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Finding a PlayStation 5 may continue to be difficult until 2022, says Sony
by João Carrasqueira
The latest generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft have been notoriously hard to find since their launch back in November, and if you've been hoping things will get better, it may still be a while. As reported by Bloomberg, the company has warned a group of analysts that supply restraints may continue into 2022 as demand continues to outpace supply.
Despite the production limits it's been hit by, Sony's sales of the PlayStation 5 are nothing to scoff at. In less than half a year, its next-gen console has sold 7.8 million units, which is in line with sales of the PlayStation 4, one of the best-selling consoles of all time. The company also expects to sell 14.8 million units this year, despite saying it won't be able to keep up with demand. Sony's chief financial officer, Hiroki Totoki, said that the company will need to ramp up production as early as possible, but even then, it will be hard to meet consumer demand:
Many facets of technology have been affected by supply issues in semiconductors over the past year thanks to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the latest next-gen consoles being one of the more affected products. Likewise, the latest graphics card from both Nvidia and AMD have been very hard to find. In all of these cases, the situation has been made all the more complicated by people who buy the products as soon as they're available to resell at above-market values.
In the console business, Nintendo also issued a warning that component shortages could still cause road bumps in sales of its Switch hybrid console, though it's projecting 25.5 million unit sales for the current fiscal year. As some of the restrictions around COVID-19 are lifted in the coming months in some countries around the world, the situation could get better, but it seems as though some companies aren't banking on that recovery just yet.
Universal Media Server 10.5.0
by Razvan Serea
Universal Media Server is a DLNA-compliant UPnP Media Server. UMS was started by SubJunk, an official developer of PMS, in order to ensure greater stability and file-compatibility. The program streams or transcodes many different media formats with little or no configuration. It is powered by MEncoder, FFmpeg, tsMuxeR, AviSynth, MediaInfo and more, which combine to offer support for a wide range of media formats. Because it is written in Java, Universal Media Server supports all major operating systems, with versions for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
To see a comparison of popular media servers, click here.
Universal Media Server 10.5.0 changelog:
Added new option to mark a fully played video after moving it to a new folder Implemented external API to allow users to perform actions on their UMS instance from an authorized external source, please see docs at https://support.universalmediaserver.com/books/configuration/page/external-api (thanks, ikrahne!) Fixed TV series metadata not saving for some series Improved episode detection from filenames Optimized network use and handling of unimplemented UPnP actions for some renderers Fixed audio cover art extraction (thanks, ik666!) Fixed database upgrade for some users Fixed recognition of some renderers Renderers:
Improved support for H.264 on Panasonic VT60 Dependencies:
Bump checkstyle from 8.41 to 8.42 Bump com.sun.xml.bind-version from 3.0.0 to 3.0.1 Bump commons-lang3 from 3.11 to 3.12.0 Bump icu4j from 68.2 to 69.1 Bump JRE from 15 to 8u292 Bump maven-project-info-reports-plugin from 3.1.1 to 3.1.2 Bump MediaInfo from 20.09 to 21.03 Bump metadata-extractor from 2.15.0 to 2.16.0 Bump spotbugs-maven-plugin from 4.2.2 to 4.2.3 Bump twelvemonkeys-imageio-version from 3.6.4 to 3.7.0 Translation updates via Crowdin:
Danish (99%) (thanks, NCAA and GurliGebis!) Finnish (99%) (thanks, Esko Gardner!) French (100%) (thanks, Archaos!) Italian (98%) (thanks, tiwi90!) Korean (99%) (thanks, VenusGirl!) Polish (100%) (thanks, Karol Szastok!) Portuguese (99%) (thanks, mariopinto!) Portuguese (Brazilian) (96%) (thanks, Mauro.A!) Serbian (97%) (thanks, Slobodan Simić (Слободан Симић)!) Spanish (100%) (thanks, Gerardo Ruiz, fafranco82, Eduardo Martin, and manuel fernandez!) Turkish (100%) (thanks, Burak Yavuz!) Ukrainian (17%) (thanks, Paul Furlet!) Download: Universal Media Server 10.5.0 | 153.0 MB (Open Source)
Download: Other operating systems
View: Universal Media Server Website
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Sony brings the €2,499 Xperia PRO to European markets
by Paul Hill
Sony has announced the availability of the Xperia PRO smartphone in European markets including the UK, Germany, and the Nordic countries. The premium device which includes 5G and a dedicated HDMI input will set customers back a whopping €2,499.
