Daily Authority: 📉 More of less

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Here are some stories of unhappiness:

  • First: Valve’s Steam Deck won’t ship until 2022: slipping from December this year, to Feb 2022. 
  • Valve said: “We’re sorry about this — we did our best to work around the global supply chain issues, but due to material shortages, components aren’t reaching our manufacturing facilities in time for us to meet our initial launch dates.”
  • Second: It’s going to get even harder to buy a PlayStation 5, reports Bloomberg.
  • The detail is that Sony is, reportedly, having to cut back its manufacturing target for the PS5 by one million consoles. Sony had estimated 16M consoles, now it has revised that figure down to 15 million.
  • 2022’s figure (in the Japanese financial year that runs 1 April to 31 March) is 22.6 million sales, a pretty major increase.
  • Third: Nintendo, you may recall, was also forced to cut its Switch sales estimates.

Now look what’s happened:

  • With consumers weary of bots snapping up stock, retailers have employed a new strategy: paywalls.
  • Walmart first announced it was going to have a PS5 restock, but Walmart Plus members would have access an hour early, for the fee of $13 per month or $98 per year.
  • Best Buy and GameStop did the same: early access to PS5 stock for members of programs — Best Buy’s $200 per year Totaltech scheme, and GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards Pro subscription, at a fairer $15 per year.
  • And with shortages not going away, and with limited reason to have stock snapped up by bots, we’re now in a new and weird zone where retailers have the ability to swindle a little more cash.
  • The other method has been more standard: consoles haven’t been available by themselves, but bundles — a console with a game or extra controller or entertainment stick, or so on.
  • The obvious way that these schemes will fail to work is sufficient stock supply. And that doesn’t look certain.
  • In other words, if you’re hoping to get a console for Christmas, make sure Santa has a paid-up membership or two.
  • And if you’re in a country where this isn’t happening yet, brace yourself…

By the way:

  • Tomorrow will mark a year since the PS5 was released, on November 12, 2020, while the Xbox Series X/S came out on November 10, 2020.
  • This is a reasonable watch(Engadget) that compares the two, though not in a console war way.

😶 Google Pixel 6 series might get face unlock smarts after all (Android Authority).

💻 A key Googler confirms no new Pixelbook coming until at least 2023, if at all (Android Authority).

🤔 YouTube removes dislike counts for all videos from the public eye (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple now lets you scan for evil Airtags that might be hovering nearby in iOS 15.2 beta, nothing for Android phones though (Gizmodo).

🍏 Apple introduces device management solution aimed at small businesses (TechCrunch).

📰 Some inside baseball stuff: The Verge, to its infinite credit, is saying it will strongly limit “on background” info from PR to try and force more on the record sourcing. Good!

🚗 Rivian went public Wednesday, raising billions for its EV aspirations, in the biggest US IPO in years. It hasn’t shipped a truck to a customer, but is worth $100B (Jalopnik).

🥌 This company wants to launch satellites into orbit using a giant spinning centrifugal slingshot, as long as the sats are built like a brick sh-thouse! (Gizmodo).

📉 Disney Plus added fewer subscribers than expected this quarter (TechCrunch).

🚀 And in more traditional rocket space exploration, the SpaceX Crew-3 launch was successful, taking four astronauts to the ISS. I timestamped the video at liftoff! (YouTube).

🌎 How to reduce our carbon footprint, like right now (Ars Technica).

🚢 What Norwegians are learning as they pioneer autonomous ships (ComputerWeekly.com).

🤔 “Reddit, what is the strangest thing you “have a guy” for?” (r/askreddit)

Counter-Strike was released this week, back on November 9, 2000.

Officially, anyway.

  • The legendary first-person shooter was initially a Half-Life modification, first released in 1999.
  • Valve was quick to act, buying the IP and hiring the developers to release the official Windows version in 2000.
  • It remains an all-time smash: the 2012 release, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO, is still enormously popular with gamers on Steam, esports tournaments, on Twitch, etc.
  • Despite it being nearly 10 years old, and even with competition from its own sibling, Counter-Strike 1.6, the game remains close to the de facto FPS: easy to learn, hard to master, fun with friends, and with a competitive player path for those who are masters.
  • CS:GO’s skins remain important as a currency within the game, with an asset system that may confuse outsiders but with real monetary value.

Bonus: Todd Howard is unrelated to Valve, but he did an AMA yesterday, touching on his work on The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and the upcoming open RPG, Starfield, which is slated for a November 11, 2022 release

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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