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Sony Could Face Developer Exodus On PSN 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-at-least-some-whining dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "As the PlayStation Network outage continues, developers are feeling the economic pinch. There's been no word from Sony on whether they'll compensate companies who produce games for PSN, but Capcom has already said it's losing potentially 'millions' from the downtime. Worse yet, developers who rely on PSN revenues may jump ship if they aren't compensated, warns Dylan Cuthbert, creator of popular PSN game PixelJunk. 'I have a feeling they [Sony] are thinking about doing something or they will lose developers, which of course is pretty bad for them,' he said." While a major shift away from the PS3 is unlikely — downtime or not, developers don't want to lock themselves out of such a big piece of the market — it does have undeniable negative effects on some companies. For example, Bethesda's FPS Brink, which focuses heavily on multiplayer, launched without that capability for PS3 users. You can bet Microsoft will use this outage as a selling point for exclusivity or Xbox-first arrangements.
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Sony Could Face Developer Exodus On PSN

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  • Try something new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pikoro (844299) <[hs.tini] [ta] [tini]> on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:25AM (#36091720) Homepage Journal

    Why not just make the games single player stand alone and ADD the networking stuff on as another mode. That way, the games don't require PSN for people to play them. Or use your own 3rd party server which would probably be even worse.

    • People gets insane without online modes.
      No, really, I was shocked to know myself. Now kids go like "single player games suck" and such things.

    • Think they are talking about the developers who only do games not available on media. Typically cheaper and by smaller groups of developers, frequently independent of large publishers. We are talking about developers for whom the barrier to entry for creating and distributing media is too high and/or incurs a cost too high for the type of game.

      As much as I'm displeased with the current state of affairs of 'owning' your purchase brought on by XBL, Steam, PSN, etc. (it being a step ever further back from co

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <`VortexCortex' ` ... -retrograde.com'> on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:47AM (#36092076) Homepage

      Why not just make the games single player stand alone and ADD the networking stuff on as another mode. That way, the games don't require PSN for people to play them. Or use your own 3rd party server which would probably be even worse.

      In most competitive games there is no bank of dedicated servers -- one of the player's machines is the "server". Why not simply allow unranked matches between peers?

      For example, "Unranked Matches > Custom Match > Join Server > Enter the IP of the game server to join."

      Thus, when PSN or XBL is unavailable (which has happened for maintenance, it did piss me off) the players will still be able to play. In PSN's case, since it's already free, WHY NOT? It's not like they'll be losing money by doing so.

      The secret joke of the "online" is that it's just a DRM mechanism designed to keep people from playing games -- Eg: I can't play Halo2 online in a custom match, even though all of my friends have started the game, and our XBoxes are talking to eachother (party chat) and all of our consoles know that the others' have loaded the game -- we can verify this by looking at the Halo2 icon next to our names on the friends list...

      So, then we fire up OpenVPN and join a system link game over the Internet, and we're all playing Halo2 online -- XBL was not even needed for this -- We're just using it to coordinate our play-times and for the voice chat feature.

      If you've ever seen "Selecting New Host" or other similar message, you'll realize that the XBL and PNS is actually just made up of the machines everyone purchased (Host == Server). Only a small number of "matchmaking" and/or media / score tracking & DRM servers exist in comparison to control how the masses play their games. In the case of Halo2 (and all original Xbox games) they've artificially obsoleted the games' Internet play features -- They want you to play the new games, not enjoy the older games.

      Personally, I won't buy a game that doesn't support system link (LAN play) -- VPN stands for Virtual Player Network to me.

    • Re:Try something new (Score:4, Informative)

      by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:05AM (#36092196)

      Why not just make the games single player stand alone and ADD the networking stuff on as another mode. That way, the games don't require PSN for people to play them. Or use your own 3rd party server which would probably be even worse.

      You mean like PC games have been doing since the 90's?

      How novel.

