Out of all the nonsense on that site, why was this the item Jace could not allow to stand?
Speaking of Jace, he ruffled some feathers when on page 21 he characterized witness testimony as mere "lips flapping"... https://i.imgur.com/bqhhBtt.png
...but wasn't Jace the one asking for that "lips flapping" testimony moments ago? Wasn't he directly saying such testimony was all he would need to wrap the dispute up? Also recall yet again
the infamous Dragster dispute, which dragged on for months in spite of verified and re-verified scientific evidence, only to come to an abrupt end (a month ahead of schedule)
on the basis of - oh, that's right - "lips flapping".
It was around this same time that Jace, over on his site blog, acknowledged "concerns" over Twin Galaxies' legacy scoreboard, while casually floating out a shocking proposal: https://i.imgur.com/WE7SCUS.png
Jace would later say in the comments that the proposal was scrapped due to negative feedback.
Meanwhile, back at the Rodrigo dispute, the official Twin Galaxies account offered the most - and I don't use the term lightly - cringe-inducing rebuttal to the ol' speedrunners' mantra: https://i.imgur.com/TlKevl4.png
Later, in the same comment, TG again invoked the dread threat of legal action: https://i.imgur.com/qVv3tP3.png
Lastly, TG offered a weak explanation of why they would remove only some of Rodrigo's scores: https://i.imgur.com/VqCG0iH.png
Again, this dispute calls all of Rodrigo's pre-TGSAP scores into question, but somehow his TGSAP scores are safe. I guess the TG mantra would be "Vid, did". The rants
Getting back to the man of the hour, if you love dumb rants from cheaters continuing to profess their innocence in the face of obvious guilt, then Rodrigo Lopes is your guy!
I linked the "Oh, I don't have time to find the tape, I just play games for fun" rant above. Around November 12, Rodrigo sent another one, this time directly to Jace Hall, who reposted it to the public evidence thread: https://i.imgur.com/WPL4nM9.jpg
Let's see... "I've given a lot of time and work to this site," "These people are haters looking for evidence to destroy me," "They broke the rules when they opened this dispute," "It's unfair that there's so many of them all against me." Not a lot pertaining to the actual evidence, but you know how that goes. Oh, and an interesting little plea bargain at the end. "How about you just ban me for one year, and let me keep my scores?" Surely, the words of an innocent man!
It should be noted that his claim that he has proven his critics wrong only for them to resume at a later date doesn't seem to be valid. Multiple participants in the dispute looked for any instance of him proving the legitimacy of any contested run of his, ever, and nothing of the sort could be found.
Jace at this time responded to Rodrigo and reiterated his stance that, if this dispute were approved, it would result in the removal of Rodrigo's non-TGSAP scores and a ban of to-be-determined length.
Oh, but this wasn't the last of Rodrigo's juicy rants. He had up to this point avoided participating in all the disputes against his runs (except for one 2017 dispute
which called for a mere time adjustment). But dude had had enough! This injustice would stand no further! On page 25, he decided to finally make an appearance, and lay some truth down on the non-believers: https://i.imgur.com/NqvJ8Dp.png
Oh my gosh, for real? How long is this gonna go? https://i.imgur.com/ekT1HYv.png You'll have to go there yourself
if you want to bask in its true awe, but here's the gist: "I've been with Twin Galaxies a long time, but nobody cares what I've done! Nobody thanked me for all the work I did! Good players are leaving, and you don't care! Us players who have stayed since the beginning are treated like garbage! Newbies are treated with more respect than me! If you so much as submit an incorrect digit, you'll get banned forever for cheating! These haters attack me wherever I go! Look at these other disputes about which I have nothing meaningful to say! Someone can start a dispute, and there's no penalty if they're wrong, but I can lose all my records, so how is that fair!? Why do these newbies have more influence than us senior members!? Twin Galaxies doesn't care if I'm banned or not! I spent my time helping Twin Galaxies, but these newbies are spending all their time investigating me! If I lose, I'll lose 8,300 records, this is unfair! This will never end! Even if I upload Zelda and prove them wrong, they'll just dispute me again without proof! Angela starts a dispute without evidence, and there's no penalty, but if I refuse to submit the video, I get banned! You cannot say this is fair! I don't need to defend myself against an invalid dispute! Twin Galaxies is corrupt against itself! Go ahead and remove all my records from before 2013, I'll reclaim them again! I'll agree to a one-year ban, but you don't need to ban me permanently! Thank you to all my real friends!"
At that point, Rodrigo finally relented and addressed the actual evidence against him by publishing his complete Zelda tape, proving his innocence and putting the matter to rest forever.... Just kidding. No, what really happened was Jace Hall at last closed the actual dispute thread with an official statement effectively saying "Enough is enough", announcing that Rodrigo's scores would be removed immediately.
Haha, nope, that didn't happen either. This circus train wasn't going to stop that easily. Makin' up the rules
You probably thought Jace was done with his wacky dispute deals. But YOU THOUGHT WRONG.
Rodrigo complained over and over that the dispute process was unfairly biased against him. This seems weird to me, given that people disputing TG scores are expected to spend hours of their free time and bend over backwards to dissect what little public evidence is available while the person claiming the score can sit back and do actual nothing even when compelling evidence against their claim emerges. But regardless, Rodrigo's complaints were heard by the Twin Galaxies ringmaster himself, who whipped up the following offer to dispute participants: https://i.imgur.com/7vJfVWG.png
What? The? Hell? Is going on here!?
I don't want to bash the people who signed up for that, as they can do what they want. But you'll notice that, despite my having posted to the dispute thread advocating that all of Rodrigo's scores should be removed,
my name isn't anywhere near that nonsense. And it's not because dude isn't obviously guilty, and it's not because I have any TG submissions whatsoever to care about. It's because this is fucking insaaane.
First off, it's one thing for Rodrigo to be annoyed at someone disputing his score/time with no evidence, but it's a whole 'nother matter when significant evidence exists that the run is cheated. Imagine if someone who certainly appeared to be guilty of a crime - let's say, bribery - complained that it's not fair he has to defend himself in court and may go to jail, while the people credibly accusing him aren't at risk of anything themselves. Now, imagine the judge says, "You know what? You're right! Let's make it more fair. The people who think he's guilty, please raise your hands. Here's the deal. If this guy is found guilty, he'll go to jail for bribery, but if he's found not guilty, you'll all go to jail instead!"
Like, why is this bogus complaint being entertained by TG admin at all? Like, at all
There's also the little matter that Twin Galaxies dispute verdicts haven't always been exactly reliable. Like, I'm really supposed to risk anything, literally anything whatsoever, on the notion that TG administration will look at concrete evidence of someone cheating and conclude "Yup, case is clear, dude definitely cheated." I wouldn't risk my garbage on that, no matter how certain I was that the person actually cheated.
I will also point out that 1) like the rest of this ridiculousness, this clearly didn't go through any lawyer, and 2) given that it wasn't vetted in any way, it wouldn't really stop Rodrigo from uploading his original spliced submission and claiming that it "clearly and definitively proves without question" that his run is "valid". We all know what these words are supposed to mean in real talk, but in a pseudo-legal context they can be argued many different ways. It's like making a bet with someone you don't trust that one of you will get the "record" on a given game without ever specifying what track, what rules, who's going to verify it, or what the timetable is.
Oh, and once again, we see Jace Hall just making shit up as he goes. Contrary to his claim that this sort of offer will be in effect for "one specific dispute case only", the precedent is now set. Isaiah "Triforce" Johnson, during his Contra 3 dispute last year, claimed to have a tape showing a playthrough of his which he would only publish in the event Twin Galaxies removed his score. Does he now get right of reprisal against his disputers? Does every accused gamer get that right? Should there really be a penalty for raising a question about a run's legitimacy? I get that score disputes can definitely be used as harassment, and I do agree that matters concerning the investigation of potential cheating should be handled with some delicacy (which seems to be lacking from the TG dispute method in general), but at the end of the day, such matters must be discussed if the sport is to stay clean.
While this offer of Jace's certainly added to the theatrics of the Twin Galaxies clown rodeo, I'm not sure it improves his scoreboard's legitimacy. It also tacitly gives away the notion that Jace is already quite confident in the guilt of the accused. He knows he isn't actually going to have to enforce this nonsense, which would mean scrubbing out several of TG's top competitors and contributors from his site, all for life. Like, why not just act on that confidence and remove the score? Is it that the theatrics are more important?
Soon after this new offer from Jace, with people now risking lifetime bans and score removals over this dispute, the question was asked whether this meant Rodrigo would now face a full score removal and lifetime ban rather than the partial measure referenced multiple times earlier: https://i.imgur.com/QKnAeEG.png
No direct answer was given. Technical difficulties
For a short while, there was some consternation that wiping Rodrigo Lopes and all his scores could actually break the Twin Galaxies website: https://i.imgur.com/Ykuwtrp.png
Basically, the site grants users all these points and ratings and bullshit based on their participation in submission and adjudication under TGSAP, and a lot of that would get torn to shreds the moment Rodrigo and his submissions are plucked from the system. Unlike Todd, Billy, and some others, whose scores (bogus and otherwise) were limited to the old referee days, Rodrigo has been even more active under TGSAP than he was before, even though it was his older records which finally came under scrutiny. This was the first time that a wide removal of scores under the TGSAP system was being considered. Jace said of the possibility of a one-time workaround: https://i.imgur.com/InZwWZT.png
He did eventually come back and say the site's engineers figured out a way to keep everyone's credibility rating and submission points, but really, who cares?
Check this out, though! Rodrigo returned! On page 35: https://i.imgur.com/p5q6c4v.png
Holy smokes! Tapes! Lots of them!! And he's recording them... like, externally, with a cell phone, I guess? But hey, that's something! Are we actually gonna get some progress? Are we gonna see this Legend of Zelda one-time world record that Rodrigo's been oh-so happy to brag about all these years? https://i.imgur.com/bLS1ZHk.png
Hahahaha, Nope!! We got two short clips of his digital capture being recorded off his computer screen. One is just 20 seconds of him getting the first sword, and the other is a shorter version of the level 9 video we've already seen. Here, check 'em out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO4-qsMylHQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imFaesFrMRo
"Ohhhhhh gosh, it would be sooooooooooo much trouble to drag this already digitized file over into YouTube. I'm afraid the best I can do is record a couple minutes of it externally and then post that instead."
