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A Filipino Perspective on the GPU Crypto Mining Fiasco

GPU-pocalypse Due to Crypto

Never mind how more expensive video games may get later on due to the current situation regarding graphics cards. Prices have gone as high as twice the MSRP and are keeping consumers from building their dream rigs. Imagine finally being able to save up enough to build your own rig after working so hard in that call center job or whatever else you have. Your household is in order, and you just want to be able to play games after coming home from a hard day’s work. However, you either can’t or have to settle with an inferior GPU because you can’t get a better one.

Here in the Philippines, it gets even more expensive as tariffs and the higher exchange rate brought on by the decline of the Peso at the early days of the Duterte administration make high-end graphics cards even more out of reach for ordinary Filipino consumers.

As of this writing, the global markets have been chaotic. It may signal the coming of yet another economic recession, almost exactly ten years after the last major one. That makes things even worse as there seems to be no end in sight yet with this GPU-pocalypse, even with the crypto crash that may see a surplus of used graphics cards in the second-hand market.

Recent Personal Experience in Shopping for a GPU

As of this writing, I helped a friend out in putting together a whole new gaming rig in the previous week. I had recommended an AMD Radeon RX 570 for his purposes before. Unfortunately, it seemed like every shop we went to in Gilmore was fresh out of AMD cards and they only had Nvidia cards available. It was easy to determine that miners were to blame for this short supply.

He got an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti instead (4GB VRAM), which I thought wasn’t too bad at all for 1080p gaming. He just wanted to play Overwatch with it anyway, so it shouldn’t be too bad at all. However, if market conditions were like in late 2015 when I bought my Nvidia GTX 970 for PhP 15,000 (I bought it to play Fallout 4, funny enough), then he could have gotten a much better card.

It’s somewhat funny to think this GPU-pocalypse is how younger people are being introduced to the Law of Supply and Demand in the real world. As soon as there’s stock of high-end video cards, especially from AMD, miners snatch them up by the truckload. Of course, manufacturers and retailers wouldn’t refuse that since it’s good business.

Why GPUs?

The gist of it is when Bitcoin first came about in 2009, the handful who were in the know were able to mine with just laptops. CPUs were enough to do the job during the old days, but they became less viable as difficulty went up. The longer the blockchain gets as more transactions are made, the more difficult it is to process—most likely the main flaw of public blockchain.

It was then figured out that graphics processing units were more efficient as they consumed less  power for the amount of work needed for mining. Crypto miners run their power bills through the roof, so efficiency is always a factor. Once everyone has caught on to that, they started hoarding video cards for mining. Another benefit is they can then sell those cards after some time to recoup expenses.

Nowadays, Bitcoin’s difficulty has gone so high that GPUs aren’t viable for mining it anymore. Therefore, the current GPU mining craze is mostly for alternative cryptocurrency, or altcoins. Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin (Yes, that’s what it’s called), and Ripple are some of the more well-known altcoins out there.

From what I’ve heard, much of the GPUs bought lately were most likely for mining Ethereum, whose platform has tremendous potential in other applications as well. Of course, there will be a time when GPUs won’t be enough to mine most of the major altcoins out there. That’s when GPUs will be picked up for trendy cryptos that will come and go. Right now, it looks to be Ripple.

Other Cases of Hardware Price Hikes

The one I can remember off the top of my head is the price increase on RAM back in 2013 when a major Chinese factory burned down. Earlier that year, I bought an 8GB stick of DDR3 Corsair Vengeance Low Profile RAM (which I had to have replaced because the first one had errors and was crashing my PC constantly). I bought that for around PhP 2,000 or so, if I remember correctly—quite cheap compared to 8GB sticks these days.

The problem is RAM is still quite expensive to this day, twice what it used to be. An 8GB stick of DDR4 at 2400MHz these days will cost you PhP 4,500, which just a little bit under a 3TB mechanical hard drive. That’s the main reason why I didn’t go Skylake when I upgraded my rig back in early 2016, instead buying an Intel i7 4790K that I still use now because I didn’t want to switch from the DDR3 RAM I still had to DDR4.

Watch out for hard drives also possibly facing a similar situation due to the quiet emergence of Burstcoin, which uses free disk space instead of processors for mining. It’s purported to be a “green” cryptocurrency, but that may just mean more people will just hoard hard drives for things other than data servers and network-attached storage (something I’ll be doing later this year).


Things may take a turn once Nvidia and AMD start working on the idea to actually cater to cryptocurrency miners. Whether it’s for the better or worse, I’m not entirely sure. If they’re able to come up with products specifically for cryptocurrency mining, then maybe that’ll bring down the demand for gaming graphics cards and normalize prices again.

