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U.S. Department of Commerce shares findings from semiconductor Request for Information

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With companies like Nvidia and Intel projecting 2023 as an optimistic end date, the chip shortage isn’t dying down anytime in the near future. United States Department of Commerce is supporting that forecast with results from its Request for Information (RFI).

After launching the RFI in Sept. 2021, the Department of Commerce received about 150 replies from leading semiconductor manufacturers. The RFI sought information on the supply and demand mismatch for specific semiconductor nodes and supply chain transparency among other aspects of production. Through the RFI, the Department of Commerce identified several key issues surrounding fab capacity, inventory, problem nodes, and notable bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Demand for semiconductors has drastically increased from 2019. The median demand for chips was up to 17 percent higher in 2021 over 2019, according to the report. But supply has not caught up with consumer demand, creating a problematic mismatch in supply and demand. All this despite semiconductor fabs hitting 90 percent utilization, which initially spiked Q2 2020 without the ability to settle back down due to increased demand.

The noted mismatch in supply and demand also has an effect on the in-house inventory of semiconductor producers. The Department of Commerce found that buyers’ median inventory of semiconductors dropped from 40 days in 2019 to below five days in 2021. This decline in inventory leaves these facilities vulnerable to any hiccup in the supply chain—foreign or otherwise—that could lead to furloughed domestic workers, according to the report.

The data, which is now seemingly several months old, points to several key semiconductors as having disproportionately mismatched supply and demand.

“…Bottlenecks for the RFI respondents are most concentrated in a few specific kinds of semiconductor inputs and applications, including legacy logic chips (used in medical devices, automobiles, and other products), analog chips (used in power management, image sensors, radio frequency, and other applications), and optoelectronics chips (used in sensors and switches),” the report said.

There is no immediate solution to the chip shortage, but the U.S. Department of Commerce is working toward supply chain transparency that will open clear communication between semiconductor producers and buyers so they may have a better understanding of their supply and demand, respectively. This also includes an Early Alert System designed around issues caused by the pandemic.

The RFI, conducted under the Biden Administration, concludes with support for the CHIPS Act. This act is under the larger Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and includes $52 billion in domestic semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing funding. The CHIPS Act has already made its way through the U.S. Senate, with the House of Representatives serving as the next hurdle.

Additionally, Intel recently announced plans to invest in a $20 billion, 1,000-acre facility in Ohio as part of a play to make the U.S. the number one semiconductor manufacturer in the world. These plans piggyback on its Arizona fabs.

While Intel’s newest fab and the CHIPS Act can easily be dismissed as long-term solutions to a problem that will continue to touch nearly every individual in the short term regardless of industry, they are aggressive and signal some much-needed forward motion.

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PS Plus Games For December Announced

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The PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) games for December 2022 have been announced, and it’s a nice mix of offerings that include action and role-playing games. Mass Effect: Legendary, Biomutant, and Divine Knockout: Founder’s edition.

The Mass Effect titles are some of the most beloved in video history, Biomutant is a great RPG alternative set in a post-apocalyptic world, and Divine Knockout is an entirely new title that’s being launched through the PS Plus service.

mass-effect-legendary

Image Credit | EA Games

1. Mass Effect: Legendary

The original Mass Effect trilogy is considered one of the greatest trilogies in the seventh generation of video games, and the Mass Effect: Legendary edition repackages all of them in one title.

This role-playing game (RPG) follows the sci-fi adventures of Commander Shepard and his band of misfits on immersive intergalactic missions. The games are still widely loved, and they’ve never looked better than in the Mass Effect: Legendary version.

The narrative revolves around a distant future where planets and civilizations have been colonized using an ancient technology. There’s also a sense of mystery that governs the title with this ancient civilization looking to make a return. Most of the sci-fi tropes that have come to define the genre are included here, and this is enhanced by memorable characters, action-packed missions, and some devastating consequences.

To most video game enthusiasts, Mass Effect remains Bioware’s greatest accomplishment and a high-point for epic sci-fi video games. Over 100 hours can be spent learning about this fictional world, and the side missions are also considered some of the best video games have ever offered. The game will only be available to PlayStation 4 users.

2. Biomutant

Biomutant is another RPG title. This game is set in an open post-apocalyptic world, and follows a kung-fu centric world from the perspective of a mammalian warrior. The archetypal ‘Tree of Life’ observed in many mythologies and religions is the source from which the world and narrative are constructed. Like the Mass Effect series, players can design their own character.

