Around the turn of the century, I worked for a wee company called Microsoft.
[The office was in] building 25 [which] is directly across the street from buildings 16, 17, and 18.
Those three buildings, as it happened, were all connected together with these really cool skybridges.
[where the employees] line[d] the sides with arcades
maybe two dozen arcade games were in these hallways at any given time. All set to free-play, naturally.
Each game was brought in by employees who had their own personal collections.
Often times because they spent more time at work (Microsoft was famous for 80 hour work weeks back then),
so bringing in some arcade games helped boost morale.
Made the place feel that much more like a nerdy home.
Then, one day, Microsoft decided it was fed up with arcade games.
An email was sent out to every building that was known to have them,
that if they were not removed from Microsoft Main Campus promptly, they would be tossed out.
Into the garbage.
In the end, many arcades did (indeed) get hauled away and destroyed by Microsoft.
To say this was a blow to the morale of the arcade and classic game loving nerds would be an understatement.
Over time, many arcades were able to return (at least in some areas).
But the damage was done and the anti-classic-game vibe of Microsoft management was shown.
Games that are important not just to the history of gaming in general, but to those of us who were there as the video game industry grew up.
And, based on personal experience, when it comes to the preservation of classic video games, I don’t trust Microsoft as far as I can throw ‘em.
Will Microsoft assist in the preservation of these classics? Will they lock them away in their vault?
Will they capitalize on them in a way that will disrespect their memories?
Who knows. Time will tell.
It’s up to Microsoft to prove that they truly care about the gaming legacy they just purchased.
In 2016, Netflix launched its streaming service in South Korea with high hopes
From the start, however, Netflix’s arrival in South Korea did not go smoothly.
The company struggled to do business with anyone in the local entertainment industry.
The country’s biggest TV studios and networks were reluctant to license their shows to Netflix, an unknown foreign service with almost no brand recognition among viewers in the country.
Directors, writers and actors were even more reticent, with the cast of one project going so far as to drop out once they learned that Netflix had bought their show.
Kim started reaching out to her former colleagues, aiming to build up Netflix’s credibility in the Korean entertainment industry
while coming up with an original programming strategy that would give Netflix some life.
For decades, Korean dramas had been widely popular across Asia and were known for melodramatic, fairytale-style romances.
Netflix set out to make romantic comedies that blended personal struggles, science fiction and elements of espionage into the typical formulaic love stories.
Netflix’s early attempt to make Korean rom-coms different failed to resonate widely with viewers.
At the same time, Netflix hit on a better approach: mining the scrap heap of discarded ideas from local television.
Because it is a paid private service, Netflix enjoyed more leeway in terms of what it could show its viewers.
Netflix began harvesting ideas considered too edgy for the broadcasters
and building a slate of programming that leaned into sex and violence, as well as prickly themes, such as social inequality and politics.
The new strategy paid off.
One of the first shows that Netflix bought in the new mold was “Kingdom,”
a zombie costume drama that creator Kim Eun-hee had been pitching unsuccessfully to Korean broadcasters for more than five years.
“We started with hiring the local industry people who have the connections and industry experience,”
In 2019, Kang struck a deal with Studio Dragon, a subsidiary of CJ ENM that is South Korea’s largest studio.
The arrangement gave Netflix the exclusive overseas streaming rights to a valuable slate of popular TV series
In 2020, the company turned its first annual profit in South Korea while reporting sales of $356 million.
South Korea is now one of Netflix’s largest markets in Asia,
trailing only Australia and Japan.
The company has more than 5 million subscribers in South Korea
To date, Netflix has spent more than $1 billion on programming in Korean, one of its largest content investments outside the U.S.
After ending 2019 with 16.23 million subscribers in the Asia-Pacific,
the company is currently on pace to double its subscriber base over two years.
Netflix still faces plenty of daunting obstacles throughout the region.
Strategy of using unconventional shows to grab audiences has already run into setbacks in an area rife with cultural differences and conservative policies.
In 2020, the Netflix series “A Suitable Boy” caused an uproar in India over a scene showing its Hindu female protagonist kissing a Muslim man.
