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Fridges, microwaves fall prey to global chip shortage – Financial Post

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The shortage that has shut auto plants around the world is now hitting home appliances

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SHANGHAI — A global shortage of chips that has rattled production lines at car companies and squeezed stockpiles at gadget makers is now leaving home appliance makers unable to meet demand, according to the president of Whirlpool Corp in China.

The U.S. based company, one of the world’s largest white goods firm, saw chip deliveries fall short of its orders by about 10 per cent in March, Jason Ai told Reuters in Shanghai.

“It’s a perfect storm,” he said on the sidelines of the Appliance and World Electronics Expo.

“On the one hand we have to satisfy domestic demand for appliances, on the other hand we’re facing an explosion of export orders. As far as chips go, for those of us in China, it was inevitable.”

The company has struggled to secure enough microcontrollers, simple processors that power over half of its products including microwaves, refrigerators, and washing machines.

While the chip shortage has affected a range of high-end suppliers like Qualcomm Inc, it originated and remains most severe for mature technologies, for example power-management chips used in cars.

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The chip shortage, which began in earnest in late December, was caused in part as automakers miscalculated demand and pandemic-fuelled sales of smartphones and laptops surged. It forced carmakers including General Motors to cut production, and increased costs for smartphone makers such as Xiaomi Corp.

And with every company that uses chips in its products panic buying to shore up its stockpile, the shortage has blindsided not just Whirlpool but other appliance makers too.

Hangzhou Robam Appliances Co Ltd, a Chinese white goods maker with over 26,000 employees, had to delay the release of a new high-end stove vent by four months because it couldn’t source enough microcontrollers.

“Most of our products are already optimized for smart home use, so of course we need a lot of chips,” said Dan Ye, marketing director at Robam.

He added that the company had found it easier to source chips from China than overseas, prompting it to re-evaluate future supplies.

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“The chips we use in our products aren’t the most cutting edge. Domestic chips can satisfy our needs completely.”

Already cutthroat, profit margins at white goods firms are getting further squeezed due to the shortage.

Robin Rao, planning department director of China’s Sichuan Changhong Electric Co Ltd, said lengthy replacement cycles for appliances, coupled with intense competition and a slowing real estate market, have long kept profit margins thin.

“But because of these core components and chips, our supply chain capital costs have increased.”

To deal with the shortage of microprocessors and flash memory chips, Dreame Technology – a vacuum cleaner brand funded by Xiaomi – cut its marketing budget and hired extra staff just to manage relationships with suppliers.

Dreame has also spent “several million yuan” to test out chips that could serve as alternatives to the ones it typically uses, said Frank Wang, the company’s marketing director.

“We’re working to have deeper control of our suppliers, and are even looking to invest in a few suppliers,” he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.

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Nintendo's Switch Online N64 and Sega Genesis games cost $64 for 12 months in Canada – MobileSyrup

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After revealing that N64 and Sega Genesis titles were coming to its Switch Online services through an ‘Expansion Pack‘ subscription tier a few weeks ago, Nintendo has confirmed pricing and availability for the service.

An Individual Membership costs $63.99 for 12 months, while a Family Membership costs $99.99 for 12 months. The service officially launches on October 25th. This is a significant jump in subscription pricing from Switch Online’s current $24.99 yearly cost that includes NES/SNES games and cloud saves.

The additional subscription tier gives players access to retro Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles. For example, Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Mario Tennis, Super Mario 64 and more are coming to the N64 catalogue. Nintendo has confirmed that games like Banjo-Kazooie, Pokémon Snap, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Paper Mario are coming in the future.

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On the Genesis side, notable titles like Shinobi III, Streets of Rage 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Golden Axe, Eco the Dolphin and more are coming to the platform.

While expensive, this moves the cost of Switch Online more in line with Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus.

During its presentation today, Nintendo also confirmed that the Expansion Pack cost includes Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ upcoming DLC, Happy Home Paradise.

In other Switch-related news, Nintendo’s N64 and Genesis gamepads are now available to order in Canada for $64.99 each.

Image credit: Nintendo

Source: Nintendo 

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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will have a New Horizons update themed event, features Lottie from Happy Home Paradise DLC – Nintendo Wire

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It has been a big day for Animal Crossing fans! Today’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct showed off what’s coming to the Nintendo Switch title next month, as well as the announcement of paid DLC, details on the next series of amiibo cards, and more. Not everything made it into the presentation, as noted by the official Japanese Nintendo site. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, the mobile Animal Crossing game, is joining in with an event to celebrate the new update. Lottie from Paradise Planning is ready to party too!

So far we know that the event login bonus will be your new work uniform from Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise (the paid DLC). Nintendo is also teasing that we might see new Villagers roaming around the campgrounds (possibly the “new” Villagers being added to New Horizons)! This lines up with the first New Horizons-focused event that Pocket Camp had way back in March 2020. Lottie’s integration hasn’t been clarified yet – as the monthly event representative at your campsite or as a purchasable NPC via Leaf Tickets. At least, given the render, we know she’ll be included somehow. 

Expect more details from the official Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Twitter account later this month as we quickly approach Thursday, October 28th.

Written by Jennifer Burch

Illustrator, designer, writer and big Nintendo geek, you can find Jennifer with an N3DS within reach 24/7. As the oldest of three, she has survived many Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart sessions intact in addition to getting her brothers hooked on some really weird games. (Cubivore anyone?)

Jennifer Burch

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Amazon-owned Twitch says source code exposed in last week's data breach – Reuters

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A twitch sign-in screen is seen at the offices of Twitch Interactive Inc, a social video platform and gaming community owned by Amazon, in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

Oct 15 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc-owned (AMZN.O) Twitch said on Friday that last week’s data breach at the live streaming e-sports platform contained documents from its source code.

Passwords, login credentials, full credit card numbers and bank details of users were not accessed or exposed in the breach, Twitch said in a statement.

The platform, which is used by video gamers for interacting with users while live streaming content, had blamed the breach on an error in the server configuration change.

Server configuration changes are performed during server maintenance. A faulty configuration can expose the data stored in the servers to unauthorized access.

Twitch said it was “confident” the incident affected only a small number of users and that it was contacting those who had been directly impacted. The platform has more than 30 million average daily visitors.

Video Games Chronicle had reported that about 125 gigabytes of data was leaked in the breach, including details on Twitch’s highest-paid video game streamers since 2019.

Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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