Canadian economy not well prepared for a recession: OSFI

James Langton Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Canadian banking regulators are warning that the economy is not well prepared to face a recession due to high household debt levels. In a report setting out its priorities for the next few years, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions says that the economic outlook for the major economies, including Canada, is “of concern, with a reasonably high probability that the U.S. recovery will continue to be weak, and some observers expecting a mild recession in Europe in 2012.” And, European sovereign debt worries remain too. Moreover, OSFI says that the Canadian economy is also “less robust and less resilient to adverse shocks” compared to the last recession. It says that elevated household debt levels not only make households vulnerable to adverse shocks, but that continued low interest rates could also encourage even higher household indebtedness. Yet, at the same time, OSFI says that consumers could help slow growth, “if they take action to rein in spending to address their indebtedness.” On the regulatory front, OSFI says that it intends to actively participate in international and domestic discussions concerning regulatory reforms. It promises to create new standards for risk management, disclosure and corporate governance; and says that it will be paying particular attention to the effects of international accounting rule changes and of Basel III capital adequacy and liquidity requirements. It will also work on a credible resolution framework for major banks in Canada. Additionally, OSFI says that it will develop, and begin implementation of, a public roadmap outlining the future state of insurance reforms, “bringing together different elements such as capital, accounting and supervisory changes so that implications for industry are more transparent and better understood.” In particular, it aims to enhance the supervisory regime for insurance companies by implementing a new supervisory framework and revising domestic regulatory capital and other regulatory requirements and disclosures, it says. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Companies Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions read more

AMF issues warning on cryptocurrencies, ICOs

first_img The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) warning investors about the risks associated with cryptocurrency or token offerings, more commonly known as initial coin offerings (ICOs) in a investor alert published Monday.The warning also reminds prospective issuers about the possible application of securities laws to these sorts of offerings. How should banks allocate capital for crypto? Related news James Langton New York attorney general secures receiver for crypto firm Keywords Investor protection,  CryptoassetsCompanies Autorité des marchés financiers In the alert, the AMF stress that cryptocurrencies and ICOs are “speculative, high-risk investments”, and it reminds investors to ensure that they fully understand how these vehicles work, along with the associated risks, before they invest. Investors should be prepared to lose their entire investment, the alert warns.“From the promising future of blockchain technology to the volatility of bitcoin, so much has been said about cryptocurrencies that consumers are finding them increasingly difficult to understand,” says Jean-François Fortin, executive director, AMF enforcement,” in a statement. “If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s that if you’re offered ‘guaranteed’ profits, promised quick, high returns or rushed into making a decision, you’re most probably dealing with a fraudulent scheme or, at best, an excessively risky investment.”Read: Rapid growth of cryptocurrencies highlights need for policy responseThe AMF also warns prospective ICO issuers that these transactions can often come under securities laws.“Businesses that plan on issuing cryptocurrencies or tokens must understand and meet their obligations under securities laws. In particular, issuers and sponsors could be subject to prospectus and registration requirements,” it says; adding that issuers should consider the staff notice issued last year by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to determine how securities laws may apply to a proposed offering,” the alert says. Bitcoin should face tough capital rules, Basel Committee says Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Share this article and your comments with peers on social media welcomia/123RFlast_img read more

Statement from Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on May 27, 2021

