VERSION 6.50, WITH EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS, EXECUTIVE STOCK OPTION GRANTS TO CEO'S, STOCK AND COMMODITY CHARTING, PUT & CALL OPTION TRADING, SHORT SELLING (STOCKS AND OPTIONS), STREAMING QUOTES, COMMODITY TRADING, AND INTEREST RATE SWAPS (DERIVATIVES) IS NOW AVAILABLE
VERSION 6.50, WITH EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS, EXECUTIVE STOCK OPTION GRANTS TO CEO'S, STOCK AND COMMODITY CHARTING, PUT & CALL OPTION TRADING, SHORT SELLING (STOCKS AND OPTIONS), STREAMING QUOTES, COMMODITY TRADING, AND INTEREST RATE SWAPS (DERIVATIVES) IS NOW AVAILABLE
(See details and cautionary note for users of older computers below)Below are details on upgrades, updates, bug fixes, and other improvements in the Windows version of Wall Street Raider.
WINDOWS VERSION RELEASES THROUGH December 1, 2012 (v. 6.50)(Descriptions of releases are shown below in reverse order)
- 6.50 -- Released: December 1, 2012 (Major release)
- In addition to stock charts, the simulation now provides charts of the Global Stock Index, the Prime Rate, the Long Government Bond and Short Government Bond interest rates, each of the five commodities (spot prices), the GDP growth rate, and of the net worth of each player. To view any of the new charts, simply click on the displayed amount in the "Commodity Prices/Indexes/Indicators" box in the in the lower left corner of the main W$R screen or, for a chart of your net worth, click on the "Net Worth" item on "My Balance Sheet." As with stock charts, clicking on any of these items will cause a 5-year history chart to pop up. These new charts are in response to numerous user requests, and will be useful as another research tool, if you like to play trends.
- New currency added: Since we have a considerable number of Wall Street Raider fans in Norway, we have added the Norwegian Krone as an additional currency in which you can configure the simulation. Conversion rates for all 23 currencies in which the game can be played have also been updated again to reflect recent exchange rates.
- With all the taxes that can be imposed in Wall Street Raider, we have decided to add some tax incentives for non-financial companies that are either growing their business assets or spending heavily on research and development (R&D). These new incentives are in the form of tax credits: an Investment Tax Credit for growth in new business assets of industrial companies and an R&D credit for companies that spend more than 10% of their sales on R&D (but not on other types of productivity spending, such as marketing or advertising).
The Investment Tax Credit is 7% of newly acquired assets (but not for "used" assets bought from another company). A company will earn this credit if its growth rate is positive or when it makes an asset purchase of new assets (using the "Buy Corporate Assets" button on the Buy/Sell Transactions Menu). For example, if XYZ Corp. has 1,000 million in business assets and is growing at 20% a year, this will represent new business asset investment of 200 million for the year, on which it will earn a 7% tax credit, of 14 million, which will directly reduce its income taxes by that amount, if usable. Better yet, a start-up company that buys 1,000 million of new business assets to get started will earn a 70 million investment tax credit, which may shelter it from taxes for a year or two after it becomes profitable.
The R&D Credit is equal to 20% of any R&D spending that exceeds 10% of sales, if a company is spending more than 10% of sales on R&D. For example, if ABC Company has 1,000 million in annual sales (and business assets of that amount), and spends 22% of sales on R&D, the excess over 10% is 12% of sales, or 120 million, so the R&D tax credit would be 20% of that, or 24 million.
The two tax credits are lumped together and reduce a company's taxes each quarter, dollar-for-dollar, to the extent it owes any income tax. If it has tax losses, or its income tax before credits is less than the tax credits, it only uses enough of the credits to eliminate the tax, if any. Any unused credits are carried forward for future use, when the company becomes more profitable. A company that is incurring tax losses or is earning current profits but which still has tax loss carryovers may build up a considerable amount of these unused tax credits in some cases.
However, if a company is an 80%-owned subsidiary of another company (or more than 80%), they do consolidated tax reporting in W$R. In that case, the sub "sells" all its credits to the parent for cash, which reduces the sub's tax expense and increases its reported earnings by that amount (which is offset by an equal negative adjustment to the parent's earnings, so the parent doesn't get a double benefit when it later uses the "upstreamed" tax credit to reduce ITS taxes and increase its net after-tax income). Thus, a parent company, even if it is a bank, insurer, or holding/trading company, may utilize tax credits that it "buys" from its consolidated (80%-owned) subsidiaries, even though it can't earn any such credits itself.
Tax credits are not taken into account in computing a company's "tax provision" except to the extent the credits are currently used. Thus, they do not increase a company's reported earnings until used to offset actual tax liabilities of the company. The only exception is when an 80% subsidiary can't use the credits itself and "sells" them to its parent, increasing its income, but not the parent company's, since the "sale" is treated as an expense for the parent. The consolidated earnings reported by the parent are not increased by the credits it bought from the subsidiary, unless the parent itself can use the tax credits to offset its consolidated taxable income. (This is a bit different from real-world tax accounting for tax credits, but is a fairly simple approach and works well here.)
As with net operating loss carryovers in W$R, unused tax credits are carried forward indefinitely, but the unused balance is reduced by 10% at the end of each company's fiscal year. When a 100%-owned subsidiary company that has accrued or unused tax credits is liquidated in a tax-free liquidation, any such credits may be "inherited" by the parent company, though that will usually be minimal, since a 100% sub would have been "selling" its credits to the parent each quarter. If the sub's tax loss carryovers would have been lost (when it is a holding company), its unused tax credits will also be lost when it liquidates.
- In prior versions of W$R, when a tax-free liquidation occurred, both companies could lose their tax loss carryovers if the parent (surviving) company was a holding company and the liquidated subsidiary was not, and the only way the tax loss carryovers of the subsidiary could be transferred to the parent was if both were in the same industry and were not holding/trading companies. If the subsidiary was a holding/trading company, its tax loss carryovers would not transfer, and if the parent was a holding/trading company and the subsidiary was not (i.e., it was an operating company, such as a retailer, airline, etc.), BOTH companies would lose any tax loss carryovers in a liquidation.
In this new version, we have simplified and loosened these rules a bit. Now, if the liquidated subsidiary is a holding/trading company, its tax losses (and any unused tax credits) are lost in a liquidation, as before. However, if the parent company is a holding/trading company and it liquidates an operating company subsidiary, the parent company (only) will lose its tax loss carryovers and tax credits, but will succeed to any tax loss carryovers or unused tax credits of the liquidated subsidiary. If both companies are holding/trading companies, and both have tax loss carryovers, only the tax losses of the liquidated subsidiary will be lost.
- Another major loophole has been closed in this release, in the interests of (somewhat) greater realism. Previously, there were no limits on the number of put or call options you could buy or short on any one company, provided you didn't control the company (if buying puts or shorting calls on it), and if you had enough buying power -- or a good enough credit rating if shorting options. Thus, if you were sure the price of company XYZ was going to go through the roof, you could repetively buy call options on it (or sell puts), 10% at a time, until you had positions totaling far over 100% of the number of total shares of stock the company had outstanding.
The saved game file one W$R player sent us, in which he had accumulated over $100 trillion in net worth, showed he had sold short calls on several thousand percent of the stock of one high-priced company, whose stock had sunk almost to zero, so that the profit that was going to be earned on all those calls when they expired was going to be in the trillions!
That is no longer allowed. You (and all the companies you control) can now only buy calls on a given stock up to a maximum of 100% of the company's stock -- or sell puts short on up to 100% of the company's stock (or you can do both). A similar 100% limit applies to selling calls or buying puts on a single stock.
- The commodity price trends algorithms have been significantly improved and made more realistic, in terms of news events, interest rate levels and trends, oil prices, and economic growth rates. We have also tinkered a bit with interest rate differentials, making short-term bond yields somewhat more volatile than other interest rates, when rates are at extremes.
- A new scenario has been added that involves oil pipelines in the Persian Gulf region and another economic scenario, regarding a European debt crisis and civil chaos due to austerity measures, has been added.
- A new "ethical choice" scenario has been added for banks, with regard to the possibility of engaging in a sleazy marketing campaign targeting senile elderly banking customers.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 6.40, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0. (Note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turns, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.) Note also, however, that if a game saved by an older version like 6.21 or earlier is loaded, the ETF's will not be activated, as they will have been saved in the past as regular (usually "dormant") holding companies. Thus, you will need to start a new game, if you want ETF's to be available to invest in.
- 6.40 -- Released: July 1, 2012 (Minor release)
- A new "ethical scenario" has been added (involving sale of untested vaccines to a Third World country), for biotech or pharmaceutical companies that a player controls.
- A number of players of Wall Street Raider have requested that the program rules be modified so that they can buy out the stock of a corporate stockholder of XYZ Company when they do not control that stockholder, since the only way that was possible was either by a merger (not always feasible) or, if they already controlled XYZ Company, by having it do a "greenmail" buyback to buy out the (unwanted) stockholder. That was often not possible where XYZ Company's credit was too poor to do the buyback. Thus, it was often impossible to obtain 100% of the stock of XYZ Company, even if the player or his other companies had more than enough money or credit to do so, unless the player was able to get control of the unwanted shareholder and have it sell its stock to the player or one of the player's other controlled companies.
In this release, we have made it possible for a player or company to make a formal offer to buy out an unwanted corporate shareholder (but not stock owned by another player or owned by a company controlled by another player). Now, if you wish to buy out some or all of the stock of a shareholder of XYZ Company, you can select it as the seller, and can make a tender offer for some or all of its shares (incurring legal fees when you do so). Your offer must be at a price at least 10% above the current market price to be considered, or often much higher. Sometimes the unwanted stockholder will accept your offer, sometimes not. The higher your bid, the better your chances of having your offer accepted. (A bit of advice: make your first offer a good one, as the seller will often demand an even higher price if it rejected your first, "lowball" bid.)
The same procedure now also applies when doing a "greenmail" buyback of stock from an uncontrolled corporate stockholder of XYZ Company. Previously, you could do so at a flat 25% premium over the market price of the XYZ stock. Now you must make an offer that is least 10% over the market price and wait to see if it is accepted or not. As before, you cannot do a greenmail buyback of stock from a shareholder you control (conflict of interest!) or from another player or from a corporate stockholder that is controlled by another player. (You can't make another player sell his or her stock, in short.)
- Several refinements have been made to the algorithms that sometimes prevent you from buying stock in an industry that you would dominate or monopolize if you controlled that company. In prior versions, you would be blocked from buying ANY stock in such a company, even if your intended purchase would not give you control of it. As revised, you are now allowed to buy stock in such a competitor, as long as the purchase does not give you control of it. Also, in some cases you may be warned that your companies will be saddled with antitrust lawsuits if you go ahead with a takeover, giving you a chance to cancel the acquisition, or go ahead and take the risk. In other cases, as before, a government antitrust agency will block your takeover.
- Research Reports now tell you, for industrial companies, if the company and other companies affiliated with it (under common control by one player or by one company) have a combined market share of more than 25% in their industry. This will save you from having to do additional research to determine if a particular company may be a target for antitrust lawsuits, if you invest in it (or if you are looking for a company that is vulnerable on antitrust grounds, so that you can file suit against it).
- In prior versions, if the program selected an antitrust "target" for a lawsuit, when 2 or more companies under common control dominated market share in an industry, it always targeted the company with the largest market share of the affiliated group of companies. Now, the largest company (by market share) will usually be the target of such suits, but occasionally one of the related companies will instead be selected as the defendant.
- Various loopholes have been plugged. For example, a company may no longer buy back or call any of its bonds prior to maturity if it has a weak credit rating, if allowing it to do so would impair the assets available for the senior creditors, such as bank lenders or, in the case of banks or insurance companies, their depositors or insurance policyholders. Also, when a player loses control of a company that is spending at a very high rate on R&D or marketing, or is growing at an extremely rapid rate, the company will now immediately cut back its spending rate and growth rate. This makes it more difficult for a player to establish settings, just before selling a stock, that will cause earnings (and the stock price) to soon drop precipitously, after which a player could buy back control once the stock is depressed and then lower those settings again, to instantly improve its profitability. That large loophole is now (mostly) closed.
- The algorithms that calibrate the effects of contango (or backwardation) on commodity futures prices have been tweaked in various ways to make their effects more realistic and to better take into account the influence of interest rates, spot price levels (elevated or depressed), and price trends in the commodity, when determining the degree of contango or backwardation. The net effect is to (generally) create more volatility in the pricing of the longer-term futures contracts (which may be created for terms as long as five years).
- Fixed minor bug that sometimes displayed the wrong date for the next earnings release on the main screen for the current "Active Entity," an error that could occasionally occur when the end of a quarter coincided with the end of the player's turn.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 6.35, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0. (Note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turns, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.) Note also, however, that if a game saved by an older version like 6.21 or earlier is loaded, the ETF's will not be activated, as they will have been saved in the past as "dormant" holding companies. Thus, you will need to start a new game, if you want ETF's to be available to invest in.
- 6.35 -- Released: April 1, 2012 (Minor release)
- In this release, we have completely revised the options pricing algorithm, making it more realistic in general (using present value concepts and comparisons to actual option price statistics for some of the most actively traded options in the real world). The algorithm now also analyzes the last 24 months' stock price fluctuations for a company's stock, and adjusts the option time premium (price) upward for stocks with significantly above average "Beta" (volatility) or downward for less volatile stocks. Thus, a $50 call option on XYZ Co. for 1 year when the stock is $50 might sell for $8 at one point in the game, and later, after a period when the stock of XYZ has been very volatile, but is still at $50, an identical one-year $50 call option on its stock might sell for $9, based on its recent stock price history.
Option pricing now also takes into account the general level of interest rates and dividends that are expected to be paid on the underlying stock during the term of the option, which will tend to increase the price of puts and decrease the price of calls if there is a significant dividend yield.
- Option spreads (the difference between the bid and ask prices for an option) have been made more realistic. In prior versions, there was a flat 5% bid/ask spread. In this version, options with strike prices near the market price will have narrower spreads, as low as 2%, while options that are far "out-of-the-money" (which are less actively traded in real-world option markets) will have spreads that widen to as much as 15%, and in-the-money options may have spreads of up to 5%, if deep "in-the-money."
- New information has been added to research reports on companies, alerting you if a stock's price history over the past 2 years has been one of high volatility or relatively stable ("low Beta"), as well as when a stock is trading at or near its 52-week high or low stock price.
- ETF's (Exchange-Traded Funds), which were introduced in the last release (v. 6.30), did not engage in interest rate swaps (derivatives contracts betting on the direction of interest rates). In this new version, one such ETF, the Financial Shares Fund, is now allowed to gamble on interest rate swaps. In addition, banks, brokers, and insurers, which typically act as counterparties with companies wanting to do swaps, are allowed to engage in such contracts with net long or net short positions of up to $500,000 million (1/2 trillion), instead of the previous limit of $100,000 million, adding a bit more risk to them.
- Stock charts of ETF's are adjusted for prior periods to reflect capital gain distributions, reducing prior period prices per share by the amount of any capital gain. This makes ETF stock charts more accurately reflect the performance of the fund, where the ETF has regularly been distributing substantial capital gains dividends.