Of course, his three posts on page 35
came with more ranting about how the disputes are invalid, and how people are only disputing these records because they belong to him. He says that Jace probably doesn't want to lose him or other members of the site, remarking in all-caps "WE DONT NEED TO FIGHT AGAINST OURSELVES." (No dude, we don't, because you're a cheater.) Also another attempt at plea-bargaining down to temporary ban with only old scores removed. Also another shout out to his real friends.
Literally not one person bought any of this shit, of course. There were many more requests that Rodrigo upload the Zelda run, or even perhaps, just the segment from the last Triforce piece to the first stairway of level 9, since theoretically that would provide enough data on enemy spawn formations and item drops to determine any splices. However, Mrturk did point out on page 37 that a lot of information on what people would be looking for had been collected in the dispute thread, and that Rodrigo did now have the opportunity to at least try to modify the evidence to erase certain tells. Thus, at this point, with so many people agreeing to risk lifetime bans themselves, Twin Galaxies should accept only the entire original video (not that they were going to get it, anyway). Wrapping it up
Oh my goodness, are we there yet?
Not long after Rodrigo's taunt that he totally had the video right there and still wouldn't be sharing it with anyone, things actually started functioning reasonably, starting with this announcement from Jace: https://i.imgur.com/kzPkBEh.png
things functioned reasonably. As I was starting to write all this, I was occasionally refreshing Rodrigo's profile page, and on Tuesday I saw this message: https://i.imgur.com/t8DEVPu.png
I thought, this must be it! Dude is done for!
But no, not only can TG not run a score dispute, they can't run a damn website either. The player profile link I had been following, the one that still comes up right now when you Google "Twin Galaxies Siliconian" - https://www.twingalaxies.com/siliconian
- stopped working. They changed site URLs that day, and a bunch of existing links are all broken, now. The new URL for Rodrigo's profile - https://www.twingalaxies.com/member.php/36224-Siliconian
- was still business as usual.
...at least for a few hours. Then Rodrigo's profile actually did change: https://i.imgur.com/NuUyulc.png
No official word, though. Does "BANNED" mean temporary, or permanent? All 8,468 of his scores were still there. It seems like, if you were TG admin, and if you were the sole party able to choose when this stuff would be implemented, you could... you know... have your closing statement ready to go for when you flip the switch. This dispute couldn't even end properly.
Almost five hours later, we finally got the word: https://i.imgur.com/FRZzVow.png
Okay, not a good start... https://i.imgur.com/VONhBc1.png
TG admin cited the fact that a lot of people put a lot of time and energy into investigating this dispute, while Rodrigo voluntarily told everyone he has the tape and refuses to share it. Apparently it matters that Rodrigo told everyone about the tape voluntarily, rather than the existence of the tape being deduced or discovered? TG admin also didn't care for the fact that Rodrigo suggested he would wait for a ban and then publish this totally-exonerating evidence after the fact, basically saying this conduct was unbecoming of a former TG ref who called on others to substantiate their claims many times: https://i.imgur.com/FriDuAP.png
Haha, somebody wasn't happy! As for the result: https://i.imgur.com/Fwxgywc.png
No explicit reason was given for why the punishment was bumped back up, although obviously it was the correct move. And the next day, the deed was done. TG admin then closed the official dispute thread, while opening a separate "Post-verdict" thread so people could continue bickering about irrelevant bullshit.
So what did we learn?
I think, deep down, in our heart of hearts, we know the answer:
Nothing we didn't already know. TL;DR: https://i.imgur.com/ZaCT9cC.png
UFC Fight Night Auckland Fight Predictions
submitted by Slayer_Tip to mmapredictions [link] [comments]
Goodevening everyone! I hope we're all doing well :)
This is a beautiful event, with hidden stars that will explode during the event. It's gonna be a fun one.
Sorry if there's a lack of clips and highlights... It's been a long week, lots of stuff that has me staying away from the computer. Went to my osteo to discuss my hip issues, clean bill of health but high chance of getting arthritis later on in life. A lot of other stuff is happening but i'm sure this is gonna put some people to sleep and others are just saying "why is he even talking about this shit for" etc. Lets get onto it.
(c) - Champ
(D) - Debut
FLS - Fight Lose Streak
FWS - Fight Win Streak
NS - No Streak
(#x) - Rank in Division
Lets go! Prelims Flyweight Shana Dobson (3-3-0, 2 FLS) v Priscilla Cachoeira (8-3-0, 3 FLS)
- I don’t have much at all to say about this fight, Dobson has had barely any success in her UFC career and her striking is somewhat rushed and stiff, which explains why she lost against some dangerous strikers. Most of the spotlight has been on the up-and-comers that she has fought against, Sabina Mazo and Lauren Mueller being the two that has recently defeated Dobson. So, can Dobson do what it takes to stop being a stepping stone for tougher competition? She’d currently 3-3-0, which is a fairly bad record for the UFC, and an issue if you were to compare that record with Cachoeira’s. **Cachoeira” is to a lot of fans, a filler fighter. There for the sake of making a fight happen. Yes, it’s true that she’s 0-3 in the UFC, but she was undefeated in prior regional bouts, and some of her opponents were far from horrible fighters. I feel like experience will be a huge factor here, I don’t care too much about their styles because both fighters are still rather undeveloped and are still working on their game. There’s not much to say about this fight, simply because these two fighters are still rookies in a long game. Cachoeira via UD Welterweight Maki Pitolo (12-5-0, NS) v Takashi Sato (15-3-0, NS)
is an interesting fighter, he’s got very good boxing, excellent accuracy and power. He’s an absolute fucking warrior, willing to go in and throw down with incredible combo’s
, not necessarily a head hunter, he’ll target anything that’s available with beautiful, beautiful strikes. Even these sequences of repeated liver shots
were powerful even in a clinch. Absolutely powerful boxer and I’m pretty excited to see him again. His only lacking area is on the ground, he doesn’t necessarily handle ground pressure very well, if he worked on that and maybe implemented it with his combo’s then we can maybe see a brand new Pitolo. Sato
is a relatively new fighter but he has made a statement. That statement being his left hand, because goddamn is it one hell of a punch
. Absolutely beautiful boxing and ground and pound. He did get submitted by Belal Muhammad last year but that means very little because I doubt he’s getting taken down by Pitolo. This is going to be a classic striking bout, but then again it’s MMA and with almost every fight that has two strikers, there’s always wrestling. Both of these fighters are incredible strikers and I can only see them improve. As to who is going to win? Sato has a hint of more experience so i’ll lean towards him, but boy is this a beautiful fight. Sato via KO R2 Women’s Strawweight Luma Lookboonmee (4-1-0, 2 FWS) v Angela Hill (11-7-0, 2 FWS)
- This is a pretty good match up, and this write up is going to be looong. Lookboonmee
is a very experienced Muay Thai fighter who has just recently transitioned to MMA with some success. She has multiple Muay Thai titles, and has started her training at a very young age. So many people are shoving her aside for Hill, and I disagree with that wholeheartedly. Lookboonmee comes from a long line of fighters, with her father owning a Muay Thai gym. I mean, shit, she has over 200 fights in her lifetime, not all are recorded from what i could research (From this website) but looking at all of this, we have a potential star, and with her being so young and so fresh on the MMA scene, and already winning in the UFC? Sign me the fuck up. Hill
has recently been on the JRE MMA Podcast and since then she’s gained a new fan, what a beautiful soul, and her telling us all about her experiences and her Journey to being a UFC fighter is just, incredible. Her finish over my girl Cifers broke my heart, it really did, I spoke about her so highly in her last fight. After that fight was finished I was absolutely shocked and admired how far Hill has improved her game. I get it, the women’s roster is as bland as a tuna sandwich that’s soggy and from a gas station in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, but there are stars shining, and this star is newly born. Hills striking has improved to be much more clean, and patient, that is, until the finish is very close, then she goes all in for the kill. This is an insane fight, On paper it’s a “eh who are these chicks” but when you look deeper into it, it’s secretly a banger. Deep inside I don’t care who wins, but I gotta pick and i’m riding a certain hype train, and that train is Hill, Whilst i did say that Lookboonmee had over a hundred fights, all of those fights had ZERO grappling and wrestling. She’s only 5 fights into her MMA career and there’s no doubt her wrestling is incredibly basic. This is why I think Hill will win this one. She’s MMA adapted. Hill via UD Flyweight Kai Kara-France (#7) (20-8-0, NS) v Tyson Nam (18-10-1, NS)
- Lets go! This fight is absolutely nuts on paper. Kara-France
is a very aggressive, fast kickboxer who utilizes excellent foot movement to create difficult angles for his opponents to cover. I will say that his last fight against Moreno surprised me, he was getting beaten on by what seemed to be a brand new killer, a Moreno 2.0. Don’t let his last performance sway you though, he is a prospect who tripped, he’ll get back up, and he’s fighting who was meant to be a huge debut, but ultimately fell flat. Kara-France has very tricky hands, in this clip
you see him somewhat change target mid-attack (went to the head first, then diverted the punch to the body), and slammed his power hand right into DLR’s face. Absolute beauty. His takedown defence
is very much there as well, granted DLR isn’t an exceptional grappler, but this sprawl was absolutely beautiful. Everything Kara-France does shows potential. Nam
was meant to be a big debut, someone who came into the UFC with 27 professional fights under his belt. He’s an okay kickboxer but he ultimately got outclassed by Sergio Pettis in his debut and that stunted any momentum he had coming into this fight. Nam is 36 years old and he just now is in the UFC. That’s a late start to a very large game, and he’s not facing duds in there, he’s facing an absolute killer, a young and hungry prospect who is fighting on him home soil, you so bet Kara-France is going into this fight with the intent to finish! Kara-France via KO R2 Welterweight Callan Potter (18-8-0, NS) v Kenan Song (15-5-0, NS)
- An interesting fight to say the least. Potter
is relatively new to the UFC but not new to the fight game. He’s a very well rounded striker who went to war against Pitolo and it was a show of two warriors going at it with very strong combo’s and wild flurries. Being relatively new, there’s not a whole lot to go on but Potter is always down for a great war. Song
is an incredible fighter, his fight against Alex Morono was an insane back and forth, and then his stunning victory over Derrick Krantz
was beautiful. Throughout all of his UFC career, Song has displayed excellent striking and accuracy, This feint of the knee followed by a strong head kick just shows how patient and how much he reads his opponent. Song has 9 first round finishes, one of those happened during his debut when he KO’d Nash with a beautiful straight right
