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Next Generation Xbox and Playstation Consoles Will Have Optical Drives 206

Posted by timothy
from the may-the-circle-be-unbroken-and-shiny dept.
First time accepted submitter dintech writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that while Sony considered online-only content distribution for its next-generation Playstation, the manufacturer has decided that the new console will include an optical drive after all. Microsoft is also planning to include an optical disk drive in the successor to its Xbox 360 console as the software company had concerns about access to Internet bandwidth."
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Next Generation Xbox and Playstation Consoles Will Have Optical Drives

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  • by 0racle (667029) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:44PM (#40169481)
    And they suck hard in very large parts of the US. Digital Only distributions would make it so those parts of the US wouldn't consider buying the consoles.

    6 days to download TERA, I'm not doing that again.
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @02:03PM (#40169761) Homepage

      And they suck hard in very large parts of the US. Digital Only distributions would make it so those parts of the US wouldn't consider buying the consoles.

      And for a lot of people, the bandwidth is capped, with extra fees if you go over it.

      Assuming a modern video game puts a big dent in the disks now, I can only imagine that digital-only distribution would make the cost of the game more expensive overall.

      I wouldn't go to a digital download model. It's a video game console. I want to put in a disk an play games ... I don't want it connected to the internet all the time. But, it seems increasingly, video game companies are insisting on an always-on internet connection.

      • by skids (119237) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @02:16PM (#40170025) Homepage

        Considering how many patches these games end up needing, and add-on content, the happy medium (pun intended) between download only and optical ROM might be a flash stick 2x the size of the base game or so (with some r/o and write-once protections built in.) That would allow the game to store patches on the same medium as it is distributed, rather than filling up your console drive.

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          Except that for the price sony paid to put a 20GB drive in the initial PS3's they could have put in a 500GB drive instead. That was the stupid choice they made sticking in a notebook drive, today they could easily do a 1TB drive or 1.5 TB for that price. They're probably looking at buying 10-20 million units (before they refresh and add a bigger drive) so they're probably looking at 30 bucks a drive or so.

          I would expect next gen consoles to be looking at terabyte drives or more, as I said, since they cos

        • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @03:48PM (#40171493)

          >>>a flash stick 2x the size of the base game

          If you're going to do that, you may as well just go back to cartridges. Let's see... the N64's biggest cartridge was Resident Evil 2 at 64 megabytes. The new PS4 will have 50,000 megabyte carts. ;-) Of course the reason cartridges were phased-out is because assembling hardware is more-costly to build than a flat disc of reflective foil. So you idea is a nonstarter.

          • by skids (119237)

            Of course the reason cartridges were phased-out is because assembling hardware is more-costly to build than a flat disc of reflective foil

            Except at that time USB flash drives had not been commoditized to the point where they already cost significantly less than video game titles.

            If a game was offered in either optical or flash format (and the flash capable of loading the game onto local cache in a decently short duration) I'd definitely pick the former. They take less space and there's a lot less futzing around with handy-wipes and jewel cases.

          • by Khyber (864651)

            "So you idea is a nonstarter."

            Wrong. In fact, because it's harder to make hardware carts, it saves their asses piracy issues. On top of that, they can go "You can't damage this by mere surface scratches anymore! No more scratched discs ruining your experience!" And then they can charge a premium. I still see REGULAR NES/SNES/Genesis Carts going for $50, TODAY. In fact, I saw a mint copy of the gold NES Legend of Zelda. Still going strong at $45 dollars, at a game store with at LEAST 50 of those carts, brand

            • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

              I think I paid $45 in 1986. It would be close to $90 in today's dollars, so they are down by about half price. And the premium doesn't come from the medium, it comes from having 25 year old games in working condition.

              It only takes 1 person with the right tools to copy carts - plenty of pirate carts were available for the NES if you knew where to look. And now we have the internet where you can learn and order equipment, instead of having to know someone who knows about the process.