first_imgStatement from Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on May 27, 2021 From: Public Health Agency of CanadaOn May 27, 2021, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement on COVID-19.May 27, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of CanadaThe COVID-19 pandemic continues to create stress and anxiety for many Canadians, particularly those who do not have ready access to their regular support networks. Through the Wellness Together Canada online portal, people of all ages across the country can access immediate, free and confidential mental health and substance use supports, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Over the past weeks, we’ve seen Canada make huge strides in ramping up our COVID-19 vaccination rollout. As vaccine supplies have increased, provinces and territories have opened eligibility to many more people, and it has been heartening to see so many of you rolling up your sleeve as your turns have arrived. As of yesterday, over 21.9 million doses have been administered across Canada. These successes have required coordination with communities across the country to make vaccines available and accessible, and have benefited from community leadership and innovations like local pop-up clinics, multilingual clinics, and support from groups like Vaccine Hunters to help you find and book appointments. We have also seen efforts to support equitable access to vaccination by allocating vaccination clinics to the places where they are needed most, such as clinics specifically for those experiencing homelessness or living in social housing, and prioritized vaccine access for those in hot spots. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:anxiety, Canada, community, covid-19, Government, health, homelessness, leadership, mental, mental health, online, Ottawa, pandemic, public health, stress, vaccination, Vaccineslast_img read more

Uncovering Your Distributor’s Critical Success Factors

first_imgReddIt AdvertisementThe second in a series on improving your standing with your distributorsIn our last article (Winning Distributor Attention), we began a journey of discussing the importance of and challenges in understanding your distributor in order to better address their needs while getting what you want from them as a growing winery. The first critical step is shifting your mindset from one that is “inside-out” to “outside-in.” That means moving away from a mentality of “my business goals are what the distributor should pay attention to” to one of “understanding and solving my distributor’s needs and business interests first.” The challenge is, how do you find out what is most important to your distributor, how do you leverage this information once you have it, and what benefit will it yield you? The following steps will lead you to a better understanding of your distributor, and with that, the ability to position your business as a partner in solving their needs.Uncover Their Critical Success FactorsWhat is a critical success factor? These often get confused with goals. Once we know a customer’s (or in this case distributor’s goals) we assume we have the full story. But goals are only half the story. Critical success factors (CSF’s) are: the few select areas of activity that must go right in order for the business to meet its goal. In essence, these are the deal breakers for businesses. When critical success factors are not met, goal achievement will not be possible. And they aren’t obvious to the naked eye. They require investigation and inquiry. While public companies do publish goals, they do not publish CSFs. Private companies, which includes most distributors, publish neither.The only way to know what is important to your distributor is to ask them. While many of their CSFs will either be unimportant to you, or something you cannot help them with, if you uncover something that is critical that you can improve for them (and it helps you too), then you have uncovered gold. Any senior manager within your distributor will know their company’s CSFs, and these CSFs drive how they direct their part of the distributor’s operation. With three simple questions you can gain valuable insight into their critical success factors and yield valuable information that your competition lacks.Goals: What are your goals over the next 12-18 months?CSFs: What needs to happen in order for you to reach Goal X? You must ask this question for each goal.Test if it is critical: If you don’t accomplish X, will you still be able to reach your goal?Once you understand what is most important to your distributor, your challenge is how to use the information to your benefit.Analyze CSFsLet’s consider a fictitious distributor. Big Dog Distributors (BDD) has been on an acquisition spree over the last few years and is now a major player in the Midwest. At the same time