. Another KO followed in his next fight when he fought Hector Aldana
, the same punch, but different round, regardless, Song has extreme power in his hands and once he finds a range and a target his opponent is in trouble. Song via KO R3 Welterweight Jake Matthews (15-4-0, NS) v Emil Meek (9-4-0, 2 FLS)
- This is an interesting fight. Matthews
is a local fighter and a fan favourite for us melbournians, we love the kid and he’s done a whole lot for the MMA community. He’s a very well rounded fighter who does really well on the ground and has a very standard mma striking style, kicks, punches, nothing too fancy but pretty effective. He’s a tough kid and won’t go down easily. He’s just not very technical at all, he’s a fighter plain and simple. Meek
where the fuck have you been? Your mother has been very worried about you. In all seriousness Meek used to be an iconic fighter, the dude looked like a viking, that was, until he lost to Usman and since then he’s been looking just, bad. I don’t know how I see him any more, he’s been inactive for a year and a bit now and I just can’t get a read on him, for now i’ll be leaning on my boy Matthews, but who knows what’s gonna happen. Matthews via Sub R2 Lightweight Jalin Turner (8-5-0, NS) v Joshua Culibao (#1 Featherweight Aus/NZ) (D) (8-0-0, 8 FWS)
is currently 1-2 in the UFC with one significant win over Potter (his name has been brought up a whole lot this prediction post), and it was by way of a beautiful combo KO
that put Potter to sleep. Turner is great as a striker but he’s still got a long way to go. I assume the jump to the UFC was maybe a little premature since he’s been dealt a hard blow by his two losses, but regardless, he’s still an interesting fighter to watch. Culibao
is making his debut coming off a strong 8 Fight Win Streak. That’s about as much as I know about him, so this will be somewhat of an educational bout, I don’t know what he’s really capable of, so i’ll be interested to see how he handles the UFC spotlight, one thing that excites me is his 8 FWS, he hasn’t exactly fought cans as well. I’m going on a whim here. Culibao via KO R2 Main Card Featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4-1, NS) v Kevin Aguilar (17-2-0, NS)
has been relatively inactive prior to his last fight, to explain, his last fight happened 5 months ago, but before that fight, it was 3 years 9 months ago. I just don’t feel like he’s shook off the cobwebs enough to fight against a high paced kid like Aguilar. Tukhugov is a decent wrestler, who IMO should have won his returning fight. But judges aren’t the smartest people in the world so what can ya do. Aguilar
is a grinder, an absolute warrior in the octagon, throwing down with very fast punches and always moving. He’s almost hard to keep up with when he’s fighting his opponents. He’s got a long way to go and whilst he isn’t the most exciting highlight reel fighter, he’s hungry and will go in with the intent to throw hands and get a win, which he has done a few times in the UFC. These two fighters, especially Aguilar, are still developing fighters and it’s going to be a very high paced fight. The story i feel, will be “can Tukhugov get the takedowns and negate Aguilar’s footwork and hand speed, or will Aguilar’s take down defence come into place and keep the fight on the feet and in his control?” It’ll be an interesting fight regardless, and I like what i see in Aguilar. Aguilar via UD Lightweight Magomed Mustafaev (14-3-0, NS) v Brad Riddell (7-1-0, 4 FWS)
- Woooo what a fight this is going to be, a battle between two gyms that has claimed a foothold in the MMA scene. Mustafaev
is a fucking animal, wanna see his power? It’s right here!
That spinning back kick had speed and cataclysmic power, and that’s the definition of Mustafaev. Absolute beast with incredible power, and he’s taking on one of the most exciting prospects of 2019. Riddell
went to absolute war against Mullarky in his debut and boy did these fighters leave it all in the Octagon in one of the best fights of 2019. This dude can throw down in absolute brawls. He doesn’t necessarily have power but he does have speed and ferocious aggression and that’s what you need when you come up against the Mustafaev. I love this fight. I really, really, really do. I don’t think Riddell has what it takes though, if he does take out Mustafaev than that’s one hell of a feat. Mustafaev via KO R1 Heavyweight Marcos Rogerio De Lima (16-6-1, NS) v Ben Sosoli (7-2-0, NS)
- This is a filler fight, plain and simple, and that’s rare to say for a Heavyweight fight, but ultimately there’s not much to say, these are just two big ass dudes banging it out for up to 15 minutes. As for whose going to win? Pick a side of the coin and go toss. I want to say Marcos will win but hell this is Heavyweight. I’ll go with Marcos anyway, you guys make your own damn pick. De Lima via KO R2 Women’s Strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz (#13) (12-5-0, 3 FLS) v Xiaonan Yan (11-1-0, 9 FWS)
- This is going to be a pure kickboxing fight I believe. KK
is on the verge of being kicked off the UFC, after suffering 3 losses, one of those by a devastating KO by Andrade. I have a bit of an issue with KK, and this happens with a handful of other women fighters. They’re timid, they don’t throw as much as they need to be effective. KK is a very good striker, don’t get me wrong, but when she fires, they’re like little taps in order to get points, she’s a point striker, plain and simple. Yan
On the other hand, has my keen attention. She is very reminiscent of Zhang in that her strikes are a mix of beautiful accuracy and deadly power. She’s very effective on her feet, mixing up her kicks and punches perfectly, and assessing range like a damn assassin. She’s a danger to so many Strawweights and I don’t think anyone should be sleeping on her. Yan has this. And if KK wins that’d be one hell of a surprise. Yan via KO R3 Co-Main Event Light Heavyweight Jimmy Crute (10-1-0, NS) v Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-3-0, NS)
- Anyone up for a war? Lets go to fucking war! This is a banger of a fight and I don’t even wanna dig deep with the analysis, im just, gonna post a few highlights and let the hype train do its work (shh, even sometimes I get a pass, right?) Crute
has excellent finish wins over Alvey
, two very tough fighters, and whilst he did get stopped by Cirkunov, i’m sensing a pattern here, that pattern is that he’s always fighting high calibre fighters, he’s not being drip fed any unworthy fighters, all of his opponents are veterans of combat sports and are damned tough. Oleksiejczuk
is a murderer in the cage, his right hand is absolutely nuclear. He has put to sleep Villante
, fighters who have taken big shots before and kept on moving. All in all, this is going to be an incredible appetiser for the main event. I’m backing my boy Crute on this one, another local fighter but fighting out of Bendigo, this medium-sized town that i go to regularly to look for gold and stuff (real talk), beautiful place, and if Crute makes it far, he might just find gold outside of his town. (not saying he’s going to be Jones or anything) Crute via KO R2 Main Event Lightweight Dan Hooker (#5) (19-8-0, 2 FWS) v Paul Felder (#6) (17-4-0, 2 FWS)
- It’s time! Hooker
has made great strides since he has joined the UFC all the way back in mid 2014, and once i saw him at the end of that fight i thought “this dudes something else”. I heard about him a few months prior through my gym and I was interested, but kinda unsure coz, this is the UFC, the world of Anderson Silva and GSP, would Hooker make it far? 6 years later and look at what we have here. Hooker is one of the most promising prospect in the most stacked division in the UFC. Hooker has made great strides and his kickboxing has only gotten better, he covers distance with relative ease and his long feints, that is, a punch that looks short but is actually a setup, is something he does very well. He’s an aggressive cardio machine that keeps on giving. His fight against Iaquinta was absolutely beautiful. He deserves every single bit of praise he gets from the community because we’re looking at a star, he had the balls to call out Felder in his post fight, whilst Felder was the Post fight interviewer. What a moment that was. Felder
is one of the most dangerous lightweights at the moment and no matter the result at the end of this fight, Him v Gaethje would be an instant yes from me. Felder is a wild, wild man, who throws everything and anything with the intent to kill, his spinning back kicks and spinning elbows are accurate (which is hard in itself). There’s one thing I would like to say here that maybe not everyone else is saying. Felder is a smart man. He’s incredibly knowledgeable in the fight game, and every time he’s doing commentary, explaining the intricate details of each fight that happens during the event, I learn something. Knowledge is valuable, but how much knowledge will be retained when he’s in the Octagon facing a young and hungry lion, a sold out stadium/arena (it will be sold out) screaming at the top of their lungs, their coaches screaming at both fighters, their heart beat, their breath, shits crazy in the Octagon and it aint so simple to fight as it is to watch and judge. Alright im getting way too spiritual up in this bitch, this is gonna be a beautiful, beautiful fight, and I feel like Hooker has what it takes. Felder has a chance too, who knows for this fight. Hooker via KO R3
I hope you guys enjoyed this write up. It probably did seem a little lazy at times but this week has been a mess. With my dad coming back from overseas next week i'll have a little less stress about money (and i can eat properly again, yay!) and can focus a bit more on doing these to the best of my ability, because i love what i do, i love this community, and i love this sport.
So much love :o Anyway, if you wish to keep in contact with me, i'm on discord @ Slayertip#7013 and i somewhat tweet here and there @Slayer_Tip
Have an excellent weekend guys, enjoy the event, unfortunately i'll probably miss most of it coz i'm going to my mums place on sunday morning, which is a blessing and a curse, but because she's my mum she's always a blessing.
Recommendations for MiedzCu (January 07, 19:30 GMT)
submitted by boardgamerecommender to boardgamerecommender [link] [comments]
[OC] Annual Reddit NBA Celebrity Game Preview - 2019
submitted by pimprowdy to nba [link] [comments]
I am back for my yearly post on nba
, breaking down the most anticipated game of the NBA Season, the Celebrity Game. This game will likely feature low quality basketball, large stretches of time where the camera focusing on things not happening on the court and a surprise celebrity entrant or two. The “Home” team will feature celebrities with ties to Carolina, the “Away” will feature the remaining celebrities. The term “celebrity” gets a looser definition every passing year with this game. There are even “celebrities” without Wikipedia pages playing in this year’s game! I was also surprised by how few of the celebrities in this game even played High School basketball. However, thank all your gods that Nick Cannon is finally not in this game. It took an agonizing ten years for the NBA/ESPN to realize that no one wants him here. This game will also feature a “Hometown Hero” on each team, a non-celebrity person who has committed heroic acts in the last year. This year’s game will feature the 4-point line for the entirety of the game (it was only used in the second half last year) – which the NBA will hopefully implement for the Finals later this year. Every player’s scouting report includes their 4-point shot making potential.
