What does one do with themself after they have murdered every god in their country? They move onto the next divine club! This month’s upcoming deicidal action/adventure epic, God of War, which is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro on April 20th, seems to be rebuilding the franchise from the ground up.
Sony’s meanest anti-hero’s obsession with pantheon-erasing cannot be curbed – only this time, he has ditched sunny Greece for the icy shores of Scandinavia, to lock horns with Norse mythology in this reimagined God of War.
The pale Kratos is older, more grizzled than ever, and if it’s even possible, meaner-looking.
Not surprising, seeing as the edgy, mostly silent marauder has been through some of the most titanic struggles ever seen in a video game franchise, and now faces a whole new legion of monsters and deities, who may prove to be his most brutal adversaries yet.
God of War fans can easily name their favorite over-the-top boss fights from previous installments, where Kratos swung about like a ghostly ape on some colossal mythical creature in an earth-shaking rodeo, steadily tearing off its fingernails and plucking its eyeballs out through a massively gory combination of acrobatic hack and slash and exhilarating quicktime sequences.
This time around, however, the more mature God of War has swapped his terrifying speed and elastic leaping capabilities for a far more lifelike and weighted approach. You can also say goodbye to his iconic double-chained blades, as he has swapped his swishing slashers for a hefty, enchanted battle axe aptly called the “Leviathan Axe”.
The game mostly appears to take a steadier over-the-shoulder viewpoint of the action now, as opposed to the previous fixed cinematic camera, and you now fight enemies in a style far more similar to something like Dark Souls than old school God of War titles.
Still, the raucous quick time events have remained, in which Kratos will monstrously lay into his opponents with his his infamous talent for bare-hand surgery. This may be a “reimagining” of the franchise, but some timeless qualities should never be replaced.
As to why Kratos would actually decide to fly the now relatively demolished Greece for Scandinavia is still a mystery. Sony Interactive Entertainment Santa Monica have amazingly kept the story under wraps, which is an amazing effort in secrecy in an industry where data-miners and leaks are so prevalent.
What we do obviously know is that the spiritual members of Northern Europe are certainly sweating over the uninvited presence of the world’s most talented god hitman. How Kratos’ relationship with the Nordic pantheon will progress is anyone’s guess, but if you know anything about God of War, it will most likely involve a culture losing all of its leaders.
A Son’s First Hero
It’s not all viscous folklore massacring, this time Kratos has a bit more to worry about than coming up with new novel ways of tearing gods to pieces. He now has a son to care for and mentor, which is completely surprising, as fatherhood is the last thing one would imagine such a perpetually aggravated berserker settling for.
This means that Kratos will have to learn to curb his brutish enthusiasm in favor of a more textbook fatherly role, albeit with a heavy seasoning of the mean baldy’s mercilessly practical approach to everything.
Just how this new relationship dynamic plays out will certainly be highly emotional and developmental, as we hopefully see a softer and more nurturing side to an individual completely focused on comprehensive vengeance.
We certainly have seen some unusual father-son bonding from gameplay footage snippets, and something very touching does indeed seem to be unfolding here, far beyond the usual themes seen in God of War games.
An interesting comparison, made by head writer of the game Cory Barlog, is that of comparing the old Kratos’ almost indiscriminate rage to The Hulk, and this new, more mindful protagonist to Bruce Banner.
That being said, a big question regards whether Kratos’ son will admire or fear his father (perhaps a bit of both), and whether he will follow in his father’s bloody footsteps, or strike a saner path of his own.
Conclusion – A Comprehensive Transition to Realism
So, what we seem to be witnessing here is a large-scale conversion of God of War – its protagonist, gameplay, setting, and themes – for something seemingly far more down-to-earth and perhaps even relatable, as Sony lead this saga in a seemingly more grounded and mature direction.
Of course, you can still expect a treasure trove of wickedly spectacular destruction, the likes of which only the Ghost of Sparta could pull off. Keep the weekend of Friday 20th clear, you’re going to be spending it with the God of War.
Top Blockchain Applications Making Waves in Commercial Real Estate
The commercial real estate (CRE) industry is comprised of many different types of service providers, including property management, brokerage firms, banks, and other types of lenders. When a CRE transaction takes place, there are various operators involved, requiring extensive sharing of official property documents, and financial information which need to be validated. The requirements for validating all information across all parties slows down the speed of each transaction, which can take weeks and months to complete. Many CRE firms have turned to blockchain to speed up execution times, decrease error and increase transparency in each transaction.
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is a way to store and transfer information in an encrypted manner by distributing data instead of copying it in a central location. Blockchain does so through a cloud, peer-to-peer network that eliminates the need for a third party, which ultimately reduces transaction fees. A digital ledger is then created and updated with each financial transaction in blocks.