BDD has invested millions of dollars in upgrading their inventory and accounting management systems. To pay for this investment, BDD needs to increase its margins 10% in real terms for the next three years. That is one of several BDD business goals. But the critical success factors are much more informative and helpful to you. Let’s say you go through the inquiry above and find out that they must:Accelerate revenue growth of fast-moving, premium and value wines in their portfolioGain a stronghold in three of their newly acquired mid-west markets – Illinois, Indiana and Ohio – where there are several large grocery and mass liquor chains.Add an operating shift in their main distribution centers.If you are a small- or medium-sized winery, you might wonder what do these CSF’s have to do with me? Let’s assume you, Little Dog Winery – a LEED certified winery on a beautiful and prestigious stretch of Silverado Trail, schedules a top-to-top meeting with Big Dog Distributor to discuss their priorities for the year. The pride and joy of your portfolio is the winemaker series – a line of high margin super-premium Napa Single vineyard appellation Cabs. In fact, the most recent vintage release earned a 99 in Wine Spectator. You have also launched a (lower priced) premium product tier – mainly California and central coast reds and whites – which has done well as an exclusive launch in a key West Coast grocery chain but has gotten little focus from you and your team since then.What might you focus the top-to-top meeting on if you lacked information about BDD’s critical success factors? Likely, topics such as the brand’s recent accolades, winemaking process and LEEDs certification would be central arguments as you struggle to garner time, attention, and priority with BDD.Leveraging CSFsOn the other hand, when you understand BDD’s critical success factors, how might you frame and focus the conversation differently? In this scenario, could you influence and support their CSF related to fast-moving, value & premium wines? Certainly. Could you help them increase their foothold in grocery accounts in the Midwest? Possibly. Can you help them with their additional warehouse shift? Probably not. However, if your goal for 2018-19 is to move into the high-end market in the Midwest, you might find your goals are misaligned with BDD’s critical success factors, and as a result they seem unfocused on you and your brands. Often wineries mistakenly believe this is simply because there are so many other wines in the distributor’s portfolio. But the larger issue is that they have other priorities. However, if you focus on your newer premium line with BDD, during your ride-with help the reps sell that portion of your offering, and adjust your strategies so that you can move your high-end products through other channels or in other markets, you might find BDD pays more attention to you than you originally expected.ConclusionIn your jam-packed days, you most likely prioritize your activities around the work that will move your winery toward your quarterly and yearly goals to improve revenue, profit, productivity, or quality. These activities are your critical success factors, and while they may be similar to the winery next door, your CSFs are, in fact, unique to your business. The same is true for every distributor, no matter how big.Every winery works with distributors at two levels. Top-to-top meetings throughout the year focus on aligning priorities and goals and negotiating terms of agreement. This is the time to learn about and validate their CSFs. On a tactical level, you and your team work with distributor sales reps during market visits. These account calls provide an opportunity to leverage what you have learned and in some small or large way, help them both meet their CSFs while influencing their selling behavior.In the next article, we will discuss how to apply critical success factors knowledge during distributor ride-withs.Expert Editorialby Laura Webb, partner with ELA ConsultingLaura Webb is a partner with ELA Consulting based in the North Bay. ELA focuses on helping companies and their leadership teams define and implement strategies for growth.Advertisement Email Linkedin Previous articleConnoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine Editorial Schedule October Through December 2018Next articleWinemaker Nicole Pope Uses Old World Methods of Winemaking to Create Award-Winning Coastal Syrah in Cambria Expert Editorial Twitter Home Wine Business Editorial Expert Editorial Uncovering Your Distributor’s Critical Success FactorsWine Business EditorialExpert EditorialUncovering Your Distributor’s Critical Success FactorsBy Expert Editorial – August 30, 2018 357 1 Facebook TAGS3 Tier SystemDistributionELA ConsultingExpert EditorialfeaturedImproving Distributor RelationsLaura Webb Pinterest Sharelast_img read more

