Real's bloated mess seeps into naming

May 3, 2002

This an old, sarcastic news post from when I was in college. I apologise.

Some of Real's logos, rendered in RealPictureMonopoly 7 format. SEATTLE, USA - RealNetworks, everyone’s favourite media player superpower, has released yet another proprietary media format: “RealVideo 9.” Depending what your computer is running, you may have to update to “realONE,” “RealPlayer 8 with RealVideo 9 support,” or no player at all if you use MacOS X, because they don’t know what MacOS X is. This is RealNetworks’ newest update to RealSystem (what they call their software), which now includes RealVideo 9 (the successor to RealVideo 8, which came after G2… we’re not sure what happened to 3-7), RealSystem Producer 9, RealSystem Server and Proxy 8, RealPlayer 9 for Windows, RealOne Player for Windows, RealJukebox (which has been integrated into RealOne), RealOne Enterprise, RealPlayer 8 for UNIX, RealPlayer 8 with RealVideo 9 Support for MacOS 9, and no player at all for MacOS X (which is based on UNIX).

Real seems to think this naming and product scheme is too simple, so they’ve created a messy and hard to use website that explains very little, to offset the balance. “I actually found the website easy to use,” said a customer of RealOne, the pay-to-use player. “What the hell is going on! We’re all going to die!” said another customer, attempting to find information the free ones. This isn’t a new strategy for Real; their free player has been elusive for years now. “Although half as many people have the player now that it’s hard to get, twice as many people pay for it, so it’s much better for Real in the end,” said Jessica Royale, an analyst with EvilPowerWatch. She also pointed out how Realplayer 8 for MacOS With RealVideo 9 Support is actually labelled version “6.0.9.584.” Check yourself if you don’t believe her.

Researchers trying to find out where this mess and bloat came from succeeded after spending long seconds in the lab, using Real’s software. “Their naming reminds me of the way Real’s software has it’s own kinds of buttons and things that slow down your whole computer.” Another researcher was quick to protest, saying, “I think it’s more reminiscent of the way their audio and video formats are bloated and really hard to work with.” The same team of researchers is also trying to figure out why people still use Real.

Many theories exist, such as the fact Real got into the market early, the way “Windows Media” has a word that means bloated and slow right in the title, or the way Apple (strangely) doesn’t spend as much time on Quicktime for Windows as it does on Quicktime for MacOS. Here at Altering Time though we think the only reason people would use Real could be that “real.com” is shorter to type than “apple.com/quicktime” or “windowsmedia.com.” “Ppl dont like typng 2 mch NEmore,” said one analyst in an email on the subject.

The author of this article advises that it was harder to find this info on the Real website than it would have been to call random people from the phone book and ask them if they knew.

© Allen Pike. See also Twitter and Steamclock.