If you want to check my credentials, lasts year’s breakdown located here
. I feel comfortable declaring myself to be the world’s foremost expert on the shit post of All-Star Weekend. I was not able to find data/footage of many of the celebrities that will be playing in this year’s game. I ended up having to judge player’s skills without as much evidence to base it on as I have had in previous years.
Check out a podcast
where I discussed this year's Celebrity Game and the Celebrity Game in General.
: Friday, February 15, 2019, 7:00PM, ESPN, Bojangles Coliseum. Betting Odds:
Away Team -10 Over Under:
Break downs of the rosters for each team are below:
This is the worst Celebrity Game roster since 2013. The team is old and lacks size, talent and athleticism. I have a hard time seeing how they can keep up with the Away Team. Steve Smith is the wild card player who could have a huge game to help pull off the upset. Head coach Dawn Staley will need to have the team buy into a defensive philosophy to keep the game close, but few people show up to celebrity games to play defense.
The roster has eight guards and four forwards. The starting line-up should be Williams, Wilson, Smith, Los and Smoove. I am not expecting huge efforts from Williams and Wilson, but Los and Smith should provide some athleticism and scoring for the first unit. Smoove is on the floor because he is tall. The bench provides nothing and there is no second unit, hopefully the starters are still in shape. This game may not end up being competitive.
Age: 42 Height: 6’3” Weight: 200 lbs
High school: Calhoun County
College: South Carolina
This will be Colter’s first appearance in the Celebrity Game. Colter has no known history of playing basketball and I cannot find a record of him appearing in any other celebrity games. His size and athleticism are both above average for this game, he should be able to grab some boards score at the rim. 4-Point Potential: Low
Age: 39 Height: 5’8” Weight: 180 lbs
High school: Fluvanna County
Daughtry will be making his debut in the Celebrity Game. I was unable to find any basketball history on Daughtry. His height and weight are both below average for this game. He also will not be one of the younger players in this game. I do not have high expectations. 4-Point Potential: Low
Age: 36 Height: 5’9” Weight: 165
High school: Northern Nash
College: North Carolina A&T State
Terrence J returns for his fifth appearance in the Celebrity Game after taking a two-year hiatus. In his most recent outing in 2016, he posted a triple-single with 3 rebounds, 4 points and 1 steal in 14 minutes, putting up a solid -15 in plus/minus. Terrence J is not an accomplished baller and I have low hopes for his production in this game. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 29 Height: 5’11” Weight: 165
High school: Riverside-Durham (Played Varsity)
College: Union (Played Varsity)
Los is yet another Celebrity Game rookie. Los has the pedigree of having averaged 37 points per game in High School and Playing in the NCAA Division II. He had a hard time getting on the court in college, but that background makes him one of the best players in this game. He is a quick, scoring guard, who struggles defensively, but there won’t be many players in this game who are difficult to guard. I can see him being a star for this team and an MVP candidate. Instagram stars who have a basketball background have a track record a success in this game. Los will see minutes since he is also going to be expected to provide some comedic relief during the game. 4-Point Potential: medium
Age: 58 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: Tower Hill
Dr. Oz last appeared in the Celebrity Game in 2010. Dr. Oz does not ooze athleticism, but he does have a basketball court in his basement. His greatest achievements in hoops include feats such as beating Jill Martin in a game of HORSE on the Today Show. Dr. Oz is a decent jump shooter; however, he starts his shot from way too low and will need a ton of space to shoot. He is to old to start, but maybe he can help off the bench as a spot-up shooter. 4-Point Potential: Low
Age: 36 Height: 5’3” Weight: Unknown
High school: Unknown
College: North Carolina State
Rapsody has also never played in the Celebrity Game before. Her height is going to be a major issue in this game. She has played in the 2018 BET Celebrity Game, so she has the right kind of experience for this game. Rapsody is another player that won’t make an impact on the game. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 37 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: Unknown
Bo Rinehart is making his initial entry into the Celebrity Game. There is almost no information about him available for me to determine what type of skills he has. I am going to guess that he is not good. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 53 Height: 6’4” Weight: 220 lbs
High school: Mount Vernon
College: Norfolk State
Smoove played in the 2012 Celebrity Game, and failed to make an impact. He has great height and weight for this game, but he is over 50, so I don’t think he will be on the floor a whole lot or have the required athleticism to keep up. 4-Point Potential: low
(former NFL Player)
Age: 39 Height: 5’9” Weight: 195lbs
High school: Los Angeles
Steve Smith is yet another Celebrity Game rookie. Somewhat surprisingly, Smith did not play basketball in High School. Smith is an elite athlete and has the potential to dominate this game. He should start and will most likely be the primary scoring option for this time. He does not help the Home Team’s height issue, but he does help with the team’s complete lack of athleticism. 4-Point Potential: medium
Age: 22 Height: 6’4” Weight: 195 lbs
High school: Heathwood Hall Episcopal (2014 High School Player of the Year)
College: South Carolina (2018 National Player of the Year)
Wilson will be making her NBA Celebrity Game debut. Wilson has everything that the rest of this team doesn’t: height, skills, youth and athleticism. The only thing she can’t do is shoot from range. She averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds per game in her first season in the WNBA. Wilson will be the best player on this team, but the WNBA players have a long history of putting no effort into this game. Despite her talent, I expect her to be on the floor for about 15 minutes with no effort or production. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 37 Height: 6’2” Weight: 195 lbs
High school: St. Joseph (All American)
College: Duke (National Player of the Year)
This will be Jay Williams first appearance in the Celebrity Game. If he had a functioning left knee, he would be the best player on this team be a wide margin. In his lone NBA season, Williams averaged 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 26 minutes per game. He was not an efficient scorer, however. I am not expecting much effort from Williams but he could be a sleeper MVP candidate if he decides this game matters to him. 4-Point Potential: high
Age: 47 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: Unknown
The “Hometown Heroes” are a new addition to this year’s Celebrity Game. He drove a military transport vehicle into Hurricane Florence to rescue stranded people, so I won’t roast him here. I don’t expect the Hometown Heroes to play more than 5 minutes or impact the game. 4-Point Potential: low
Dawn Staley (US Women’s National Team Coach)
Dawn Staley is slightly over qualified to be coaching in this cluster of a game. This team has barely any talent and may require a first-rate effort by the coach. Historically, the coaches don’t actually coach and mostly chat with the commentators on the sideline, but maybe Staley can buck that trend, since most of the other people who have coached in this game had never a coached a game before in their lives.
Player Skill Ranking:
- Jay Williams
- A’ja Wilson
- Steve Smith
- Famous Los
- JB Smoove
- Dr. Oz
- Terrence J.
- Mike Colter
- Chris Daughtry
- Bo Rinehart
- Jason Weinman
The Away Team is comprised of four veterans and eight rookies to the celebrity game. The roster has six guards and six forwards. This is a large line-up for a Celebrity game and will lead to dominating the glass. This team also has a good mix of skills on the team including ball handlers, spot shooters and post players. They should be able score for anywhere on the floor. The starting line-up is more talented than the Home Team and most of the players on the bench bring something to the table. I think Quavo will likely dominate the game again, with Ronnie 2K and Ray Allen as secondary scorers. North Carolina’s D-list celebrities are seriously out gunned against the rest of the world’s D-list celebrities. I would start Quavo, Allen, 2K, Dolson and Ray. Bad Bunny and Shaw should be able to bring some energy off the bench. Lasry can provide limited second unit scoring. Buckley’s production is a wild card, but this team doesn’t need any help. I think that the Away Team has a better roster and should win this game easily.
Age: 35 Height: 6’5” Weight: Unknown
High school: Redwood
College: California – San Diego
Ronnie 2K will be making his inaugural Celebrity Game appearance. I expect Ronnie to continue the recent success of social media stars in the Celebrity Game. Ronnie has NBA height, good handles and 3-point range. I think that he will have a big role on this team, but the stacked roster could keep his individual stats down. Ronnie will play good minutes, score and rebound and could be the games MVP. 4-Point Potential: High
(former NBA player)
Age: 43 Height: 6’5” Weight: 205lbs
High school: Hillcrest (Played Varsity)
College: Connecticut (All American)
Ray Allen is way to good to belong in this game. He could probably still be a bench player in the NBA if he wanted to be. Ray Allen is one of the best shooters of all time and has exceptional height, handles and athleticism for this game. His twitter skills
are not up to modern Celebrity Game standards. If Allen decided he wants to put effort, he could dominate this game. I expect that he will mostly stand around and shoot a couple of 3’s and 4’s, but if he hits a few, it will make a big impact on the game. 4-Point Potential: very high
Age: 41 Height: 5’9” Weight: 185lbs
High school: St. Thomas Moore
A.J. Buckley is….. you guessed it, another rookie to the Celebrity Game. While Buckley’s physical stats are what the ideal male body looks like for attracting females, it is not the ideal body for round ball. I couldn’t find any information on his life as a baller, so I am going to project the Buckley will not be a factor in this game. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 24 Height: 6’0” Weight: 175lbs
High school: Unknown
College: Puerto Rico at Arecibo
This will be Bad Bunny’s first NBA Celebrity Game appearance, though he did appear in the 2016 Reggaeton Celebrity Game. Unfortunately, there isn’t much footage from that game available. (Maybe I should start of database of Celebrity Game footage). Bad Bunny is one of the younger players in this game, and thus should be expected to hustle on defense. He has above average height as well. I can see him putting up a state line close to 1 steal, 2 points and 2 rebounds in 7 minutes. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 27 Height: 6’5” Weight: 214 lbs
High school: Minisik Valley High School (Played Varsity)
College: University of Connecticut (Played Varsity)
Dolson is a WNBA All-Star, who will be making her second appearance in the Celebrity Game. Dolson once again will have a large height advantage over almost everyone in this game. Last year she stayed true to the WNBA tradition of putting zero effort into this game and played 12 minutes without taking a shot or recording a steal, rebound or assist. She did manage to commit 3 fouls. In the WNBS she is primarily a rebounder but has a good finishing touch on the post as well. She can also step out and hit around 40% from 3. Despite the abundant skills, I predict that Dolson’s performance will be no different from last year and that she will be a non-factor. 4-Point Potential: low
(Milwaukee Bucks owner)
Age: 58 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: Unknown
Lasry has played in the past three Celebrity Games. His most impressive achievement was putting up a game low -20 in plus/minus in 2016, while putting up 8 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes. He played less in 2017 and was mainly used to guard fellow owner Mark Cuban. In 2018, he was on the court for 9 minutes and scored 3 points while grabbing 2 rebounds. Lasry is old, slow and short, but has sneaky old man game. He is good at back door cuts, being in good spots on the floor and has a good mid-range jumper. He is a liability on the defensive end, being an old man and everything. Lasry can help off the bench, but it would be a mistake for him to see big minutes, last year’s 9 minutes was about double what I would want him to play. 4-Point Potential: None
Age: 33 Height: 6’0” Weight: 175lbs
High school: Davis
In 2017, Minhaj show cased why he cut three times from his high school basketball team when his team in the Celebrity Game was blown out by 29 points in one of the most lopsided Celebrity Games in history. He is not good and won’t offer much production. 4-Point Potential: none
Age: 27 Height: 5’10” Weight: 163lbs
High school: Berkmar
Quavo previously appeared as a surprise entrant in last year’s Celebrity Game and skrrrt’d all over the competition, posting 19 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting 7 of 10 from the floor and playing a game high 36-minutes. He was voted as the game’s MVP. Quavo is quick, can shoot and can handle the ball and most importantly, actually puts effort into this game. He is going to lead this team and scoring and could repeat as MVP. Steve Smith is probably the only player on the Home Team that can guard him. 4-Point Potential: medium
Age: 35 Height: 6’2” Weight: Unknown
High school: Shorecrest (Played Varsity)
College: Southern California
Ray will be making his Celebrity Game debut. He played Varsity basketball in Highschool, which puts him ahead of many of the other players in this game in terms of basketball pedigree. He has good height for this game. I was not able to find any footage of him playing (a theme this year), but based on physical attributes, I think he should start at forward. He should be able to help on the boards. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 35 Height: 4’4” Weight: 104lbs
High school: Sunny Hills
College: Southern California
Brad Williams will be making his first appearance in the Celebrity Game. As part of ESPN’s desperate quest to replace Kevin Hart, he will be the first player born with achondroplasia to appear in the game. Being dwarf comedian who likes to make jokes about his height, Williams will most likely have a comedic role in this game. He will probably attempt a 4-point shot and get repeatedly stuffed. 4-Point Potential: low
Age: 37 Height: 5’5” Weight: 135lbs
High school: Dr. Phillips
Amanda Seales is one of 17 rookies who will be appearing in the Celebrity Game. I don’t expect that Seales will be the first female celebrity to goo off in this game. At a Towering 5’5”, she is going to struggle in her small minutes in this game. 4-Point Potential: low
James Shaw Jr.