- Numerous minor improvements have been made. For example, lists of owned or shorted options, commodity futures, or interest rate swap contracts are now sorted by expiration dates, showing the nearest expirations first. In addition, the "Analyst's ratings" of "Hold," "Sell," or "Strong Sell" are now usually accompanied by a target price, if significantly different from the current market price of the stock.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 6.30, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0. (Note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turns, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.) Note also, however, that if a game saved by an older version like 6.21 or earlier is loaded, the ETF's will not be activated, as they will have been saved in the past as "dormant" holding companies. Thus, you will need to start a new game, if you want ETF's to be available to invest in.
- 6.30 -- Released: January 1, 2012 (Major release)
- We've added a new industry -- Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF's). These are 15 investment companies that are passive investors in various sectors, such as Automotive, Hi-Tech, Health Care, Energy, Basic Commodities, Asian stocks, and the like. The funds usually trade at a price that is within 2% of their net asset value per share, and usually hold 15 stocks, owning no more than 10% of any company they invest in. Like other companies, they sometimes borrow from a bank or issue bonds. However, unlike other companies, ETF's do not pay income tax or any of the various taxes on capital like Carbon Tax, Corporate Shares Tax, HealthCare Tax, Oil Windfall Profits Tax, etc. To retain its "investment company" status, an ETF in W$R must pay out 90% of its net income from dividends and interest (reduced by any interest expense and an annual management fee of 0.4% of assets). It also has to distribute 100% of any capital gains it has from sales of stocks or options. Capital losses are carried forward and shelter any subsequent capital gains the ETF realizes. An ETF that has one stock that grows to exceed 50% of its total assets will sell off some or all of that stock, to remain diversified. If an ETF has incurred substantial debts, it may also sell off some of its largest stock holding to raise cash. On the other hand, if an ETF has accumulated too much cash, and has no debts, it may make a tax-free "return of capital" distribution in addition to regular dividends. A return of capital distribution reduces the recipient's tax basis (cost) of his or her stock of the ETF.
An ETF that holds less than 15 different stocks may, on occasion, sell put options short, which may result in a stock in its industry sector being "put" to it. ETF's that own the maximum of 15 stocks will often sell off the smallest such position and seek to invest excess cash in a larger company. Thus, ETF's trade stocks fairly often.
One ETF, the Basic Commodities Fund, not only invests in stocks in basic materials companies (such as paper, chemicals, metals, and building materials), but also trades in all of the various types of commodity futures. In each game, one ETF will also engage in regularly selling "covered call" options against its stock holdings, as a hedging technique and to earn additional income.
No player or company can control an ETF. If a player or company obtains voting control, or even if any single entity owns or controls more than 15% of an ETF in W$R, the ETF is instantly disqualified as an "investment company" and simply becomes a Holding/Trading Company at that time, fully subject to taxes. If it has net capital loss carryovers at the time it is disqualified, the capital losses are converted into net operating losses for tax purposes, however.
ETF shares can be bought and sold by players or their controlled companies just like corporate stocks.
- The database search screen has been modified. Now, instead of searching for companies whose earnings increased (compared to the previous year, same quarter) by a specified percentage in the most recent quarter, you can search for companies whose PROJECTED earnings for the next quarter exceed the same quarter in the prior year by the percentage you specify.
- To give a break to smaller companies, a tax credit of up to $10 million (U.S.) against taxes on capital is allowed each quarter for corporations whose total capital taxes liability is $10 million or less. This applies to the U.N. Carbon Tax, Health Care Tax, Oil Windfall Profits Tax, Personal Holding Company Tax, and Corporate Shares Tax. If the total of such taxes for a company would be $10 million or less for the quarter, no capital taxes are due. (But companies must still pay income tax on their taxable profits.) Individual players receive no tax credit against the Corporate Shares Tax or the Wealth Tax (although, as in previous versions, the wealth tax only applies to a player's net worth that exceeds $1 billion).
- We made several modifications to the algorithms for computing "contango" and "backwardation" for commodity futures pricing, to make futures pricing more realistic, with generally greater differences from the current "spot" price of the commodity.
- Increased time span for futures, so you can now buy or sell commodities for 60 months out into the future, versus 36 months in prior versions.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 6.21, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0. (Note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turns, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.) Note also, however, that if a game saved by an older version like 6.21 is loaded, the ETF's will not be activated, as they will have been saved in the past as "dormant" holding companies. Thus, you will need to start a new game, if you want ETF's to be available to invest in.
- 6.21 -- Released: October 21, 2011 (Minor release and bug-fix; free upgrade if you have purchased v. 6.20)
- When a player or company creates an interest rate swap, the fixed interest rate that is counter-offered by the broker, bank, or insurance company you have to deal with is usually somewhat higher or lower than the actual current rate, and if so is always to your disadvantage. For instance, if you want to be "long" the current 9% Prime Rate (where you receive a fixed rate payment at that level), a bank or other dealer may only offer to do the deal if you instead accept an 8% fixed rate. In this new version, if your company that is initiating the swap is itself a securities broker, bank, or insurance company, you get a better deal -- the "haircut" you would otherwise have to take is cut in half (as a professional courtesy). Thus, in the foregoing example, if the formula would otherwise call for a counter offer of 8% instead of the actual current Prime Rate of 9%, the algorithm will split the difference if your entity initiating the swap is, for example, a bank, so the counter-offer would be at a fixed rate of 8.5%, instead of 8%. (Our thanks to a W$R fan who suggested that his bank or broker should get a better deal than a mere "civilian" when initiating an interest rate swap, an idea which made sense to us!)
- Fixed obscure bug that could pop up on rare occasions, where two companies could both have the same stock symbol ("STO"). Corrected the CORPNAME.DAT file by changing the stock symbol for Stone Container from "STO" to "STON".
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 6.20, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0.
- 6.20 -- Released: October 1, 2011 (Major release)
- A new type of derivatives trading has been added in this release. Players or companies may now enter into interest rate "swaps" with unrelated companies (usually with "sharks" like brokerage houses), usually on initially unfavorable terms. Swap agreements can be in effect for up to 5 years and can be based on the Prime Rate charged by banks, or the yield to maturity of either the long-term or short-term government bonds. Players or companies can take huge risks with these swaps, on principal amounts of 100 times net worth or, if less, 100,000 million (or 100,000 billion in some currencies). Any player or company with a "B" or better credit rating can get in on this action, for better or worse. In such contractual swaps, the "long" party agrees to receive from the "short" party a fixed rate of interest each quarter during an agreed term (the present rate for the type of contract chosen, or a rate near that) and agrees in exchange to pay the "short" party whatever rate is in effect at the end of each quarter during the contract term. At the end of each calendar quarter, the swap agreement results in one of the two parties making a payment to the other for the difference in the agreed fixed rate and the actual current rate at that date.
Thus, if you are the "long" party on a Prime Rate contract, you are betting that the Prime Rate will go down, so you are locking in the current high interest rate. The counterparty is taking your bet, and will profit if the Prime Rate goes up, rather than down, while the swap remains in effect. For example, if you are "long" the Prime Rate and are receiving a fixed rate of 8% on a principal amount of 100 million and the Prime Rate is 6% at the end of a quarter, you will be receiving the difference, or 2%, annualized (1/4 of 2 million, or .5 million for a calendar quarter). On the other hand, if the Prime goes up to 11%, you will be losing 3%, annualized, each quarter that the Prime Rate is at 11%.
Doing these swaps is not for the faint of heart, since the "professionals" you will have to deal with on the other side of each transactions are usually brokerage houses, banks, or insurers, and they will only deal with you on their terms -- which routinely favor them. For example, if the current Prime Rate is 12% and you think it will soon decline, you may want to go "long" on a swap contract on the Prime Rate. However, the "money runners" who deal in these contracts are not stupid, and they won't usually agree to give you a fixed rate of 12%. Instead, they might offer to do the swap at 10.5% or, if you want to do the swap only for the next 1 or 2 quarters, they might offer you a fixed rate of 11.5% on the swap. Take it or leave it. Doing swaps with these cutthroat financial types is a bit like trying to win at the craps tables at Las Vegas -- possible, but the odds are stacked against you. They are not in business to lose money to amateurs like you.
As in the real world, these dangerous derivatives do not show up on the balance sheets of companies or players, but can have devastating (or wonderful) effects, due to the huge leverage implied. (In the real world, some major banks have TENS OF TRILLIONS of dollars of such "bets" outstanding.) No money changes hands at the time you enter into a swap, and the swap contracts are not given any value in computing your net worth.
Players or their companies can get out of such contracts, if they become unfavorable, but only by paying a large termination fee of as much as 3% of the "notional" (principal) amount of the swap. Otherwise, the only other way to get out of a swap is for one party to go bankrupt! (If you liquidate a subsidiary into its parent corporation in a tax-free liquidation, the parent assumes the subsidiary's position in any swap contracts the subsidiary was a party to. In a taxable liquidation, the company being liquidated has to pay the termination fee to get out of any swap agreements, before it can wind up and liquidate.)
- The "taxable liquidations" routine has been refined to deal with situations where the liquidating company is an 80%-owned (or more) subsidiary of another company. As revised, any taxable income or loss of the subsidiary is passed up to the parent company on a consolidated tax return basis, for the final short tax period of the subsidiary. Thus, for example, if the liquidating company has to sell off stocks or other assets at a large loss in order to liquidate, that tax loss will now "flow" up to the parent company, which will transfer cash to the sub an instant before the liquidation distribution is made, to compensate the sub for the tax benefit of the tax loss that the parent will use to shelter its income from tax. In addition, even where the company being liquidated does not have an 80% parent corporation, its final "equity method" (non-cash) earnings or losses for the final short period will flow through proportionately to any controlling or 20%-or-greater corporate shareholders, affecting their reported earnings.
- We have added, for convenience, a new "List Commodities" button to the "Quick Search Functions" section of the main W$R screen, so you can quickly view your commodity futures positions without having to go through one of the menus. The new button replaces the "Database Search" button, which has been moved back to the "General" research menu, where it was in some older versions. The "Recall DB Search List" button remains on the main screen, so you can still instantly recall your latest Database Search to see if any additional companies currently meet your search parameters.
- The "Personal Holding Company Tax" that is sometimes imposed when you are playing at Difficulty Level 4 has been modified. When it applies, it is now based on the company's total assets, less any Business Assets and Working Capital. In prior versions, it applied to the company's net worth, less the amount of its Business Assets and Working Capital, if any.
- Because of major changes in real world currency values, such as the decline of the value of the U.S. dollar and the sharp rise in currencies such as the Aussie dollar and Swiss Franc, we have updated the exchange rates for all the currencies in the simulation to reflect recent (September, 2011) values.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 to 6.11, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0.
- 6.11 -- Released: December 9, 2010 (Minor release)
- When you (the player) are the CEO of a company, your personal Financial Profile now shows the year in which you first were elected CEO (and president) of that company. This is important in determining the amount of the bonus you will receive each year, if the company has achieved good earnings growth each year for the past several years. (Your bonus compensation formula only gives you credit for those increasing earnings for the years in which you were the CEO.)
- Where a player has made a prepayment of estimated income taxes and a "Wealth Tax" on billionaires applies, the player's projected Wealth Tax calculation now adds the prepaid tax to the player's wealth, since any income tax refund at year end will be received before the Wealth Tax is computed.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 6.0 and 6.10, but not with versions prior to v. 6.0, except for v. 3.10.
- 6.10 -- Released: November 17, 2010 (Minor release)
- Revisions have been made to commodity trading, imposing limits on contract size and the amount of any commodity a player or company can be net long or net short. In the prior release, a player who accumulated a large net worth could easily enter into commodity contracts for, say, crude oil, in amounts that exceeded all the known oil reserves on the planet many times over. Since that was unrealistic, the new version imposes some limits, to 10,000 contracts per trade for any commodity other than oil, or 100,000 contracts for oil. You can do multiple trades for up to 5 times those amounts in total, net long or net short in any particular commodity.
- In this revised version, a commodity transaction may only be entered into if a "counterparty" can be found that is able to take the other side of the trade. For example, if you wish to buy 10,000 gold contracts, the program will try to find a company not controlled by any (human) player that is able to sell 10,000 gold contracts short. If no short seller can be found that is able to sell more than 6,000 contracts short, you will only be able to buy 6,000 contracts (although this limitation will rarely, if ever, occur).
- When a player who has open commodity positions receives a margin call, the program asks the player (if it is the player's turn) if he or she wishes to first liquidate commodity positions, before selling off any stocks. In the prior version, if the player answered "YES," all such positions were immediately liquidated. In this release, the player is allowed to choose which position or positions to liquidate, wholly or in part.
- Streaming quotes were not updated very frequently in prior versions if the stock ticker was set to run at a low speed. That has been remedied, so that the frequency of updating stock quotes on your streaming quotes list will be reasonably similar at all ticker speeds.
- Several minor bug fixes, grammatical corrections, and numerous minor improvements and tweaking of algorithms are also included in this update, including a potential serious bug that could cause a player to go bankrupt when getting margin calls, even if he or she still owned commodities or had a balance in a commodities margin account, where the program asked the player if he or she wanted to liquidate commodity positions before selling off stocks, and the player answered "NO." This bug has been fixed in this release.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 and 6.0, but not with other versions prior to 6.0.
- 6.0 -- Released: September 1, 2010 (Major release)
- Commodity futures trading has been added to this new major release of Wall Street Raider. Players and all companies (except banks and insurance companies) may now engage in buying or shorting commodities futures contracts on five commodities: crude oil, gold, silver, wheat, and corn. Trades can be done with only a 5%(of the notional value of the contract) deposit into a commodities margin account, so the leverage is 20-to-1. This means that if you guess right on the direction of a commodity, you can make a huge profit in a short period of time. On the other hand, if the price moves against you even briefly, it can trigger massive margin calls and you (or your company) can be wiped out in a heartbeat. As in the real world of commodity trading, we have made it EXTREMELY TREACHEROUS and risky in W$R.
- Commodity futures contracts are traded from 1 to 36 months out on each of the five commodities. Futures prices usually are higher than the "spot" price of a commodity, reflecting to some extent the time value of money tied up in such contracts. (This condition is called "contango.") However, in somewhat rare instances, such as when interest rates are very low and a commodity's price is expected to fall, futures may trade at less than the spot price, a condition called "backwardation."
- In order to initiate commodity trades, players or companies must have at least a "BBB" credit rating. Both players and companies must maintain a commodities margin account equal to 5% of the value of the futures contract plus any accrued loss on the contract if the price moves against you (or less any accrued gain if the market price of the futures moves favorably for you). Corporations with commodity futures positions must close all such positions if their credit rating falls to "CCC" or worse.
- The main W$R screen has been modified to show constantly updated spot prices for gold, silver, wheat and corn. (Prior versions already showed the spot crude oil price.) The "Entity Info" pop-up menu now has an additional button, the "List Commodities" button, that lists all futures contracts held or sold short by the current Active Entity. Clicking on the line item for any such contract allows you to instantly close out some or all of that position if you control the entity. Also, the Buy/Sell pop-up menu has a new "Trade Commodities" button. Click on it to view a trading menu on which you first select a commodity to trade, then decide whether to buy it, sell it short, or buy back (cover) some or all of an existing short position in the selected commodity or sell all or part of an existing long position in that commodity.