              No premium, no piracy p

        • by Khyber (864651)

          "Considering how many patches these games end up needing"

          And this is why I go Nintendo. Actual fucking quality control. Not *ONE* game in the entire history of me owning and using a Nintendo product have I had to get a patch for a game. The ONLY issue I've had with a Nintendo product was with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which lay in a hardware issue (Older model Wii - disc drive couldn't handle the dual-layer disc properly. That was remedied within ONE WEEK.)

          Sony? No Quality Control. Ditto Microsoft. If they h

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        Well, they also might lose a segment of the business, I'm sure isn't quite insignificant...those that buy these systems to PLAY optical media on them.

        A couple years back...I gave myself a PS3 for Xmas....for the following reasons:

        1. At the time, was a good price on a 3D capable bluray player

        2. Plays dvds, CDs...etc

        3. Streams Netflix (and now Amazon) ..ok, this one has nothing to do with the drive)

        And actually, the fact that it played games, was just a bonus. I've not tried to play many on it yet....st

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          That was a big market for Blu ray adoption. That's a big deal for Sony, and a large part of how they 'won' that format war. But I doubt MS gives a shit either way. Selling a 500 or 600 dollar console (or more than that even) that doesn't offer any *new* optical player probably isn't a good plan. Not when you can get a blu ray player for under 100 bucks these days.

          If they have some new optical medium to fight over then sure, but I would be surprised if anyone wants to bark up that tree again so soon, if

        • by yodleboy (982200)
          When PS3 first came out, I bought one because I wanted Blu-Ray and I could get a stand alone player for $500 or get a PS3 and have a game console for the same price. The difference though is that back then you only HAD a choice of $400+ Blu-Ray players. I can go down to Wal-Mart and get a Blu-Ray player w/ Netflix etc for $60 on sale. So unless I just realllly wanted a console, I could put a player in every room for that much. The point is that Sony might have lost that business several years ago, but
          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            When PS3 first came out, I bought one because I wanted Blu-Ray and I could get a stand alone player for $500 or get a PS3 and have a game console for the same price. The difference though is that back then you only HAD a choice of $400+ Blu-Ray players. I can go down to Wal-Mart and get a Blu-Ray player w/ Netflix etc for $60 on sale. So unless I just realllly wanted a console, I could put a player in every room for that much. The point is that Sony might have lost that business several years ago, but there

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Some people have no broadband. Some are dialup only. Some have spotty coverage. Some have caps. Some do not have internet access in the room where the game console is.

        The idea of this on a game console is silly. Game consoles are supposed to be the easy dumbed down system. Buy it, plug it into the TV, let the kids play games from the couch. This will not work with internet downloads except for a very few. The people who do digital downloads on PCs are a small fraction of the market.

        Then there's the

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          So first off, about 70-75% of all consoles have always on internet. Secondly the primary market isn't kids, it's adults, the so called 18-36 although now it's more like 15-45 year olds, mostly men. Third, the download services (PSN, XBL and on PC Steam etc. ) have all been quite successful.

          You're right, in that it's completely unreasonable to expect someone on a 1MB/s DSL to try and download a 20-50GB game, which is why you can't have download only consoles. But expect much deeper integration between wha

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            >>>70-75% of all consoles have always on internet.

            Did you pull this from someplace dark and smelly? I have yet to see any console that was connected to the internet. Please back-up your numbers with some source.

            • by Sir_Sri (199544)

              http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28058/Study_PS3_Has_Highest_Percentage_Of_Connected_Consoles.php

              PS3 78%, XBox 360 73%. Wii is way down in the 50's but Wii use is way down too (inactive in the sampling period).

              And that's from 2010.

            • by Khyber (864651)

              "I have yet to see any console that was connected to the internet."

              Check your glasses, all of mine are always on the internet.

              Or maybe go buy and use some actual hardware so you have half a clue what you're talking about.

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Not only speeds, but we have a lot of ISPs now threatening to enforce their paper caps (you know, the ones they have not enforced but we have covered a lot in Slashdot.)

