sabato 18 ottobre 2014

Chapter 1 - The beginning before the beginning

Alberto Lo Giudice looked questioning the doctoress Scali. - I do not understand what's the problem? -
- Sir, you see that after our poll on the test group forecasts of new product sales decreased by seventy percent. -
Lo Giudice looked ready to launch a hysterical scream, at today missing only a month for the official launch of their new video game "The worlds of Remia", a revolutionary game in which the company had invested more than eighty percent of it's resources and it's now poking a problem of this magnitude. - That I understand, but what I want to know is why this meltdown. -
The woman sighed, hinting that he would rather not go into details, but she could no longer avoid.

- Okay, but we'll have to make a long detour before I can explain the problem. -
Lo Giudice nodded in satisfaction - Start as well. -
- As you know, today our company is considered the most technologically advanced in the field of production of video games, because this year we have chosen to focus on the market for devices to augmented reality instead of those of consoles, PCs and smartphones, but, with the passage of time, new competitors are entering in our industry. So we decided to do something of revolutionary and create a technology that would be the next step forward in the market and more. -
- You speak of the neural interfaces? -
- Yes, exactly, a device that allows to read and manipulate the signals produced by the human brain in order to totaly immerse the user in a fictitious reality. -
- In practice, a virtual reality system. - Concluded hasty a sweaty man next to the doctoress who respose indignantly: - Virtual Reality, but, let me pleasure. From decades we speaks of it to just get miniscreens for the eyes and a pair of headphones to the ears, not the neural interface allows something vastly more advanced, manipulate all the body's senses, smell, taste, touch, sense of balance, pain, and all with a device that hooks up to your ear as the headset of a telephone operator and for the cost of a normal videogame consoles. -
- Great, we all know this, please go to the core of the problem. - Lo Giudice say impatiently.
- The problem is the sensory feedback, as you know the interface does not delete the normal signals from the body, this is to prevent any sudden illness to not be noticed by users, the company could not afford to pay compensation to any person who has a heart attack or a rapid heartbeat while playing and does not realize it because the interface blocks the normal signals the body. Therefore we have developed the interface so that adds its signals over the normal, which was a bit confusing and unpleasant. -
- Exactly sir. - Interrupt the sweaty man again. - Imagine having four eyes, four ears, two noses and so forth, the brain tends to go into overload due to too much information reaching it and you start to have a tremendous feeling of nausea. Approximately half of the study subjects ended up throwing up after ten minutes of play. -
- So we changed the way we use the interface. - Resumption the woman, who was visibly angry at being interrupted glanced a cold look the man who took to sweat even more profusely. - Our beta testers began to use the interface in a dark room with no noise, greatly reducing the sensory load. With this method, the nausea disappeared, but every little noise due to feedback that made the game jerky and difficult to control. Now for those who live in quiet and secluded location, the problem is almost non-existent, but, with the majority of the population living in big cities in apartments with walls of tissue paper, it was a big problem. -
Lo Giudice nodded. - And it was then that we decided to use the pools of sensory deprivation. -
- Exactly sir. It was a technology that existed from the late fifties of the twentieth century and isolated it perfectly allowing users to fully live the experience. -
- So what's the problem? -
- The costs of the tanks. -
- How? -
- The sensory deprivation tanks adapted to our needs have an average cost of ten thousand euro, cutting from the market most of the potential buyers. -
The veins on his temples Lo Giudice began to swell pulsing. - Why is this thing sticking out just now? You would not have been able to tell before the price of the tanks? -
The doctoress looked mortified. - In fact we see a deal with a company that has promised to create in series ultra inexpensive tanks thanks to mass production. This would have brought down the cost of the tanks up to seven hundred euro, making them much more accessible, and for those who could not afford it we would have prepared spaces in the large cities in which you can rent by the hour a station to play. Unfortunately, two weeks ago, an earthquake damaged the sheds where the tanks are built, for the next thirteen months production will be only a few hundred pieces a month, clearly not enough for our needs. -
- There are no tanks ready? -
- There were five thousand tanks ready, but were damaged in the earthquake, we can repair them, but after they look like have been accommodated, we can not sell them, so we had to focus on tanks for the cost of ten thousand euro. -
Lo Giudice was clearly troubled by the situation, unfortunately, seemed to be no solution to the problem of the tanks, but it was only a temporary setback. - I do not know if the problem is the tanks in about a year we will be at full production, there would be enough to run the game as a luxury product and will be ready when the economic tanks could make a product for all the consumer, the first year we might be at a loss but with the effect of status symbol that would be created by the second year we should return to profit, so why your projections show five years of losses? -
- It's the nature of the game sir. -
- The nature of the game? -
- You see in order to emphasize the incredible reality neural interface offer we have chosen to create a MMORPG or  Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. As you know very well the strength of this type of game is the high number of iterations with other players, it's a game that gets more fun as many people playing, but, due to the problem of the tanks, the number of players will be greatly reduced, so we expect a number of heavy criticism and bad reviews about it. -
- We can not give away five thousand tanks damaged in a lottery or thereabouts? -
- It would be ridiculous, an average player devotes only one hour per day to such entertainment. -
- But to test the game we use the beta testers who use it eight hours a day. -
- But it would cost a fortune just in tax contributions and up to standard, not to mention the space that should be set up. -
Lo Giudice for a moment seemed lost in his thoughts. - And if they are interns? We should not pay tax contributions or other if we acknowledge only one kind of reimbursement of expenses and the tanks can be installed in their home, such as telecommuting, basically we do not need they here physically. -
- Yes, but we must also hire someone at the end of the internship. -
- Yes of course, let's see, which is the number of terminal for rental that we have equipped? -
The doctoress Scali checked for a moment among the papers in front of her looking for the information. - One hundred station for each of the ten most populous cities. -
- Well then we will use three thousand tanks to increase the locations to two hundred station for the ten most populous cities and a hundred for the next twenty cities in the rankings, I also want that the centers work day and night, twenty-foor hours for day, so you always have a few thousand of players online. -
- And with the remaining two thousand tanks? -
- We will leave to two thousand interns, telling them that from here to a year we assume... let's see... twenty person, I think that twenty is more than enough. -
The sweaty man laughed. - From two thousand to Twenty, more like a lottery that an internship. -
- Exactly, we will create a great competition between them, so that they will play well over eight hours a day and also push their friends and relatives to help and support them by buying luxury tank or renting the game station. Those two thousand interns over to make up the numbers become an unwitting source of viral marketing. -
The woman seemed to consider the idea. - It can work, but with so little time we can never control all of the curriculum to verify the information. -
- It does not matter, even liars and cheaters may be useful in the game, and not worry about who to hire at the end of the year. It does not matter what skills they have, if the company will grow as we expect we will need a bit of everything in terms of human resources. So search from the high school graduates, university graduates and students in the city with our game stations, and I recommend we aim for every possible target, so they come from all social class. -

To be continued ...

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