Age: 30 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: Hunters Lane (Played Varsity)
College: Tennessee State
James Shaw is the other “Hometown Hero” who will be appearing in this Celebrity Game. Shaw is the man who charged at and disarmed the shooter in the Nashville Waffle House Shooting. Shaw played basketball in high school, and I think that he may be able to contribute in the small amount of minutes that he will see the floor. 4-Point Potential
Sue Bird (WNBA Player)
Sue Bird is two-time veteran of the Celebrity Game. She may be able to use this unique insight to guide her team to victory. Though realistically, all she needs to do it keep Quavo on the floor for an easy win.
Player Skill Ranking:
- Ray Allen
- Stephanie Dolson
- Ronnie 2K
- Adam Ray
- James Shaw Jr.
- Bad Bunny
- AJ Buckley
- Marc Lasry
- Hasan Minaj
- Amanda Seales
- Brad Williams
2019 MLB Betting Primer
submitted by duncanbishop24 to sportsbook [link] [comments]
This is meant to be an introduction to statistics, players, analysis, etc for betting on MLB.
I mainly copy/pasted from the prior year and made a few small edits. Feel free to correct me if a link doesn't work or there are things that don't make sense. If there are typos you can keep that to yourself and enjoy this #HotContent I'm producing.
2016 MLB Primer - I basically copy/pasted that one here and updated with more stuff. Mostly just a giant karma grab https://www.reddit.com/sportsbook/comments/4czxc3/mlb_betting_prime?st=j0zbmx12&sh=41106bb6
2018? MLB Primer - I Called it 2017 but it says I posted it a year ago. https://www.reddit.com/sportsbook/comments/62t2a4/mlb_betting_primer_2017_uduncanbishop24/
##**Baseball Betting points:**
* Unlike most sports, the lineups change every day so it is pretty important to check the lineup/starter.
* Likewise, not many sports outside of football and baseball have weather effects. Air Density has different effects on the flights of baseball. "The numbers that I have found just by looking at the data, are that a 10 degree Fahrenheit change in temperature will change the distance by something like 2.5 feet." http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/changes-in-air-density-can-aff/28805375
* Also, there are park factors. Some parks are pitcher friendly (AT&T, Dodger Stdium, Citi Field) and others are hitter friendly (Coors Field, Fenway, Chase Field) Source using '18 data https://www.fangraphs.com/guts.aspx?type=pf&season=2018&teamid=0&sort=2,d
* Bullpens sometimes suck (Angels 98 MD Meltdowns) and can ruin a lot of bets by blowing a game. Consider this and consider a 5-inning line.
* A big part of betting is considering the two matchups that are going on the whole game. Home team Offense vs. Away team defense and vice versa. They are two pretty distinct matchups since lineups are made to neutralize an opposing pitcher using platoon splits.
Everyone has pretty much heard of Moneyball and SABRmetrics, but this is an attempt to simplify the complexities of advanced analytics into something that is much easier to understand.
Background: In the old days, Wins for a pitcher was considered a great statistic to measure a pitcher by. More wins surely means better pitcher. Then analysts realized that a pitcher can’t really control how much offensive support he gets. ERA measures how many earned runs a pitcher allows per 9 innings, and it's a quick way to analyze a pitcher's ability to suppress opponent offense.
But what if a pitcher has a worse defense which allows more balls in play to be converted into outs? The goal of advanced analysis is to remove luck or other factors, like sequencing, from a pitchebatter’s performance.
For example, a pitcher can control three things, Walks/Strikeouts/Homeruns. Everything else involves the defense. Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is a statistic that uses only those three statistics and is on the same scale as ERA. You can see if a pitcher is getting “lucky” or “unlucky”. That’s the goal of sabermetrics, removing luck/differences.
Below is a table showing sabermetric statistics and some quick points about them.
Abv. & Link | Meaning | Measures | Comments
) | Earned Run Average| Measures the amount of runs a pitcher allows per 9 Innings Pitched (IP) | One of the easiest ways to measure pitchers, but it has its flaws as well.
) & xFIP(http://www.fangraphs.com/library/pitching/xfip/
) |(expected) Fielding Indepent Pitching | Measures what a player’s ERA would look like over a given period of time if the pitcher were to have experienced league average results on balls in play and league average timing.| These are on the same scale as ERA so it is easy to compare
)| (Walks+Hits)/IP| Quick measure of how many base runners a pitcher allows per inning| 1.00 or less is Excellent, 1.32 is avg, 1.60+ is Awful
GB%, LD%, FB%(http://www.fangraphs.com/library/pitching/batted-ball/
) | Ground ball%, Line Drive%, Fly Ball% | This measures the types of balls in play a pitcher is allowing (or a hitter is putting in play)| Batters hit .685 on line drives, .239 on grounders, .207 on flyballs. Flies have the highest power though.
) | Batting Average on Balls In Play | Take all the strikeouts and HR out of a pitcher (or batter) stats and look at the Hits/AB | Typically around 30% of all balls in play fall for hits, but there are several variables that can affect BABIP rates for individual players, such as defense, luck, and talent level. Hitters have more control over their BABIP than pitchers do
Plate Discipline( http://www.fangraphs.com/library/pitching/plate-discipline-o-swing-z-swing-etc/
) | Click Link for more Detail | Measures the abilities of batters/pitchers to judge pitches during an at bat | Useful for strikeout totals on certain pitchers/teams
) | Homeruns allowed per fly ball allowed | HFB is very important because it offers insight into how “lucky or unlucky” a pitcher’s home run rate might be. Home runs kill pitchers, but because they’re a relatively rare event a few lucky or unlucky moments one way or the other can dramatically alter a pitcher’s season.| League average is around 10% and true talent for almost every pitcher is about 8-12%.
- | **Hitting** | **Statistics** | -
) | weighted On Base Average | One of the most important and popular catch-all offensive statistics to measure a hitter’s overall offensive value, based on the relative values of each distinct offensive event.| Not park adjusted
OPS & OPS+(http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/ops/
) | On-Base + Slugging | Quick/easy way to analyze a hitter’s performance | Many sabermetricians don’t like OPS because it treats OBP as equal in value with SLG, while OBP is roughly twice as important as SLG in terms of its effect on run scoring
wRC & wRC+( http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/wrc/
) | weighted Runs Created | This is another “catch all” statistic for hitters. | For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances.
) | Isolated Power | Slugging%-Avg – This is a measure of power | .250=Excellent .60=Awful
K% & BB%(http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/rate-stats/
) | K/PA & BB/PA | Measures a hitter’s tendencies to strike out and walk | Works for pitchers too. Awful=30%K 4%BB – Excellent=10%K 15%BB
Soft%, Med%, Hard%( http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/quality-of-contact-stats/
) | Measure of Exit Velo | This measures the exit velo for (hitter) or against (pitcher) | Someone who hits more hard balls over a large sample size will see more success than a player who doesn't. Consider looking a player's exit velo numbers on baseball savant to get an idea of their Average and their max exit velo.
) | Wins Above Replacement | Some consider it the holy grail of baseball statistics. Incorporates every aspect of the game. | Excellent is 10. So since there are 162 games, it doesn’t do much for a single player for a single game.
I plan to focus more on K% and BB% than K/9 and BB/9 statistics. K% for batters stabilizes pretty quickly which is nice.
Here's a good link of how to evaluate a player http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/5/26/5743956/sabermetrics-stats-offense-learn-sabermetrics
##**Statcast & MLBAM**
What is MLBAM?
* "MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) is a limited partnership of the club owners of Major League Baseball based in New York City and is the Internet and interactive branch of the league."
What is Statcast?
* Statcast is a way to get statistics via video analysis. MLB owns statcast and they measure statistics such as Exit Velo, Launch Angle, Route Efficiency, Pitch Speed, Spin Rate, etc. This year they're adding Hit% and Catch%, however I'm not fully onboard with these new statistics. They have sortable tables(http://m.mlb.com/statcast/leaderboard#avg-hit-velo
) for these things.