Solidarity and coordination crucial, no one is safe unless all of us are safe: UN Secretary-General

first_img Antonio GuterresCOVID-19 pandemicInternational Day of Epidemic PreparednessUnited NationsVaccinations MaxiVision Eye Hospitals launches “Mucormycosis Early Detection Centre” Solidarity and coordination crucial, no one is safe unless all of us are safe: UN Secretary-General UN marks 1st International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, on the birthdate of Louis Pasteur, the French biologist responsible for ground-breaking work on vaccinationsIn his message on the first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness António Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations  called for solidarity and coordination, saying that they are crucial, “within and among countries; no one is safe unless all of us are safe.”He also said that across the work being done by various agencies like the UN and WHO, “science must be our guide.”Coming in the backdrop of the death toll from COVID-19 crossing more than 1.7 million people, he said, “As we strive to control and recover from the current pandemic, we must think about the next.  Unfortunately, it is easy to imagine a virus just as infectious but even more lethal.”He advocated that “Preparedness is a sound investment, costing far less than emergency expenditures.  Societies need stronger health systems, including universal health coverage. People and families need more social protection. Communities on the frontlines need timely support.  Countries need more effective technical cooperation.  And we need to pay greater attention to the encroachment of people and livestock into animal habitats; 75 per cent of new and emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic.”Concluding, the UN Secretary-General pointed out, “This International Day falls on the birthdate of Louis Pasteur, the French biologist responsible for ground-breaking work on vaccinations.  In honouring his work, I salute today’s medical professionals, front-line personnel and essential workers who have carried the world through this emergency with such remarkable commitment.  As we recover from the pandemic, let us resolve to build up our prevention capacities so that we are ready when the world faces the next outbreak.” The missing informal workers in India’s vaccine story By EH News Bureau on December 27, 2020 Phoenix Business Consulting invests in telehealth platform Healpha Adoption of AI/ML can disrupt healthcare services Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals releases first “Comprehensive Textbook of COVID-19” Menopause to become the next game-changer in global femtech solutions industry by 2025 Share Related Posts WHO tri-regional policy dialogue seeks solutions to challenges facing international mobility of health professionals COVID-19 Updates Health policies News Public Health Comments (0) Read Article Add Commentlast_img read more

Female Ward to be built at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital

first_imgRelatedFemale Ward to be built at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital RelatedFemale Ward to be built at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail A female ward is to be constructed at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, and the air conditioning unit is to be replaced at a cost of $10 million. This was announced by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who toured the institution on November 15, along with senior personnel from the Ministry. Dr. Ferguson told the staff and clients that Cabinet is to approve the $73.4 million for the female ward, and that despite the limited funds available, health facilities cannot operate below acceptable standards, and that the projects will be receiving urgent attention. “There are some minimum standards that must exist in our public hospitals, and we are moving with alacrity to ensure that this (air conditioning unit) project becomes a reality…and the unit can be up and running in the shortest possible time,” the Minister said. Regarding the female ward, Dr. Ferguson said that project will be going before the Infrastructure Committee and the Cabinet on the same day. “The project will significantly ease the pressure at the accident and emergency area, and will improve immediately, the quality of care in this institution,” he said. The Minister noted that the two operating theatres at the hospital are inadequate, and that a $17 million project will be effected to improve that area of the institution. “There is need for expansion and I am giving instructions to get those two additional theatres for the hospital. This will result in much shorter appointment time for elective surgery and other kinds of surgery,” Dr. Ferguson said. The Minister called for co-operation during the period of construction. “As the projects get underway, I appeal to patients, and to staff, to have some patience,” the Minister said.  Advertisementscenter_img RelatedFemale Ward to be built at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital Female Ward to be built at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital Health & WellnessNovember 17, 2012last_img read more

Panasonic offering global connectivity for enterprise

first_img T-Mobile chases enterprise with latest Uncarrier push AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 19 OCT 2017 Previous ArticlePoland registers strong mobile payments uptakeNext ArticleHuawei and Telefónica Deutschland Launches World’s First 5G-oriented Antenna Deployment Solution Diana Goovaerts Singtel shakes up management, names former Nokia boss as director connectivityenterprisePanasonic Panasonic announced a one-stop shop portal offering mobile connectivity across 180 countries, which is designed to make it easier for enterprises to get online and manage their carrier relationships.The P.180 platform offers enterprises the ability to obtain 3G and 4G service through 25 operator partners. Victoria Obenshain, VP of wireless strategy at Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, told Mobile World Live the platform also includes a customer portal where businesses can add or delete users, keep tabs on costs, add global roaming plans and review data analytics on usage patterns.P.180 is designed to be used exclusively with Panasonic’s Toughbook line of rugged mobile devices and computers, Obenshain noted.The executive said the platform comes in response to demand from customers who wanted greater simplicity and control, and reduced cost in their connectivity experience.“No other OEMs in our space are doing this,” Obenshain said: “This is not a simple thing to do. You need to have a lot of experience working in the enterprise space where you understand the connectivity issues and pain points clients face.”Obenshain said Panasonic teamed up with Republic of Ireland-based Cubic Telecom to make P.180 a reality. Cubic Telecom brings experience in coordinating networks for IoT connectivity, and is providing eSIM technology for mobile service, she said.Initially, Panasonic will be targeting the transportation, logistics and retail markets. But P.180 will also appeal to a diverse number of companies outside the group, Obenshain added.Panasonic aims to have the platform completely live by early December. Relatedcenter_img Author Diana is Mobile World Live’s US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only… Read more SoftBank targets low-cost HAPSMobile services Home Panasonic offering global connectivity for enterprise Tags Asia last_img read more

