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Sony begins selling the PS5 in China

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Sony has officially launched the PlayStation 5 in China, giving gamers in the country the chance to get one without having to pay more than twice its retail price. According to CNBC, Sony has already started taking pre-orders for the console, which will go on sale in the Chinese market on May 15th. The disc version will set buyers back 3,899 CNY ($603), while the digital-only PS5 will cost them 3,099 CNY ($479). Both options’ prices are a bit higher than in the US, but fans in the country have had no choice but to buy the consoles from the gray market at inflated prices before this anyway. 

The gaming giant originally released the PS5 back in November 2020 and has since sold 7.8 million units, according to its latest earnings report. However, China’s long approval processes and strict protocols prevent console-makers from making their products available in the country on their global release date. In fact, Microsoft has yet to announce when the Xbox Series X and Series S will be available in China even though it received safety approvals for its hardware to be released in the country by the end of 2020. 

It remains to be seen whether the situation will change for gaming companies in the future. As CNBC notes, official releases for game consoles has only been possible since 2014, after the country lifted a 14-year ban foreign-made consoles. Thus far, there’s been a strong demand for the PS5 in China, giving rise to a thriving gray market with resellers that import consoles from Hong Kong and Japan. 

How the PS5 does against Nintendo Switch in the country — the most successful console to date in China — depends on several factors, though, including game availability. The country has stringent censorship laws, which prevent developers from releasing their games for Chinese fans. Sony confirmed at least three games for the market for now, namely Sackboy, Ratchet and Clank and Genshin Impact, which is a popular title by a Chinese developer. The gaming titan is also working with local company Ultizero Games on a PS5 game entitled Lost Soul Aside.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/sony-ps5-china-104525264.html

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Smart home networking standard Project CHIP rebrands as ‘Matter’

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Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP) is now known as Matter. The Connectivity Standards Alliance, an organization made up of more than a hundred device manufacturers, including giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Samsung, announced the rebranding on Tuesday. Those companies came together to work on CHIP in 2019 with the hopes of building out an open smart home standard that connects all their disparate devices together.  

At its most simplest, the promise of Matter is that you’ll be able to buy a device and use it with the voice assistant of your choice and easily connect it to your existing home network. At launch, Matter will support Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, as well as Ethernet, WiFi, Thread and Bluetooth LE.

“The Matter mark will serve as a seal of approval, taking the guesswork out of the purchasing process and allowing businesses and consumers alike to choose from a wider array of brands to create secure and connected homes and buildings,” the CSA says of the rebranding.

Whether Matter lives up to its promise will depend on companies updating their existing products to support the standard. With most smart home devices, it’s easy to feel like you’re replacing a perfectly good lightbulb or other common household item with something more expensive and that the manufacturer won’t support beyond a few years.

Some of the first devices featuring Matter branding will go on sale in late 2021. They will come from companies both big and small. Some of the more notable early adopters will include Amazon, Google and Nanoleaf. When Apple announced it news new Apple TV 4K last month, it said it would support both Thread and Project CHIP. You can also expect everything from smart light bulbs to thermostats and security devices to feature the Matter logo.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/chip-rebrand-matter-221410229.html

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The Nanit Pro baby monitoring system is $100 off at Amazon

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All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you’re in the market for a baby monitor, there are a lot of options to choose from. Nanit’s Pro Complete Baby Monitoring System consists of a 1080p camera that provides a bird’s eye view of your child’s crib, a stand, a Breathing Band for your child to wear and a Smart Sheet for their mattress. The whole set is currently $280 on Amazon, which is $100 off its regular price. The Nanit Plus camera and stand is also on sale for $50 off. 

Buy Nanit Pro baby monitor at Amazon – $280Buy Nanit Plus Camera + Stand at Amazon – $250

The Nanit Pro system was a “best overall” pick in our baby monitor guide for several reasons: the camera provides a livestream that is clear day or night, it loads quickly and since it hovers over a crib it doesn’t need to be tilted or adjusted after its initial set up. The camera feed is accessed via a mobile app, which can be shared with multiple caretakers. It also provides additional features like motion and sound alerts, background audio (which plays the feeds audio over other apps), a microphone and a Memory feature which replays highlights from the previous evening. The one thing we didn’t like about the camera in testing was the stand which seemed a bit wobbly.

