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Next Gen Is Here and We Are Waiting

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Xbox One and PlayStation 4, collectively known as ‘Next Gen’ consoles, have the capacity to allow far more sophisticated games with better graphics, a larger gaming world and more creative game development. The gaming public are excited about the possibilities of Next Gen and are eager to discover how the increased capabilities of the Next Gen consoles will translate into better and more stylish games. But with amazing graphics already with us, where will the big leap in game quality come from?

During the past ten years the most significant gaming advances have come from better in game graphics. I remember playing the first ever Fifa Soccer game for the Mega Drive and thinking it looked fantastic. Try playing the game now and it is archaic! Compare that with the NBA 2K 14 game for PS4, where your computer player even appears to sweat in a realistic way during the game and it is safe to say we have reached a point where players look almost lifelike.

Not content with looking realistic, player movement and AI decision making mimics the real life sports stars personality and playing style. Messi and Bale play like Messi and Bale in FIFA 14. This heightens realism and is more immersive. Next Gen gamers expect attention to detail on every nuance of a game and the standard set by the first games released on Next Gen consoles has set the bar high for other developers to meet and in time, surpass.

It is such early days for Next Gen gaming that there is plenty of room for improvement. Compare the quality of games in PlayStation 3 when it was first released to what is now being released today. We sit here in 2014 and speculate that we are not yet seeing a fraction of the potential capability of Next Gen games.

The major release of 2013 for PS3 and Xbox was Grand Theft Auto 5. This game presented the best game possible on current gen, squeezing every bit of power out of the console. It can be considered a passing of the torch and an admission that this is as good as it gets on the current gen consoles. Rockstar Gaming even said as much. GTA V underlined that this was a starting point for PS4 and Xbox One, posing the tantalising rhetorical question to the gamer, ‘if we can offer you this on current gen, imagine what we can achieve with Next Gen?’

Early releases on Next Gen consoles have taken advantage of the freedoms offered by improved hardware capacity, choosing to increase the level of immersion in the games. They have chosen to empower the gamer to make decisions that set the direction of their in game experience. I believe this is the way forward for future game development. The constraints of PS3 means that the ‘rats in a maze’ feeling of some games can be relaxed and whilst every game must have its perimeters, the net can be cast wider thus reducing the impact of being trapped like a pinball bouncing around but ultimately drawn towards the games specific conclusion. With larger in game environments, the Next Gen open world games offers more opportunities for the gamer to explore sub-plots, where instead of just completing set missions you can trade to earn money, running businesses or simply explore the vast in-game environment at your leisure.

Recent trailers of the upcoming open world game ‘Watchdog’, which is scheduled for release on Next Gen consoles from May 27th in the UK, demonstrate that the user will be able to interact with any AI member of the public across the vast virtual Chicago landscape in their role as a vigilante rejecting the close security system in the city. The game is so vast on Next Gen that developers Ubisoft have posted online videos of hour-long game play sessions without needing to worry about given away all the secrets of the game.

With the possibilities of open world games so vast on Next Gen, it is very interesting to note that the most successful open world game developer, Rockstar Gaming, have yet to release details of any future prospective Next Gen titles, choosing instead to update GTA V later this year. We know from experience that Rockstar can take up to two years to deliver a title on PS3 and it will likely take at least this long for a Next Gen game. I firmly believe that Rockstar will set a new standard and deliver a brilliant Next Gen open world game, far more vast than anything we have seen so far. Considering the look of Watchdog, this will be a significant achievement for Rockstar, if they get it right.

For those sports fans and sports simulation lovers out there like me, one title has already set a high standard for others to follow. NBA 2K 14 delivers an exceptional standard of graphics quality and the game play looks as real as I can imagine seeing for some years. Even in this early stage of Next Gen sports sim development, NBA 2K 14 has set a very high standard. Their choices offer a glimpse into how the developers will seek to use the power of the Next Gen technology in future games. The vignettes where your player takes decisions off the court like interacting with opposing players, coaches, backroom staff and sponsors will be further developed to enhance the gaming experience, giving the gamer a more immersive experience of life as a professional basketball player rather than focusing solely on game play. I was surprised that such a polished game emerged so quickly. If this is as bad as sports sims get, PS4 will be a happy place for the sports gaming enthusiast.

Without a doubt game developers are under pressure to deliver. PS3 games were good, but PS4 gamers have been conditioned to expect excellence by the robust promotion of Next Gen and anything but a sharp rise in quality will be met with derision by the tough audience who are quick to lament any substandard release. Ask any Madden 25 fan who bought the PS4 version. With the exception of slightly smoother graphics, this game could have been released for PS3 and differs only marginally from the current gen console. That is not good enough and fans of that franchise are expecting better from the developers EA next year.

The challenge is set and gamers are eager to see how the game developers utilise the enhanced capability of Next Gen and the freedoms offered to produce great games. Developers need to balance the current game vacuum against the necessity of producing quality titles. With better graphics, more immersion, a better gaming experience overall and the power of the internet to facilitate gaming battles around the world, Next Gen has thrown us into a new era of console gaming. With it comes a hunger for the excellence, a more critical eye and we watch with anticipation as the game developers work on new releases to take advantage of Next Gen capacity to produce better and more immersive games.

The current gen king is dead, long live Next Gen.

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Source by Malcolm Clarke

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Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?

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Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.

Freelancers

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.

Advertise!

The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.

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Source by Lina Stakauskaite

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Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them

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The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.

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Source by Robert W. Dudek

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Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

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Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

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Source by Damien Oh

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