- Gains or losses on commodity trades are treated as capital gains or losses in W$R, for players. For corporations, they are generally treated as "extraordinary" gains or losses, and do not affect operating income. However, companies in certain industries can hedge certain commodities that are closely related to their business, and the gains or losses for them are treated as part of operating income, thus affecting reported operating earnings per share. For example, oil and oil service firms that hedge by buying and selling crude oil futures treat gains or losses as operating income, and likewise for Agribusiness companies that hedge by trading wheat or corn, or Precious Metals companies that trade gold or silver. Companies for which certain commodities are a key cost input may also hedge and treat the gains or losses as operating income -- for example, Packaged Foods companies that trade wheat or corn futures and Utilities or transportation companies (Rail, Airline, Shipping, Trucking, Air Freight Couriers) that trade crude futures, since fuel is a major cost input for companies in those industries.
- Estimated income tax calculations are changed in this release. In prior versions, estimated taxes for players were calculated by extrapolating the tax accrued so far each year out to the end of the year. In this version, if the tax accrued so far includes capital gains, the estimated tax for the whole year is calculated by extrapolating only the "ordinary" taxable income earned thus far and adding to that the tax on net capital gains that have been recorded so far during the year. Thus, it is now no longer assumed that any more capital gains will be recognized during the rest of the year when projecting the total income tax liability that may be owed for the year.
- In previous versions, players could buy or sell newly created stock options with a strike price at up 50% above or below the current stock price, which made it possible to, for example, buy long-term calls on a stock for a price that barely exceeded the intrinsic ("in-the-money") value of the option, by buying calls at a strike price 50% below the stock price. In this release, new options can only be created with strike prices of no more than 25% above or below the current stock price. Thus, you will now have to pay a fairly significant time value premium (in addition to the intrinsic value of the call) even if you buy a call with a strike price at the lowest price now possible, at 75% of the stock's current price, unless you are buying a call that expires in a near month.
- This release is not file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions, due to the fact that the amount and types of data related to new and enhanced features has greatly changed the size and content of the saved data files. (Note that files saved with a newer version also cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and by e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider. However files from versions 6.0 through 6.30 are all interchangeable.)
- 5.40 -- Released: June 25, 2010 (Minor release)
- Rules have been changed for exercise of put or call options. In prior versions, an option could not be exercised if doing so would give a player or company control of the company whose stock was obtained by exercising the option. In the new version, you are prohibited from gaining control via an option exercise only if gaining control of the target company would cause you to violate antitrust rules about dominating too large a share of any industry group.
- Clicking on the "GO" button on the main screen now has an added function, besides making a company whose stock symbol you have entered next to it become the "active entity." In this new version, clicking on "GO" is also a quick way to close all the "child" dialog boxes that you may have open at the moment, even if some or all of them have been minimized. If the stock and news tickers were running, but had paused when you opened any such child dialog boxes, the tickers will resume movement when the dialog boxes are closed.
- When a company earnings report pops up while the ticker is running, that company's stock symbol is now temporarily placed in the stock symbol box next to the "GO" button, so that you can simply click on the "GO" button to select that company as the new "Active Entity," in case you want to do research regarding that company, or perhaps have it do a transaction, if you control it. If you don't click on the "GO" button, the Active Entity will remain unchanged from what it was before the earnings report popped up, and its name and stock symbol will automatically re-appear once you close the earnings report screen.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.30, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)
- 5.30 -- Released: October 1, 2009 (Minor release)
- A new button function ("Prepay Income Tax" has been added to the "Misc. Menu" on the main W$R screen. Players can use this function to add to the estimated income tax paid for the current year. While the W$R program automatically sets aside up to 90% of your year-to-date income tax liability at the end of each quarter, you may still owe a large tax bill some times, at the end of the year. This feature lets you prepay your expected taxes NOW, so you won't forget and invest all your cash in assets that you might be forced to sell at year-end, if you owe a significant amount of taxes at that time.
- In prior versions of W$R, when a company "spun off" stock of a subsidiary in a TAXABLE spin-off, each recipient of the subsidiary stock was fully taxable on the distribution, in an amount equal to the value of the stock received. This version makes a change in that rule, so that a distribution to a corporation that owns 80% of more of the distributing company is treated as nontaxable, even if the spin-off is otherwise a taxable one. This is congruent with the W$R rule for "extraordinary dividends" to an 80% parent company, which are also non-taxable, like other (regular) dividends to an 80% parent. Other refinements to the information provided during a spin-off have also been made, as well as to the tax treatment of the dividends to different classes of shareholders (individuals, corporations owning under 20%, or 20% to 79%) when a spin-off is taxable. (Corporations that receive dividends are only taxable on 30%, 20% or 0% of the dividends they receive in W$R, depending upon whether they own under 20%, under 80%, or over 79% of the paying company.)
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.20, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)
- 5.20 -- Released: July 1, 2009 (Minor release)
- In this version, if an anti-trust lawsuit is initiated against a defendant company, the company incurs an immediate charge (an accrual) to the current quarter's earnings for the estimated after-tax costs of legal fees to defend against the suit, and that amount is added to its Reserve for Contingencies. Later, when the antitrust suit is litigated, the pre-tax cost of the actual legal fees the company pays at that time will also be charged to income, but will be offset by a credit to income equal to the after-tax cost of such legal fee expenses, by withdrawing that amount from the contingency reserve, to the extent the reserve is still large enough to cover such costs. Thus, the legal fees expense will be recognized in the quarter when the lawsuit is initiated, not when the case is litigated (unless the reserve has been eliminated for other reasons first, such as to manipulate earnings).
- Any taxes on capital for the upcoming quarter are now shown as a liability on a company's balance sheet, as a separate line item just below the "Accrued Income Tax Payable" line item.
- The main screen now shows, at all times, the date of the next earnings report release for the current "active entity" (if it is a corporation).
- The "Database Search" screen now includes an item for selecting stocks based on Analyst's Rating, which can be used to only select stocks with a "Strong Buy" rating, or any of the other 4 rating categories: "Buy," "Hold," "Sell," or "Strong Sell."
- After clicking the "Who's Ahead?" button, the screen that comes up now displays the difficulty level (1 to 4) at which the current game is being played.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.10, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same registered version of Wall Street Raider.)
- 5.10 -- Released: May 1, 2009 (Minor release)
- The automatic addition of stocks to the Streaming Stock Quotes List can now be turned off, if desired, using a toggle item on the "Settings" pulldown menu.
- A new "Clear" button has been added to the Streaming Stock Quotes List section on the main screen. Click on it to clear the entire streaming quotes list, if you decide you want to start a new list from scratch.
- A new "Fill" button has been added to the Streaming Stock Quotes List section on the main screen. Click on it and any stocks you own (or are short) will be added to the list, if the list is not full. In addition, if there are still any open slots, any other companies you control will then be added to the list,
- The six types of new taxes (on capital) that were added by Version 5.0 will now only be imposed if you are playing at the new Difficulty Level 4, which is otherwise identical to Difficulty Level 3. Thus, when playing at the highest difficulty levels, you will now be given a chance to choose whether or not any of those taxes might be applied, (in case you think that dealing with a number of punitive new taxes on capital and wealth is a bit "too realistic" for you).
- The bonus compensation formula for CEO's has been completely revised and made more complicated. However, if you control 51% of a company's stock, you will continue to earn a bonus at least equal to 100% of your salary, even if the company is performing miserably. Otherwise, if you control less than 51% of the stock, bonuses are now more difficult to earn, as the company must increase earnings by 15% over the prior year to earn a bonus of 150% of salary, and no bonus at all is earned in the calendar year in which you become the CEO. But if your company increases earnings by 15% each year for two years after you became CEO, your bonus is 300% of salary in the second year; add a third consecutive year of 15% earnings increases, and the bonus is 500% of salary in the third year (and each of those percentages is doubled if you control 51% or more of the stock -- so you could conceivably earn bonuses equal to as much as 10 times your base salary).
- Also, the program now keeps track of the year in which you were elected CEO of a company, and you won't earn any bonuses except for the years AFTER the year you were hired AND where a company has a string of 15% of better earnings increases. (This feature was added so that you can't take control of a company with a history of earnings increases, make yourself its CEO, and begin collecting huge bonuses based on what the company did before you arrived). The only exception is when you control 51% or more of the stock of the company, in which case you receive a minimum bonus equal to 100% of salary, regardless of earnings performance or when you became the CEO.
- Other minor changes: When changing the name of a company (when doing a startup or otherwise), the old, discarded name would previously appear on the streaming stock quotes list for a while, until the stock ticker ran for few moments and replaced it with the new name when updating the list. Now the new name replaces the old one on the list immediately. Also, when doing a startup of a new company, the company could sometimes be confronted almost immediately with an "ethical choice scenario," unless Cheat Mode was turned off. Now, in the registered version only, a startup won't be offered such an ethical choice dilemma until it has been in existence more than 2 years, which is a bit more realistic for most scenarios.
- The algorithms for adjusting the terms of options contracts have been improved to better reflect transactions such as spin-offs, extraordinary dividends, stock offerings, mergers, and stock buy-backs, to prevent "unfair" losses or windfall gains on options held or shorted on companies doing such transactions.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 5.0, but not with versions prior to 3.10. (But note that files saved with a newer version cannot be used in an older version, so if you are playing with another person and e-mailing the saved data file back and forth after you each take your turn, you must both be using the same version of Wall Street Raider.)
- 5.0 -- Released: April 1, 2009 (Major release)
- Options trading has now been extended to all corporations. All corporations except banks and insurance companies are now allowed to buy put and call options, sell "covered calls" against stocks they own, or sell naked puts or calls. They may purchase puts or calls if they have the cash to do so, but may only sell "naked" puts or calls if they meet certain creditworthiness requirements, including a minimum "BBB" credit rating. As in the previous release, a corporation controlled by a player cannot sell naked calls on a stock also controlled by the player, or buy puts on such a stock, except to the extent the parent corporation is selling calls and/or buying puts to hedge its ownership of stock in the subsidiary, in order to prevent conflicts of interest (using options as the equivalent of short-selling stock of a company you control). Banks and insurance companies are only allowed to sell "covered calls" against stocks they own, or buy puts to hedge such stock positions (or do some combination of the two). They may not speculate by buying calls or selling "naked" puts or calls. However, they may buy back calls they have sold short or may sell puts they have bought as hedges.
- While corporations (other than banks and insurance companies) can usually speculate by selling "naked" puts calls short, there are limits based on the seller's financial strength. To make such "naked" option short sales, a corporation but have at least a "BBB" credit rating or higher, and cannot sell naked options if doing so would cause the total short liability (to buy the naked options back) to exceed 25% of the selling company's net worth. Thereafter, if the short liability exceeds 50% of net worth, the selling company will have to buy back some or all of the shorted options.
- In this new version, buying or selling options may sometimes be limited, since the Options Exchange now must lay off the risk for each new option you create, by finding a corporation that is able to take the other side of the contract. Thus, if you wish to buy calls on 5% of IBM, the program will search for a seller corporation that is able and permitted to sell calls short on 5% of IBM, under the same terms (same option exercise price and maturity date). If your transaction is too large, or if you have created too many large options contracts, you may not always be able to find a counterparty, at some point. (It is no longer an infinite financial universe in W$R....)
- The main W$R screen has been improved in a number of ways, to enhance usability and appearance. Six additional buttons have been added to the main screen "Quick Search Functions" area, so it is no longer necessary to open up a menu to bring up a Research Report, Earnings Report, Financial Profile, Shareholder List, Portfolio List, or Options Portfolio List. One mouse click now brings up any of those items. Three buttons that were formerly on the main screen (Market Share, Most Cash, and Largest Tax Losses) have been moved to the General Research menu. To view new main screen, click here.
- A new button has been added to the General Research Menu, the "Largest Market Cap" button. Click it and a list of the 100 largest companies will be displayed, ranked by their stock market capitalization (stock price times number of shares issued = capitalization). This list also shows each company's credit rating and who, if anyone, controls it.
- Buy Call, Sell Call, Buy Put, and Sell Put buttons have been added to the Buy/Sell Menu, for all corporations, now that options trading is permitted for all corporations.
- If there are any open slots on the Streaming Quotes List (which displays streaming quotes for up to 15 stocks), a stock will now be added to the list automatically if it is selected as the "Active Entity" (unless you have recently deleted it from the list).
- In the previous release, a feature was added that allowed a player to manipulate the earnings of a company of which he or she was the C.E.O., by adding to or drawing from "contingency reserves." This release extends that feature to any company that a player controls, whether or not he or she is C.E.O. of that company. Buttons for these functions have been added to the "Other Trans." Menu. The prior restriction, allowing such transactions only for a company of which you were the C.E.O., was too easy to get around, and simply was an unnecessary annoyance, so we have eliminated the C.E.O. requirement.
- In prior versions, you could use the "Spread Rumors" feature to bring down the stock price of a competitor's company, just before a game ends, so that there is no time for the opponent to sue you for slander and possibly win a judgment against you. In this version, you can no longer use the "Spread Rumors" feature in the last year of a game.
- In keeping with the spirit of these dismal times, we have decided that you fat-cat billionaire players, Big Oil, and other greedy mega-corporations were getting away with not paying enough taxes (since the maximum income tax rate in W$R only goes as high as 75%), so we have added a few new taxes on capital, none of them deductible from your income tax, to make life more interesting and more like today's mad, mad world. These new taxes on capital, which can pop up at any time (and can sometimes get repealed) are as follows:
Tax rates and details for all these new taxes, and whether or not currently imposed, can quickly be found by clicking on the "Economic Statistics" button on the General Research menu. Each tax is paid quarterly except the "billionaire's" (wealth) tax, which is paid at the end of each year.
- A "Wealth Tax" (annual) on players, but only to the extent your net worth exceeds $1 billion U.S. (or the equivalent);
- A "Windfall Profits Tax" on capital assets of oil and oil-related industries that applies when oil prices are high, regardless of whether the companies have any profits;
- A "Health Care Tax" that can be imposed on the capital assets of drug and biotech companies, as well as on health care providers and medical equipment companies;
- A "Corporate Shares Tax" that can be imposed on corporations that are incorporated in the U.S. and some other countries (paid by the shareholders of those companies, based on the stock values);
- A global warming "Carbon Tax" on a wide range of industries that either produce energy or consume a lot of it, like airlines, rail, trucking, and utilities, based on their capital (business) assets, not on profits (Chinese and Indian companies are exempted); and
- A "Personal Holding Company Tax" that applies to a company that is either a "pure" holding/trading company or has less than 20% of its assets invested in business capital assets and working capital, if the company is owned directly (26% or more) by you, the player. This tax is paid by the company on its net worth (if any) reduced by the amount of its business assets. (Banks and insurers are exempted.)
Of course, not all of these taxes will be imposed in any one game (usually), and the tax rates are often rather low, but they will be imposed often enough to keep things interesting, if you are in danger of becoming too filthy rich....
- Players who like for their controlled companies to have high stock prices (a la Berkshire-Hathaway) will no longer have the stock price automatically split at prices above 1,000. Instead, splits won't be mandatory unless the stock price rises to 100,000 or above.
- The Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization provisions have been modified so that companies emerging from bankruptcy will now usually have at least a "CC" credit rating, meaning larger writedowns for shareholders and creditors, but the bankrupted company will now have a somewhat stronger balance sheet and a better chance of avoiding another bankruptcy proceeding.
- When trying to change banks, if you have a very large account balance (cash) to transfer to the new bank, it will not accept such a transfer of "hot money," which might have caused its stock to soar -- but only until you moved the money to yet another bank. (Sound of another large loophole clanging shut....)
