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Chip Scarcities Mean New Cars Are in Short Supply

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There’s a shortage of semiconductor microchips, and it’s turning the automotive industry on its head. These chips make up essential hardware that powers anything from your touchscreen radio to your engine control system.

Without this key piece of technology, automakers have been forced to shutter plants, which has led to extraordinary delays when shipping new vehicles. All this translates into smaller inventories on lots around the world, as all manufacturers have been hit equally hard by this shortage.

Why is There a Shortage?

If you want the short answer, blame COVID-19.

For a slightly longer answer, you’ll have to look at how the global pandemic changed the way consumers spent their money. Many people facing job insecurity put unnecessary shopping on the chopping block, so fewer people were in the market for new vehicles as a result.

At the start of the lockdown, car dealerships either closed outright or significantly limited how many in-person customers they could serve at a time. As a result, inventory didn’t move for a large portion of 2020, and once sales picked up in the latter half of the year, car dealerships were slow to restock their inventory.

To save their own bottom line, chip manufacturers pivoted to service the entertainment and gaming industries. As more people stayed at home under lockdown, increasing demand for gaming consoles meant chip suppliers could stay in business. It went so well that they were too busy to meet production demands once the auto industry bounced back in 2021.

To make matters worse for automakers, one of the biggest chip suppliers for the auto industry suffered a fire. The disaster caused such extensive damage that the company couldn’t resume production until mid-April.

What it Means for People in Canada

Automakers in Canada have felt the chip shortage just as acutely as other places in the world. Assembly plants in Oakville, Brampton, Oshawa, and Windsor have halted production for Chrysler, GM, and Ford.

Canadian consumers can expect fewer options as a result, especially when it comes to smaller sedans like Honda Accords and Toyota Corollas. If you do find the make and model you want, you’ll likely pay more for it now than you did pre-pandemic.

Car Dealerships in Toronto Offer an Alternative

Auto experts forecast the impact of these shortages could continue well into 2022. So, anyone looking to add a car in their driveway may be paying more than expected.

If you can swing it, it may be worth waiting to upgrade your vehicle until the auto industry locks down its microchip supply chain. But if you need a car now, consider looking into used auto dealerships. Although the chip shortage has caused the prices of used cars to go up, they’re still less than brand new vehicles off the assembly line.

Depending on where you live, inventories for used vehicles may still be flush. Take, for example, Toronto. The largest used car dealership in Toronto will have more options than any place else in the country, simply because of the population of Toronto.

With 2.8 million people living in the city proper — and another 6.4 million living in the Greater Toronto Area — more people trading-in cars here than in other cities. This could increase your chances of finding a reasonably priced used car despite these shortages.

Bottom Line

It could be a while until automakers right the industry by closing supply chains and replenishing inventories. Until then, expect to pay higher prices for new cars.

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Cat simulator 'Stray' heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022 – Engadget

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The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game’s futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn’t get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you’ll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city’s other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.

When Stray comes out next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC. Developer BlueTwelve Studio promised to show off more of the game before then.

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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Cat simulator 'Stray' heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022 – Yahoo News Canada

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The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game’s futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn’t get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you’ll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city’s other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.

When Stray comes out next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC. Developer BlueTwelve Studio promised to show off more of the game before then.

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Sony’s new PS5 beta update also fixes one of its silliest flaws – The Verge

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The first major system update for Sony’s PlayStation 5 is arriving in beta form today, finally letting you expand the console’s 667GB of usable storage by adding your own PCIe Gen 4 SSD as well as testing new UI options and expanding 3D Audio support. But the full changelog also includes a few features that Sony didn’t highlight to press — including a way to easily update your DualSense controller if you press the wrong button!

You see, the PS5 currently has a very silly flaw: the only time you can update your controller is when you boot the console. And if you say no or accidentally press the O button instead of X, you can’t trigger that update until 24 hours have passed (or you tweak your PS5’s internal clock to cheat it).

But in Beta 2.0, there’s now a dedicated menu for that under Settings > Accessories > Controllers called Wireless Controller Device Software. Please forgive my grainy photo.

You’ll still see controller update prompts when you launch the console, too — and hitting the circle button will still instantly dismiss them.

The beta also makes one of our other UI frustrations slightly better: the ability to easily turn off the console. It’s still a mystery why Sony switched away from letting you long-press the PS button to requiring extra taps, but at least now you can change how many taps it takes. Pressing the hamburger / start button in the PS5’s quick actions menu now lets you drag any of them (including the PS5’s digital power button) to a different position in that menu.

Separately, did you know the PS5 lets you set up all kinds of parental controls for your kid on what they can play, watch, and do, and it lets you remotely approve their requests over the web? I didn’t realize that, and the beta update now lets you see and respond to those asks through the latest version of the mobile PlayStation App, not just via email.

Frankly, it still needs work: it’s a convoluted process that kicks you out to a web browser for setup, requires your kid to be signed into a PlayStation Network account (not just a local profile), has you set up all kinds of limits, and kicks you out to a web browser again (requiring you to log in) when you want to approve a request. And once you let your kid play a particular game, they get to keep playing until you remove it from the whitelist.

What I want is a simple rich phone notification that effectively lets me tap “yes, you can play this for 30 minutes” or “not right now, kid” and be done with it right away. Perhaps there’s time before the 2.0 software goes gold? Or perhaps in a future update.

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