      On the article, though... I love how Wall Street Journal reports on the dismissal of a rumor no one ever confirmed. I was sure these things would have disk drives, it's obvious. Bandwidth is not the only issue, complete absence of internet connectivity is still an issue in many households that own XBox, be it a full household thing or just r

  • by alen (225700) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:44PM (#40169487)

    optical disks i can use anywhere are for grandma

    downloading the same games that are locked to my console is so much cooler and sexier. its like 3g vs wifi. 3g is awesome compared to grandma's wifi.

    • by PTBarnum (233319)

      Don't worry, Microsoft and Sony will make sure that the optical disks have the same sexy restrictions as downloaded content.

      • by k3vlar (979024)

        Probably true.

        If the console is "digital download focused", it's likely the game on the disk will be a hard-copy of the downloadable files, with a code to unlock the game. You insert the disk, enter the code, authenticate with your account, wait for the files to install, and then promptly throw all physical media away, because it's useless to anyone else now.

        For households with no internet, you'll have to do phone activation.

        ... I'm sad now. We live in a horrible world.

        • ... I'm sad now. We live in a horrible world.

          Why get sad? Just don't buy it.

          • by feepness (543479)

            Why get sad? Just don't buy it.

            I'm sad that he's sad that he can't sell his video game.

          • by Mitreya (579078)

            Why get sad? Just don't buy it.

            It's good to live in a world where one does not have to compromise their principles for reality. I am going to assume that you do not currently have any children in a console-playing age (with peers who own and play consoles).

    • Yes the Old stuff is much better then the new crap.
      3g is a particular generation of broad long range wireless, Wi-Fi is a general term for short range wireless. You are comparing apples to oranges.

      There is also a lot of cost added to software due to it being in a media form. Digital downloads are actually a much more affordable easier process, why do you think you can get games for your Andoid/iPhone for only a couple of buck while the console costs a lot more.

      You got the cost of making the material and sh

  • by sidthegeek (626567) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:45PM (#40169493)
    Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. â"Tanenbaum, Andrew S.
  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:45PM (#40169501)

    (1) My 750k internet would take 7 days to download a 50 gigabyte Bluray-sized game. (2) Easier to just buy the disc from amazon and have it shipped to me. (3) Plus when I get bored with the game I can sell the disc and recoup my money. Example: I played Final Fantasy 12, thought it was kinda boring, and sold it for $55. Recovered my money.

    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:48PM (#40169553)

      (1) My 750k internet would take 7 days to download a 50 gigabyte Bluray-sized game. (2) Easier to just buy the disc from amazon and have it shipped to me. (3) Plus when I get bored with the game I can sell the disc and recoup my money.

      That they will support physical media doesn't mean they will play used games.

      • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by alen (225700) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:50PM (#40169593)

        how are they going to lock out used games on physical media? they will just lock out levels and characters so you are in effect playing an extended demo unless you buy the whole game

        • Its easy, if the game's encoded serial number has already been registered on another console, it wont play. Child's play for a modern console.
        • The same mechanism that prevents access to multiplayer can also be used to prevent access to anything in the game. Why do you think EA forces you through their Origin servers when you play on the Xbox?

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)

          They could do either. Many of the games we get now are barely more than demos, where the single-player game is just a tack-on and most of the multiplayer content gets released as paid DLC, either in unit purchases or by annual subscriptions. The $60 up-front fee is just to get you in the door.

          I mean, who bought any of the CoD games for the single player? Nobody I know. And now they're locking up the mp updates behind subscriptions that cost as much as the game did. I'm off that train now, but I'm sure t

        • It wouldn't be hard. Essentially they activate the game to the first console you play it on, and require an internet connection to start the game.

          I'm not saying they'll do that, but they easily could.

        • Our old friend the burst cutting area [wikipedia.org] can fairly trivially assign a machine-readable unique ID to a disk.

          Assuming a locked console(not implausible, unless the next generation is weaker than the present one), it would take next to no bandwidth and local storage to keep a local database of 'authorized' disks, refuse to play any others, and, upon encountering a new disk, query the server to insure that it hadn't already been authorized elsewhere.