      MS/Sony dont want to do that because they miss out on all the revenue of being the only online service available. "But PSN was free" I hear you ask, well it was free for you but not for the developers who have to pay licensing fees for it which came out of the RRP of the game you bought so I guess it wasn't so free (and all that personal information they get from it too).

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      that would require effort, something current game companies are pretty low on

    • by N0Man74 (1620447)

      Better yet... allow for openly run multiplayer servers like PC games have done since the beginning of online gaming (even if they have begun to go the console route more often).

      Whether it's games, movies, music, or ebooks, we're increasingly becoming at the mercy of publishers and distributers in order to continue to enjoying the content that we have purchased.

      It sucks, and it's going to get worse if people don't start demanding change.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        Demanding is an interesting concept. I find the idea of being dependent on a network connection so unacceptable, that I haven't bought any games recently. I doubt that the game companies know or care.

        P.S.: If you really care, you should put in some time developing games that are open. Nethack has been done several times, but there are also "starter versions" of SimCity (LinCity?) Civilization (FreeCiv) etc. Card games don't really need much help, but Pysol could use aid in converting it over to Python

        • by N0Man74 (1620447)

          Demanding is an interesting concept. I find the idea of being dependent on a network connection so unacceptable, that I haven't bought any games recently.

          When I say "demand", I don't mean whining on message boards. What I was thinking was insisting on this features from developers, and if they aren't doing it, then don't buy it and let them know why. Arguing "not accepting" versus "demanding' is just getting into a semantic argument.

          However the problem is that losses in sales will just be blamed on piracy, and too many people have insisted on getting the newest version of Madden and don't care when multi-player support gets yanked out of their old version.

  • Good for them. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058)
    Actually any moron who locks-in/builds business by relying on a company that is known to be dastardly and corrupt deserves what they get served, but hey - they have been given a chance to save themselves from a worse fate. They can still jump ship.
    • Sortof like all those companies relying on Facebook these days for their customer contact.

      Stupid, stupid stupid, to put all your eggs in someone else's basket.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:32AM (#36091752)

    I have just sold my POS PS3 at a bargain basement price, and I will never be buying another piece of hardware or software from them ever again. PSN fiasco isn't the only reason to hate Sony, just another in a long line.

    Good riddance

    • by qoa (704941)
      Keep doing this people. I plan on purchasing many cheap games due to a used market saturation.
      • I know I'm selling Portal2 this weekend due to the PSN outage, it's a shame as Valve promised the PS3 experience to be the best out of all the versions and now I'll never know what it could have been!

        • by RogueyWon (735973) *

          If it's the co-op you're feeling that you're missing out on, then it is worth hanging on for. I finally got around to doing the co-op mode (PC version) the other day and it really is incredible. Like nothing I've ever played online before. Just make sure you have a co-op partner lined up who you know well and who hasn't played it through before. If you don't have such a partner, it probably won't be anything like as good. Some of the puzzles require a hell of a lot of trust and co-ordination between the pla

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            "Some of the puzzles require a hell of a lot of trust "

            why? do you have to send them naked photos of yourself dressed in bondage leather that they use to get to the next level and you need to trust they wont post them to the internet? Or does portal 2 come with electrodes that shock your testicles and the other player has control of the shock power?

            IT's a fricking game, you don't need to "trust" them at all.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              What he means by "trust" is that, for example, in some of the more complex puzzles, one person will be flying through a set of portals and the other person is required to place a new portal in precisely the right location to send the first person flying across the map, and it's really easy to screw your teammate. I played it recently with my brother, and you better believe we fucked with each other at first. But it is true co-op in the sense that you must work together in order to progress. It is impossi

            • "Trust" in this sense is the trust you put in the other players on your football team to not Bogart the ball and run up and down the pitch, or to kick you in the back of the knees when you have the ball. It's trusting someone else to do something which is beneficial to you both, not just themselves. Call it the Nash Equilibrium if your antisocial brain can't quite handle the concept, because you sound like that type of person.