- Players cannot sell "unvested" executive stock options, but the options "vest" and can be sold when the player is in dire circumstances and receives a margin call. In prior versions, a player could create a margin call situation in order to be able to sell the options, but now all bonds and stocks must be sold first when a player receives margin calls or has a negative cash balance that can't be canceled by borrowing. (Another, small, loophole closed.)
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 4.90, but not with versions prior to 3.10.
- 4.90 -- Released: December 1, 2008 (Major release)
- By popular demand, a print feature has been added to various research screens, enabling users to print out a financial statement, earnings report, company research report, portfolio listing, industry summary, etc. Dialog boxes whose contents are printable will appear with a "PRINT" button on the bottom of the dialog box, enabling one-click printing. (Some copyrighted material, such as various cheat scenarios, still may not be printed.)
- As the CEO of a company, you can now "manage" earnings (to some extent), by underreporting profits, burying the difference in a "Reserve for Contingencies," for possible future expenses, such as litigation, product liability, environmental liability, and the like. You can add up to 5% of a quarter's profits to this reserve, which may be advisable if your company is showing a large profit increase of say, 25% or more. Reducing that profit report by 5% won't have much effect on your company's stock price, and you will be "banking" some of that profit to be taken back on a future rainy day. (Or, if your company expects a quarterly loss, you can increase that reported loss by 10%, as an addition to the contingency reserve -- again without seriously affecting your company's stock price, since the company is already reporting losses, and a little larger loss won't be noticed.) Companies not controlled by a player will also routinely add to their Reserve for Contingencies, but only when they are expecting a profit, not a loss.
Once a significant amount of reserves have been set aside over a number of quarters or years, you may then want to draw on that account to manipulate earnings UPWARD. For example, if your company is riding high, with its stock benefiting from a long string of steady profit increases, but is finally expecting profits to drop from $100 million last quarter to $85 million in the current quarter, you might choose to pull $20 million out of the Reserve, with the connivance of your accountants, arguing that your reserves were more than adequate, thus increasing reported profits to $105 million for the current quarter, and keeping the steady string of profit increases intact (and your company's stock aloft). Additions or withdrawals from the reserve have no tax effect, since additions were not deductible.
Banks are treated somewhat differently, since they are much more closely regulated and scrutinized by the government. Instead of creating a Reserve for Contingencies for a bank, you simply add additional amounts to its Bad Debt Reserve, reducing the need for future additions, but you aren't allowed to make discretionary reductions of this reserve (which is only reduced according to a formula applicable to all banks, based on the size and quality of its loan portfolio, or when bad debts are charged off against the reserve).
Two new buttons have been added to the "Other Transactions Menu" for decreasing earnings (adding amounts to the reserve) or increasing earnings (taking amounts back out of the reserve). On or both of these buttons appear if you are CEO of the current "Active Entity" and also control it.
- Where a proposed merger is announced regarding a targeted company that you control, you are now (as an "insider") prohibited from trading in options on that company while the merger is pending, except to close out any existing long or short options positions on the company. (But you can still buy more of its stock, in the hope of a quick profit when the merger goes through, though you will have to make a "tender offer" at well above the current market price, which may not be worthwhile. Or, you may sell your stock if you have doubts about the merger.)
- Where a holding company you control is about to try to merge with a target company and you or your company buy up call options on the target company in the hope of making a quick profit on the run-up in its stock when the merger is consummated, you or your company will now be forced to close the option positions, based on the target's pre-offer stock price -- thus closing a big loophole and preventing a conflict of interest (insider trading).
- The "My News" button functions have been enhanced. In the new version, this feature will not only collect and display any recent news items regarding you, companies you control, or stocks you own directly (or are short), but now will also look for news items on any stocks on which you (or any company you control) has an options position or owns any stock in.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.10 through 4.80, but not with versions prior to 3.10.
- 4.80 -- Released: October 1, 2008 (Minor release)
- A player or company owning a put or call option that is "in-the-money" may now exercise the option prior to its expiration date, by using the "Exercise Call Option" or "Exercise Put Option" buttons that have been added to the Other Transactions Menu. (Such early exercises are subject to the same limitations as exercise at expiration, such as not being able to acquire control of a company by an option exercise, having sufficient funds to exercise a call option, not buying up the last "public" shares of a company, and not being able to exercise an "unvested" executive stock option.)
- When an unrelated company offers to merge with a company in which you or your controlled companies own stock, you will now be given a notice of the offer, including the identity of the offering company and the offer price per share (which will be paid in the form of the offeror's stock at its value on the date the merger is consummated). For example, if YourCo sells for $25 a share and AcquirerCo offers $30 a share, this means that if the merger occurs, AcquirerCo will issue an amount of its stock which has a value of $30 for each share of YourCo. The notice also specifies the date (about one month ahead) on which you will have to vote your shares for or against the merger proposal. That will give you a month (of game time) to do some research on the acquiring company and decide how you wish to vote.
- Research Reports now show more detail on pending antitrust lawsuits by or against the company, including the amount of damages being sued for. (The amounts won't show up if you load a game file from a prior version, for antitrust suits that had been filed while playing the older version.)
- A company profile (financial statement) now includes an additional footnote if there are antitrust lawsuits pending against the company, indicating its maximum exposure.
- We've plugged a loophole in the prior version, which allowed a company to make an extraordinary dividend distribution without an immediate large (downward) adjustment to its stock price, and plugged a similar loophole regarding a spin-off of stock of a subsidiary.
- A bug in the tax calculation for exercise of shorted call options has been corrected.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.70, but not with versions prior to 3.10.
- 4.70 -- Released: July 1, 2008 (Major release)
- Changes have been made regarding "executive stock options" for company C.E.O.'s, a new feature added in the previous W$R release. In the new release, such options are still granted to a C.E.O. early in each quarter (at the middle of the first month of the quarter), but each such grant of options on 2% of the employer's stock expires 2 years after the date of grant. Also, instead of having the company buy publicly-traded options on its stock and grant them to the C.E.O., thus hitting the company with a large expense for the value of the options granted at the time of grant, now the company only recognizes an expense to the extent the option has intrinsic value at the expiration date, at which time the option is either bought back by the company or, if the option is exercised, the company issues new stock to the player but buys back an offsetting amount of stock on the open market (transferring it to the player at a loss), to prevent dilution.
- Executive options are restricted, and cannot be sold for one year after the date granted. However, after that date, the player may sell the option back to the employer company (without a commission), at its current fair market value. Whatever the company pays the player to cancel the option is an expense to the company at that time. (In the shareware version, the options remain restricted until the date of expiration, at which time they will be exercised or bought back by the company for their cash value, if any.)
- Earnings projections for a company now take into account the value of any executive options that will be expiring before the end of the quarterly reporting period, assuming the current intrinsic value of the option, the excess of the current stock price over the strike price of the option (if any), will become an expense at expiration if the stock price does not change.
- Under the revised rules, if you are C.E.O. of a company, but lose control of the company AND cease to be its C.E.O. for any reason (such as resigning of being fired), any executive stock options you have from that company that are not yet vested will be revoked -- that is, forfeited. Thus if you take over another player's company, XYZ Corp., of which the other player is the C.E.O., and terminate that player as C.E.O., he or she will also lose (forfeit) all the unvested executive options he or she was granted by XYZ Corp.
- The program will now warn you with an announcement if you, or a company you control, have option positions (long or short) that are due to expire in mid-month in the following month. The announcements are made just before the end of each month of play.
- Companies are now able to issue new stock (for cash), at current market value, to the player who controls the company or to another company (other than a bank) that is also controlled by the player. This provides a means of injecting equity capital into a company that is on the verge of bankrupcty, to help stave off the bankruptcy. It also can be a useful way for a parent company to boost its stock ownership to 80% or more (in order to file consolidated tax returns with the subsidiary that issues new stock to it), as in a case where the parent company owns 77% of the stock and a hostile stockholder holds the other 23%. Use the "Private Stock Offering" button on the Financing Menu to either do such a transaction, or, as in prior versions, to issue stock to an unrelated "white knight" company as the investor. Unlike public stock offerings or private stock offerings to unrelated "white knight" investors, there is no limit on the number and frequency of the private stock offerings a company can make to the controlling player or companies he/she controls.
- Companies with ongoing exposure to asbestos or "SuperFund" (environmental) lawsuits are no longer able to float new bond issues or to do public stock offerings (but may still do private stock offerings or mergers).
- Adjustments are now made in stock price history (for stock chart purposes) to accurately reflect stock issuances and stock buybacks by a company that increased or decreased its outstanding stock by such transactions.
- The main screen now shows the full current game date at all times, rather than just the quarter and year, or the month and year, as in prior versions of W$R. This is useful to watch, when, for example, you are awaiting a company's next quarterly earnings report (the date of which release is shown in a company's Financial Profile).
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.60, but not with versions prior to 3.10.
- 4.60 -- Released: March 10, 2008 (Major release)
- Options trading (call options) has been added for holding/ trading companies and insurance companies, although with some restrictions that don't apply to individual players, since the corporations are not subject to any margin requirements. Thus, an insurance company can only sell "covered" calls (or buy back such calls it has sold short). A holding/trading company can sell covered calls and can also buy calls. Whether options bought or sold by such corporations can be exercised will depend on the exercise (or not) setting for the controlling player. If no player still controls a corporation that has long or short positions in call options at the time the options expire, the options will be settled for cash value (if any), rather than being exercised.
- Executive stock options are now granted to the CEO of a corporation. Once you've taken control of a corporation and had yourself elected as its CEO, you not only receive cash salary and bonuses from the company, but now you will also receive a grant of stock options (call options) on the company's stock at the beginning of each quarter. Options are granted at an exercise price equal to the current stock price, on 2% of the company's stock, giving you until mid-December of the next year to do whatever it takes to get the price of the stock higher. Best of all, the granting of the option is not taxable to you, the employee, and if you sell the option later, the amount you receive is taxable at the favorable capital gains tax rate. However, there is a catch: The options you receive are restricted and can't (voluntarily) be sold during the year they are received. (In the shareware version, they are restricted until the date of expiration, at which time they will be exercised or sold for cash value, if any.) There is another major catch, or trade-off, too: The value of the options when granted is a compensation expense for the company, which can put a major dent in the company's earnings, which may cause the stock to fall and your options to eventually become worthless, unless the company does very well over the following two years. Thus you will have some tough decisions to make, whether to elect yourself as CEO of a company you control, or to instead forego receiving any salary, bonuses or executive stock options from the company.
- The ability of banks to buy business loans beyond their cash on hand has been expanded, by also counting the new cash (deposits) they will obtain from the new loan/deposit customer if they purchase the loan to such customer from another bank. This makes it easier for your bank to buy more or larger loans.
- The program now gives you a warning when an "ethical scenario" memo is about to be presented, so you won't accidentally hit the "Enter" key and unintentionally accept the offered scam transaction.
- The program also gives a player notice in most instances when he or she has lost control of a company whose stock he or she directly holds.
- The computer player ("Wally Raider") will now try to change its bank lender to a bank it controls, if possible, or else to a large neutral bank, if its loan is held by a hostile bank (one that is controlled by a human player).
- The "Controlled By:" label in the upperleft corner of the main W$R screen, part of the "Active Entity Selected" group of informational labels, is now clickable. Click on it when a company name or symbol appears there, and doing so will instantly select that company as the "active entity."
- The "normal" oil price in the simulation has been increased to $100 U.S., now that it seems unlikely that we will be seeing $50 oil again any time soon, in the real world.
- Currency conversion rates have been updated to reflect more recent values, in light of the sharp drop in the value of the U.S. dollar against the Euro, Yen, Canadian and Australian dollars, and most other currencies since our last release.
- A tax loophole in prior versions was closed, where a holding/ trading company could buy new business assets to enter an industry as an operating company without losing its tax loss carryovers, despite the change in business.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.51, but not with versions prior to 3.10.
- 4.51 -- Released: November 3, 2007 (Minor release)
- Plugged options trading loophole, where player who acts quickly at start of game to buy call options on various stocks could often reap enormous instant profits by the time the stock price "normalizes" at at a more realistic level. In revised version, options trading is suspended for the first "month" of play in a newly started game. Also, since buying options (such as straddles on a given stock) were too often profitable, because stocks in W$R are too volatile, we've "damped down" the volatility a bit and also made options more expensive to buy (or better to sell short).
- Stock charts are now available from the beginning of the game, rather than having to wait until 3 months of stock price history has been built up. The program now creates 2 months of "pre-game" stock history for each company, except for a "startup" company that you start up during the game, which still must wait 3 months before charts become available.
- Rare but potentially significant bug was fixed, which probably has existed since we began tying the amount of a bank's CD customer deposits to cash balances of its customers (players and corporations that borrow from that particular bank). Companies hit by huge losses, resulting in large bank overdrafts could wipe out their bank, if unable to raise enough cash from sales of assets to cover the cash deficit, a result which should not have occurred. Now, if a customer corporation has an "overdraft" the negative balance does not reduce the bank's cash balance. Thus, if XYZ corp has $1,000 million of cash and is hit by a $20,000 million disaster of some type, and goes out of existence, unable to cover the $19,000 cash deficit, the bank's cash and corresponding deposit liability are each only reduced by the $1,000 million amount, not by $20,000 million. (Of course, the bank would also have a loss on any loan it had made to XYZ, if any, as well.)
- Minor changes in the rules for tax-free spin-offs have been made, regarding a company's history as having been an 80%-owned subsidiary of another company for 5 or more years, and thus being eligible for a tax-free spin-off. In this new version, certain nontaxable transactions, such as dropping the stock of an 80% subsidiary down into another 100%-owned subsidiary, will no longer require the transferred sub to have to start a new history as an 80% sub -- its existing history will "carry over" in such a transaction. Similarly, if the stock of C is 80% owned by B, and B is liquidated (in a tax-free liquidation) into company A, C's 5-year history as an 80% sub of B will carry over, even though C has now become a sub of Company A.
- This release is file-compatible with saved game files from versions 3.10 through 4.50, but not with versions prior to 3.10.
- 4.50 -- Released: September 1, 2007 (Major release)
- Newly released Wall Street Raider v. 4.50 now includes stock charts for each of the 1590 corporations in the simulation. Each stock chart shows up to 60 months of recent stock price activity for a company (in the simulation), showing the high, low, and last price of its stock for each month in the period covered, which can give you a good sense of how a company is prospering (or not), at a glance. (Stock charting is not implemented in the "shareware" version of W$R, only in the registered version.)
- A new "Stock Chart" button has been added on the main W$R screen, in the "Other" grouping of menu buttons. To view a stock chart for the currently selected "Active Entity" (if the selected entity is a corporation, rather than the individual player), you simply click on this new button.
- A new "pull-down" menu has been added to the main W$R screen, the "Settings Menu." A number of menu items from the formerly lengthy "Game Options Menu" have simply been moved to this new menu, such as Ticker Speed, Currency selection, Cheat Mode, Select Law Firm, Suppress Pop-ups, Suppress Earnings Reports, AutoSave, and the Exercise Options? item. In addition, a new menu item, "Stock Chart Size" has been added to this menu, allowing you to toggle back and forth between large- or small-sized stock charts, whichever you prefer to view, when using the new stock charting feature. (This item is "grayed out" on the Settings Menu in the "shareware" version.)
- Now that the software keeps track of each company's stock price history for the most recent 5 years, a new line item has been added to the Financial Profile for a company, in the "Stock and Earnings Data" section of the Profile, showing the 52-week high and low prices for the company's stock (adjusted for any stock splits or other equity changes).