          If you had to work with no bandwidth at all, a modification
        • by hendridm (302246)

          Well, they could still use the physical media to delivery the bulky parts of the game, but still require an internet connection to authenticate your product key, which could be non-transferrable. Make it so once you register the game under your online account, that key can only be played by that account. You could sell your account with each game, but that could be very problematic and annoying.

          Facebook games like to do this now. Once you register your character under a specific Facebook account, you can't

        • how are they going to lock out used games on physical media?

          I'm not all that familiar with Blu-ray Disc's physical layer, but DVDs have a millimeter-wide Burst Cutting Area in which the factory can store some information in a disc that is already pressed. It can most clearly be seen on GameCube and Wii game discs, which also have six pinholes in the lead-in whose precise sector location is stored in the BCA. This photo [wikipedia.org] shows an example of a BCA and pinholes in a Wii disc. If BDs have a BCA or something analogous, it could be used as a serial number to associate with

        • how are they going to lock out used games on physical media?

          One way would be to sell media separate from licenses, and use all DRM mechanisms on the console to assure that you have a license, whether or not you have the media.

          Note that Microsoft's concern cited in TFS isn't access to internet connectivity, its access to internet bandwidth. License verification may be connectivity-dependent, but it isn't bandwidth-dependent the way that delivering the whole game content online would be.

        • "how are they going to lock out used games on physical media? they will just lock out levels and characters so you are in effect playing an extended demo unless you buy the whole game".

          Yes. Capcom shipped Street Fighter X Tekken with a bunch of finished characters locked on the disc. The characters are finished and playable if you flip a switch within the game's code or by purchasing (the still unavailable) DLC.

          Mass Effect 3 had content on the disc that was only playable if you purchased a DLC code to unloc

        • Tie it to an account, like with Valve games on PC
        • Sony doesn't want to lock out used games. Sony is still making good money off the PSP and PS2. These consoles run nothing but used games at this point.
        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          The same way steam does it. The disk you bought, and the licence with it entitles your account to activate that key on your account. You can pass the disk around all you want, without a licence key the disk can copy the data files but has no other value since the game isn't active on any other account but yours. Theoretically you could build the system to allow any disk to be put a console, and without valid key it simply takes you to the PSN/XBL store where you can activate it for the appropriate fee.

          E

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          how are they going to lock out used games on physical media? they will just lock out levels and characters so you are in effect playing an extended demo unless you buy the whole game

          That might actually be illegal. But what's not illegal so far (apparently) is including all the content that makes the game not suck as DLC that you can either get for a bunch of money or with a coupon included "free" in the game package, downloadable once.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>That they will support physical media doesn't mean they will play used games.

        On the day that happens, such that I can no longer sell my used discs to other people, I will stop buying any games priced higher then $10. Unless it's a top title like Final Fantasy or Xenosaga*, then I'll pay the $20 greatest hits price. Why? Because I have a game collection extending from the present all the way to 1977. I can live without the new stuff, since I have tons of other games to keep me busy..... just as

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Ya, a lot of PC games come with keys that can be used only once, or they're steam games where you still have to authenticate online and spend a couple hours downloading patches before playing. Game distributors have figured out that the market will put up with any amount of abuse as long as they can get the cool games that the other kids at school are playing.

  • by onyxruby (118189)

    Executives realized that in the real world their desire to axe the optical drive would be outweighed by most people in the US having crappy bandwidth. I never thought our terrible US bandwidth would turn out to have a silver lining.

    Yes a US centric post, because while many other places have far better bandwidth, they just don't have the market presence plurality that the US does. For better or worse the US by and large defines the world market on such things...

    • I dont think you understand, this changes nothing other then the BoM cost. Operationally, NOTHING has changed, and having the optical drive in no way hinders their used game sales war.
      • by onyxruby (118189)

        I do understand, this has a slight change on the BoM cost. Unfortunately they will almost certainly find a way to fight used game sales. My point was one of bandwidth and downloading. I never argued that this would help people on 'owning' disks and being able to 'sell' them when they wanted.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      For better or worse the US by and large defines the world market on such things...