              This is why you probably won't be asked to play Portal 2, or in fact any game, wi
        • You can still play both single player and co-op offline. I don't see how the experience is different from the PC version other than that you can play local co-op. Even after playing through the single player campaign, I didn't find the split screen co-op to be a pain in the ass at all - probably because there are no mobile enemies to be aware of, and the fact it was on a 40" HDTV.

        • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:16AM (#36092838)

          I know I'm selling Portal2 this weekend due to the PSN outage, it's a shame as Valve promised the PS3 experience to be the best out of all the versions and now I'll never know what it could have been!

          I think the claim that the PS3 version would be best was entirely based on it coming with a free copy of the PC version of the game, which is certainly the best playing option.

          • by The Moof (859402)
            There's that, but there's also the cross-platform multiplayer (PC and PS3 can play together). The DLC packs are free for PC and PS3.. not sure if MS will let it go for free on Xbox (Valve and MS have fought over this before).
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            I think the claim that the PS3 version would be best was entirely based on it coming with a free copy of the PC version of the game, which is certainly the best playing option.

            Yeah, but to get that PC version required using the PS3 version of Steam. Which you can't right now because PSN is down.

            I know a few people who preordered the PS3 versoin purely for the PC version at first, then the PS3 play later (not sure if they followed through if they didn't realize you need a PS3 to et the PC version).

            Those with

        • by dstyle5 (702493)
          You've already spent the money, why rush to sell it? I would wait and play co-op once the PSN is back, then sell it. Demand will probably be higher once the PSN is back online anyway. Also Gabe said it would be the best console experience I believe.
  • It Seems To Me... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Weaselgrease (2050100) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:41AM (#36091786)
    I remember the good ol' days when having internet access made a game more fun, rather than it being a necessity just to play at all. Maybe this kind of thing will 'encourage' a return to that way of planning, if only a little.
    • by scubamage (727538) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:40AM (#36092028)
      I doubt it. It seems like most of the publishers these days seem to only want to release a game if they can shove leashes up their users' collective asses.
    • by guruevi (827432)

      I remember the good old days when we tunneled IPX/SPX over TCP/IP in order to play multiplayer games. TCP/IP support in games was very late imho with most games supporting IPX/SPX, Null Modem or *shudder* DirectPlay support.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Not on Mac. I was playing Warcraft II over TCP/IP via AOL when it first came out-- no waiting for the "Silver Edition" for us.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        I remember the good old days when we tunneled IPX/SPX over TCP/IP in order to play multiplayer games. TCP/IP support in games was very late imho with most games supporting IPX/SPX, Null Modem or *shudder* DirectPlay support.

        That's because TCP/IP support was late coming to Windows, and you had to add it in with 3rd party stuff.

        Seems to me it wasn't until '95 when Windows actually shipped with built-in network support.

        I'm betting IPX/SPX wouldn't have been needed had Windows supported TCP/IP earlier.

    • As a general rule I will never pay for anything if I can get it pirated. Because of assholes like me, well, they need to do stuff like this - requiring an internet connection for everything and trying to make games more multiplayer focused. Don't really blame them.

      • by JDeane (1402533)

        The sad part about your statement is that I can't really think of a game thats locked down enough to keep anyone from playing a pirated copy. In some cases the pirated version ends up being better anyway since the DRM has been hacked out of it.

        I even play on a pirate WoW server almost daily. Although to my credit I did buy game and pay Blizzard for a couple of years so they got there monies from me :)

        • See I disagree.

          Like say, Starcraft II. Sure you can play on private servers, but you greatly limit yourself in who you play on numbers alone.

          Or say, Counter-Strike. Once again, sure you could play on private servers with your mates...but if you want to start doing wars, comps, and all the fun stuff, you need a proper steam account.