Samsung NA chief explains secret of 5G success

first_img 5GIoTSamsung Electronics Telkomsel turns on 5G in major cities INTERVIEW: Infrastructure deals with leading US operators have propelled Samsung Electronics into the big league of the networks market, but the head of its North America division explained the company is not an overnight success.Regional president and CEO Tim Baxter (pictured) told Mobile World Live the company is now reaping the benefit of development conducted over the past five or six years, with its position as a provider of chips, devices, customer premise equipment and networking equipment another key element enabling it to compete with vendors including Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.The payoff is happening in the form of deals with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint “that are all about implementing 5G today, not five years from now”. While the absence of Huawei in the US market offers something of an advantage, Baxter explained there are commonalities in other international markets around spectrum which leave it well placed to capitalise on its experience in the country.Samsung considers how to “orient use cases around” specific deployments, for example in a neighbourhood or nationally, with a view to transforming industries including autonomous vehicles; fleet management; healthcare; and education, he said.Baxter also discussed how Samsung is employing its Bixby voice assistant to become a contender in the IoT, using its recently acquired SmartThings platform, “the single-largest open platform of IoT-enabled products”, to integrate its own devices with those from other vendors to “create new experiences for consumers”.Access the full interview here. Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back Tags Asia Michael Carroll Author Relatedcenter_img Mobile Mix: Buzzing for Barcelona Michael doesn’t want to admit that he has been a journalist and editor for close to 20 years covering a diverse set of subjects including shipping and shipbuilding, fixed and mobile telecoms, and motorcycling…More Read more AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 26 SEP 2018 Previous ArticleIndia operators face in-depth DoT revenue auditNext ArticleAxiata mulls M1 options Home Samsung NA chief explains secret of 5G success Nokia scores Philippines 5G deal with Ditolast_img read more