Last year, India introduced stricter rules for streaming services, including more oversight for content containing sexually explicit scenes, violence and abusive language.
Netflix is also under increased scrutiny in Vietnam, with officials complaining in 2020 that it failed to comply with tax and content laws.
Netflix is quite expensive and in many parts of Asia doesn’t provide as much local content as it does in South Korea or Japan.
The area is also rife with illegal pirate websites
Additionally, Netflix is likely to face growing competition from a strong field of international and regional players, [e.g.,] Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Inc., Apple Inc., & IQiyi
China’s foreign population has plunged during the pandemic.
It’s unclear exactly how many foreigners remain in China.
In 2020, a government census estimated there were around 850,000 overseas nationals living on the mainland,
but this data includes an unspecified number of Chinese citizens with dual nationality.
Several websites serving China’s foreign community [have] experienced steep drops in traffic since 2019.
The expat shortage is causing businesses — and multinationals especially — some serious headaches.
Foreign staff often have skills that are hard to replace:
from language teachers with native speaking ability
to international sales executives with experience and established networks in overseas markets.
companies across China are racing to localize their operations:
training up Chinese employees and adjusting their operations
so they can survive almost entirely without foreign staff.
But localization is often a far from ideal solution — and could be difficult to reverse in the future.
Even Chinese authorities appear to be worried.
In December, a senior official in Shanghai told a forum that the city “is longing for global professionals more than ever.”
This month, China’s Ministry of Finance abruptly announced it would extend tax exemptions for foreign workers till the end of 2023.
Online, dozens of groups each containing thousands of users have formed, where members share tips on how to get a Chinese visa.
China’s border policies aren’t affecting everyone equally.
Jacob Aldaco, commercial director at SmartShanghai, says that middle-aged expats appear to be finding it much easier to enter the country than millennials.
There are likely two reasons for this
older expats have more work experience and so are more likely to be granted an invitation letter from the Chinese authorities.
they usually have the financial resources to afford eye-watering travel and quarantine costs.
This is making life particularly hard for employers in industries that rely on young foreign graduates, such as China’s education sector.
“Localization” has become a buzzword among China’s foreign business community in recent months.
Companies across the economy are trying to work out ways to continue operating without bringing in more expats.
Many are training up local staff while experimenting with new remote working practices to bring in extra support from staff based overseas.
In many cases, companies appear to be doing just fine without the foreigners.
In truth, the pandemic didn’t start the localization trend, but simply accelerated it.
These days, Chinese managers have many of the skills expats used to bring to the table, such as foreign language skills and an elite international education.
Now, the general requirement for recruitment is an overseas education, rather than a foreign nationality.”
“We need to hire some foreign employees because they speak better English, are good at expressing themselves, and have a talent for self-promotion,”
“They can say some awesome words and appear very powerful and confident. They’re suited to communicating with foreign clients.”
Podchaser, the podcast discovery service, recently hired Norman Chella as a full-time “podcast librarian.”
Chella is only the second person I’ve ever heard of to have that job title —
and shortly after his role was announced, Ma’ayan Plaut, who’s considered to be the first podcast librarian, welcomed him to the club.
A librarian for podcasts does a lot of the things that a librarian for books would do —
add new titles to a collection, organize them so people can find what they’re looking for —
which, as the audio landscape gets more crowded, offers a systematic way to find shows.
This helps overwhelmed listeners,
and it also helps podcasters, for whom
making money requires a show to be discoverable,
both by audiences and potential advertisers.
The biggest shift is the increased emphasis on ad sales.
While Plaut spent a lot of her time finding, listening to, and recommending shows for curious listeners,
Chella knows that companies are increasingly curious, too,
and he tells me he’ll be working to ensure that both the stats that are pulled in from streaming platforms (e.g., estimated monthly listens) and the specs that users add themselves (e.g., host bios) are correct
Another change is the addition of a “curator” role to Chella’s plate,
since there’s plenty of room for error in both the automatic and manual ways of contributing data that I mentioned above.
Podchaser’s library may have predated Chella, but it takes a human to monitor such a system, coach people on how to contribute to it, and identify ways it could be better.