          Or WoW. You seem happy playing on a Pirated Server. Now I don't play WoW, but many of my mates do. And they all claim they started on pirated servers ,but started playing on Frost

  • Change is gonna come (Score:5, Interesting)

    by senorpoco (1396603) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:49AM (#36091808)
    Hopefully events like the PSN outage will give companies pause in their rush to move everything online. Only a few weeks ago DragonAge players found themselves unable to play their single player game as it required an online login and the servers were down. Hopefully it will force companies to come up with better solutions, sadly it will probably just force them to alter their EULAs to avoid any and all liability.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just a precision : in fact Dragon Age does not require a connection to play, and the servers were not offline. The real trouble was that if you are online, Dragon Age does connect to the servers and authenticate your DLC. And the servers went havoc. So once it messed up with the authentication, you just were screwed even offline; and indeed it made little difference.

      The most awful DRM incarnation award winner is still in my opinion the PC version of Assassin's Creed 2 when it was released, for which a conn

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Hopefully events like the PSN outage will give companies pause in their rush to move everything online.

      Dear User,

      The PSN outage over the past week has given us time to pause and reflect on our past practices. We are happy to conclude we're not only rolling in money, we're rolling in a shitload of money.

      See you online.

      Forever Yours,
      Companies

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:55AM (#36091830)

    Downtime? I'd think the developers would be more worried about how much smaller the market is for the PSN now.

    I can't possibly the only one who decided instantly not to buy from Sony any more. (Okay, I admit, Sony-exclusive stuff will still probably draw me in, if it's good. But anything cross-platform is going to be bought elsewhere.) There must be more who decided all this pain (including the insults like the 30 days of free PSN+) is not worth paying for Sony stuff any more.

    And the security issues? Obviously Sony doesn't know much about security. Their system stayed un-hacked only so long as they left Linux on the PS3 for the hackers to be happy. Sure, someone was working on hacking the PS3 through Linux, but he wasn't there. Immediately afterwards, people started hacking for real. And of course the online networks both got hacked... 1 of them WHILE they were fixing the first. They should have been aware.

    No, if I were developing for the PSN (which I can't, because you basically have to be established before they'll consider you) then I'd been looking for greener pastures for more reasons than just the downtime.

    • Re:Downtime? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:18AM (#36091918) Journal

      Yes, I think this is broadly right. Personally, I probably won't stop buying from the PSN altogether, but I certainly will move to using pre-paid points cards rather than letting them have the details of my (new, just replaced - thanks Sony) credit card. That adds a potential layer of inconvenience to purchases which will certainly make me less inclined towards impulse buys.

      Plus, as an owner of both a PS3 and a 360, it's yet another reason to favour the latte when making decisions on which platform to buy multi-platform games for. Unless there were glaring technical differences in the PS3 version's favour (a la FF13), I was already inclined towards the 360 on the basis that I prefer the controller and have more friends who also own 360s than PS3s (and hence a larger Xbox Live friends list). After seeing the PSN's dire resilience demonstrated, these decisions are going to become pretty much no-brainers in future. So I'm only likely to buy single-platform exclusives for the PS3 from now on.

      Meanwhile, developers inclined towards giving Sony those exclusives are going to be thinking their decisions through very carefully. After all, the PSN has been painful to a lot of game developers - not just those who have seen PSN launches postponed or games launch with multiplayer not functioning, but also those who have DLC as part of their business model (which, like it or not, is most of them these days). Bioware haven't been shifting any Dragon Age or Mass Effect 2 DLC on the PS3 since the PSN went down. Gust haven't been selling any Ar Tonelico Qoga DLC. Black Ops: Escalation? Forget it. Now in some cases, customers will just postpone their purchases until the PSN store comes back up (which is likely to be the final component to do so), but in other cases, they'll have "moved on" from the game in question and the sale will be lost forever.

      There's been a lot of hyperbole about the impacts of the PSN outage and data leak. I find it very hard to imagine large numbers of people rushing to trade in their PS3s. In fact, largely due to a lack of new releases that have interested me since Portal 2, I've spent the last few weeks using my PS3 way more than I normally would as I work through my backlog of games I've been meaning to finish. I played Killzone 3's campaign through (and was very impressed by how well the PS Move controls work). I sank 40 hours into Ar Tonelico Qoga (one of the few Japanese RPGs of this console generation to be actually good). And I finally got around to finishing the first Uncharted game. The PS3 has a large installed base now and, after a slow start, a decent library of games. In the immediate future, it isn't going anywhere.