With the dedicated HDMI input, users can connect their phone to a camera and use the 5G to stream content online from the camera. If shooting videos isn’t for you, the HDMI input can be used with the External Monitor feature which turns the device into a 6.5-inch 4K OLED 10-bit monitor.
The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Mobile Platform chipset and it includes a 4,000mAh battery with support for fast charging. According to previous Neowin coverage, the phone comes packed with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage that’s expandable up to 1TB with a microSD card.
Commenting on the launch, Tsutomu Sato, Director of Mobile Product Marketing at Sony Europe, said:
If you’re interested in picking up the Xperia PRO in the UK, Nordic, or German regions you can pre-order it today and have it shipped from May 10. As mentioned earlier, the device comes with a hefty €2,499 price tag but this may be something that professionals can justify if it fits their use case.
By Usama Jawad96
Epic offered to make Sony 'look like heroes' in exchange for enabling crossplay in Fortnite
by Usama Jawad
A couple of years ago, Sony found itself in hot water with gamers criticizing it for blocking crossplay even though developers were supporting it across Microsoft and Nintendo consoles as well as PC. This began with Minecraft in 2017, but extended to Rocket League and Fortnite, among other games. The official reasoning was around the lack of curation of online communities and how the PlayStation 4 is simply a superior experience and shouldn't be compromised by other platforms. Sony faced backlash not only from Microsoft but also from a former executive who claimed that the company is only blocking crossplay for money, which is "dumb". At Neowin, we wrote in length about why Sony's strategy should be for the players instead of for the business, but it wasn't until late 2018 that the company finally caved in to public demand and enabled crossplay in Fortnite.
Now, some confidential emails between Epic Games and Sony have confirmed that the reason that the latter was blocking crossplay primarily for financial reasons.
An email (pictured above) - procured by The Verge - from Epic’s vice president of business development Joe Kreiner indicates what Epic Games was offering in return for Sony enabling crossplay in Fortnite. This included a Sony-branded E3 appearance, an offer to make the company "look like heroes", exclusive items for PlayStation Plus, and an extension in Sony's company-wide Unreal Engine 4 license - which was about to expire in a few months -, among other things.
However, Sony refused to budge at all, with its senior director Gio Corsi responding that:
It's clear that Sony didn't see a financial and business benefit in enabling crossplay at that time, despite multiple incentives being offered by Epic Games.
While we don't know how the issues discussed in the email exchange progressed, there is another slide that may shed some more light on the matter. It indicates that crossplay partners will be forced to pay Sony a royalty to "offset the reduction in revenue" if their player base meets a certain baseline.
Simply stated, if the percentage of PS4 gamers and the share of total revenue they bring for the game is roughly equal and the latter is above 85%, no royalties need to be paid. But if there is a month where say, 95% of the player base uses PS4 but less than 85% of the total revenue is contributed by them, the developer will have to pay royalties to Sony according to a fixed formula. You can find more details in the slide below:
While this makes sense from a business perspective if you work at Sony, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney testified yesterday that Sony is the only company that demands this compensation for enabling crossplay. Other demands made by Sony also include a setting to disable all crossplay interactions, and a policy that stipulates that virtual currencies can't be transferred to and from PlayStation.
The case between Epic Games and Apple only kicked off yesterday, and as can be seen from the court documents in this article, it includes multiple other entities as well. It's likely we'll see dirty laundry from other companies being aired as the case progresses too.
Sony announces partnership with Discord to bring service to PlayStation Network
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Sony Interactive Entertainment has entered a partnership with Discord, the popular communications platform that boasts over 140 million monthly users. In an announcement, Sony president and CEO Jim Ryan revealed that the service will be integrated into PlayStation Network in early 2022.
"Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network," said Ryan in the Sony blog post. "Our goal is to bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year."
Going beyond Xbox's current Discord integration, which only allows linking and sharing what users are currently playing, Sony intends to allow the full suite of Discord features available on its own services, from groups to cross-platform communication. Speaking of Xbox, while not confirmed, there were reports of Discord rejecting an acquisition offer from Microsoft just last month.
The partnership has Sony investing in Discord as well, though exact amounts were not revealed today. "To bring these experiences to life for our players, Sony Interactive Entertainment has made a minority investment as part of Discord’s Series H round," added Ryan.