The biggest fear here is that even when crypto miners taper down on hoarding GPUs, prices won’t go back down and the inflated prices may become the new normal. Then again, I’m not an expert on the PC hardware market—that would be something you should go to B2G for.

Even with the recent cryptocurrency crash, they’re still better off than where they were at the beginning of last year. There may be a whole slew of new investors and miners who were just waiting for things to crash before buying in themselves to ride the wave to the next possible boom.

Meanwhile, the best you can hope for is for prices to somehow go down and maybe buy a bundled PC with a GPU already included if you really want a cheaper option at the moment.

Got Feedback?

Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have on the comment section below.

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The Dreaded Video Game Price Hike

Video Game Price

There has been talk lately about how video games may actually be underpriced these days, as unbelievable as that may sound since AAA games are quite expensive already. However, pundits are making their cases as to why the video game industry is now at its current state of having microtransactions and other predatory forms of monetization being shoved down consumers’ throats, as well as horrible working conditions for the rank and file in the industry. I’m no insider, but I’d like to try making better sense of the whole video game price debacle.

As a gamer who mostly relies on Steam sales and sites like Humble Bundle, Indiegala, and Fanatical (formerly known as Bundle Stars) to get cheap games—not to mention has around 600 games in his Steam library—I don’t get AAA games when they come out. For instance, as of this writing, I wish to get Dragon Ball FighterZ, but it just came out and is still at full price (PhP 2,400). Unfortunately, I don’t have what some would call “fuck you money”.

The Case for Price Increase

What’s presented in that video is how there’s a case for increasing the base price for AAA games and what companies do to get more out of each purchase, not how you should be shamed for not spending more to support the industry. It seems like plenty of people out there like to misconstrue it as a call to loosen wallets instead of informing the public of why AAA publishers are doing what they’ve been doing.

It talks about the reasoning behind the $60 video game price tag, why it may no longer be enough, what AAA companies do to make up for the widening gap, and what it may mean to the market in the long term. What many got out of it is if there is a way for companies to keep costs down, they should so we don’t have to keep being bled dry.

This video shows how “keeping costs down” may be harder than you think. There’s so much that goes into the making of a AAA video game that there should be no wonder why $60 may not be enough for these companies. When big publishers say having sold a million copies of a AAA title, it may not be because they just want more money, but because they’re really stretching things thin.

On the other hand, I’m not a certified public accountant and I still would want my games to be cheaper anyway. Even if I do get a hold of their financial statements, I wouldn’t be able to put two and two together even if I had taken four units of accounting more than a decade ago. However, I’m just saying since there have been so much tomfoolery being pulled off by big companies with getting around the base video game price to make more money, I can’t believe it’s just as innocent as games costing too much to make.

Refuting the Call for Shelling Out More Money

I’ve talked about Jim Sterling and his weekly YouTube show The Jimquisition before.

Jim Sterling toots the same horn because it’s worth tooting over and over again. However, it can be said here that he sidesteps the issue a bit and hits the business malpractices as always. Comments are less directed towards what may be done inside the industry itself other than how executives should either stop being greedy assholes or take themselves out entirely on their own accord if they still have a shred of dignity in them, if they ever had any.

He does remind people that the real audience are shareholders who keep those companies afloat. It’s more about hitting quarterly goals instead of uplifting the medium and pushing the envelope. It’s understandable why they do it, but Jim harps on the malice behind the practices that dehumanizes those who hand over their cash for whatever is being offered.

This episode of The Jimquisition was put out before the second Extra Credits video on what goes into making video games. Perhaps he wasn’t just responding to the first Extra Credits video and is just talking more about the points put out by the Gamasutra article. Whatever the case may be, while the points put out here are valid, it doesn’t address the question of what can be done to make game development less expensive that much.

(I wrote this before the video below was put out.)

With this more recent episode of The Jimquisition, Jim Sterling explicitly states beforehand how he’s directly responding to Extra Credits’ videos. There’s a dialogue going on in video form between these two YouTube channels regarding this subject, and it’s good that Jim prefaced it by saying he’s directing his comments at the situation at large and not the Extra Credits crew.

This is one of the better episodes of The Jimquisition in recent memory as it hits its marks and then some. Jim isn’t attacking the games industry per se, but the corporate culture that is dominating it. This is more to do with how these AAA companies run their operations, and that then affects how their games are made.

You can also say that last point was quite the burn, calling on AAA games executives to put up or shut up. Satoru Iwata paved the way, and he’s now challenging the Wall Street-walking big shots of the games industry to do the same. People tend to cringe when they hear “austerity” these days, but perhaps that may be a good thing for the sake of not having to increase video game price.