      The damage for Sony will, I suspect, be more subtle and long-term. There will be changes to how customers spend their money in the PSN store that could prove painful over time. And there will be damage to Sony's commercial relationships with the wider industry that could take years to repair. Compare how Nintendo managed to annoy a huge chunk of the industry (including, critically, Squaresoft) through sheer arrogance during the transition from the SNES to the N64, with the result that despite the SNES's dominance, the N64 and Gamecube died a slow death due to lack of third party developer interest (a problem which still afflicts the Wii to some extent). Sony are running a high risk of finding themselves in a similar situation now - you mess with your partners' bottom lines at your peril.

      • by HAKdragon (193605)

        Personally, I probably won't stop buying from the PSN altogether, but I certainly will move to using pre-paid points cards rather than letting them have the details of my (new, just replaced - thanks Sony) credit card.

        Same here, and I'm thinking of doing the same for my XBox Live purchases, especially since Microsoft doesn't make it easy to remove your credit card from their billing system. Oh well, not like the one that's in their system is valid anymore.

      • by Aladrin (926209)

        I hadn't heard of anyone dumping their PS3, but I guess that's a logical consequence of not buying any more games, if you tend to sell the ones you already have.

        I have quite a library of games for PS1-3 and I intend to keep my PS2 and PS3 for while to be able to play them.

        And the point card thing is spot on. Sony will never have my credit card again no matter what. I really, really hate having to get a new credit card. This time it cost me $15 because I needed to have the new one rushed out, instead of w

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      I can't possibly the only one who decided instantly not to buy from Sony any more. Okay, I admit, Sony-exclusive stuff will still probably draw me in, if it's good.

      Yeah, got to love the way that your typical Slashdotter always proclaims their principles loudly and states their commitment to a boycott... until push comes to shove, reality dawns and anything *remotely* approaching self-sacrifice would be required (i.e. foregoing EvilCorp's latest instalment of Fanboy Franchise). In which case there's plenty of backtracking and a convenient get-out clause that shows just how wishy-washy they were in the first place.

      Oooh... you might be more likely to buy some discounte

  • >> "...Dylan Cuthbert, creator of popular PSN game PixelJunk."

    PixelJunk is a series of games, not the name of an individual game.

  • Sony is in denial (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:55AM (#36092124)

    They think this was all about stealing credit cards. A heist that large though plummets in value as it is too well known and the cards too readily canceled. I would imagine the market value for the stolen cards to be far less than a typical heist that doesn't become publicly known.

    I really think this about punishing Sony for doing evil things. Whether you want to pick their DRM infatuation, pursuite of GeoHot, removal of other OS and any number of other things doesn't matter. Somebody was trying to send a message to Sony that in the real world a court room victory bought with the best lawyers you can find can still have a very real cost.

    Estimates that put the cost of this in the billion dollar range have been making the news lately. Sony, you just need to ask yourself, was it worth a billion dollars, the loss of public goodwill and a number of pissed of developers? Whether or not Sony will stop playing hardball and start being the corporate bully is doubtful. In the end whoever did this will likely end up in prison, the only question is what lesson did Sony learn from this?

    • Re:Sony is in denial (Score:4, Interesting)

      by citizenr (871508) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:21AM (#36092908) Homepage

      They think this was all about stealing credit cards.

      Wonder if anyone shorted a massive amount of Sony stock before the news broke.

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        Wonder if anyone shorted a massive amount of Sony stock before the news broke.

        Quite a few people probably did due to the bad press they were getting before this scandal.

    • by DdJ (10790)

      I really think this about punishing Sony for doing evil things.

      This would provide pretty good cover for someone who did just want to steal credit cards and other information they could profit from.