This stuff might not be the most useful in single game prediction, maybe if a pitcher has a high exit velo allowed, but it's good for knowing player profiles which can help with DFS, Fantasy, player props, and even lineup evaluation.
Q: Where do I get data from?
A: Personally, I've got everything I need from FanGraphs
or Baseball Reference
. Brooks Baseball
is great for analyzing a pitcher using pitch f/x to see what pitch composition/movement/speed they're using and how it changes year over year and game by game. Baseball Savant
is also rolling out a ton of stuff constantly. It's a great source for numbers on exit velo, launch angle, xStats, spin rates, pitch velo, extensions, defensive shift numbers, player rankings and visualizations. They have also posted matchup previews for games now.
I know people who use Batter vs. Pitcher (BvP) statistics also find those on ESPN (I just google the team/pitcher they're facing). I personally don't find the sample size of these statistics to be meaningful unless you're weighting them with similar players which is too much work for me.
Q: How can I start to make a model?
A: Understanding what certain statistics measure. How you plan to use those to forecast/predict the outcome of a game, whether its the ML or o/u. Automating your model to get all of the data in one place for you eliminates you making an error and also is much faster.
Q: How can I learn more about baseball, learn rosters, or keep up with this 'crazy' 162 game schedule.
A: Play video games, fantasy (not DFS), watch games to learn rosters. To keep up with news just follow fantasy news, or listen to any podcasts regarding baseball. **Links to podcasts take you to the iTunes page. The name links take you to their author page on respective websites.** Personal favorites:
* Fangraphs Audio https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=356200509
by Meg Rowley (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/authomegrowle
) feat. the various writers of FanGraphs.
* Effectively Wild https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/effectively-wild-a-fangraphs-baseball-podcast/id545919715?mt=2
- Ben Lindberg \The Ringer\https://theringer.com/@BenLindbergh
, Sam Miller, and the aforementioned Meg Rowley donate to them herehttps://www.patreon.com/effectivelywild
* For fantasy I like The Sleeper and the Busthttps://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fangraphs-fantasy-baseball/id638494223?mt=2
- Paul Sporer \fangraphs\http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/authopjs24/
feat. guests like Justin Masonhttps://fantasy.fangraphs.com/authojustinmason/
and Jason Collettehttp://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/authojasoncollette/
* For Statcast, there is a StatCast podcast hosted by Matt Meyershttps://twitter.com/mtmeyers?lang=en
and Mike Petriellohttps://twitter.com/mike_petriello
Q: What does a certain abbreviation mean?
A: just ask. seriously someone will answer and we all start somewhere. I'll be on the MLB daily's a lot.
Cannabis Beverages - A Game Changer
submitted by Meadhead81 to weedstocks [link] [comments]
Well, maybe I wrote too much this time and no one will read this lol. There are so many aspects and factors which play into this issue that it’s hard to not keep rambling on. This may be a little more disorganized and less fleshed out than my other write ups, but I’m exhausted so take it as it is ya filthy animals. Also special shout out to u/NotaRuskiTroll
for sending me some awesome links and outlining many companies in this sector who are involved with beverages.
A portion of this write up is break down of what cannabis beverages are and differentiating factors from edibles or current beverages on the market. It also has a small portion regarding the evolution of this sector from black-grey-white market. The majority of the write up is a stance defending beverages likely success in the adult use and general cannabis CPG industry. It tackles some issues regarding the stigma of smoking/vaping vs drinking as well as some basic statistics surrounding these consumption methods in the general populace. There is also some quick points at the end regarding mass cultivation and dried cannabis product quality.
- (1) Introduction
- (2) Painting A Picture. What Are These Beverages?
- (A) An Important Distinction Regarding Cannabis Beverages and Alcohol
- (B) An Important Distinction Regarding The Effects Of Cannabis Beverages and Edibles
- The Black Market (underground market)
- The Grey - White Market Transition (emerging market)
- The Future (mature market)
- (3) The Appeal Of Cannabis Beverages
- (A) Smoking - Stigma, Health, and Statistics
- Concluding Thoughts
- (B) Drinking - Stigma, Health, and Statistics
- Stigma and Health
- Concluding Thoughts
- (4) The Naysayers: Why Beverages Will Not Be A Huge Success
- (A) Traditional Methods of Consumption and Personal Bias
- (B) Current Beverages In The US
- (C) Edibles
- (D) Vested Interests
- (5) Product Quality & Cultivation - Why It Doesn’t Much Matter...Yet
- (A) Product Quality
- (B) Mass Cultivation & Low-Cost Production
- (6) Conclusion
I wanted to do a write up regarding recreational derivative products, specifically cannabis beverages. Much of the focus of this write is regarding the potential impact of recreational cannabis beverages and the possible future success and mass appeal of such a product. This has been a topic of debate in subs such as weedstocks
and there seems to be two sides of believer and non-believers as well as those who don’t seem to grasp the concept of why these beverages will have such an impact...
My stance is pro-beverage and I very much believe that cannabis beverages will be a real game change and likely make up for a significant (dare I say majority?) of future sales in the global cannabis market. This is a very important area of focus for many Canadian LP’s and US operators alike. I wanted to write about this topic for many reasons such as:
- Education: What are these beverages? Why are they important?
- Statistics and Social Impacts: The likely appeal of beverages and health considerations.
- Mass Cultivation and Low-cost Production: Why it’s not very important in the big picture.
- Current Beverages: Why they aren’t a projection of future success or failure.
(2) Painting A Picture. What Are These Beverages?
To start and for those who may not know...let’s cover exactly what these beverages are and why they are special...if you find yourself a little lost in the basics here, then check out my previous write up which will give you a basic introduction to the cannabis sector
; plural noun: derivatives
- something that is based on another source.
So what these cannabis beverages are is essentially a derivative product of cannabis. Rather than growing the plant, picking the bud, and processing/packaging that dry bud for sale to the consumer to buy and smoke to feel the effects...you are growing the plant, picking the bud, processing and extracting the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids), then using that extracted product as an ingredient in combining it with another products (chocolate bars, gummy bears, mints, tea, beverages, etc). I imagine THC/CBD beverages could/will have wide variety of flavor profiles and application for various reasons or consumer appeal...but for the sake of painting a picture, let’s picture a common flavor profile that I imagine most are familiar with which is a margarita. We have the following as a recipe
- 2 ounces tequila made from 100 percent agave, preferably reposado or blanco
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt for garnish
Tequila, cointreau, lime juice, and salt is what makes a margarita. Now let’s imagine that one of our favorite cannabis companies swaps out the tequila for THC extract and swaps out the Cointreau for orange juice. You now have a THC margarita “cannabis cocktail”
that tastes like a margarita but delivers the buzz from the THC
in cannabis, rather than the buzz from alcohol in a normal margarita. I would bet a specific beverage of this variety would be consumed for the same reasons you might consume an actual alcoholic beverage (social lubricant, enjoyment of the effects, etc). With this in mind as an example, there are a couple of things to be aware of in regards to the specifics of a cannabis beverage and why it will impact the industry and consumption methods. (A) An Important Distinction Regarding Cannabis Beverages and Alcohol
One very important distinction to make and I’ll say this because there always seems to be confusion regarding this on this sub; these upcoming cannabis beverages will not have
any alcohol in them.
These beverages are only going to contain cannabis derivatives in their “active ingredients”
and will only deliver the effects from those ingredients; as in they will deliver the high from THC, the wellness benefits from CBD, or other effects from different cannabinoids. Different beverages might very well contain combinations of cannabinoids, delivering a slight high from THC alongside CBD to relax and refresh and/or include other cannabinoids. This is a new industry and lots of R&D is being done so we have yet to see the full potential of the plant or map out every cannabinoid and its effects, but we have a good grasp on the most well known cannabinoids (THC and CBD).
Again, in case you didn’t get that. These are stand alone cannabis drinks that will not
have any alcohol in them or be combined with alcohol. (B) An Important Distinction Regarding The Effects Of Cannabis Beverages and Edibles
I’m young but I’m old enough to have experience with cannabis in many stages of the development of this industry. For those who may have never tried or seldomly tried cannabis edibles, here is a quick rundown into that and why these beverages will be a big deal.... The Black Market (underground market) -
Prior to any degree of legalization you were buying black market dry bud from a dealer to smoke and in terms of edibles...you might have known someone who could take the THC from dry bud, extract it into some oil, and use that oil to make THC butter, cookies, or most famously “special brownies
”. These edibles were typically casually crafted and were a small time operation; I like to picture Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in season 1 of Breaking Bad working out of their RV and crafting small batches of meth, except it’s weed brownies and it was probably done in someone's kitchen.
If you ate one of these black market edibles, you were in for a ride. You really had no clue what you were getting. How much THC was in them? Your buddy or dealer might say “these are pretty strong man. I got f\
*cked up the other day”* and word of mouth was the only unit of measurement of the dosage or strength of the effect. CBD? What’s that. The taste of weed was very strong and the smell was just as comparable to the taste. All you knew was that you ate one and you got high. How high? Who knows. You would eat one of these edibles at noon and you might feel it kick in 30 minutes later or it might not hit you until 2 hours later. How much more intense was the high going to get from where you are currently at? Only time could tell you. How long would it last? You might wake up the next day and still feel a little stoned... The Grey - White Market Transition (emerging market) -
As states and countries come online via decriminalization or legalization of medical or recreational cannabis, we’ve generally seen a kind of wild west going on in terms of products available, dosages, product claims, the regulatory environment, and enforcement of regulations. Storefronts that aren’t licensed to sell cannabis products exist. Products are sitting on the shelves that make wild claims about their effects or benefits (think CBD snake oil cure all). People are buying dry bud according to the strain genetics and no real established brands or true refined products exist. In a certain sense, we are still in this phase in many different jurisdictions and countries (although we are at the tail end) but overall we are on the cusp of a true white market emerging. Regulations are being adjusted according to what is or isn’t working. Trusted brands are being established and true consistent, compliant, and regulated products are developing. So in the edibles arena, some things have changed from the black market days and some things haven’t.