      No, it doesn't. Lots of the world has widespread internet that is unsuitable for 20-50GB downloads on a regular basis. You can't base a console on only being useful in Japan, south Korea and a handful of major cities elsehwere.

  • by rokstar (865523) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:51PM (#40169615)
    Data caps present another problem. There are plenty of multi disc games out these days and the size is likely only increase as time goes on. The prospect of blowing through a significant chunk of your monthly data limit on a video game could easily discourage sales.
  • I don't know why [google.com] Sony would be skittish about going online only.

    • The, er, superb performance of the diskless PSP Go probably didn't help. And that was a design that axed a disk that everybody loathed and mocked...
  • It must have been a lively debate internally about this. I am sure many inside the companies were pointing out that by removing the physical media component it would destroy the possibility of game resale and the used game market. However, at the same time it kind of shoots their sales channel in the foot -- there's certainly no incentive for retail game stores or other businesses which make their money on having people come in and buy stuff to sell a device which obsoletes all their current sales and als

    • Optical drive has no bearing on used game sales for the next gen consoles. Its completely irrelevant. ALL code you run on your next gen console will have to be internet blessed before it will run. FULL STOP.
    • there's certainly no incentive for retail game stores or other businesses which make their money on having people come in and buy stuff to sell a device which obsoletes all their current sales

      Yet Walmart, Best Buy, and other stores that sell game discs still sell iPod and iPhone products.

      • I'm sure this was in reference to used game stores like Gamestop, who make all of their money from buying used games cheap, and reselling them for high prices. A large portion of gamers go to gamestop for all of their gaming needs (who knows why). I'm sure gamestop would have a problem selling a system and games that destroy their business model
        • by tepples (727027)
          It doesn't especially destroy GameStop's business model when people come in and plunk down cash for console-specific stored value cards such as the Microsoft Points card for Xbox Live Marketplace.
    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Given that gamestop which is ~25% of the games market has, through used game sales created an adversarial relationship with all of the major game companies, and most of the smaller ones, I'm sure they'd be happy to see them die a rapid death. What's gamestop going to do, refuse to sell games if they can't be resold used? Good luck with that plan since Bestbuy, Amazon, and Wal Mart (walmart being another 25% of the market) will all sell without used resale.

      With the PSN and XBL you do also have a captive ma

  • With modern games weighing in at a hefty 5-20GB (depending, sometimes a bit more, sometimes less), even a fairly high speed connection will take hours to download the whole thing, unless you are running FIOS (which most people aren't). Even a 10Mbs connection will take an hour for a 5GB game, assuming it can max out, and that puts a lot of strain on the servers. Disc distributing makes far more sense, especially for consoles which tend to have a "put in the disc and play immediately" attitude.

    Mind you, som

    • With modern games weighing in at a hefty 5-20GB (depending, sometimes a bit more, sometimes less), even a fairly high speed connection will take hours to download the whole thing, unless you are running FIOS (which most people aren't). Even a 10Mbs connection will take an hour for a 5GB game, assuming it can max out, and that puts a lot of strain on the servers.

      What if you could optimize the stream so that the stuff came down in the order you needed it? For instance, game engine first, with a low-res set of textures, followed by a stream of higher resolution textures in the order they appear in the game? Or maybe everything you need to play one of the multiplayer maps? You might only have to wait 20 minutes for the thing to be playable, then it could download as you played?