      (The credit cards aren't the data I'm most scared about. The "answers to security questions" is what I'm most scared about. Suddenly, someone out there has the answer to a billion "mother's maiden name" and "first pet's name" questions. The damage from that is harder to contain than credit card theft, and is the single most troublesome aspect of this from my perspective.)

      I

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:08AM (#36092204)

    They could face developer exodus ... but it probably won't happen.
    They could face customer exodus ... but it probably won't happen.

    My bet is that a year from now, this issue will have be a distant memory for the vast majority of people and PSN will be ticking along as normal.

    I'm sure there are plenty of people who would like to see these issues cause Sony to crash and burn - but past history (with things like the rootkit) has shown that it is unlikely to happen.

    Sorry, but just being realistic.

    • Definitely not going to abandon my PS3, but it will be a serious consideration when the next generation rolls out. Hopefully Sony have learned a lesson here. If they don't tighten things up, they will be hacked again within a few months.

      The only hassle for me so far was phoning up the bank to get a new credit card sent out. I don't play online games much, and offline games and blu-rays are still playing fine.

      • Absolutely there will be a lesson: We now have a positive spin reason to charge our customers for the PSN like Microsoft does for our next gen console.
        • You mean so that even more people can have their CC details stolen? I don't see that particular spin working :p

        • BTW, there is already a paid-for subscriber system for PSN called PSN Plus, and it obviously didn't help security one jot.

    • by delinear (991444)
      Exactly what I was thinking - if the fact that this company tried to put spyware on their paying customers' computers without their knowledge, or that they are massive advocates of DRM and locking down equipment you supposedly own and going after anyone who makes it easy for you to get around that, or that they will happily sell you a pricey console on the basis that it has a bunch of functionality which they then proceed to take away after they have your money, or any of the many other things they've done
    • Yes, this.

      Remember when Sony used rootkits surreptitiously distributed on things that appeared to be standard Redbook audio CDs and then used those rootkits to install secret CD drivers on users' computers, which contained no uninstaller and would render the drive inoperable if the user attempted a manual uninstallation, and which also left the users' computers open to invasion by other malware from other parties?

      Remember all the people who swore they'd never give Sony money again? They ran out and bought

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        A vanishingly small segment of the population did not. I have a 360 and a Wii, but no PS3.

        Killing Lik-Sang, killing Sega... didn't even take a rootkit to piss me off.

  • ... to do more phone and mobile development. Console gaming is a large but stagnant market. Mobile gaming is bigger and still growing very quickly.

    The outage is only convincing more people to take evaluate where they put their development resources and it isn't looking good for *any* of the console makers.

  • developers who rely on PSN revenues may jump ship if they aren't compensated

    I was going to hack my firmware and distribute my PSN-capable homebrew software, but now that Sony has shown they care nothing for its users, I'll take my business elsewhere.

  • After playing Portal 2 on PS3, the multiplatform experience was a breath of fresh air. The PSN is not a money-maker for Sony -- just a reason to buy their console.

    Steam already works on PS3 -- no more porting needed. Merging two large communities of players gives you a huge competitive advantage in the market over Microsoft and studios could publish truly cross-platform titles (competitive FPSes? Probably not. RPGs, strategy, racing, rhythm, fighting games? Sign me up!)

    Lastly, Steam already owns the on

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Steam already works on PS3 -- no more porting needed.

      I'm not sure you know what Steam is, that or you don't know what porting is. Steam isn't a runtime, just because it runs on PS3 doesn't automatically mean every game available through Steam magically runs on the PS3 hardware now.

  • The whole statement doesn't make sense on the face of it. If they are "losing millions" from being down for one month, then clearly they are making millions when it's up.

    After the dust settles Sony may lose some fraction of their customer base, but in the long run no game developer is going to give up on a platform with ~30 million customers just because of this fiasco.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      The whole statement doesn't make sense on the face of it. If they are "losing millions" from being down for one month, then clearly they are making millions when it's up.

      And what's so wrong about that?

There has been a little distress selling on the stock exchange. -- Thomas W. Lamont, October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)

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