The game is known for its fascinating combat system, which includes melee and long-range shooting attacks. Another interesting aspect of this game is the weapon-building system, and the range of abilities offered to the player.

There are lots of interesting side-quests, and like Mass Effect, the game has a karma system – the story will develop according to the previous actions undertaken by the player. If Mass Effect feels a bit too familiar, Biomutant is a great quirky alternative. The game will be available on PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles.

ps-plus-biomutant

Image Credit | THQ Nordic

3. Divine Knockout

Divine Knockout is a PS Plus launch title, and offers something entirely unique. Divine Knockout works as a third-person side scroller, platformer, and fighter game. Players can put themselves into the shoes of mythological figures like Thor, Susano, King Arthur, and Hercules to jump, smash, and dash their way to glory.

Fans of mythology will have a feast with this – it’s not often that fans of mythology get to see all their favorite figures from these timeless stories interact with one another. The god-like figures have adorable designs, which adds to its appeal. The game also serves as a great way for kids to get into mythology.

The game is full of color, and has great replay value. Players can play 1v1, 2v2, or multiplayer mode. This game will suit players of all ages, and has the makings of a cult classic. This game is also available on the PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles.

PS Plus Titles From The Previous Month Will Be Available Till December 5

The December selection will be made available to PS Plus subscribers from December 6 to January 2. Users looking to download the PS Plus games for November can do the same until December 5, after which the games will be unavailable.

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CDL announces broadcast information, and YouTube is conspicuously missing

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No longer will you watch Call of Duty League on YouTube. You’ll have to find it elsewhere, as the streaming platform isn’t listed among the accessible websites for the upcoming 2023 season.

The CDL starts on Dec. 2, with Boston Breach against Atlanta FaZe, but fans won’t have the luxury of instantly clicking onto YouTube to get their CoD fix for the evening. Call of Duty posted a Tweet regarding the commencement of the league; however, fans noticed a key streaming player missing from the accessible streams.

For this season of the CDL, fans can head to either Twitch or the Call of Duty website to watch all the CoD they could dream of. 

The tweet said “The season starts tomorrow, here’s where to watch,” leaving its usual streaming service of the last few years out of the mix. Interestingly, no broadcast rights have been announced for the CDL this year as of yet.

YouTube’s partnership with Activision Blizzard to broadcast the company’s two major esports leagues came to an end after their three-year deal finished earlier this year. The deal commenced in 2020 with the beginning of the Overwatch League’s third season, leaving years of Call of Duty on YouTube alongside it for the next couple of years.

The league’s deal with YouTube was worth $160 million, but there’s now concern over Twitch and YouTube’s willingness to place money in a title with “less-than-stellar viewership statistics.”

Either way, the CDL will be available to stream on Twitch as soon as it commences, so gear up and prepare for the season ahead.

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US Army planned on targeting Twitch viewers for recruitment through Call of Duty

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The U.S. Army uses billions of dollars to bolster its already massive military, also spending on advertising and sponsorship in gaming in the effort to bring more soldiers into the fold. Sponsoring events like ESL’s CS:GO tournaments doesn’t seem to be the last step for the U.S. military in the gaming sphere, however, as streamers were the next choice for the front line of the army’s advertising. 

According to Vice, “internal Army documents” shared by Motherboard disclose that the U.S. military planned on sponsoring Call of Duty events, but after recent sexual harassment allegations within Activision, they decided against the sponsorships.

The documents shared the military’s target audience, with a primary “focus on the growth target of females, Black & Hispanics” and people aged 18 to 24.

$3.8 million was spread across several different organizations, with WWE, Twitch, the Call of Duty League, and the Paramount Plus Halo television series acquiring large portions of the funds provided.

Image via Vice

IGN was at the upper end of the allocated funds, with $600,000 being dedicated to the gaming news publication. 

OpTic Chicago and Texas were also on the list of names associated with the funding. A total of $600,000 was allocated from Dec. 1, 2021, to Nov. 30, 2022 for Chicago, and from February to late September 2022 for Texas. 

Stonemountain64, a Warzone 2 streamer with 2.32 million subscribers on YouTube, was allocated $150,000. Other streamers like Swagg and Alex Zedra were also mentioned in the documents. Next to Zedra and Swagg’s names was an asterisk, highlighting that their allocated funds were “based on conversations” with the streamers. 

While this amount of funding seems like a large sum of money, it’s merely a $3 million drop in the $773 billion U.S. defense budget for 2022.

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