- Prior versions of W$R left open a loophole that allowed users to sell a stock short, then use a controlled company to directly or indirectly take control of the shorted company, and then (after stopping the stock ticker) having the shorted company make several huge restructuring expenditures, or do various financially damaging actions, driving its stock through the floor. That made it easy to pocket a quick profit on the short sale of the stock. That is no longer possible, as you may no longer maintain a short position in stock of a company you control, due to the obvious conflict of interest as an "insider."
- This release also plugs a similar, but smaller loophole, where a player who owned, for example, 50% of a company could sell calls against that 50%, then sell 30% of the stock, so he or she might still control the company, and could then engage in various losing transactions that would trash the company's stock, thus potentially making more on the short calls on 50% of the company than he or she would lose on the 20% of the stock still owned. In the prior release, this "excess" short options position would eventually be corrected, by a forced sale of the excess short calls (and/or long puts), but not until the company next reported its quarterly earnings. That is no longer possible, as any "excess" hedges will have to be covered immediately after the player sells part of the stock he or she owns (the sale of 30% in the above example), if more than fully hedged after the sale.
- Currency conversion rates have been updated to reflect more recent values, in light of the sharp drop in the value of the U.S. dollar against the Euro, British pound, Canadian and Australian dollars, and most other currencies since our last release.
- A new "global warming" news scenario pop-up has been added, and various fictional company names have been replaced by names of hot new (real-world) companies, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill in the restaurant industry.
- A number of refinements have been made to the bankruptcy procedures, so that banks that fail and are resuscitated by a government injection of funds now receive enough such funds to make the revived bank relatively healthy, rather than barely alive (as before). Also, when a corporation goes bankrupt, while owing bank loans, the bank will now usually receive a significant percentage of the stock in the reorganized company, in exchange for the loan write-off. In prior versions, the bank only received stock in the bankrupt company when the old shareholders lost all of their stock in the reorganization. That is no longer a prerequisite.
- Minor bug fixes, to the pull-down menu items for several types of settings, such as "Suppress pop-ups," which did not always correctly show the current setting, and also to prevent pop-up announcements or earnings reports regarding stocks controlled by the Computer player, when it is taking its turn.
- The new version is compatible with saved game data files from Versions 3.10 through 4.10 (but not with data files saved by versions earlier than 3.10). However, game data files saved with this new version will take quite a bit longer to save (or retrieve), as they are about 10 times as large as the data files from 4.10 or earlier versions, due to the huge amount of stock price historical data for each of the 1590 companies that the program must now save.
- 4.10 -- Released: February 15, 2007 (Major release)
- Stock options (puts and calls) may now be made exercisable at expiration date by the player who owns options or has sold them short. An on/off "toggle" item on the "Game Options Menu" lets you prevent all option positions from being exercised (they are settled at intrinsic value, if any, as in v. 4.0, in that case), or to choose to have all options exercised, subject to certain exceptions:
(Note: Options trading features are enabled only in the registered versions of Wall Street Raider, not in the shareware version.)
- Only options that are "in-the-money" at expiration date will be exercised.
- Long call options will only be exercised to the extent there is "public" stock available for you to acquire. The same is true if you are short put options. But you may not acquire enough stock through the exercise of long calls/short puts to acquire all the remaining "public" stock of a company, or enough stock to give you control of the company, if you did not previously have control. (This is to prevent you from using a back-door scheme to get control of companies in order to evade anti-trust law restrictions on acquisitions.) Long calls or short puts will also not be exercised if you don't have the buying power to acquire the underlying stock, or if you already have 15 stocks in your individual stock portfolio (the limit), and can't add another.
- Shorted call options will only be exercised to the the extent you are long the stock, which will be called away. (No short position in the stock will be created.) The same is is true if you have a long position in puts. Any short calls or long puts that are in-the-money and that exceed the amount of stock you own will be "settled" at their intrinsic value. Thus, if you have 7% of ABC stock, and own puts on 10% of the stock, which are "in-the-money," 7% of the puts will be exercised to "put" your stock at the exercise price, and the other 3% of the puts will be "settled" (sold) at their in-the-money value on expiration date.
- More company name items have been made "clickable" in the Personal Financial Profile and (corporate) Financial Profile screens, where company names or stock symbols appear. Clicking on any such name or symbol will change the Active Entity to that corporation.
- "Mercy sales" of options you own that are worthless (no bid) are now possible, thanks to the generosity of your broker, who will now pay you a pittance to buy such options from you to let you close out your loss for tax purposes, without having to wait until the option expires. How nice of your stockbrokers....
- In the Industry Summary screens, we have inserted markers by the price-to-net worth number for some companies, as was added in Industry Projections screen in the prior release: _P by companies you control, _H to mark companies controlled by hostile (other) players, and _C to mark companies that are controlled by another corporation. Now you will be able to see, at a glance, who controls which holding companies, banks and insurers (for which there are no Industry Projection screens).
- To prevent players from making insider profits by buying large numbers of call options on stock of a company (or selling puts short on it), and then forgiving an advance to the company in order to boost its net worth and stock price, such conflicts of interest now prohibit you from doing a forgiveness of an advance if you are long call options or short put options on the company's stock.
- To prevent players from building up long chains of controlled companies, all highly leveraged so that most or all will go bankrupt eventually, and profiting by selling the stocks short or by buying puts (or selling calls short) on such stocks, an obvious conflict of interest, the simulation now will generally prohibit short-selling of the stock (or call options) or of buying put options on a stock you control. An exception is that you can buy enough puts to protect your long position in a stock or sell "covered calls" against it, but cannot sell, for instance, calls on 50% of the stock if you only own 40% of it directly. These restrictions do not apply if you don't control the company whose stock you are shorting or are selling "naked" calls short against (or buying puts on).
- Where a player forgives an advance to a company when he or she owns 100% of the stock directly, the forgiveness is no longer a capital loss and is not income or a taxable event for the company. Instead, in that case it is treated as just a contribution to capital, which increases the player's tax basis in his or her stock in the company.
- The Computer player has a few new refinements, including the ability to pay off a "frozen" loan and change its bank lender to a friendly (controlled) bank.
- A new Drug/BioTech disaster scenario was added.
- Various minor refinements to options trading; Financial Profile display improvements, including display of the "call price" for redemption of a company's bonds and whether or not they are currently callable.
- New "Quote of the Day" feature added (except in the shareware version). Each time you start Wall Street Raider, a "quote of the day" will be flashed on the screen, from a collection of "in-your-face" and wryly cynical observations by everyone from Aesop in 600 B.C. to Napoleon to Winston Churchill to Woody Allen.
- Compatible with saved game data files from Versions 3.10 and 4.0.
- 4.0 -- Released: October 11, 2006 (Major release)
- Not compatible with saved game files from prior versions earlier than 3.10.
- Now includes trading of put and call options on any "publicly-traded" stocks, for periods of one to 24 months. (NOT ENABLED in shareware version of Wall Street Raider.) Players can buy options, sell covered calls or covered puts, or sell "naked" puts or calls. With the leverage afforded by options, you can increase your profits massively if your bet on a big move in a stock's price turns out to be correct -- or lose your entire investment in an option purchase if you're wrong! (We also changed the name of the "Options Menu" at the top of the main screen to the "Game Options Menu," so no one will be confused, thinking there is something on that menu that pertains to put and call options -- there isn't. Items on that menu deal with choices you make such as turning off Cheat Mode, setting the Ticker Speed from 1 to 100, etc.)
- The W$R strategy manual (electronic) has been updated fully to reflect the introduction of options trading, including detailed discussions of margin rules affecting long and short option positions, plus extensive analysis of various types of put, call, and straddle strategies.
- We've plugged a tax loophole with regard to short-selling. In the prior version (3.10), it was possible to sell stock short in a company you control and then have the company pay out a large dividend. Since, as a short seller, you would have to pay out the amount of the "short dividend" on the shorted stock, you were allowed to deduct that expense. Then, because the large dividend would greatly reduce the stock's price, you could cover your short position and reap a capital gain. Thus, even if you just broke even, you would have a large "ordinary" tax deduction, reducing your regular (high tax rate) taxable income, while generating an almost automatic capital gain, taxable at a much lower tax rate than ordinary income. In this new version, any such "short dividends" you must pay on a short position when the stock pays a dividend are now treated as capital losses, which will offset your capital gain if you cover your short for a profit after the dividend is paid out and reduces the stock's value.
- In the Industry Projection screens, we have inserted markers by the market share number for some companies: _P by companies you control, _H by companies controlled by hostile (other) players, and _C by companies that are controlled by another corporation.
- The main screen now displays the Month/Year of play, rather than the Quarter/Year. In addition, if you click on the "Financial Profile" for a corporation, it will tell you the current (game) date, and also the date on which that company will next report earnings.
- 3.10 -- Released: December 21, 2005 (Major release)
- Not compatible with saved game files from prior versions, due to addition of new data arrays.
- We've filled in the other side of the investment equation, by adding short selling to W$R, for players. We think you will enjoy being a "bear" and taking advantage of weak and sick companies, by selling their stocks short, to drive their prices down even further. There's something really satisfying about shorting a high-flyer at $80 a share and watching the stock collapse to $2 a share, at which time you cover your short for a massive profit. (But it can be very scary when the stock you've shorted suddenly turns up, since your liability as a short seller is unlimited, unlike owning a stock, where you can only lose 100% of your investment.)
- In this new release of Wall Street Raider, a short margin account is created for each player when the player sells any stocks short, with the proceeds of the short sale deposited in this restricted account. This account is regularly "marked to market" -- cash must be transferred to the short account when the shorted stock goes up, or is transferred from the short margin account to the player's unrestricted cash account (bank account) when the shorted stock or stocks decline in value. A player must maintain a net worth equal to at least 1/3 of the value of the shorted stocks -- otherwise, the player gets a "short margin call" and is required to buy back (cover) some of the short positions, to reduce the short liability. (Which will tend to drive the stock price up further, sad to say, if you are still short the stock.)
- A player can sell short up to 20% of the total stock of a particular corporation. However, since stock must be borrowed from "the Public" in order to sell it short, all the players, in total, cannot short more than 50% of the publicly traded stock of any one company. For example, if only 80% of a company's stock is held by "the Public," players may only short half that percentage, or 40% of the company's total outstanding stock. This means that if you are short a stock, and some company or other player buys up most of the publicly-owned shares, reducing the "float," you can be "squeezed" and forced to cover some or all of your short position. Not a nice thing to do to a friend or spouse. Short-selling is not for the faint of heart, in the real markets or in W$R.
- The short sale feature, as implemented, allows players to pursue new strategies, including doing a "short squeeze" to ruin a competing player who has a large short position in a stock. For example, if Player A has shorted 20% of the stock of XYZ corporation, which has only 40% of its stock publicly traded, you might "squeeze" Player A and force him/her to cover the short position (running up the price while doing so), by buying up most or all of the publicly traded shares. Not only will the forced covering of the short position by Player A drive up the price he/she has to pay to buy back the stock, but it will temporarily raise the value of your XYZ stock. In addition, your purchase of the remaining publicly-traded stock will also drive up the value of the stock, raising Player A's cost to cover the short position when you force him/her to do so. Another way of squeezing a short seller is to acquire the shorted company in a merger.
- On the other hand, if a player is short a stock and can find a way (most W$R players are good at this) to undermine the company and cause its stock price to drop, the short seller will profit handsomely. Best of all, if the company goes bankrupt and all its stockholders are wiped out, the short seller doesn't have to buy back any stock, and instead pockets a 100% profit on the proceeds he/she received when shorting the stock. "There's no ill wind that doesn't blow someone some good...."
- To more realistically reflect current economic conditions, the "normal" price of oil in this new release is $50 per barrel (vs. $35 in recent releases, and $20 per barrel for many years in earlier releases of W$R).
- We've added some new "scenarios," including a major new "Peak Oil" scenario that can create some very harsh conditions -- unless, of course, you're long on oil and gas stocks, and a few other types of stocks that benefit from the chaos! (Or if you've sold short auto companies, airlines, or the like, which are devastated by the energy crisis.) The Peak Oil scenario will tend to pop up in about half the games you play, but will not pop up in the first 2 years of play. (Sorry, "shareware" version players!) Some times the crisis will be over almost before it's started, perhaps just after you've bet the ranch on oil or oil service stocks.... What a shame!
- We've corrected a couple of minor potential bugs that could cause sudden enrichment or bankruptcy of a newly-formed bank in certain circumstances, where the selected currency was the Icelandic Kronur, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen, or Korean Won.
- Finally, we've added F1 key functionality to access "HELP" files at any time when the main screen is visible, plus many small improvements in the user interface and in various algorithms (too many to count).
- 3.02 -- Released: May 10, 2005 (Minor release)
- Compatible with saved game files from prior versions 3.00 and 3.01 only.
- Added new search criterion to DataBase Search screen, which allows you to exclude from the list of companies that meet your search criteria any company that has no publicly traded shares of stock that you might purchase. But you can leave this box unchecked if you want such non-public stocks to be displayed, such as where such a company's parent company is controlled by you, so that you could buy its stock from the parent company. Or, you might leave this box unchecked if you are looking for merger targets, since it is sometimes possible to merge with even a 100%-owned subsidiary of a company you do not control (if you offer a high enough premium over market price). Checking this "Don't Show Nonpublic Companies" box has no effect if you are searching for bonds to buy, and have checked the "Has Bonds Issued and Outstanding" box -- since the fact that a company has no stock which you can buy is irrelevant if you are buying its bonds.
- 3.01 -- Released: January 11, 2005 (Minor release)
- Compatible with saved game files from prior version 3.00 only.
- Changed rules, to allow more ruthless tactics by a player who controls a bank. A bank can now buy up loans of an opposing player (if the game is played at Difficulty Level 3, the highest). Or it can buy up loans of a company controlled by a player, at Difficulty Levels 2 or 3. However, as before, it cannot buy loans that are currently held by a bank that is controlled by another player. These rule changes will allow for considerably more vicious and cutthroat tactics, and makes control of a bank (and getting your loans from your controlled bank) even more important than before.
- Added a feature that allows player to have his or her controlled bank call in a specified percentage of a loan, from 1% to 50% of the loan balance, rather than 50% only.
- Various minor bug fixes and minor new features, such as a warning, when you are about to advance money to a company you control that has a credit rating of less than "BB," that you will not be able to recall the advances until the company's credit rating improves.
- 3.00 -- Released: January 5, 2005 (Major release)
- Not compatible with saved game files from earlier versions prior to version 3.00.
- Seriously revised user interface. The main screen has been greatly increased in size, to make room for listing up to 15 stocks in a "streaming quotes" section, and for a number of new controls that have been added, as discussed below. Clicking on an "Add/Delete Stock" button lets you either add the current "active entity" to the streaming quotes list, or, if it is already on the list, to remove it, with a single click. As stock prices change, the new prices of the stocks on the list are updated, and are shown in blue (if no change), in green (if up) or in red (if down). Also, you can quickly select any company whose stock is on the streaming quotes list by simply clicking on a "Select" button at the top of the list, and then double-clicking on the company name, from a pick list that will be displayed. Doing so selects that company as the "active entity."
- A "My News" button has been added, as a result of a suggestion of a user in Spain. Click on it to see all recent news items on any stock you own directly, or that you control indirectly, or any news items that mention you.