Anyone in-the-know of the cannabis industry or current users of cannabis are aware of THC and CBD. We have products containing either THC or
CBD or THC and
CBD. We even have measurements and the US market seems to be regulating itself well in maximizing a package of THC edibles at 100 mg’s per package with a standard single dose at 10 mg’s, like a hershey’s chocolate bar (100 mg’s in the bar, 10’s mg’s per piece). The products are much more advanced than some generic “pot brownies”
and are comparable to any general candy, sweet/tart treat, mints, gum, or tea in its flavor, consistency, and quality; these products might have little to no weed flavor or smell as well. The dosing issues seem to have improved slightly, but this is still the one main sticking points that hasn’t been perfected yet. You still can’t compare or predict the on-set or time length of intoxication like you can with alcohol. The Future (mature market) -
We are right on the edge of future developments and product rollouts and we’ll see edibles come online in Canada sometime around Oct 2019. The claims and developments towards these beverages and what makes them special is real a game changer for this industry. Special nanotechnology (to create rapid on-set) and water soluble extraction techniques (for a proper beverage, no oily residue) as well as controls to limit the on-set, is what will make these beverages so groundbreaking and likely redefine mainstream cannabis consumption methods and expand the appeal. In maintaining a consistent low-dosage (say 2.5% THC) while controlling the onset of the intoxication (feeling the effects consistently within minutes of consumption) and maintaining a consistent timeline for how long the effects last (say 45-60 minutes until you’re sober)
you have the formula for a very consumer-friendly product that is comparable to drinking a beer or glass of wine in that people will be able to “self dose” in terms of knowing what they can personally handle and how it will affect them according to the alcohol percentage, proof or ABV (in this case THC percent or amount of other active ingredients).
This is a focus of companies such as CannTrust as well as Canopy and you can learn more from the likes of Brad Rogers interview
(CannTrust) or Bruce Linton interview with Cramer
(Canopy Growth). Other companies working on or having strategic beverage partnerships are the likes of Hexo, Tilray, InBev, Dixie, Hill St Bev (courtesy of u/NotaRuskiTroll
So wrapping things up and keeping the THC margarita in mind. This is a big step for the industry in terms of developing a new beverage that “acts” similar to alcohol in it’s onset and length of effects, while having an appealing or familiar taste and containing zero-low calories. It’s as simple as going to the store to pick up a six pack of pre-made margaritas containing
2.5% THC and drinking a few to get a
high all while sobering up by the end of the night and going to sleep.
(3) The Appeal Of Cannabis Beverages
I hope I’ve done a good job laying the groundwork so far, just joking, I know I have since I’m damn good. Let’s start to get into the meat of things here. If you aren’t getting the idea of why the development of these beverages is likely to be so impactful from the concept, then let’s take a look at the general market and overall consumption trends…
Generally speaking, it seems that the people who are consuming cannabis in legalized markets tend to be a majority of people who likely consumed cannabis before any rollback of prohibition. Remember the black market I wrote about above? That’s the world they all come from. If you wanted to get high, you rolled a joint, ripped a bong, hit the pipe, or you ate a volatile brownie. Some people may not mind smoking, some might even prefer smoking, and some probably were “forced” to smoke because they just wanted the effects but had no other convenient means to consume it. Brownies and edibles seemed to be more of an occasional treat than a daily activity. Although edibles do seem to be increasing in popularity since they’ve come so far in the legitimate markets. “In Washington state, edibles sales rose 121 percent last year, according to cannabis analytics firm Headset Inc. Then there's Colorado, where edibles sales tripled between the first quarter of 2014 and the third quarter of 2016, soaring from $17 million to $53 million!”
- Green Entrepreneur
- Article also has lots of great reasons on why
edibles are rising in popularity.
Let’s dig into the trends of what we can know about methods of consumption across the general populace… (A) Smoking - Stigma, Health, and Statistics Health -
It’s no secret, inhaling smoke into your lungs is not good for your health. I don’t care if it’s “corporate tobacco laced with nicotine man”
or your buddy’s “dank organic grandpa kush AK-47 pure cannabis brah”. “Bottom Line - Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung, and regular use leads to chronic bronchitis and can cause an immune-compromised person to be more susceptible to lung infections. No one should be exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. Due to the risks it poses to lung health, the American Lung Association strongly cautions the public against smoking marijuana as well as tobacco products. More research is needed into the effects of marijuana on health, especially lung health.”
-American Lung Assocation
Smoking has negative effects on your bodies circulation, heart, stomach, skin, bones, brain, lungs, mouth/throat, reproduction/fertility and “Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for nearly 80,000 deaths each year. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.”
-National Health Service UK “That’s cool brom but I vape. It’s clean”
Well let’s be honest. Cigarettes had negative health effects for decades and the big tobacco companies knew and lied about it. Big surprise, inhaling shit into your lungs isn’t healthy. History couldn’t possibly repeat itself though...I like these quotes to sum it up perfectly. “ ‘There has been a lot of support for people to use e-cigarettes rather than traditional cigarettes because of the perceived safety of the e-cigarette process,’ lead researcher Dr. David Thickett said in a podcast. He's a professor in respiratory medicine at the University of Birmingham, in England. ‘There is an agenda to portray e-cigarettes as safe,’ Thickett said. But since e-cigarettes have been around for only a decade, the effects of long-term vaping aren't known, he noted… ...The results showed the vapor was much more harmful to cells than the e-cigarette fluid itself -- and the more the lung cells were exposed to it, the more they were damaged. Vapor containing nicotine made the effect more pronounced, the investigators found.”
- WebMD Stigma -
On top of the poor stigma due to its effects on your health, let’s also not forget the social aspect. Don't do it in the house, don’t do it around kids, don’t do it in a restaurant, don't do it in an airplane, don't do it within 150 feet of a gas station,”hey dude, your cigarette is smoke is wafting into my face”
, “my neighbor smokes ‘the mari-juana’ every night and the smell seeps into my place”, “she’s pretty cute but she smells like cigarettes and smokes a pack a day” “the living room constantly has a vape cloud from your pen”
you get the idea...
Ever attend a corporate event or wedding? No one is advertising "Cigarettes sponsored by Microsoft"
and "Cigars sponsored by Facebook"
at the tech conference. No one is hiring special smoking lounge budtender service for their wedding or taking their guests who smoke into consideration when they are booking a venue “is there a nice convenient place for our guests step outside throughout the event in case they want to smoke?” Statistics -
Let’s run some quick numbers here.
According to the CDC ~15% of people smoke cigarettes
According to NBC, 52% of people have tried cannabis
and 44% of that 52% currently consume cannabis.
If we run these numbers then that means ~23%
of the populace are current cannabis users
Since we can’t really trust current cannabis consumption data because of the limited availability of products on the market, lack of education, lack of beverages on the market, and lingering stigma for non-cannabis users...let’s look at the broader populace and try to draw a rough comparison
by taking the 15% of people smoke cigarettes
and triple it
(to give naysayers the benefit of the doubt) and assume that 45%
of current cannabis users
consume cannabis via smoking or vaping...
This would mean that ~10%
of the population consumes cannabis via smoking. I know these are rough numbers but with that said…
Concluding Thoughts -
- What about the other 90% of people who don’t currently smoke cannabis?
- What about the 50% of the populace who have never tried cannabis?
- What about the 77% who may have only tried it a few times or gave it up after high school, college, when they had kids, etc?
How do you market to these people? How do you develop products that appeal to this majority of the populace and their preferred consumption methods? When ~85% of the populace
doesn’t smoke tobacco...what? Suddenly they will be okay with the act of smoking as long as it isn’t “icky nicotine laced corporate cigarettes”?
They will be okay with inhaling vapor into their lungs because “it’s better than smoking”
Let’s kick the bullshit here...smoking or vaping isn’t going to appeal to most people. You cough, you weeze, you lose lung capacity. Vaping might be a healthier alternative to smoking but it doesn’t mean it’s harmless
or that society doesn’t view it as form of smoking. Smoking in general has been especially tainted by big tobacco lying to the public for so long about it’s negative health effects. I mean, how do you even call it “medical marijuana”
when your method of consuming is it bad for your health?
Even if you don’t drink alcohol, at least drinking in itself is a natural act. You eat, you sleep, you mate (well maybe not all of us), and you drink. There is nothing foreign to any human about drinking a cup of liquid, but there is definitely something foreign about inhaling something into your lungs. If you truly don’t believe this then you might as well pull your money out of these investments because a minority portion of the populace is going to smoke dry bud and those prices will eventually be hitting pathetically low Oregon prices
. (B) Drinking - Stigma, Health, and Statistics Health and Stigma -
I don’t think I need to focus here much. There is little to no stigma with drinking unless you drive drunk, are a raging abusive alcoholic, or your life is falling apart because of your alcohol dependency, etc. Alcohol is present in religion/church and it’s apart of most cultures. It’s served openly at corporate events, concerts, weddings, house parties, and restaurants. Unless there is a good reason, no one shames you for drinking and society doesn’t really judge you for doing it. Drinking alcohol is not really healthy for you either, but no one really cares much about that…
People drink. It’s not a big deal. Statistics -
Let’s run some quick numbers here.
According to the NIAAA 86.4% of people have drank alcohol
are current consumers of alcohol. So if we run these numbers than that means ~63%
of people drink alcohol on a semi-regular basis… Concluding Thoughts -
So only 15%
of the general populace smoke cigarettes and maybe 10%
smoke cannabis while 86%
of people have tried alcohol and 63%
currently drink it or a semi-regular basis...what method of consumption is going to appeal to the broader majority of the market for any intoxicating product (cannabis or otherwise)? “You can smoke this or you can drink this?”
The statistics speak for themselves. It’s clear what the majority of the populace prefers in regards to their methods of consumption. Ask yourself, why are so many beverage companies getting involved or expressing interest in getting involved in this sector? No one is saying that smoking won’t continue to be a thing consumers do (Altria - Cronos deal
) but will it be a big thing? From my perspective, there is no way to argue against these stats although I would entertain edibles as worthy of seizing solid market share...
(4) The Naysayers: Why Beverages Will Not Be A Huge Success
There is a few points that I want to address from what I’ve heard from people who argue against the potential mainstream success of beverages... (A) Traditional Methods of Consumption and Personal Bias
Going back to our black market or even grey situation above it’s important to recognize that smoking cannabis has always been one of the primary methods of consuming it.
Think outside of the echo chamber and the current cannabis consuming
investor base in this industry. Most people have only ever known cannabis as being something to smoke. It’s the way it’s been stereotyped and advertised. It’s the culture surrounding it. Many of these people probably don’t mind smoking and some of them likely prefer smoking. They associate with people who smoke it. They are the marijuana connoisseurs who constantly praise the likes of the companies with the “dankest bud”
. We are in the early stages of this industry and the data shows that these people are not the majority of the populace (they are only 10% of it).