There are plenty of benefits to making transactions and transferring data using blockchain as the technology is not controlled by one central entity, such as a central bank. This means that breaching these blocks is extremely difficult, maintaining the sanctity and transparency of its transactions and data.
Blockchain is the backbone of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which offer speedy and low-cost ways of sending and receiving money.
One of the most exciting ways blockchain is disrupting the CRE world is in the form of smart contracts. The industry currently relies on an inefficient system of old-school verification of property ownership by conducting research to ensure the property belongs to the party who is selling it.
Blockchain can reduce the speed in which the chain of custody regarding CRE properties takes place as a property’s title would be stored on a public ledger. This would remove the need for another central repository, thus reducing transaction, state, city and legal costs. The same principle would apply for leases that would be recorded via blockchain.
More Transparent Deals
Blockchain can also ensure that real estates assets are more liquid and the terms of the agreement are fully understood by both sides as every piece of data regarding a property would be stored publicly. This includes data surrounding former owners, construction done on the property, past maintenance costs and records regarding former inspections.
Having all this information available would give the investor a more comprehensive idea of the property they are investing in. Blockchain essentially ensures that everyone is on the same page and both sides are fully aware of what they’re getting into as every piece of information is out there for anyone to access.
Digital Paper Trail
Another challenge with the CRE industry is the fact that public records can be outdated, unreliable or not available. Following a property’s paper trail can be time-consuming and frustrating as a lot of this information is lost due to poor organizational skills from industry workers and legacy systems that lose data when updated.
With blockchain, every piece of information on a property would be available in the same place rather than in multiple physical and digital domains. Blockchain would also help to eliminate the type of fraud that sometimes exists in the industry as deeds and titles can be counterfeited easily.
Buying Property With Cryptocurrencies
As previously mentioned, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that relies on blockchain to complete financial transactions online in a matter of seconds. Some investors and real estate firms have started adding Bitcoin to the industry, including Ivan Pacheco, who bought a two-bedroom condominium in Florida for $275,000 in Bitcoin.
In the residential space, you can buy a condo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Bitcoin. Meanwhile, some apartments in New York City are allowing their tenants to pay for rent using Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies have been historically volatile and they’ve been on the decline since peaking in December 2017, but some investors believe that the future of real estate will be closely tied with Bitcoin and other digital coins.
Nevertheless, blockchain’s role in the CRE industry is becoming more prevalent each day. The technology’s potential to speed up transactions with smart contracts, its ability to add transparency to a deed or title and the fact that it dramatically decreases the chance for fraud suggest that more investors will flock towards firms that use blockchain for CRE transactions.
5 Tips to Help You Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
“High-quality web content that’s useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.” –
The age-old adage: “Content is King” is more relevant in the global digital media marketing world that it has ever been before. Statistics generated by Newscred.com show the following:
- 71% of consumers are turned away from a brand by direct sales pitches.
- 40% of consumers prefer emails that are content-rich and not promotional.
- 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising.
- 2017 statistics show that 615 million mobile devices have installed adblocker technology.
- 2017 statistics show that 84% of people expect brands to create content.
It should be noted at this juncture that we are talking about high-quality, informative, authoritative content. Publishing run-of-the-mill spun content is counterproductive and can harm your brand’s reputation as a leader in its field.
Finally, 2016 studies have shown that circa 75% of brand marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets to allocate a more significant slice of their overall marketing budgets to content strategy and content marketing.
Implementing a content strategy
From the figures mentioned above, we can see that designing and implementing a content marketing strategy is a vital part of a brand’s digital marketing strategy. And it should not be avoided or downgraded to a very low priority. Therefore, here are five tips to help you with your content strategy:
Work with a reputable agency
It is vital to partner with a digital marketing agency that has years of experience writing high-quality, informative content. Additionally, it’s a good idea for this agency to keep up to date with the changes to Google’s ranking search engine algorithms to ensure that their clients’ brands continue to rank up in the top three to five brands on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Identify your brand’s target audience
Let us assume for this article that you own a business that designs and manufactures Merino wool jackets for the athleisure and casual outdoor market. It is vital to describe each persona-type that will be interested in purchasing this jacket. For example, someone that is interested in only wearing high fashion and is not interested in spending time outdoors hiking is probably not going to wear this jacket. Therefore, there will be very little ROI if you market your brand to this persona.
Identify the type of content that will add value to your brand
Different content types suit different brands. It depends both on the brand’s products and the target audience. Once again, if we look at our Merino wool jacket, we can see that the following content types are suitable:
- Instagram and Pinterest posts with high-quality photos showing how the jacket can be worn.
- Long-form articles that are related to the jacket and how to care for the jacket.
