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Mikes Rant Christmas Edition – 5 Tech Losers of 2020

So, at the risk of telling you something you probably already know, 2020 has, by and large, been a pretty crummy year. While COVID-19 has been used by many companies as the primary excuse for delays, lapses, or downfalls, I still think it’s fair to say that there have been more than a few tech-related cock-ups or outright failures this year to which it was, at the most, merely a contributing factor.

Now, based on the title, what do I mean by ‘loser’? – Well, put simply, I equate this to any company and/or manufacturer who through action or inaction has ultimately found a way to disappoint consumers. No, it may not necessarily be entirely their fault, but it is their name on the product!

Let us, therefore, have a look at the 5 biggest tech fails of 2020 and where (and how) I think they went wrong!

*Insert Practically Any Name Here* Stock Shortages!

Might as well kick this off with one of the biggest complaints of 2020. Put simply, getting hold of technology this year, particularly new releases, has been amazingly difficult. In fact, rather than just rambling on about it, here is a list of products I know have been in short supply at some stage this year:

  • Nintendo Switch
  • AMD Ryzen 5000 processors
  • AMD Radeon 6000 graphics cards
  • Nvidia 30XX graphics cards
  • PlayStation 5
  • Microsoft Xbox Series X/S
  • Toilet paper (because people are idiots!)

Put simply, if you have been in the market for any of the above (and yes, I only included toilet paper as a joke) the chances of you successfully purchasing even just one thing off that list has been amazingly slim. – Put simply, 2020 will and should be remembered for the year that manufacturers were caught with their pants down as supply levels were woefully underwhelming when compared to the demand!

COVID-19

The COVID-19 situation has been a stinker for all concerned this year. Despite having written the above, however, it wouldn’t be entirely fair of me if I didn’t pin some of the difficulties the tech industry (as a whole) has seen this year on the pandemic. Social distancing has resulted in games being delayed as developers look to work from home (never an entirely ideal situation), hardware has seen production shortfalls as factories have had to temporarily shut down during the pandemics (apparent) peak, and, of course, the huge impact this has made on worldwide logistics. You know, actually getting a memory stick made in China onto a store shelf in Sheffield.

Does it excuse everything we’ve seen this year? Of course not. It is, however, hard to understate just what an effect this has had on the tech industry either as a major or mitigating circumstance.

Intel Comet Lake-S

Oh, I can already see more than a few knives coming out for me putting this one on the list, but please hear me out! – Firstly, and I think this is important, Intel’s Comet Lake-S processors, released back in May, are not bad! – Actually, they were pretty decent if you kind of ignored their relatively beefy power requirements.

With AMD’s subsequent release of their Ryzen 5000 CPUs, however, whatever dominance or high ground Intel had in the CPU world is, quite frankly, gone at the moment. The Ryzen 5000 platform is (by and large) comparatively less expensive, less power-hungry, better at high-intensity workloads, and at least as good at gaming as Intel. The latter of which being one of the few benefits Intel’s CPUs still had going for them!

Put simply, Comet Lake-S isn’t bad, but for me, it simply highlighted just how badly AMD caught Intel off guard with Ryzen. And even with Rocket Lake-S expected in early 2021, I don’t see them having an effective response.

Put simply, I think Intel has a lot riding on the success of Alder Lake-S (expected Q4 2021). I mean, two Intel CPU generations in one year?… That’s certainly not common and definitely not indicative that Intel is happy with how things are both going and looking!

The Death of ‘Mixer’

Microsoft invested an absolute fortune into attempting to make Mixer the most viable alternative to Twitch and with them deciding to shut it down earlier this year, it was one of the most notable waving of the white flag moments ever seen in the tech world. Well, at least in recent memory!

So, what did go wrong? Well, the bottom line is that Microsoft was hemorrhaging money. Despite drawing some big names over (with even bigger paydays for them), it didn’t ultimately give the platform the quick shot in the arm Microsoft wanted. In a nutshell, the comparative traffic they generated on their original streaming platforms didn’t (largely) follow with them. For example ‘Shrouds’ viewing figures were (roughly) only around a third on Mixer when compared to Twitch.

Although I haven’t provided this list in any particular order, if there was a number 1 slot, this would probably take it. Not only for the manner in which Microsoft shut mixer down, but also simply based on the millions of dollars they seemingly wasted on it!

Cyberpunk 2077’s Launch

Despite being delayed multiple times over the course of 2020 (3 times if I remember correctly), when it did finally come out on December 10th, Cyberpunk 2077 was clearly expected to be one of the best games not only of the year but potentially of the last 5 years! – How badly it all has gone since though!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually think Cyberpunk 2077 is still an excellent game. Following the numerous bugs and glitches reported in it, however, it seems abundantly clear that even with the April release date eventually being kicked back 9 months, this still wasn’t ready to push out the door. – The biggest and fairest criticism of Cyberpunk 2077 undoubtedly fall on the PS4 and Xbox One versions which are, quite frankly, awful.

Put simply though, while I do have some sympathies for CD Projekt Red (as announcing another delay was almost certainly going to be met with a fresh wave of vitriolic backlash) Cyberpunk 2077 should’ve been one of the greatest games ever made and, sadly, I think the bad launch may have tarnished that too much for too many people.

Mikes Rant Christmas Edition – What Do You Think?

So, there we have it, my top 5 fails for 2020, but what do you think? Was there something that happened this year you think should’ve been put onto this list? Do you think something I’ve included is unfair? – Well, if you do, you know where the comments section is!

If you enjoyed Mikes Rant, you can check out more via the link here – Alternatively, for more of his Christmas-related rantiness, check out the link here! They’ll be a new rant (nearly) every day between Christmas and New Year!

Mike Sanders

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