- In the past, it was often annoying, when pulling up research information on a company you own, and one that it is about to buy or sell, to have to enter the stock symbol or pull up a list of companies to select the other, when going back and forth between the two companies. Now, the program keeps track of the current "active entity" and the previously selected "active entity." For example, if the current active entity is ABC and the most recent previous active entity you had selected was XYZ, a newly added button on the main screen will read "Select XYZ" -- so you can re-select XYZ as the current active entity with a single click on that button. In addition, the program now "remembers" each player's last selected "active entity" and second to last selected active entity, so when your turn ends, and it later becomes your turn again, to use the above example, those two entities are again reflected immediately on the screen, with ABC as the "active entity" and XYZ shown on the "Select XYZ" button.
- A number of new button controls have been added to main screen, both to improve ease of use of the program, and to add new search features that users have requested. These eight buttons are as follows:
- Two new buttons in the "Transactions" section of the main screen: A "Buy Stock" button and a "Sell Stock" button. These are not new, but simply duplicate such buttons that are also found in the Buy/Sell menu. Now, however, you can buy or sell stock directly from the main screen, without having to open the Buy/Sell Menu.
- Six new buttons have been added in a "Search Functions" section of the main screen:
One is simply a direct link to the DataBase Search feature, which can now be accessed without first going through the General Research Menu. A second "Recall" button instantly calls up an updated list of companies from the database, using the most recent set of search parameters you have selected, saving you from opening the General Research Menu, clicking on "DataBase Search" and then clicking on "Display Results." Thus, 1 click now does what took 3 button clicks in prior versions.
Three other search buttons generate ranked lists of the companies with the largest market shares in their industries (of at least 20%), companies with the largest tax loss carryovers (of at least 10 million or 10 billion, depending on the currency), and the 50 companies with the most cash. In addition, a "My Corps" button has been added in this section, which works in a manner similar to the "My Corps" buttons on the various menus, but which can now be accessed directly from the main screen, with a single mouse click.
- Earnings reports for any company a player controls now pop up automatically the moment they are released, during that player's turn. Also, the most recently selected "active entity" (before the currently selected "active entity") will also automatically have its earnings report pop up when released -- as well as that for the currently selected "active entity." See new "suppress" menu item, discussed in the next paragraph -- which allows you to turn off this feature, if it becomes annoying.
- New item added to "Options" Menu -- "Suppress Earnings Reports" item. Toggle this item "ON" if you control a large number of companies and are annoyed by the too-frequent pop-up earnings announcements, each time one of your controlled companies issues its latest quarterly earnings report. When this suppress option is turned "ON," no such reports will pop up, except for the company that is the currently selected "active entity" (if any). Clicking on this item will turn the suppression feature "ON" if it is currently "OFF," or "OFF" if it is currently "ON."
- Prepayment penalties of 2% of the amount of loan repayments any of your companies do, using the "Repay Loan" button, will now apply, if playing at Difficulty Level 3. However, the penalty is not imposed if the player who controls the corporation that is making the prepayment also controls the lending bank. The penalty also applies when a company issues corporate bonds, and elects to apply some or all of the bond issuance proceeds to pay down bank debt. It also applies when a company goes through a taxable liquidation and pays off its bank loan as part of the liquidation process. (NOTE: The prepayment penalty does not apply to loan repayments made by the players themselves, only to corporate borrowers.)
- Spreading false rumors (using the Spread Rumors button) is still an effective (if dirty) tactic. However, overuse of this tactic, or engaging in too many scurrilous activities, may subject you, the player, to individual liability if the company you targeted sues you for slander or libel. Thus, you will need to use that tactic sparingly, in this and future versions of the program.
- Finally, in addition to numerous small internal program enhancements, the main screen listing of indices, crude oil prices, prime rate, etc., has been augmented by adding displays of the bond yields (yield to maturity) for the Government Long Bond and Short Bond.
- 2.50 -- Released: November 1, 2004 (Major release)
- Saved games from versions earlier than v. 2.45 are not usable with this version. (Version 2.45 saved games are compatible, except that dividend payouts will be unusually large in some cases, due to changes in the way dividend payout data is stored in the new version.)
- The "normal" price of crude oil has been changed from $20 per barrel to $35 per barrel, to more accurately reflect the current real world oil pricing situation.
- Modified percentage of business assets of an industrial company that must be committed to working capital. In prior versions, the amount of working capital (inventory and/or accounts receivable) was a fixed 12% of business assets. In the new version, 12% is the normal or typical percentage, but if you increase a company's profitability, you may be able to reduce the percentage of business assets that must be committed to working capital, to as little as 5%. On the other hand, if your company is poorly managed, it may have as much as 20% of business assets tied up as working capital. (Business assets are items such as plant and equipment, airplanes operated by an airline, etc.)
- Altered "Change Bank" feature in several ways. You no longer need to pay off a loan in full before you can change your bank lender -- if the new bank you choose has enough cash to buy your loan from your current lender, and if the current lender is not controlled by an opposing player (who is presumed NOT to want to sell your loan). Also, if you have a "sick" company with a large loan it will probably default on, you cannot have it change its bank to a bank controlled by another player, "sticking" that player's bank with the bad loan, unless the loan balance is fairly small.
- Several things were done to plug loopholes in the logic for insurance companies, to make it harder to become an "instant trillionaire" by manipulating and creating gigantic insurance companies.
- Changed the way dividends are set. Rather than pay out a percentage of the prior year's net income, the dividend for a company is now set as a fixed dollar amount per share, even if that means that the dividend exceeds the company's earnings. You can now set the amount, such as 1.40 per share, that a controlled company will pay (subject to an upper limit that varies, depending on the company's creditworthiness). Uncontrolled companies will periodically raise or lower their dividends, based on various factors, such as yield, earnings trends, credit rating, industry and company growth rates, and other complex factors. A company with a "D" credit rating will cease paying any dividends almost immediately.
- In the new version, any time a company you control releases a new quarterly earnings report, the earnings report screen will immediately pop up. If you control a large number of companies, and the frequent pop-ups become annoying to you, you can stop them by turning on the "Suppress Popups" feature in the "Options" menu.
- 2.45 -- Released: August 1, 2004
- Not compatible with saved game files from earlier versions prior to 2.45.
- By popular demand, the new version adds a "spin-offs" feature to the Financing Submenu. Using this button function, any corporation you own may be able to "spin off" stock it holds in another corporation to its shareholders. This can even be done tax-free, if 80% of the stock of the sub is spun off, if the sub is not a holding/trading company, and if the sub has at least a 5-year period of operations under its belt. You can, if you choose, do a taxable spin-off, though this will usually prove to be costly. However, other government agencies might block the spin-off if it would have too serious an effect on the distributing corporation's creditworthiness, even if you have gotten a favorable advance tax ruling from the tax authorities. We have tried to anticipate and close most of the largest foreseeable loopholes, but we're quite sure that creative players of W$R will find many ways to use (and abuse) the spin-off feature in order to avoid taxes, merger fees, and for other nefarious purposes. The new version of the W$R strategy manual has a few suggestions for ways to use spin-offs that may not be obvious to any but the most devious players.
- In order to increase the limits on the size of public stock offerings and bond issuances as the game progresses, the initial $100 billion (or equivalent in other currencies) limit on the size of stock offerings is now indexed, by increasing the limit by just over 6% annually (1.5% each quarter). Similarly, the initial $150 billion limit on bond issuances by a company is also indexed, growing larger throughout each game at the same 6% annual rate. The "indexing" begins after the year 2010.
- Two new currency choices have been added, the Egyptian Pound and the Icelandic Krone, bringing the total number of currencies for which the game can be configured to 23.
- SLAM! (The sound of another tax loophole closing....) Changes have been made so that now when you buy stock from a related entity (such as a company you control), and the seller has a loss on the sale, the loss will be disallowed for tax purposes (and not reported as a loss for financial reporting purposes), since you were essentially selling the stock to yourself. In such cases, however, the higher "tax basis" of the purchased shares carries over to the buying entity, so that the disallowed loss is added to the cost of the shares purchased, for the buyer. To recognize a loss on stock, it must be sold at a loss to "the public" or to an unrelated buyer (or must become worthless in bankruptcy).
- Improvements made to the Customizer Utility program, to save the original set of corporate names/symbols, with a "Restore Original Set of Names" button added, if you wish to go back to using the original set of names/stock symbols that came with W$R.
- 2.42 -- Released: May 19, 2004 (Minor release)
- Saved game files are compatible only with v. 2.40 and 2.41, but not with saved game files from earlier releases prior to 2.40.
- Bug fix for some copies of v. 2.41, where the "AntiTrust Suit" button did not appear.
- Expanded possible types of assets you can contribute to a wholly-owned bank or insurance company. The "Capital Contribution" feature now also allows you to contribute government or corporate bonds to such a 100%-owned subsidiary. Also, if you own 100% of a company and also own some of its bonds, you can contribute some of its own bonds to it (even if it is not a bank or insurer) and such bonds will simply be canceled, reducing the amount of the subsidiary company's bond indebtedness.
- 2.41 -- Release Date: April 17, 2004 (Minor release):
- Saved game files are compatible only with v. 2.40 and this release.
- Modified so that the stock market index and individual stock prices react more gradually to changing economic conditions.
- A new "Resign As CEO" button has been added to the Management Menu, and appears when the "active entity" is the player. This allows you to resign your position as CEO of any company, which will save the company from having to pay you a salary. (Since the salary payment will reduce a company's earnings, taking a salary from a company you own may cause a decrease in the value of the company's stock, so you may decide you prefer to stop serving as CEO, and give up your salary, rather than depress the price of the company's stock.)
- An "auto save" option has been added to the Options Menu. Turning this feature on will cause the most current game data to be saved at the end of each quarter of play, automatically. This will come in handy in the event of a power failure (or a dumb move on your part), as you can always reload the game and continue play as of the end of the most recent quarter.
- A new dialog (menu) has been added for capital contributions, so that a company or player can now contribute either cash or stock to a 100%-owned subsidiary, or an industrial company can contribute, in addition to cash or stock, some or all of its "capital assets" (business assets) to a subsidiary that is either in the same industry, or that is a holding/trading company.
- A corporation's tax net operating loss can still be carried forward indefinitely, for use in offsetting taxable income in subsequent years. However, starting with this release, such unused losses are reduced by 10% of the remaining balance (not reducing the current year's loss, if any) at the end of each year. This will put a premium on finding ways to quickly use up such tax loss carryovers before they expire (shrink).
- Instituted quarterly estimated tax payments for players, instead of paying an entire year's taxes at the end of each year. Estimated taxes are computed each quarter, based on 90% of the tax on your income to date for the current year. Any remaining balance is paid at the end of the year; or, if the estimates result in an overpayment of the actual tax for the year, the overpayment is refunded at year-end. All calculations and tax payments are done automatically for each player.
- A modification has been added so that once there is only one "surviving" (human) player left in a game, that player's turn never ends, until the game ends. The "End Turn" button is grayed out for the remainder of the game, also.
- 2.40 -- Released: March 1, 2004 (Major release)
- Game data files saved by prior versions of Wall Street Raider are not compatible with or usable by this version of the program.
- Players may now make interest-bearing advances (loans) to any companies they control. The advances are "demand loans," which means the player can demand full repayment at any time (usually). However, the advances are subordinated to any bank loans or bond indebtedness owed by the company, so you may not be able to call in an advance if the corporation would have a credit rating of less than "BB" after the repayment is made. Thus, you may find in some cases that you cannot call in the loan (advance), until the borrower's credit rating improves adequately. If the borrower goes bankrupt, bank loans and bond holders receive repayment first, before or with a higher priority than, holders of demand loans (advances). The borrowing company must pay the player interest, at the current Prime Rate charged by banks, at the time each interest payment is to be made. (If the borrower's credit rating falls to "D," then the interest will accrue -- that is, be added to the loan amount -- rather than be paid in cash.)
- Two new buttons, "Advance to Corp." and "Recall Advance," have been added to the "Miscellaneous Functions" menu, one for making advances to companies you control, the other for calling in (demanding repayment) of advances you have made, from any company, including companies you made advances to but no longer control.
- A new command button, "List Advances," has been added to the Entity Research Menu (when the "active entity" is you, the player). Clicking on it will cause a display of all companies to which you have made advances, the amount of each such advance (loan), and the borrowing company's credit rating.
- Bank deposits and cash balances now reflect all changes in cash balances of the bank's corporate customers, or in cash balances of players who are customers of that bank. Players and corporations are required to deposit their cash, as CD's, in the bank from which they borrow, as a condition of taking out a loan.
- When you click the "My Corps." button on one of the transactions menus, you will now see a pick list displayed, of all the companies you control, plus certain types of information about each company, such as recent and projected quarterly earnings, credit rating, and Analysts' Rating (buy, sell, hold, etc.) on the company's stock. Click or double-click on any company name to select it as the "active entity." (A "My Corps." button has also been added to the Entity Research Menu, which appears when you, the player, are the "active entity.")
- Modified the program so that when one makes any "management changes" (fires the existing management team), the results will be apparent somewhat more quickly.
- The "extraordinary dividend" rules have been changed (relaxed) somewhat, so that banks or insurers with "A" or better credit ratings will now sometimes be allowed to make relatively small payouts of such extraordinary dividends. Also, distributions of such dividends, while sometimes fully taxable to corporate stockholders, are now non-taxable to the extent paid to an 80% or greater CORPORATE parent, with which the sub pays taxes on a consolidated return basis (but in that case will reduce the recipient corporation's "tax basis" in its shares of the sub, dollar-for-dollar, yen-for-yen).
- New feature added when doing "capital contributions": if the parent company is an industrial company (not a bank, insurer, or holding company) and the sub is either in the same industry, or is a holding company, the parent company can "drop down" (transfer) business assets, as well as cash, to the subsidiary, as a capital contribution.
- New disaster scenarios added.
- Miscellaneous bug fixes. (Stock ownership reductions when a bank goes bankrupt, repayment of bank debt in taxable liquidations, and the stock basis and gain/loss calculations for the seller, where one entity buys stock from a related entity.)
- 2.31 -- Released: December 5, 2003 (Major release)
- Game data files saved by prior versions of Wall Street Raider are not compatible with or usable by this version of the program.
- While "cheat scenarios" normally only pop up once each per scenario during any one game, the "strike scenario" (by angry union employees) may now pop up more than once, if you do numerous restructurings.
- Junk bond pricing has been refined, so that a minor change in net worth that changes a bond's rating from "D" to "C" or from "C" to "D" will no longer have a major effect on the price of the bonds. As revised, the worse a "D"-rated company's finances grow, the lower its bonds will trade, on a gradual basis, until it becomes clear that the company is almost certain to have to shed part of its debts in a bankruptcy reorganization. Previously, a slight decrease in assets that caused net worth to fall below zero and the credit rating to fall from "C" to "D" resulted in a cliff-like drop in the bond price.
- Asset purchase routines have been modified in a number of ways: A holding company may now enter an industry by purchasing "new" assets, and not only by purchasing assets from another company in that industry. As revised, purchases of highly profitable capital assets from another (uncontrolled) company will require the buying company to pay a premium for the assets purchased, and the more profitable the assets being purchased (ignoring R&D costs and market share), the greater the price premium you must pay. The excess amount, or "goodwill," must be written off as an expense by the acquiring company, generally at the rate of 20% of the remaining balance per year. On the other hand, if buying very UNprofitable assets (say from a poorly-managed company in a depressed industry), the buyer may be able to buy capital assets at a considerable discount. The "discount" is treated as "negative goodwill" and is recognized immediately as income (extraordinary income) by the buyer. The seller will recognize a gain or loss on the sale, based on the sale price (less a sales commission paid by the seller).