- Informative emails that provide links to the long-form articles as well as links to new products.
Consistency is critical
Consistency is a cornerstone of all content marketing strategies. Regular content gets ranked higher on Google (or other search engines) because of its consistency. It does not matter what the time frame of each post is. What matters is that if the content strategy states that a guest blog post will be published three times a week, the brand marketer must stick to the plan. On the other hand, brands that do not post regular content do not keep on “reminding” Google that they are essential, and they add value to their target audience’s lives.
Content builds trust
High-authority, informative content builds trust. For example, let us go back to our Merino wool jackets. It is natural to assume that the brand’s target audience will ask what temperature can the jacket be worn at, whether the jacket is waterproof or not, how to wash the jacket, and how should the jacket be stored when not in use.
The best way to answer these valid questions is, not only to add this information (in bullet point form) to the jacket’s description but to write and publish an informative article on the value of a Merino wool jacket and how to care for it. As a result, the brand’s target audience will see the brand owners as knowledgeable. Additionally, they will assume that the brand cares about its customers.
This article does not attempt to be a comprehensive guide to the mastery of content strategy. For more information, talk to Firecrab Digital Media.
The Purpose of Business Intelligence and Big Data in Enterprises
Enterprises collect an unprecedented volume of data about their consumers, sales, and products. In most scenarios, these rows of information move very fast, are too big, or they surpass the processing capacity of the existing technology applications in the organization. But with Big Data and Business Intelligence, enterprises get to enhance operations, their profit margins and also make quicker, more brilliant business decisions.
The retail market has been trading on its gut instinct for years. But now, they’re recognizing the importance of capturing data around their strategic business activities. The ability of businesses to back their decisions up with evidence of things that might work is essential.
BI and Big Data analytics have revolutionized a myriad of industries, with the retail sector being the biggest beneficiary. Big players like Walmart and Amazon leverage BI and Big data analytics to enhance their retail performance. However, these benefits aren’t limited to full-blown companies alone, medium and small businesses can also realize great value in integrating the systems into their operations.
The advantage that comes with the ability to process significant volumes of data is the main attraction of business intelligence and big data analytics.
Here’s how enterprises can turn BI and Big data into a business advantage.
In retail business – supermarkets, department stores, and e-tailers – transaction histories and sales receipts can produce incredible volumes of data depending on the business size. These rows of information present a massive opportunity for business to analyze their sales. However, valuable insights are not based on volume alone.
Integrating a successful business intelligence solution can assist retail organizations to pull out essential information from a chunk of data, by addressing the question at hand. It gives definite answers to question like how much of a product is being sold and the type of client that’s buying the product as well as the store or outlet that sold the product, and the specific time.
These are critical answers that retail businesses need to improve their decision-making process. The trends in the data showcase the strengths, weakness, and opportunities for the company. For instance, one can know when they make the most sales and the time. This way, they ensure that that particular store has enough commodities to meet the demands. The data also points out areas that perform poorly, allowing the enterprises to make drastic decisions to rectify the problem and identify potential opportunities.
That said, the real value of BI or Big Data isn’t just based on the ability to address the questions on an individual basis; it comes with the ability to converge data from multiple systems and sources so that users can gain more insight from the available information.
Like never before, Big Data and Business Intelligence are helping to merge business systems in retail stores to enhance operational efficiency while providing higher profits. BI and big data allow operations managers to have a detailed summary of the operations, so they can eliminate any bottlenecks and enhance efficiency.
The access to real-time information also enables finance managers to take care of traditionally narrow margins of profit with greater context to make sure they enjoy maximum gains from investment into inventory.
And since all these processes happen on the cloud as opposed to the traditional books and hard drives, there’s a reduction in hardware and maintenance costs. Enterprises can also integrate cloud into the current systems with less expense.
Knowing who the most profitable consumers are is a crucial concept in retail business intelligence and Big Data. The sales analysis allows businesses to increase their profits margin by understanding who their most loyal consumers are and strategizing on ways to keep them on board. The realization also lets enterprises define a unique opportunity around insight creation.
Having access to real-time consumer demand pattern information allows enterprises to match their inventory to their orders accurately, which results in customer satisfaction. Consumer analysis can also help predict seasonal spikes, trends, and depression. This way, retailers can always avail the right inventory levels to match their demands.
Besides, the cost incurred in finding and acquiring new clients is far much expensive than the cost of maintaining the existing ones. So it’s more realistic for retailers to pay attention to what the data is saying concerning these individuals.
Consumer analytics, as part of BI and Big Data, can be leveraged to create and maintain loyalty programs aimed at pleasing these customers. This plan is sure to increase the consumer retention rate and also result in more business through referral of happy and contended buyers.
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