Of course, this is still not without points of contention worth picking out. What Jim Sterling is saying here is you should be fine if the executives tighten their belts and make games that don’t need to have the latest and greatest in graphics fidelity, and he’s half right. He may be right with how it’s not simply the audience’s fault for expecting that from games as it’s the AAA companies that continue feed that need.

By just following the money instead of paving the way themselves since they’re the ones making the games, they simply create a problem for themselves that they must then patch on top with more questionable decision-making, just like how some companies tend to support their online multiplayer games. The discussion in r/Games on this video is a read worth getting into if you’re actually interested in this subject.

Something (Probably) Worse is Happening Now

If you can’t even buy the thing you need to play the games on, you know you’re in big trouble. Video game price may not be as big of a deal when compared to gaming hardware price.

The price of graphics cards are a major concern at the moment. Never mind the price of games if you can’t even afford the hardware they’re supposed to run on. This is mostly due to cryptocurrency mining, with the recent rise and even more recent fall of Bitcoin to blame for the attention.

Mind you, no one who wants to actually profit from mining would ever mine specifically Bitcoin with GPUs anymore. Bitcoin mining is done mostly with ASICs rigs these days—barebones rigs with specialized processing units designed specifically for jobs like mining Bitcoins.

GPU mining is now mostly for altcoins like Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, and so on. As more mining is done on those cryptocurrencies, the difficulty goes up exponentially. That would then mean even more GPUs are needed to keep operations profitable.

I’ll talk more about this deeply worrying phenomenon in a separate blog post. In the meantime, all we can really do is cross our fingers and hope the situation on all fronts get better and prices finally go down. It’s not to say it can directly impact video game price, but you can never know in a fickle industry like this.

Got Feedback?

Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have on the comment section below.

You may also like/follow and leave a message on either Facebook or Twitter. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel as well for more content. Thank you for dropping by.

GameCon PH 2018 Preview — Follow-Up Pressure

GameCon PH 2018

Less than eight months after its debut event, GameCon PH is back with a follow-up. The pressure is on as they’re expected to improve upon what they were able to come up with last June, and they’re doing more things to get more hype. I even got a call to attend their press conference on February 1, even if I’m just a two-bit blogger. Just like with the first event, I’d like to talk about what lies ahead in this preview. (more…)

Mulling Over Vikings Season 5 Mid-Season Finale

Vikings Season 5 Episode 10 — Mid-Season Finale: Moments of Vision

The fifth season of History Channel’s Vikings hasn’t been exactly what I would call “riveting”. The initial post-Ragnar episodes were pretty good as most of them was about Ivar’s ascent and how the Great Heathen Army are getting the best of the English. However, the fifth season has been quite puzzling with how things have turned out and how relationships formed and fizzled in the blink of an eye. The mid-season finale of Vikings Season 5, entitled Moments of Vision, was both beautiful and bewildering at the same time.

The tenth episode of Vikings Season 5 is indicative of both the show’s strengths and weaknesses. The brilliant idea of using a non-linear narrative to tell the story of the battle between the forces of Lagertha and the Sami and the combined might of Ivar the Boneless and Harald Finehair’s armies is hamstrung by questionable creative decisions seen through the course of the season.

NOTE: I spoil much of the show here, including some plot points in earlier seasons. You’ve been warned.

Vikings Season 5 Episode 10 Analysis

Once Vikings Season 5 started, it was thing whole thing about them fighting among themselves and Floki setting up his own colony in what’s to become Iceland. Then there’s the warrior-bishop Heahmund, who has been a talking doll with a sword being passed around for the most part. Edge (Adam Copeland) is also in the show, taking to the acting thing now that it has been years since he retired from pro wrestling.

The whole episode was reminiscent of Ragnar’s drug-fueled vision of his former life as a farmer in the sixth episode of Season 4, before he became the earl and then the king of Kattegat. It’s one of my most favorite scenes in the whole series due to how it was shot and how it impacted the audience’s understanding of the story and Ragnar’s situation. Perhaps they wished to do more of that in this episode by alluding more to visions and memories.

Let’s see if I can cover all the major storylines of Vikings Season 5 referenced in this episode here.

The episode starts with King Harald Finehair and his brother Halfdan the Black in opposing armies, with the latter having aligned with Bjorn Ironside earlier to travel the Mediterranean. Due to that experience, he isn’t that adverse to dying in this battle as he has since tasted the adventure he so desired.