Soldiers’ Stories Told on Stage

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Like many in the Flathead Valley, local playwright JeAnna Wisher has experienced the ripple effects that come with having family and friends serve in military service – the pride, the fear, the waiting, and the hope for successful reintegration once the tour is over.Though she’s not in the military, Wisher wanted to contribute to the conversation about America’s relationship with war, and the potential avenues for peaceful conflict resolution. And with her extensive background in theater, the answer was to write a play, Wisher said.The resulting musical, “The Pilgrimage,” premiered last week, and will show again at the Glacier High School Performance Center on May 3, 4 and 5. Each show is at 7 p.m.The musical follows a group of troops who head off to war, following the challenges they face abroad and the difficulties of returning home to a changed social landscape and potential changes in themselves.It’s a story of courage and integrity, Wisher said, as well as pain and humanity. And since it’s such a heavy subject, Wisher said she wrote it with some light-heartedness as well. “I tried to write it with a sense of humor,” Wisher said. Along with the script, Wisher also wrote nine original songs for “The Pilgrimage,” ranging from rock and roll to military marches to rap to ballads. There should be something for everyone in there, she said. Once the production costs are paid off, the remaining proceeds from the show will go to the Northwest Montana Veterans Food Pantry, Wisher said. Tickets are $10 at the door. The Pilgrimage has 15 in the cast, and the soldiers will be male and female to reflect the reality of the modern military. Wisher is confident in her crew – several of who have performed in Flathead Valley Community College productions – and said they have overcome challenges unique to an original show. “You’ve written script and until you get a cast and get it on stage, you just don’t know what it is,” Wisher said. “I’ve given the cast a lot of free range.”This includes plenty of workshop sessions on the script, where Wisher and her performers go through the scenes and discuss character personalities. If an actor doesn’t believe his or her character would actually say a line or would perhaps say it differently, Wisher is open to suggestions. That is unlike what most performers are used to, she said, because they’ve likely seen a performance of a play or musical they’re acting in. But with an original script, it puts the pressure on the performers to make the characters come alive for the first time. “They’ve had to just go from scratch and create it, which was a challenge for them,” Wisher said. This play was also borne out of a challenging period in Wisher’s life. A bout with cancer in 2011 forced her to retire early to focus on her health, and she realized she had the time to pursue her creative ideas.“(Fighting cancer) has given me a perspective, too, on how important life is and making the most of every minute,” Wisher said. Wisher felt her background in theater qualified her for a playwriting endeavor. Before she moved to the Flathead in 1996, she was active in the local Coos Bay theater scene, and has also taught theater classes and written and directed a children’s play. Since moving here, Wisher said she took a little time off from the theater, but nonetheless has been part of several productions at FVCC and assistant directed with the Whitefish Theater Company. She also performed with the Stumptown Players.The upcoming shows of “The Pilgrimage” remain her most immediate focus, Wisher said. She hopes the show sparks conversation about scrutinizing U.S. involvement in conflict, while also showing the pride and respect the soldiers who fight for the country deserve.“It just nicely turned into a heartwarming story,” Wisher said. Emaillast_img read more