- In all instances, except where the buying and selling companies are controlled by the same player, the company selling capital assets will incur a "business broker's fee" equal to 10% of the purchase price. This will reduce the seller's gain, or increase its loss, on the sale of assets.
- As revised, it will often be impossible to buy business assets from a company that is earning a very high rate of return on those assets (ignoring its R&D or marketing/advertising expenses), as such companies will usually not be willing to sell.
- The "Sell Business Assets" feature has been refined to make it possible to sometimes sell business assets at a net gain, although it will still be hard to do so if playing at Difficulty Level 3.
- "FILE" menu has been changed, to replace "New Game" item with "Restart," once a set of new or saved game data has been loaded into memory.
- 2.30 -- Released: October 10, 2003 (Major release)
- Not file-compatible with data files saved by any previous versions, since the program now stores a lot of "tax basis" data for stock holdings of corporations.
- THE TAX MAN COMETH!! Sorry folks, but no more tax-free capital gains for corporations, starting with this version. Your "tax-free" days are over, starting with Version 2.30, which adopts the "U.S. model" of corporate taxation, subjecting capital gains from sales of stock investments by a corporation to tax, at regular corporate tax rates. Before, W$R followed the "European" or "Asian" model adopted by most developed countries, of not taxing corporate capital gains. However, we do still give you one break the U.S. IRS doesn't allow -- you can deduct losses on such stock sales fully (unlike the real world IRS rules, that allow NO deduction at all for corporate capital losses, except to the extent of offsetting capital gains -- if there are any).
- For financial reporting purposes, now that the program keeps track of the cost or other, adjusted, tax basis of stocks owned by corporations, and computes a gain or loss upon sale or worthlessness of the stock, the gains or losses are all treated as "extraordinary items," which are included in TOTAL earnings, but do not enter into the calculation of the more significant figure, "operating earnings." However, starting with the last release, Version 2.22, you may have already noted that small "extraordinary gains" (or losses), if they amount, in total, to 5% or less of "operating income" (or loss) for the quarter, will be lumped in as an additional item of operating income or loss, and will not be shown as a separate item, where the amount is minimal in relation to the operating income/loss.
- A complex system of adjusting the "tax basis" of stock of an 80% or greater subsidiary corporation has been added, very similar to the U.S. "consolidated return regulations." In short, the parent company gets to increase its tax basis for taxable income of the 80% subsidiary, less the payment in lieu of taxes that the sub makes to the parent company on such taxable income. But the parent company must reduce its basis for the 80% sub's stock to the extent of any taxable loss of the sub, offset in part by payments from the parent to the sub for the tax benefit of using the sub's tax loss. In addition, any tax-free dividend an 80% sub pays out to the parent company reduces the parent's tax basis in the sub's stock, dollar for dollar, yen for yen.
- The above basis adjustments, in some rare situations, may reduce the tax basis of the sub's stock to a negative amount, which is referred to in W$R (and in IRS Consolidated Return Regulations) as an "Excess Loss Account" ("ELA"). As in the real world, if the parent's stock ownership in the sub is reduced to less than 80% for any reason, so that the two companies can no longer pay taxes on a "consolidated return" basis, any ELA will be triggered and fully recaptured as taxable income to the parent, which will bring its basis for the sub's stock back up from a negative amount to zero. The new help files give examples of when and how all or part of an "Excess Loss Account" may be triggered into taxable income for the parent company. Triggering an ELA recapture will not show up in your company's earnings report, but will affect its cash balance when it pays out the recapture tax.
- Notice that an ELA will be triggered as income to the parent even when the sub goes bankrupt, and its stock becomes worthless -- so that if there is an ELA (negative tax basis), a parent company will actually recognize taxable INCOME, rather than a loss, if the sub bellies up. (In effect, the parent has to pay up for having taken more tax benefits or write-offs than it had invested in the sub, by recapturing the "excess losses.") However, the existence of an ELA should be an extremely rare and unusual circumstance, a situation you may never see occur, unless you spend a great deal of time playing Wall Street Raider.
- The only exception (in W$R) to "recapturing" or triggering taxable income from an Excess Loss Account when the parent makes a disposition of the sub's stock is when the sub is liquidated in a tax-free liquidation. Any other transaction, including an otherwise tax-free exchange in a merger, where the sub being acquired had an Excess Loss Account (negative tax basis) with respect to its stock in the hands of its former parent company, will trigger the recapture tax.
- Where an uncontrolled company (not controlled by any player) seeks to do a merger with a company whose stock you or one of your controlled companies owns, the program will now disclose to you the management rating of the acquiring company (unless it is a holding/ trading company).
- As suggested by users, the "startup" segment, when you start up a new corporation, now will display a default name and stock symbol for the company, but will also ask you at the time if you wish to change either its name or stock symbol.
- As also suggested by users, after a game ends, the "File Menu" now includes a "Restart W$R" menu item, to let you restart the program and either start a new game, or load and continue playing a saved game.
- This version adds the ability of a bank you control to sell off individual business loans, or portions of its consumer loan or mortgage loan portfolio. The "Buy Loans for Bank" button in the "Other Transactions" menu has been replaced by a "Buy or Sell Loans" button, and the same button has also been added to the "Buy/Sell Transactions" menu. Your bank can now sell mortgage or consumer loans at face value. Corporate or player loans can be sold at prices that depend mainly on the borrower's credit rating, but not exceeding 101 percent of face value. (And no other bank will buy certain "bad credit" D-rated loans from your bank, which may soon become worthless.)
- As requested by a number of users, we have added a "Stock Split" button, to allow you to split a stock (increase the number of shares by a multiple of more than 1, up to 10), which decreases the price per share. It has no more effect than cutting a pizza into 8 slices, rather than 4, but many people think stock splits are significant. We also have added a "Reverse Split" button, also to the "MISC." Menu, which allows you to do a reverse split for any company you control (reducing the number of shares by a factor of more than 1, up to 10, which will increase the stock price per share). A reverse split is the opposite, or mirror image, of a regular stock split. If you don't like to see your company's stock trading at 2.50 a share, do a 1-for-10 reverse split, so it will trade at 25.00.
- An additional limit has been placed on the ability of a bank to call in corporate loans. In the new version, you cannot call in 50% of a corporate loan if the borrower, after selling off all readily saleable assets (bonds and stocks) has a negative bank account (i.e., cash) balance at the moment, since there are no liquid assets to "grab." This feature is designed to prevent a bank from buying a loan at 90% of face value, and then quickly doing a series of many 50% loan "calls," until it has pulled in 99.9% of the loan, for an easy profit. (One less "loophole.")
- The "Freeze Loans" feature has been modified in several ways. You can now choose from a list of your bank's loans, by clicking on the name of the borrower and either freezing or unfreezing lending to that particular borrower. Once a loan is frozen, the notation "Froz." will appear by that loan any time you click on the "Freeze Loans," "Call in Bank Loan" or "List Loans" buttons.
- When using the "Freeze Loans" feature, if you don't click on any specific loan to freeze or unfreeze, you will then be asked (as in prior versions) if your bank wants to freeze/unfreeze loans to all competing players and their companies.
- The "Call in Bank Loan" function has been modified in several ways. Clicking on this button now brings up a list of all your bank's loans, and you can click on any borrower's name to call in 50% of the loan to that particular borrower. Additional limits have been placed on the ability to call a company's loan -- you can no longer do so if the company already has a negative cash balance and has sold all its liquid assets (stocks and bonds). This may prevent you from doing repetitive "calls" of 50% a particular company's loan, over and over and over....
- When you click on the "Freeze Loans" or "Call in Bank Loan" buttons, the list of loans will now place an asterisk (*) after the loan information for any loan that is owed by a competing player, or by a company controlled by a competing player, so you can instantly see if you are "lending to the enemy," in case you want your bank to freeze or call in loans to competitors or their companies.
- In prior versions, it was sometimes impossible to sell off stock of a wholly-owned company. Now, when you attempt such a sale, you will usually be given the option of selling 51% of the stock, at a bargain price, to a "neutral company," if you are really desparate to sell. Or you may receive an even lower offer, but for only 20% of the company. If you receive a margin call and are thus forced to sell off stock in a company when you own 100% of that stock, your shares will be sold at a steep discount at an impromptu auction. (It will be better, usually, if you are able to, and aren't in a forced sale situation, to have the 100%-owned company do a public or private stock offering, making the stock more readily saleable afterwards, for your remaining 80% or more of the stock. But you won't have that chance if you wait until you receive a margin call from your bank -- you have to sell stock immediately, at whatever price you can get for it.)
- 2.22 -- Released: August 6, 2003 (Major release)
- Not file-compatible with data files from any previous versions, due to some major changes in the way game data is stored in the new version.
- New Korean Peninsula disaster scenario, and Japanese disaster scenario added.
- Banks with strong reserves will now be able to grow faster, as they will automatically expand their deposit base if their reserves (net worth plus bad debt reserves) exceed certain percentages (8% to 12%, in various circumstances) of their total deposits. This also will help healthy banks maintain their liquidity, and make it less likely that they will be forced to sell off bonds or loans to raise cash, since they will now be able to attract more deposits.
- As an underpaid CEO, you'll be happy to learn that this release of W$R now provides for a "performance bonus" at the end of each year, in addition to your base salary as CEO of a company. If the company's operating earnings for the year are negative, or are no greater than in the previous year, you receive no bonus; or, you receive a bonus equal to 150% of your base salary if you boosted earnings for the year. However, if you control 51% of the stock of the company, your board of directors will be more generous (since you have absolute control), and you will receive a bonus at least equal to 100% of base salary, no matter how badly the company performed; or a bonus equal to 300% of base salary, if you have managed to increase your company's earnings, compared to the previous year.
- Added a further refinement to the way earnings are reported: "Extraordinary items" of income or loss, if they amount (after-tax) to less than 5% of net operating income, are now re-classified as part of operating income or loss, and are no longer reported as separate items. Larger amounts of extraordinary items continue to be reported as a separate item, apart from "operating earnings," as before.
- The program now scans through the list of "busted" holding companies (those not controlled by any player, and with no assets remaining other than cash) and occasionally liquidates some of them, in taxable liquidations. So, if you have a small ownership position, under 20%, in such a company, you may find that it is suddenly being liquidated and you will receive cash for your stock as the net assets are distributed. In prior versions, no such "taxable" liquidations occurred except those that were initiated by a (human) player.
- When you sell stocks or bonds, the program now tells you the amount of the taxable gain or loss on the sale, as well as your percentage gain or loss on the investment (where the seller is you, the individual, rather than a corporation).
- When you need to borrow to complete various transactions, the program tells you how much you need to borrow, and how that will change your (or your company's) credit rating and debt-to-equity ratios, and asks if you want to go through with the transaction. This new feature applies to stock purchases, corporate or government bond purchases, greenmail/LBO stock buybacks, bond buybacks or early redemptions, and capital asset purchases, and should be helpful to you in deciding whether a particular transaction is worth doing, in light of its effect on your debt-to-equity ratio and credit rating.
- The costs of doing a merger remain the same as in prior versions, and no fees are incurred if the merger has to be canceled because one of the two companies (acquirer or target) already owns 100% of the other. However, your company no longer will incur the full costs if the merger is aborted, for any other reasons. Only 20% of the full cost is incurred if two banks are refused permission to merge, by bank regulators; only 40% of the full cost is incurred if shareholders vote down the merger proposal; only 60% of the full merger cost is incurred if a favorable shareholder vote is obtained, but the merger is blocked on anti-trust grounds; only 70% of the full cost is incurred if other government agencies intervene at a late stage to block the merger; and only 80% of the full cost is incurred if divestment of a subsidiary is required as a final condition to complete the merger, but you refuse to agree to that condition. All merger costs are paid by the company that proposed the merger.
- Banks, when buying loans, now have a choice of picking corporate loans you wish to buy from a list of all bank loans that are offered for sale. Not listed are loans owed by any players, by companies that are controlled by opposing players, loans held by banks controlled by opposing players, loans held by certain small banks (with business loan portfolios of $5 billion U.S. or smaller, or equivalent in other currency, or which hold only 5 or fewer loans). Also not shown are loans that are available for purchase, but which are too large for your bank to buy with its current cash balance.
- More disclosures added, when an uncontrolled company offers to merge with a company you own stock in, and you are asked to vote on the merger: Included now, in addition to the identity of the acquirer and its credit rating, are its size (market cap) relative to that of the target company, and the % of net worth at which its stock is currently valued and, in some cases, disclosure that the acquirer has large net operating loss (tax loss) carryovers that might enable it to shelter the taxable income of the target company, after a merger takeover.
- 2.21 -- Released: July 9, 2003 (Minor release)
- Added new protections for the "Computer" player, to reduce its exposure to anti-trust suits, by divesting itself of some of its companies in industries dominated by companies controlled by the Computer player, in order to reduce its dominance.
- Minor bug fixes, to refine "accrued tax" liability that appears on corporations' balance sheets where groups of corporations pay tax on a consolidated return basis, and to correct a tax miscalculation that could occur in rare situations, where a bank owned 80% or more of a profitable subsidiary company.
- Added new (rare) economic scenarios, that can appear if certain unusual econonic situations occur.
- 2.20 -- Released: June 30, 2003 (Major release)
- New version is compatible with versions 2.10 and 2.11 only, but not with game files saved by versions prior to version 2.10.
- While the main screen user interface looks the same as version 2.11, this is a major new release, with a number of profound changes in the simulation. Some you will like, others you may hate, if they plug up your favorite "loophole" for making instant megabucks.
- Financial reporting has been significantly modified -- reported earnings (on which stock pricing is partly based) now reflect a "provision for income taxes," rather than actual tax paid, as in real-world financial accounting for tax expense. In addition, "extraordinary" or "non-recurring" income or loss items, net of tax effect, are not included in earnings -- stock prices, to the extent based on earnings, are now based on a company's "operating earnings" (although earnings reports also will separately show the "extraordinary" items, and the total earnings if extraordinary items are added in). These changes will make it more difficult to manipulate a company's stock price by incurring one-time gains or losses (such as restructuring expenses, or gains or losses when a company buys back its own bonds below or above par, or when it wins an antitrust lawsuit).
- The "computer" player has been completely revamped, and made more active, smarter, and considerably more vicious.
- The "Database Search" function has been improved, thanks to a user suggestion, by no longer listing and displaying a particular corporate bond issuer, if there are none of that company's bonds in "public" hands that you can buy. However, when stocks to buy are listed, all that meet your search criteria will be shown, even if none of the stock is held by the public, since this new release now allows you to do mergers with any company, even if it is 100% owned by another corporation that no player controls.
- Now, if you receive a margin call, and will have to sell stock(s) to raise cash, you are given a choice of selecting which stock to sell, or else letting the bank decide on which ones will be sold, randomly. This courtesy is extended only if the margin call comes when it is your turn -- otherwise, if it is another player's turn at the time, the bank will sell your stocks for you, without bothering to ask which ones are to be sold.
- A new feature has been added, where companies with poor credit ratings (D, C, or CC) may occasionally seek to improve their balance sheets and avoid filing bankruptcy, by attempting to swap 2 new bonds for each 3 old bonds (or 1 for 2, in some cases), offering a higher interest rate, in order to reduce the amount of outstanding debt. Where you (the player) or a company you control own some of the company's bonds, you will be asked if you want to accept the tender offer of the reduced amount of new bonds. Refusing will cause the tender offer to be canceled.