Respectfully, I believe that many of the people comprised in this group cannot step outside of their personal habits/beliefs surrounding the culture of marijuana or the methods in which cannabis has been consumed traditionally “beverages won’t be THAT big. All of my stoner friends love smoking dank budz. We’ve been smoking it for a decade.”
I would go as far to say that some of them might very much dislike the evolution of this plant/product/sector and these big corporations coming into existence. They romanticize the illicit nature of marijuana. They like craft cannabis. They enjoy their little smoke breaks at work. They love their rituals of smelling the weed, grinding the bud, packing the bowl, or sharing a joint with a group of friends and to some degree...that world is very much changing.
I’ve heard many people make the argument on the social side of smoking but they neglect the fact that beverages bring that same social aspect. Sipping beers with some buddies or sharing a blunt with some buddies, same thing. All the while drinking, as we can see, is a much more popular social activity and where the real market lies.
Let’s not forget to mention that the market hasn’t even tested the rollout of these beverages... (B) Current Beverages In The US “News flash bro. They already have cannabis beverages in the US and they aren’t popular”
What is on the shelves in the US is almost an entirely different product from what we are discussing here...I live in CA and I’ve tried the cannabis beverages here and they are very much a liquid form of an edible. The only product that I believe is touching on what we are really discussing here is Lagunita’s Hi-Fi Hops
(Lagunita’s is a subsidiary of Heineken) which I haven’t personally tried but I’ve heard good things. So not only are the proper beverages not available to consumers…
We are also dealing with a country where cannabis is still federally illegal, which will be enough to turn off many people; this is further compounded by the lack of a true nationwide public health educational program, mass marketing campaigns, and society’s general acceptance of cannabis usage. Canada is still in mid-rollout of their recreational program so any kind of edibles aren’t even permitted to be on market yet, so we can’t draw many conclusions from that jurisdiction either.
So really, we are looking towards one federally legal country where cannabis edibles aren’t legal yet and we are also looking towards another country where cannabis is federally illegal and the beverages aren’t available there either. So what exactly are we using to determine why these special beverages won’t be a big deal to the mainstream consumer? Because to me, the data seems obvious as to what the majority of the market is likely to favor and the current “edible beverages” on the market are not the same thing as what’s coming. (C) Edibles
Edibles are rising in popularity as I pointed out previously in this write up. If there is any indicator that consumables is reaching a broader market or appealing to a smoking population as another means or alternative means of consumption, then this is it. You could likely apply many points of my argument for the case of edibles. I don’t have much to say against this aside from the fact that I just don't buy it. Once the product exists, I believe people will see a cannabis beverage as “it’s just like a weed beer”
it’s a familiar means of consumption, while maintaining the social aspect drinking together. You don’t want to hang with a friend and take turns popping some sugary candy, taking drops from a tincture, or breaking off pieces of chocolate...it’s just not the same as throwing back a few drinks and let’s not neglect the fact that currently many edibles have unnecessary calories. (D) Vested Interests
I just wanted to throw one more quick note out there towards non-believers and especially more specific to online forums such as weedstocks
. People invest in what they believe in and they are going to preach about what they believe in (even myself and this write up). Everyone has a vested interest and stands to potentially financially benefit from throwing their opinion out there as much as possible. Even if they are doing so to strike up discussion and they genuinely believe in what they are saying (which is why they invested in the companies they did in the first place)...it’s important to remember that they aren’t likely to change their tune or be open to hearing the other side when they have money on the line that stands to be lost if they are indeed, wrong.
This is also a great segway into the next portion of this sexy write up...
(5) Product Quality & Cultivation - Why It Doesn’t Much Matter...Yet (A) Product Quality
This point meshes with the black market world mentioned above, as well as the current naysayers who preach about high quality bud.
Let’s look at a couple comparisons to other CPG industries…
- There is Jones Soda and there is Coke. One uses high quality ingredients and cane sugar and one uses cheap ingredients and corn syrup. Who is the behemoth?
- There is Lagunitas Brewery and there is Budweiser. One has high quality craft beer and other serves canned piss. Who is the behemoth?
Enough examples, I’m sure the point is made. Even if we are just focused on dry bud and we believe that is the future of where this industry is headed...save your high brow cannabis tastes for yourself and realize that the world doesn’t think like you. I love craft brews (it’s all I drink) but I wouldn’t invest in a microbrewery if I had the chance to invest in Budweiser… “Also, remember that you do not have to use just the primo bud. You can also extract cannabinoids from shake, stems, leaves, and trim. Shake is the leftover pieces at the bottom of your bag that frequently contain a mix of several kinds of cannabis. Commercial kitchens, especially in the United States, frequently use mixed bud for their cooking. If you can find it, consider this option. Save the primo stuff for smoking!”
- Royal Queen Seeds “McDonough says: ‘Theoretically, THC is THC, whether you’re getting it from hash, high-quality buds, or low-quality trim leaves. The molecule should, in essence, be the same—you’d just have to use more trim.’ ”
- First We Feast
Guess what? You can grow the crappiest bud on the planet but once it’s been properly extracted and formulated into an end product...it really doesn’t matter much. There are the ever present discussions of the “quality of the ganja”
from these different LP’s as if this really matters in the long term and should be a determining factor in where you allocate your funds. I believe that the only good thing about having dry bud out on the market now is to build your brands for the future product developments and rollouts in this sector, but maybe that’s just like my opinion man
and I don’t know what I’m talking about. (B) Mass Cultivation & Low-Cost Production
The amount of cannabis used in a derivative product is a fraction vs the amount of the product that is consumed via smoking the bud directly. Everyone seems to think they are Warren Buffet when they roll out the napkin and jot down some quick math to determine who’s going to win this green race or how undervalued some company is. I don’t want to get off the grid on why I hate napkin math, but let’s look at a few issues as this relates to edibles and beverages… Low-Cost Production -
Let’s just look at a theoretical example here (I don’t know the exact percentages)
- Company #1: Cost of production is $5/gram and they are using 1/10 a gram as an ingredient in their beverages. The cost of the active ingredient in each bottle is .50 cents per bottle and let’s assume other costs of production are .50. Total $1 per bottle.
- Company #2: Cost of production is $2.50/gram and they are using 1/10 a gram as an ingredient in their beverages. The cost of the active ingredient in each bottle is .25 cents per bottle and let’s assume other costs of production are .50. Total $.75 per bottle.
- Both companies sell their beverages on the market for $2 a bottle. Company #1 makes 100% profit per bottle and Company #2 makes 166% profit per bottle.
Cost of production becomes much less of a concern down the line when you can stretch the amount of ingredients used in a derivative product. It also becomes much less of a concern when you are in the birthing stages of rolling out these “end game”
products and the fight for market share is on. This is easy if both companies have the equivalent amount of product available, similar branding, etc. However, this isn’t Pepsi vs Coke...this is a fresh industry on the cusp of a brand new product rollout. You need to look towards who has more product to sell (even if it’s at lower margins) and can seize market share for the long term.
It doesn’t really matter if you are pulling in that additional 66% profit when you are selling 75% less product than your competitors in the marketplace. In time, they can refine their operations and cost of production (after seizing market share) and now they are selling 75% more products than you AND making the same profit margins. Where as you need to fight an uphill battle in taking your highly efficient operations and try to battle against a brand that’s become that much established than yours (from higher sales and consumer recognition). Depending upon the situations, the “financial loser”
can win long term with short term financial losses traded for permanent market share gains and the “financial winner”
can lose long term with short term financial gains traded for permanent market share lost.
Regardless of the competition between players. People who preach their concern of a cost per gram, yet don’t realize how far that can be stretched with an edible or beverage, seem to miss the bigger points of things. Bruce Linton has always pushed this in comparing dried cannabis to sugar
. It’s an ingredient and the ingredient itself isn’t important in terms of product margins and focus. The thing you should be focusing on is value added products that use sugar as an ingredient. Don’t invest in a massive sugar farm. Invest in the soda companies that use sugar in their drinks. Massive Cultivation -
In building on what I said above. Mass cultivation will become much less important as these derivative products and beverages hit the market. When you are using 1/10 the amount of ingredients to roll out the derivative products, then you only need 1/10 the amount of cultivation space...pending of course that you are selling the same amount of units (in grams sold) to units (beverages sold) but that’s not much of a concern in the context of what we are talking about.
As the price gets squeezed on the commodity side of things, the companies who will be hurt the most are those who focused on massive efficient growing operations and didn’t roll out a variety of derivative products, establish strong brands, or file patents for product formulations, technology, etc. Where do they end up? They end up as farmers producing and extracting product for other companies branded derivative products, just like many beer companies don’t grow their own hops. Can you name a single hop stock?
Overall, I’m a huge believer in these beverages and I think many people just can’t see the forest through the trees so I wanted to present this write up. In my opinion, when you look at the consumer trends, general populace data, the science and logic behind these product rollouts, and the potential for mainstream consumer appeal...there is no argument against beverages that holds water. I believe many people are trapped in their ways or blinded by their invested money being placed in the wrong companies, so they are trying to force a round peg into a square hole.
I realize that this write up includes much of my opinion. I also realize that much of this is educated conjecture and some of it is an assumption. People might also argue that the concept behind this world I am envisioning with beverages is too far into the future and it’s too early to be looking or building towards a fully mature global cannabis market. That’s all fair enough and I’m open to hearing arguments against my points in this write up. My only response right now is that things move fast.
- Less than 2 years ago, Canopy Growth was <$6 a share (USD).
- Less than 18 months ago, the cannabis sector had not seen any major partnerships, JV’s, or equity investments.
- Just over 1 year ago, California legalized recreational cannabis.
- Less than 9 months ago, legal recreational cannabis in Canada was still an uncertainty.
- Less than 4 months ago, the legal market opened up in Canada.
- Just over 30 days ago Canopy Growth entered the US market.
Yet, it seems that so many don’t believe the US will legalize anytime soon or that THC/CBD products will be sold in normal retail stores. There are those who don’t believe in the science behind these beverages or that any method of consumption could become more popular than smoking, vaping, or edibles. This industry moves at snail's pace when you check weedstocks
everyday, but when you take a step back and review the timeline it’s moving very quickly.
Invest in companies that are building towards this future and the mature marketplace. These high margin products are the future of the general recreational cannabis marketplace; beverages are the means by which the old school stigma will be broken and the consumption method that will bring about mass appeal.
Hold Long & Prosper Friends.
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