Ivar digs at Hvitserk for the motivations behind his changing of sides when Ubbe moved to sail back to Kattegat from England. He asks his older brother about his fears and regrets, and he could read him like a book. While the older brother, Hvitserk was out of his depth as he himself is unsure of what really made him switch sides and whether he truly regretted the decision. The truth is he did it for his own self-interest, which isn’t that surprising considering how immature he seemed to be throughout Seasons 4 and 5. Upon encountering the brother he turned away from in the battlefield, the only thing that saved him was Ubbe’s hesitation.

Astrid’s predicament was interesting as Harald had been showing how much he was devoted to her, even letting her cut his famed hair. However, she was so mortified by the whole ordeal of being kidnapped and forced to marry the king of Norway, then later raped by Harald’s men upon being caught trying to send a message to Lagertha, that she wished for death by the hands of the Queen of Kattegat–the only one she truly loved.

Vikings Season 5 Episode 10 — Astrid and Harald

There was hope Astrid would come around via Stockholm syndrome. Unfortunately, Stockholm is in Sweden, and Harald is just the King of Norway.

Bjorn and Snaefrid’s brief relationship was a weird one. Northmen seem to get tired of their spouses rather quickly throughout this show, and they would then move on to other relationships with the speed of Sleipnir. Same thing goes with the affair between Ubbe and Torvi, which turns Ubbe’s wife Margrethe into a mental case. All this tangling and crossing of relationships culminated in what could’ve been a tragedy. Sort of.

Then there’s the Iceland subplot. This is the most perplexing, yet also perhaps the most poignant story in Season 5. Floki sailed out in search of something that could give him renewed purpose and discovered an uncharted land. He then goes back to Kattegat and was somehow able to attract a group to go back to the desolate-looking island. What followed was remorse and breakdown among the people, which results in some deaths.

Because of what has transpired in that subplot, we know Floki might die somewhere in the second half of Vikings Season 5. Lagertha has more reason to die as well due to having offed Astrid herself. Torvi will go mad herself with having lost his eldest son Guthrum and being seemingly gaslit by her babysitter. Ubbe will have a handful with having lost a battle against his younger brother and a wife gone coco pops.

And there’s also the return of Rollo, who somehow sided himself with Ivar and Harald. Perhaps it’s simply a Machiavellian move of allying with the winners or a move to later gain a foothold in either the North or England. Rollo’s motivations are still unknown, but his presence does make things less stale as there’s now one more faction for everyone else to worry about.

Vikings Season 5 Episode 10 — Rollo Returns

He just sat there. Like a tease.

Videographic and Narrative Whiplash

There must be something to how this episode was edited because I found myself going “Wait, what just happened?” a lot. There were transitions that were so jarring, the only reason why I can’t compare it to Suicide Squad is because I could still follow what’s going on in this one, albeit barely.

What makes Vikings Season 5 worse is the Iceland subplot. You’d be watching someone’s visions and memories in the midst of battle, then BOOM—you’re back in Iceland. Perhaps the same can be said about the desert subplot earlier in the season. The changeover from England or the North to the sand dunes with seemingly drastic difference in coloring made for inconsistencies in visual tone which took much away from the storytelling.

At this point, this is just production going through the motions and having senseless fun while it lasts. All of it goes back to Michael Hirst’s writing and how it may be affected by whatever is going on in the production of Vikings Season 5. I should be fine with the Iceland subplot because it has Edge in it, but that’s about it.

There’s also the one thing all of the budget may have gone to, which is the skeletons scene. We might as well call it a Diablo flashback, because that’s what it really is. The skeletons looked so hilariously CGI that I couldn’t take it too seriously. Blizzard Entertainment can make better looking skeletons than that, you know.

So Ivar has x-ray vision? Also, are his legs healing or something? He was able to stand without the crutch. Is it because of improvements on the iron leg supports he had added at the start of the season? Are we going to see Ivar miraculously able to walk on his own by the end of the season?

There’s also the whole thing between Heahmund and Lagertha. What the hell is up with that? How did they really have a relationship all of a sudden? Lagertha has experience in dealing with devout Christians when Athelstan was still alive, so maybe that has lent to dealing with this Christian zealot. The whole “Now, I can die” dialogue was rather gauche.

They let these things happen, and I have a problem with that. The show does have its own brand of cheesiness since the very first season, and that’s part of what made it fun. However, at this point, with how serious things have gotten in the story, you’d think they’ve already smoothed that out like in the third season.


There are too many things to not have to care about in this season. I started seeing criticism of Michael Hirst’s writing as early the end of Season 3, and I can see now how they must have seen this coming from a mile away. The death of Ragnar and the dragging of the story to questionable grounds with such bad pacing in the aftermath made it obvious how much of the soul of the series is being lost.