- You can now determine, within limits, the percentage premium you want to offer shareholders of the target company when your acquiring company proposes a stock- for-stock merger, generally anywhere from 5% to 100% over the target company's current price per share. In all previous versions, the program simply assumed you were offering 20% over market price for the target. As you might guess, the higher the premium you offer, the more likely the public (and corporate) shareholders will vote to approve the merger, unless your company is nearly bankrupt, or is a minnow trying to merge with a whale. However, if you already control the target company, there is a conflict of interest, so the underwriters do a "fairness" valuation study, giving you a range of fair values, such as 6 to 10% over market value, that you can offer to pay (in stock) for the target company's stock.
- As in prior versions, all shares of the target in a merger, if owned by an opposing player or his/her companies, will be voted AGAINST a merger you propose with a target company. Also, "neutral" corporate shareholders (not controlled by any player) will generally vote AGAINST, if the offer is at a market premium of less than 20%, as in prior W$R versions. However, if you offer 20% or more (the higher, the better your chances), it is possible that some of the target company's corporate shareholders, if it has any, will vote their entire bloc of shares FOR the merger. In fact, if you offer a 75% or greater premium over current market price, ALL such corporate shareholders will vote FOR the merger (unless, of course, your acquiring company is too small, or is nearly bankrupt). This means that now, even if XYZ Bank is 100% owned by XYZ Holding Company, you may be able to acquire XYZ Bank in a merger, if you offer a high enough price (at least 20%, more likely 40% or 50%) to the corporate shareholder (XYZ Holding Company) in the merger.
- More banking loopholes have been closed, making it tough to almost instantly create a gigantic bank that borrows gazillions in cheap interbank loans and uses the cash to buy up gazillions of corporate and other loans and bonds, with no limit. In this new version, a bank that has a negative cash balance can only borrow up to 2000 million (in whatever currency) as interbank loans to cover its deficit cash balance, generally.
If it still has a negative cash balance, it will next automatically sell most of its government bonds, and, if necessary, some of its mortgages and consumer loans. If it still has a cash deficit, it will then be forced to float an issue of bonds to shore up its capital, if that is possible (unless you control the bank). If doing a bond offering isn't possible, or if the bank still has a cash deficit after issuing bonds, it will then take one or more other possible actions, such as doing a public stock offering (unless a player controls the bank), selling off shares of any stocks it owns, and calling in up to 10% of all its business loans to players and corporations. If, after all that, it still has a cash deficit, the bank will then be forced to sell off randomly selected business loans, one at a time, to other banks, if it can find buyers.
- Thus, if you set up a small new bank, make yourself a loan customer, then borrow a large sum from it, and it has negative cash after making the loan to you (which can be as much as 25% of its loan portfolio), it will find the cash somehow, by going through all the steps described in the above paragraph, after first borrowing up to 2000 M. from another bank as an interbank loan. And if it can't find the cash by any of the above (legitimate) means, and still has a negative cash balance, it will pay interest at 8% over the LIBOR rate on the negative balance (borrowing from the Mob). In short, you will no longer be able to instantly grow a bank to a vast size by simply borrowing infinite amounts as interbank loans. It's getting tougher and tougher to make an easy buck....
- Plugged another major loophole: Gains or losses on bond buy-backs by corporations are now treated as "extraordinary" income or loss, rather than operating income items. Thus, manipulating the market price of a company's bonds can still be profitable, but will no longer affect "operating income" and will not have nearly as much effect on the stock price of the company that earns the gain.
- Added new "Suppress Popups" item to "Options Menu." Toggle this setting on or off, as you prefer, to suppress or not suppress little popup news items about companies you control or the current "active entity." This can be handy, if you own a large number of companies, and are annoyed by too-frequent news items about your companies popping up. (Does not suppress major news announcements, such as bank failures, economic news, or a new earnings release for the current "active entity.)"
- 2.11 -- Released: April 28, 2003 (Minor release)
- New version is file compatible with version 2.10 only, but not with game files saved by versions prior to version 2.10.
- HTML files for strategy manual in "full package" version have been replaced with new .CHM type (searchable) files.
- Minor bug fix, regarding treatment of interbank loans, when one bank is liquidated into another.
- 2.10 -- Released: March 6, 2003 (Major release)
- Note: New version is NOT file-compatible with data files of games saved by prior versions, due to the expansion of the simulation and of its database that must be saved to disk when saving a game in mid-stream.
- (Bottom line: You won't be able to replay those old games where you made a quadrillion $$ by exploiting some loophole in W$R that is now closed. This new version closes a lot of those "loopholes.")
- Major new feature: Earnings projections are now available for the coming quarter for all corporations (but are not always accurate, as in the real world, especially for complex companies with many subsidiary holdings). Projections are updated 2 or 3 times each quarter, or after major corporate transactions, disasters, and after each quarterly earnings release.
- Bank lending practices have been curbed. Banks may now no longer extend credit to a company (even if you control both bank and borrower) in an amount in excess of the greater of $10,000 million U.S. or 25% of the bank's total loan portfolio. A loan that comes to exceed those two limits will be frozen, and a bank will begin calling in part of its largest such loan, as required by government "bank examiners." Thus, if you have plans to borrow huge sums, you may want to change your banking relationship to a very large bank, one that can lend you up to 25% of its loan portfolio total, where that amount is much more than $10 billion U.S. (or equivalent in other currency you may have selected for W$R). Otherwise (for large corporations), you may need to rely more on bond market financing, instead of bank loans.
- The size (capitalization) of banks at the start of the game has been considerably enlarged, to more closely reflect real world market conditions.
- As requested by users, the Database Search (DB Search) routine has been beefed up to provide detailed info on corporate bond issues, to make it easier to do bond research. Bond issues displayed by the search screen now show issuer's name, date due, interest rate (coupon rate), yield to maturity, credit rating, the total size of each bond issue, and the amount of each issue that is available for purchase from the "public" bondholders (i.e., not held by players or banks or insurance companies).
- Numerous new product liability scenarios have been added, for companies in 16 industry groups.
- If a company seeks to merge with a company in which you (or a company you control) owns any stock, during your turn, you will be asked if you want to vote the shares you control for or against the merger/takeover.
- New feature attempts to "read your mind" and anticipate what company's stock or bonds you intend to buy, or which company you intend to take over in a merger, file suit against, buy assets from, or so on. The program will "guess" the identity of the targeted company (based on whichever company you have just finished researching) and will insert its stock symbol in the input area of the stock selection dialog, so that you only have to click on "OK" if the program has "guessed" your intentions correctly.
- When a new bank is created, it automatically tries to buy loans from other banks with a good portion of its injected capital. In this new release, where a new bank acquires any "D"-rated loans, it will do so at a discount of 30% to 80% below the face value of the loan (depending on how "sick" the borrower is). The seller will get the bad loan off its books, but will incur a charge to its bad debt reserve. The new bank that is buying the "D"-rated loans at a discount will set up a bad debt reserve for 30% to 50% of the newly acquired (troubled) loans.
- Added new "ethical choice" scenarios that may pop up (if you are playing with "Cheat Mode" on) when you try to do certain transactions, such as mergers or restructurings.
- 2.03 -- Released: January 12, 2003 (Major release)
- File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and later.
- New button command, "Tax Basis Info," has been added to the "ENTITY INFO" submenu. Appears when the current "active entity" is you, the player. Click on it to see the tax basis (cost, with certain adjustments) of all the stocks and bonds you own directly.
- The "Sell Stock" feature has been modified so that if you (the player) are the seller, the list of your stocks that will be displayed for you to select from when you click on the "Sell Stock" button will show the cost ("tax basis") of each stock in your portfolio.
- The "Sell Corporate Bonds" feature (on the "BUY/SELL" Transactions submenu) has been modified so that if a player or a bank or insurer controlled by the player wishes to sell corporate bonds, the list of bonds to select from that will be displayed will now show the cost (adjusted "tax basis") of each bond holding in the bond portfolio of the selling player, bank or insurance company.
- The W$R "help" files text, and the W$R strategy manual HTML files have been updated to reflect all updates in W$R through the date of this release.
- Stock pricing for bank stocks has been modified to make it more difficult to drastically manipulate the stock price of a controlled bank.
- Banks with credit ratings of BB or worse now pay more than the LIBOR rate on interbank borrowings, up to 3.25% above LIBOR rate for banks with worst credit ratings.
- Added feature to "Startup" function, to immediately split the stock price to less than 125.00, when starting up a new company with a very large capitalization.
- Rules changed for non-taxable liquidations: If the parent company is a bank or insurance company, and the subsidiary to be liquidated owns stock of the parent company, it will be required to divest (sell) the parent company stock before the liquidation can go forward. The same rule now applies even if the parent company is not a bank or insurance company, if the liquidating company owns 20% or more of the parent company's stock.
- 2.02 -- Released: December 26, 2002 (Minor release)
- File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and later.
- Registered version now captures name of licensed owner, and registration number, storing it for you for future reference, when you request updates during the 12 months after purchase. (Click on "Help/About" menu item to see your registration info, any time after you have entered it.)
- "Industry Summary" and "Industry Projection" screens have been expanded to show more information, per user requests, and to also show, in Industry Summary and Portfolio Listing screens, the current Buy/Sell advice from "analysts."
- Numerous minor changes include a pop-up message any time anything significant is announced in the news that affects any company you control, or the current "active entity" company.
- New disaster scenario added: government defaults on treasury bonds, in certain dire economic situations.
- 2.01 -- Released: December 18, 2002 (Minor release)
- File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and later.
- Tax rules tightened up on liquidations, to close a "loophole," where a holding / trading company with tax losses could change its business by acquiring a subsidiary (which is not also a holding / trading company) and liquidating it, in order to enter the subsidiary company's industry group. Now, such a change of business will cause the parent company to lose its tax loss carryovers, due to the "change of business."
- Added another level of Analyst's Ratings: "Strong Sell"
- Added more "advisories" to pop-up transaction submenus, suggesting stocks or specific bonds to sell, or recommending stocks to buy.
- Minor bug fixes.
- 2.00 -- Released: November 26, 2002 (VERY major release)
- File-compatible with games saved from versions 1.13 and 1.14 (only).
- Major overhaul of the main screen's user interface.
- Greatly sped up operation of the program, by combining all the main elements of the program into a single program file. Previous versions required a second or so to load the "Transactions Menu" program, with large amounts of data written back and forth to disk, which slowed performance on computers with older, slower hard disks. We've obtained an upgraded language compiler now that allowed us to combine the transactions segment with the rest of W$R, to make one large .EXE file now, with no delays on accessing or returning from doing transactions, a major improvement.
- Added a new research feature, a diagram screen for any selected player or company, which shows in graphic format all the stocks owned by the player or company, and, for companies, all of its shareholders, with the percentage ownership of each holding or holder. You can quickly skim through a chain of ownership just by clicking on any companies shown on the diagram screen.
- New popup menus are available, for General Research functions and Entity Research (about the currently selected active entity), as well as for various groupings of transactions -- Trading, Management, Financing, and Other. Each contains text displays with useful information, such as earnings trends for the active entity if it is a corporation, or estimated income tax information for the player. The General Research popup menu contains a text box with a discussion of "Industry Outlook" trends for the currently selected industry, as well as a discussion of the general economic trend and central bank monetary policy.
- Added occasional "Advisory" suggestions in the text boxes that appear on each of the pop-up transactions menus, such as warnings when bonds held are in default, or when a stock holding is near bankruptcy.
- Updated currency conversion rate of Euro to 1:1 with U.S. dollar, as the Euro has risen substantially against the dollar since W$R was introduced a year ago.
- New "ethics" scenario added for Biotech Industry.
- Added restraints on government bond purchases, to raise/lower purchase price in the event of massive purchases or sales. (And limit purchases to the amount of existing government debt available.)
- Bank or insurance company that is bankrupted by asbestos litigation is now (usually) freed of any further asbestos liability after the bankruptcy.
- Made changes in announced GDP (economic) growth rate less frequent, announced only once a month, usually.
- Modified company "Research Reports" by adding a disclosure where the company's union employees are currently on strike.
- Modified "Database Search" screen to replace the SmallCap/MidCap/BigCap search parameter. Now, instead of accepting the 3 size categories, you are able to enter a minimum and a maximum size of capitalization. For example, you can search for only those companies with a minimum market cap of $600 million and a maximum cap of $900 million, by entering those search parameters.
- Made major changes in the corporate "Liquidation" feature of the program, including:
- Instead of having a parent company, as the "active entity," select a 100%-owned subsidiary to liquidate, now you simply click either of two "Liquidation" buttons to begin the procedure of liquidating the currently selected active entity. If it can't be liquidated into a parent company that owns all of its stock (a nontaxable liquidation), you will be asked if you want to do a taxable liquidation. Or, you can choose to do a taxable liquidation, by clicking on "Taxable Liquidation," rather than "Tax-Free Liquidation."
- Under new rules, a bank or insurance company can now be liquidated, but only in a nontaxable liquidation by another bank or insurance company (in the same industry) that owns all of its stock.
- A holding company can now be liquidated, in a nontaxable liquidation, into ANY corporation that owns 100% of its stock (even if the parent is a bank or insurance company). But tax loss carryovers, if any, of the holding company will be lost on the liquidation.
- The program now allows for a "TAXABLE" liquidation of any corporation except a bank or insurance company, if you control the company (even if there is no 100% shareholder). In a "taxable" liquidation, the industrial or holding company must sell off any stocks or capital assets it owns, and pay off any bonds it has issued, before the liquidation can be completed, reducing all its assets to cash, which is then used to pay off any bank loans or accrued income taxes, before the cash is distributed to all its stockholders in proportion to their ownership percentage. Any tax loss carryovers of the company that is liquidated will be lost. In addition, any individual shareholders (players) will recognize a capital gain or loss when they receive cash for their stock, so it is a taxable event for them. (But no gain or loss is recognized by corporate owners of the stock of the company being liquidated, as there is no capital gains tax on corporations in W$R.)
- A new "Updates" menu item has been added to the "OPTIONS" menu on the main W$R screen. Simply click on this menu item to load your browser and go to this page on the Web to see if there is a newer version of W$R than the one you are using, with a link to download the latest shareware version, or to order the latest registered version.
- 1.14 -- Released: August 24, 2002.
- (Details of this and all prior releases are available upon request.)
- 1.13 -- Released: July 22, 2002.
- 1.12 -- Released: July 15, 2002.
- 1.11 -- Released: July 1, 2002.
- 1.10 -- Released: June 18, 2002.
- 1.01P -- Released: May 22, 2002.
- 1.01O -- Released: April 18, 2002.
- 1.01N -- Released: March 15, 2002.
- 1.01M -- Released: February 20, 2002.
- 1.01L -- Released: February 07, 2002.
- 1.01K -- Released: January 19, 2002.
- 1.01J -- Released: January 9, 2002.
- 1.01I -- Released: January 2, 2002.
- 1.01H -- Released: December 20, 2001.
- 1.01G -- Released: December 11, 2001.
- 1.01F -- Released: December 4, 2001.
- 1.01E -- Released: November 30, 2001.
- 1.01D -- Released: Noveember 25, 2001.
- 1.01C -- Released: November 21, 2001.
- 1.01B -- Released: November 12, 2001.
- 1.01A -- Released: November 1, 2001 -- Initial Windows version
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