The Breathing Band is strapped around a baby’s midsection and works with the app and camera to track breaths per minute. Nanit also sells the patterned wearable in a swaddle or a sleeping bag version. The Smart Sheets work with the camera to calculate your child’s height, by triangulating points on your baby using a photo of them laying on the sheets. Both products worked well during our testing, but are single-function devices in that they only measure the one aspect.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/nanit-pro-complete-baby-monitoring-system-is-100-off-at-amazon-203859732.html

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Spot gas shortages could worsen if Colonial Pipeline doesn’t reopen by the weekend

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Image showing the Colonial Pipeline Houston Station facility in Pasadena, Texas (East of Houston) taken on May 10, 2021.

Francois Picard | AFP | Getty Images

If the Colonial Pipeline is not back in business by the weekend, prices could continue to rise at the pump and there will be broader localized fuel shortages across the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

Gasoline stations that could not get enough fuel were already closed in some states, and prices jumped overnight, by as much as 10 cents or more per gallon in some areas.

“This turns into a crisis by the end of the week, if it’s not resolved, particularly with Memorial Day coming,” said John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital. “People are going to start topping off their tanks.”

It’s not that there’s not enough fuel. There’s plenty in the refining centers on the Gulf Coast.

The issue is that gasoline, jet fuel and diesel are stuck in the wrong places. Moving it requires a hodgepodge of solutions, and analysts say it will be impossible to meet demand without the pipeline.

Colonial Pipeline attack

Colonial Pipeline stopped operations Friday and notified federal officials that it was the victim of a ransomware attack. The attack, carried out by a criminal cyber crime group known as DarkSide, resulted in the shutdown of 5,500 miles of pipeline. The artery supplies half of the gasoline to the east coast and runs from Texas to New Jersey.

The pipeline company said it expects to restore a substantial amount of operations by the end of the week, but how much is not clear. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said federal agencies are working around-the-clock to help the pipeline return to normal operations.

The shutdown arrives at an inopportune time: The beginning of what could be a record summer driving season as Americans make up for last year.

“Given the size and the direction of the pipeline and the market that it feeds, the Colonial Pipeline is the single most important artery moving refined products in the country,” said Michael Tran, energy analyst at RBC. “This is already an earthquake and the magnitude of the earthquake just grows by the day.”

Prices inch upward

The national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline jumped to $2.985 Tuesday, an increase of 6 cents in the past week, according to AAA.

Regionally, however,the price increases were sharper, AAA found. In South Carolina, for instance, gasoline prices were up more than 6 cents since Monday and 13 cents in the past week. In Georgia, drivers were paying $2.87 per gallon Tuesday, an increase of of more than 10 cents in just one day and 17 cents in a week.

A rise of 3 more cents per gallon would put the average U.S. selling price at the highest level since November 2014.

“We are seeing the full fledge panic at the moment in some of the places I suspected we might see it,” said Tom Kloza, head of global energy analysis at OPIS. “There aren’t enough drivers to take trucks from terminals that have gasoline to stations. We are seeing a lot of stations running out. Georgia seems to be ground zero.”

Kloza said he expects gasoline prices to rise, but not spike wildly higher. The bigger issue is that gasoline will be in short supply in the region, since it takes time to replace once the pipeline is switched on and outages could continue.

Gasoline in the pipeline travels at just 5 miles per hour.

This turns into a crisis by the end of the week, if it’s not resolved, particularly with Memorial Day coming.

John Kilduff

founding partner of Again Capital

According to GasBuddy, 7.6% of the gas stations in Virginia were out of fuel Tuesday afternoon, while 7.5% of stations in North Carolina have run dry. The impact on gas stations in other states along the pipeline was lower though 5.2% of Georgia stations were out of fuel.