Critical Consensus: Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

first_imgCritical Consensus: Tom Clancy’s The Division 2Critics lament the lack of political heft in its story, but The Division 2 gets much right that BioWare’s Anthem got wrongMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefTuesday 26th March 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleUbisoftThe critical appraisal of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is notable for being considerably better than that which greeted The Division in 2016. It is also notable for the sheer number of times that Anthem is mentioned — and the comparisons do little to flatter EA BioWare’s troubled release.Of course, as online third-person shooters with a focus on loot the two games have much in common, but the resonant message from critics is that they are polar examples of how these huge, ambitious projects can turn out; Anthem got it wrong, The Division 2 got it right.The Daily Telegraph, for example, opened its positive review with a tribute to “just how thoroughly competent” the game is at launch. “If that immediately sounds like damning Ubisoft’s militaristic looter-shooter with faint praise, that isn’t the intention,” reviewer Tom Hoggins said. “Launching a persistent online game in the vein of Destiny et al and having it hold together is bloody hard. Just ask Anthem.”Launching a persistent online game and having it hold together is bloody hard. Just ask Anthem” Tom Hoggins, The Telegraph”Maybe it is just the disappointment at BioWare’s sci-fi scramble of incessant loading screens, connection issues and disparate adventuring talking, but I half expected to go into Ubisoft’s game facing a clutch of the same issues. But that hasn’t happened; I fired up The Division 2, crafted my macho bearded soldier man and sent him into the post-apocalyptic capital to shoot bad guys and find sweet new knee-pads.”And several hours later, I’m still enjoying a compelling, mechanically satisfying — if aesthetically uninspiring — shooter. And that’s with very few technical hiccups, aside from the odd floating corpse and texture pop-in.”The emergence of games-as-a-service (GaaS) forced critics to answer some difficult questions. After a few decades of competing to be the first to reveal which number on a five-star, ten-point or percentage scale they had bestowed upon each new release, reviewers were faced with a new breed of products that defied absolute opinion, growing and shifting and changing over time; they could start poorly and find stability, or start confidently and become great. Adapting their methods to accommodate the growing popularity of GaaS is perhaps the single biggest reason why so much of the press has reluctantly ended the love affair with scores and stars. It feels good to be an authority, but many games now take months and even years to reach what can be considered a final state. By most accounts, however, The Division 2 is taking its first-step on what could be a very long journey with a rare degree of polish and technical solidity.Many critics used Anthem as a counterpoint to praise how well The Division 2 nails the fundamentalsThis was pointed out by PC Gamer, which also drew a comparison to Anthem. After 25 hours “wrestling” with BioWare’s game, PC Gamer’s Samuel Roberts expressed gratitude for the myriad ways in which The Division 2 is a more considered and streamlined user experience. It also displays a knack for drama and set-pieces that is so often absent from games that must find ways to keep players engaged for hundreds of hours.”Each main campaign mission feels like a real event,” Roberts said. “Given that no one really makes linear third-person shooter games now — here they’re isolated parts of a massive open world looter game — it’s easy to forget what these kind of levels feel like when they’re designed well.”Each main campaign mission feels like a real event… It’s easy to forget what these kind of levels feel like when they’re designed well” Samuel Roberts, PC Gamer”There’s an amazing excursion into the American History Museum, where there’s a (probably tasteless) firefight in the midst of a Vietnam recreation exhibit, complete with royalty-free version of The End by The Doors playing in the background. Then there’s a gunfight in the Air & Space Museum’s planetarium and Mars exhibits, which for a few minutes make you feel like you’re playing a sci-fi shooter. “The finale of the campaign, meanwhile, offers a long battle on the roof of the Capitol Building, which is a great location for a selfie with the game’s photo mode once you’re done. The choices of setting for the main missions give them a lot of flavour. The longer strongholds that bookend the campaign, with one for each of the three factions, offer the biggest and most exhilarating set pieces in the game.”As with all Ubisoft open-world games, The Division 2 is generously loaded with activities that fall at different points on the scale between essential and perfunctory. However, Rock Paper Shotgun noticed an attention to detail that prevents these myriad tasks from feeling too much like busywork. It is in the design of the game’s major set-pieces, as PC Gamer pointed out, but also in the smaller corners of the world itself. The Division 2, RPS said, gives the usual Ubisoft formula, “a lick of humanity.”Make no mistake, The Division 2 is in no way political”This is… a world of detail and atmosphere,” said reviewer Brendan Caldwell. “You leave behind dusty boot-prints as you walk, and can make out the sound of bullet casings hitting the floor as you fire. Axes are buried in doors, abandoned mid-scavenge. In the beta, I found a dead man behind a bar with his dog lying next to him, also dead.”Best among this world of detail are the quarantine zones, where you’ll find no bandits, but plenty of gloom and audio diaries. These buildings encased in yellow warn-o-plastic are islands of quiet post-disaster storytelling in a sea of shootiness. Nothing attacks you in these moody hallways, they’re just places you can visit if you want to feel unsettled at the scale of humanity’s ruination. They feel like an olive branch to singleplayer types who want to slow things down and explore. “One of