The only thing keeping this show alive for the most part are the hangers-on like me who are still watching just because they want to see how it all ends. I’m still interested with what happens to the characters, but there’s a lot less investment on the newer ones like Alfred and Heahmund. It’s not that they’re bad or their actors are bad, but they weren’t as well-developed and polished as the sons of Ragnar.

We’ll see how things pan out with the second half of Vikings Season 5. There are promises being made as to how it can build upon whatever they came up with in the first half, and I do hope they can finally get something interesting going on in whatever is left of this show.

Got Feedback?

Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have on the comment section below.

You may also like/follow and leave a message on either Facebook or Twitter. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel as well for more content. Thank you for dropping by.

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Was Surprisingly Compelling

WWE Royal Rumble 2018

With a new format, here’s another attempt at being a pro wrestling journalist with half the talent and quarter the understanding. Royal Rumble 2018 was not bad at all, especially when compared to previous Rumbles that have mostly been about building whatever Vince McMahon saw as good. This time, it was obvious how the old genetic jackhammer had a lot less to do with this one due to the recent announcement of the new XFL venture (because second time lucky during his friend Trump’s administration). (more…)

What is the Objective of My YouTube Channels?


Since it’s still January and I’ve had a pretty good start this 2018, here’s another update of sorts. I swear this is the last site update I’ll post for a long while. It’s just that I felt I needed to put into writing what I have in mind for the two YouTube channels I run. Never mind that having two channels spreads me thin, but each do have its own purpose and goal. I wish to expound on that here, explaining the rationale behind having two of them and what I aim to accomplish with each. (more…)

The Decade Rule — Limits of Staying True to an Original

The Decade Rule

What I wish to talk about here is not a new trend, but definitely a recurring one. As of this writing, the divisiveness of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is still harped on every now and then in memes and flame threads. It’s the sequel of a sequel, and other sequels and sequels of sequels have been subject to similar heat, especially if they come out a decade or more after the original. Never mind what they did to Luke Skywalker, they turned Michael Corleone into a mental patient in The Godfather Part III and the story is a complete crock of shit in Diablo III. (more…)

Mea Culpa on Having Called Mafia a “GTA Clone”

Mea Culpa on Calling Mafia a "GTA Clone"

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to make a full post to take responsibility for something I’ve gotten flak for. At the start of my retrospective video on Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, I committed the gaffe of calling the game a “GTA clone”. Some may be puzzled at what may be wrong with that, and I’m still a bit on the fence on how wrong it really was to have done so. At first, I thought it’s like referring to caviar as “salty fish eggs”, which may upset connoisseurs, but is certainly true. But in this case, as I’ve found out, that would actually be a flat-out lie. (more…)

Cosplay Matsuri 2017 — A Good Year-Ender

Cosplay Matsuri

This may be the perfect way to end a year full of personal breakthroughs—becoming the ring announcer of Manila Wrestling Federation (and doing it well) and figuring out how to cover events my own way. The latter has been more hit than miss this year, after having tried making event vlogs for a few years now. Cosplay Matsuri 2017 seems like a great way to cap things off and celebrate the realization that doing this content creation thing isn’t just a waste of my time. (more…)

No Man’s Sky Zombie Horse Postmortem

No Man's Sky

Welcome to a stupid idea i had to pull off to start the new year. It’s outdated, irrelevant, and dumb as all hell. However, I had to do it to open the year as it had been gnawing at the back of my head for so long and 2018 is the year I start cranking out videos. I had to take the challenge, and I started it by putting up such a stupid ass video that would then motivate me to quickly bury it with more videos. It’s basically political commentary disguised as a super late postmortem review of No Man’s Sky. (more…)

AVDR 2018 Blogging and Video Plans

AVDR 2017

Alright, so it’s that time again to make promises and see if they can be kept. I should keep these as realistic and grounded as possible, but that also may have me running the risk of putting my goals too low, which can be just as detrimental as not fulfilling them at all. Since things seem to be going quite well for me right now at the beginning of 2018, I should aim just a bit higher than what’s advisable in order to get this blog and everything else to another level by the end of this auspicious year. (more…)

MWF Balikbayan — Wrestling Comedy of Errors

MWF Balikbayan

There are no excuses for how late this turned out other than sitting on my hands the whole time while typing this with a pencil between my teeth. Same thing goes for MWF Balikbayan, a show that faced a laundry list of difficulties coming in, and it proved to be quite the learning experience. Not everything is good, not everything is bad, and not everything is deliberate. I’d say the title I’ve given this is quite appropriate in hindsight. It was still a pretty good show, yielding a truly incredible match, two new prospects, and some entertaining moments. (more…)