      Also, most games are ready in advance of their release date. You might make the downloa

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        That is possible to do. I know game companies have played around with loading the essential parts first, so you can play it when it is only half-downloaded. I am frankly surprised Valve hasn't done work on that for Steam, but I think the problem is it requires a ton of optimization about ordering, since you need to decide exactly what should be downloaded in exactly what order or you will end up with significant hiccups in gameplay (or straight-up crashing). That takes a lot of time to do, and when most gam

    • by dreemernj (859414)
      I agree with basically everything you say. But I do think there is another model for game distribution they could have in mind: partial downloads on demand. You buy the game, it downloads 10% of the game and lets you start playing, as you play through it has to download more, and if you never finish the game, it never actually downloads the whole thing. I imagine MMOs already operate this way, so it's not a novel idea or anything, but using it for every game for a console could be a new take on using th
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:57PM (#40169701)

    More and more game consoles are also media consoles. Shipping without some way to play Blu-Ray and DVD discs greatly reduces the utility of those boxes.

    Sure lots of video is moving online, I use that myself quite a lot and it's fantastic. But I also like owning movies, and for the foreseeable future the only way to "own" a movie is on disc.

    People also have a lot of existing discs they would like to keep playing...

  • The Used game market is huge, and a MAJORITY of players rely on or use the used market like EB games regularly. I know it pisses off the game makers that us "dirty rotten thieves"(tm) are stealing their money by buying and playing a used game. But most gamers do not buy into their delusion and prefer the lower prices of used games and the ability to sell games for a store credit.

    I know I'll stop buying games if I cant buy a disc that I can then later sell used, or buy a older game used.

    I never played any

  • by P-niiice (1703362) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @02:18PM (#40170041)
    Welp, looks like xbox pulled ahead in this one. Now if I can somehow purchase and play used games on it, we'll have a winner. I refuse to purchase a console where I can't play a damn used game. I'll leave consoles before doing that.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      As it is there's no point to buying many racing games used for any appreciable amount of money because you then have to go out and buy more content for it.

  • I was hoping for opitcal to be ditched in the next gen and for the industry to move onto flash media fully. By the time these consoles comes out 16GB of flash media will be pretty cheap.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by crazyjj (2598719) *

      By the time these consoles comes out 16GB of flash media will be pretty cheap.

      And 50 GB of blu-ray storage is even cheaper.

      • by Araxen (561411)

        That's true but Blu-Ray drives are a lot more likely to fail than a flash card reader. This generation of consoles are very prone to breaking(except the Wii) I want the next generation to have better reliability.

  • by internerdj (1319281) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @02:27PM (#40170169)
    This generation sold as a "media hub" with the capability to play the video discs, play games, and serve apps because they were so expensive. It served a host of needs out of the box. If they drop discs then I can't play my existing media out of the box. I need to drop $500 for a new console and repurchase my media? That is going to cut into the sales figures at least a little.
  • It amazes me how clueless gamers are when they think just because they have broadband in their little suburb that the whole world should go digital only.

    These systems sell globally and not everyone gets broadband (not even in the US) and a lot of people certainly don't have unlimited bandwidth or even want to let their system run for a day or more to download a game that will no doubt be expensive. Physical media won't be going away for quite some time.
  • I heard it was going to be called "The Phantom" before this announcement.

  • Also, don't they both want to be media hubs? There's a lot of DVDs and BluRay out there. Be silly to not play them.

  • Why are we still using rotational media? Why not use one those USB ports for a USB thumb drive? 47 GB is reailly available now and will be extremely cheap by the time these consoles are out.

  • But Sony decided against a download-only model largely because Internet connections are too inconsistent around the world, one of the people familiar with Sony's thinking said. Because game files are large, customers in countries where Internet connections are relatively slow would be hobbled by a requirement to download games, the person said.

    A Sony spokesman declined to comment.

    Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.38% is planning to include an optical disk drive in the successor to its Xbox 360 console, according to a person familiar with the matter. The software company also had concerns about access to Internet bandwidth, the person said. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

    "some people say sony hates personal freedom. sony declined to comment. some people say microsoft believes in unicorns and space dragons. microsoft declined to comment." some people say a lot of stupid shit that may or may not be true. the only warm body they took any comments from was the gamestop CEO. here's your revised headline/summary (choose one):

    Wall Street Journal Asks GameStop CEO About Sony And Microsoft Consoles But Pretends It Has Other Mysterious Unnamed Sources To Hide The Fact The CEO Does

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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