them is an old natural history museum, where the huge model of a mammoth looks over a disturbing amount of body bags. I wish more of [Washington] DC had the confidence to throw away the waist-high cover and let the player take in the horror of a capital city gone to shit. Because the atmosphere of these yellow ghost houses makes them some of the best scenes in the game.””Best among this world of detail are the quarantine zones, where you’ll find no bandits, but plenty of gloom and audio diaries” Brendan Caldwell, Rock Paper ShotgunThe absence of “shootiness” in these areas will be welcomed by anyone who misses the linear third-person shooters mentioned by PC Gamer’s Samuel Roberts. Nevertheless, the majority of critics have praised The Division 2’s gunplay, and the combat intelligence displayed by both its enemy forces and its friendly factions — Polygon among them, which noted that, “it’s so easy to overlook the game’s forgettable story when the moment-to-moment action is so damn good.””There is no way to overpower my adversaries by stats or grinding alone,” said reviewer Owen S. Good. “My two options, from level 3 to level 30, are either to git gud or get help. And getting help, from the AI or other humans, is where I find the heart of the game.”NPCs are much more involved and effective than their Big Apple predecessors in the first Division game. I work with civilian settlements whose residents fight, with real guts, to retake city blocks and intersections. In one firefight I was holding on for dear life behind an algae-blooming fountain, waiting to see a sniper’s flashlight so I knew where to aim, when two friendlies ran up and shot the bastard like a rabid dog.”I made up an emergent narrative for them on the spot: Meet Tim and Kim! They, uh, are analysts for the Department of Health and Human Services, and have season tickets for DC United! But what was remarkable was that I was the one drawing fire while Tim and Kim made the final kill. Friendly characters will rush to your aid when you fire a flare to signal the start of a control point battle, and you can always join them in battle if you stumble upon them fighting off one of the game’s enemy factions.”In fact, there is very little dissent around The Division 2. The games press is united on the many areas that Ubisoft Massive (the game’s lead studio) has succeeded, and it also speaks with one voice on the principal aspect in which it fails. In each of the reviews mentioned here, the praise for shooting, looting, set dressing and set pieces is dragged by a big black mark against the game’s story — to the degree it can be said that The Division 2 has a story at all.Ubisoft has created a beautiful world, with myriad stories in its finer detailsThe Telegraph declared it “wafer-thin,” Polygon called it “forgettable,” and PC Gamer noted that The Division 2, “barely makes me pay attention to its story at all.” Every single review surveyed in preparation for this article focused on Ubisoft’s widely discussed attempts to distance itself from any perceived political statements in the game’s post-catastrophe Washington DC setting. Few had a kind word to say about the validity of that stance, and fewer still were less kind than VG247.While reviewer Kirk McKeand commended The Division 2 for, “getting the basics right,” Ubisoft’s obvious reluctance to engage with inherent parallels between the world it has created and the one in which we live arises throughout his otherwise positive review.”Ubisoft made it clear that The Division 2 had nothing to say pre-launch. To its credit, it was totally right. It has nothing to say at all” Kirk McKeand, VG247″At one point, I shoot some men so I can create a fresh water source for an encampment of survivors. This is a world where people don’t have access to water or crops, but everyone has exploding remote control cars. Priorities were pretty messed up when the apocalypse went down. “Of course, everyone has the most important thing you need in a survival situation: a gun. ‘Did you own a gun? Did your neighbour?’ the intro asks, definitely not holding up a mirror to the very real gun ownership debate in the US.”McKeand continued: “Ubisoft made it clear that The Division 2 had nothing to say pre-launch. To its credit, it was totally right. It has nothing to say at all. It’s a game about holding down a button and watching numbers pop out of a man, getting stronger by finding more loot, then doing it all again. There’s nothing like the surge of accomplishment you feel from securing a high-end, tactical bumbag.”If some of the frustrations can be ironed out, it could be the best of its genre. But for the love of god, please let your writers say something if you ever make another one.”Whether the head-on tackling of global politics is what The Division 2 lacks is at least open to debate. Game developers have (at best) a spotty track record in doing so, but it’s easy to understand the frustration at Ubisoft having spent so much time and money creating this particular alternate reality, and ignoring its resonance with our present moment. This complaint is as common among The Division 2’s reviews as any point of praise, but it’s worth noting that not every critic lamented the absence of direct political commentary.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “Many other reviews will likely tackle the political half-heartedness of its story,” said Rock Paper Shotgun’s Brendan Caldwell. “But not me, not this week. Sometimes it’s better to leave the incessant chatter of current affairs quarantined in our everyday lives.”Suffice to say, I’m enjoying it more than its predecessor. It is chunky, it is moreish, and every time I come back to it in the evening it is like taking a big bite out of one of those mega Snickers you can only find in the cinema. All this praise might seem out of place moments after critiquing the game’s toothless practice of political commentary by obfuscation. But honestly, don’t worry about that. “We humans are idiot creatures of contradiction, and we can thoroughly enjoy a rock solid shooter even as we recognise it as being vapid hogwash.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. 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