GasBuddy also notes that gasoline demand on Monday in five key southeastern states was 40.1% greater than it was on the prior Monday. Those states are Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

“Gasoline demand as a whole was up 20%” for the U.S. on Monday, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. De Haan said for each day the pipeline is down, it takes five to seven days to return to normal.

“Refiners are starting to book tankers to store product off shore because it’s backing up in the system,” said Kilduff.

“You have a weird kind of problem,” he added. “U.S. Gulf Coast refinery operating levels are at record highs. They were over 90%. They have the opposite problem. There’s a surfeit of supply building in the Gulf Coast region.”

Some refiners, like Motiva, have already cut back runs.

Alternative ways to transport gas

Again Capital’s Kilduff said traders are watching to see if the U.S. will waive the Jones Act to allow non-U.S. ships to transport gasoline to U.S. ports.

Under the Jones Act, a U.S.-flagged ship must be used to transport goods from one U.S. port to another, but in an emergency, refiners could seek a waiver so they could ship fuel to the southeast ports.

The New York region could be spared the worst of it, since it is served by Philadelphia and New Jersey refineries, and there are increased shipments of gasoline from Europe already booked for the U.S,. said Kilduff.

“There’s bookings out of Europe to come to the U.S. That’s why we’re seeing pressure on gas prices,” said Kilduff, noting RBOB gasoline futures were barely higher. Futures had initially jumped on concerns about shortages, but had given back most of their gains. Jefferies noted that at least six tankers were booked to ship gasoline from Europe.

Currently, more fuel is being moved by truck. Truckers have been given temporary hours of service exemptions, but Kloza of OPIS said the problem of too few truckers is an issue for the effort. The lack of truckers had already been straining supply in some areas.

“To put it in perspective, if a tanker truck can hold 250 barrels of gasoline and the Atlanta area consumers need over 200,000 barrels of gasoline, you need more than 1,000 trucks a day,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.

Lipow said that also doesn’t solve the supply problem for diesel-fueled trucks or the issue airlines face if they can’t get jet fuel. The pipeline carries 1.5 million barrels a day of gasoline and about 1.2 million barrels of distillates, which includes diesel and jet fuel.

“Jet fuel is a concern because it’s only stored at airports. They’re at risk of running out of jet fuels and airlines have to make alternative plans, loading up aircraft before they fly into those airports, making sure they have supplies before they go to their next destination,” Lipow said.

American Airlines said the impact so far was minimal, but that it was adding stops to two long-haul flights from Charlotte to conserve fuel at the North Carolina hub.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/11/colonial-spot-gas-shortages-may-worsen-if-pipeline-doesnt-reopen-soon.html

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Ubisoft’s oft-delayed ‘Skull and Bones’ won’t come out before 2022

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Skull and Bones will miss its previous release date once again. Ubisoft says it now expects to publish the pirate game sometime between during its 2022-2023 fiscal year, which runs from April 1st, 2022 to March 31st, 2023. For those keeping track, this is the fourth time Ubisoft has delayed Skull and Bones. Following a reveal at E3 2017, the company initially planned to release it in 2018. It then went on to push back the game to 2019, mid-2020, 2021 and now 2022.

Last year, Elisabeth Pellen, the game’s creative director, attributed the ongoing delays to a vision change. Initially, the premise of Skull and Bones was simple. It was supposed to adapt the ship battling mechanics from Black Flag for multiplayer and strip all the narrative threads that make the Assassin’s Creed franchise hard to follow. Things have changed since then. “The answer is that we simply needed more time. We dreamt something bigger for Skull and Bones, and these ambitions naturally came with bigger challenges,” she wrote at the time. “As Skull and Bones evolved from its original idea to what it is now, it was also necessary to have some fresh eyes join the team.”

In the meantime, Ubisoft fans can look forward to playing some of the company’s most popular games on new platforms. In the same earnings report, the company said it would release Rainbow: Six Siege and For Honor on Stadia before the end of June.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/ubisoft-delays-skull-and-bones-2022-201006927.html

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