Ubisoft is killing online support for 15 games on September 1st

If you have fond memories of older Ubisoft games with online components from the early 2010s, you might want to check in on them soon. That's because on September 1st 2022, Ubisoft is dropping support for online services in 15 different games including Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.In a post on Ubisoft's website, the company says it's decommissioning online services in some of its older games in order to “focus our resources on delivering great experiences for players who are playing newer or more popular titles.” Depending on the title, gamers will no longer be able to access multiplayer modes or even download and install additional content (DLC). Affected games are spread across various platforms including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, HTC Vive, Oculus and Wii U, with notable titles including Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, the 2012 release of Assassin's Creed 3, Anno 2070 and more. And in some cases like Space Junkies, which is a multiplayer-only title, the game will be completely unplayable. Meanwhile, for others such as Ghost Recon Future Soldier, you'll need to put your console in offline mode just to play the solo campaign. While most of these games enjoyed 10 to 12 years of support since their release, it's still a bit sad to see Ubisoft drop support for online services for some of its most iconic franchises — especially in titles where DLC will no longer be accessible. For a full list of games that are being decommissioned on September 1st, please visit the company's help page here for more information. 

Toyota runs out of federal EV tax credits, pushing prices higher

Toyota is the latest automaker to run out of US federal tax credits and it will join Tesla and GM in losing access to the $7,500 subsidy. The company surpassed the qualifying sales threshold for EVs and hybrids in June, as Bloomberg reports.The government limited each carmaker to 200,000 EV tax credits, though Toyota and other companies have been lobbying for that cap to be lifted. Toyota says losing the credit will mean its EVs are more expensive for consumers, which will slow the transition away from combustion-engine cars to EVs.However, Toyota and Tesla have pushed back on a Biden administration plan to grant extra credits to unionized carmakers. GM, Ford and Stellantis (the parent of Fiat and Chrysler) have unionized plants. The Build Back Better Act, which passed through the House but stalled in the Senate, also included extra credits for cars made entirely in the US.As things stand, Toyota's tax credits will be phased out gradually over a one-year period. Bloomberg notes that the value of the subsidy will be halved twice before it expires. However, Toyota will still be able to take advantage of incentives at the state level.

Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2022

With Amazon Prime Day less than a week away, it’s a good time to start thinking about the things you’ll want to look for once the deal wave hits. Everything from gadgets to clothes to household necessities will be on sale during the 48-hour event, and if you’re a Prime member, you’ll have access to all of the deals on Amazon’s site. Engadget will be surfacing all of the best tech deals we can find – both on Amazon and elsewhere – but there are some important things to know ahead of time so you can get exactly what you want out of this year’s Prime Day.When is Amazon Prime Day?Amazon Prime Day 2022 will begin at 12AM PT on Tuesday, July 12, and it will end 11:59PM PT on Wednesday, July 13. The two-day shopping event will surface exclusive deals for Prime members, which means you’ll have to be a Prime subscriber on Prime Day to take advantage of any of the savings. Amazon still offers a 30-day free trial to new Prime subscribers, so you can start your free trial now and participate in the event.If you don’t pay for Prime and have no intention of doing so, you should still check out Amazon on Prime Day for sales that are available to all shoppers. Plus, other retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and Target will have their own competing Prime Day sales during that time frame, too.Amazon Prime Day dealsAmazon Prime Day may officially be only two days, but for the past few years, the company has started pushing out deals well before the official event kicks off. That’s true this year, too. You can find a number of items on sale right now as part of early Prime Day sales. Unsurprisingly, some of the best early deals are on Amazon devices like Eero routers, Fire TVs and more.Speaking of, Prime Day is the best time of year to pick up Amazon gadgets. You can safely bet on things like Echo speakers, Kindle e-readers and Fire TV devices to be at record-low prices for Prime Day, so if you’ve had your eye on one of those items, now’s the time to get it. Prime Day is only matched by Black Friday in its discounts, so while that means you will likely have another chance to get that smart speaker for dirt cheap, it probably won’t be until the holiday shopping season.Make no mistake, Amazon gadgets will not be the only items discounted on Prime Day. You’ll find clothes, shoes, household items, appliances, accessories and more on sale, but here at Engadget, we’ll naturally be focusing on electronics. We expect this year’s Prime Day to be like last year’s, in that it will bring big discounts on headphones, earbuds, gaming accessories, SSDs and microSD cards, robot vacuums and more.jetcityimage via Getty ImagesIt’s also worth mentioning the types of deals you can expect to see on Prime Day. Some deals will be live for the entire 48 hours, while others will be day one- or day two-only sales. Those are the hardest to predict, since Amazon usually does not give any indication how long a given sale will last. Our recommendation is to buy the things you’re most keen on as soon as you see them drop in price – that will ensure you get it while the discount is available, and while the item is still in stock.You can also expect to see some flash sales happen during Prime Day. Thankfully, these are typically clearly labeled with the amount of time remaining to grab the deal noted on the product page. In our experience, only a handful of these flash sales are actually worth your money, but if you see something that’s been on your wishlist drop in price for the next few hours, it’s in your best interest to grab it immediately.How to prep for Prime DayWe’ve alluded to this already, but it’s best to go into Amazon Prime Day as prepared as possible. That essentially means knowing exactly what you want to look for so you stay focused and avoid distractions. The whole of Amazon.com will be overwhelming on Prime Day, so the less time you spend aimlessly browsing, the more your wallet will thank you later.Two simple things you can do ahead of Prime Day are make a list and bookmark a price tracker. For the former, take note of the most important items you want to pick up on Prime Day. You can either do this the old-fashioned way on a sticky note, or you can use Amazon’s wish list feature. For the latter, add the items you want to buy on Prime Day to your wish list (or, even better, make a dedicated wishlist with only your Prime Day desirables) and return to that list during the shopping event. Not only will you have everything you want all in one place, but you’ll also be able to see which of those items are cheaper on Prime Day than they were when you originally added them to your list.As for the price tracker, sites like CamelCamelCamel let you monitor the price of specific items on Amazon. You can check out price history charts on the site and you can make your own price drop alerts, receiving emails when something you want gets a discount. CamelCamelCamel also has some browser extensions you can download so you don’t have to navigate away from a product page to check its price history.We know that not everyone – not even every Prime member – will be flocking to Amazon during Prime Day. Whether you find such blatant displays of consumerism off putting or you simply don’t want to give Amazon more of your money, there are plenty of reasons why you might be skipping Prime Day all together. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip all of the sales that will be happening on July 12th and 13th. Retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and others will all have competing Prime Day sales and many of them will match sales you’ll find on Amazon. We recommend checking them out if you want to pick up a couple of things for less without spending money on Amazon.Engadget will be covering both days of Prime Day, so if you have a lot of tech on your to-buy list, be sure to check back here on Prime Day for the best tech sales we could find. We’ll be sure to include gadgets from across the board – from headphones to robot vacuums to gaming gear – plus the best “anti-Prime Day” deals you can find from other retailers. You can also follow the @EngadgetDeals Twitter account and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter to stay up to date on the latest discounts. The volume of deals will be daunting, but we sift through them all and pick out the best ones to make Prime Day a bit easier for you.

'God of War Ragnarok' hits PS5, PS4 on November 9th

Sony has confirmed that God of War Ragnarok, the sequel to 2018's dramatic spin on the franchise, will launch on the PlayStation 5 and PS4 on November 9th. That confirms earlier rumors around a November launch date, and it should be welcome news to gamers worried about a delay into 2023. Many major upcoming titles originally slated for this year, like Bethesda's Starfield, have been pushed to next year (Just take your pick for reasons: the ongoing pandemic, rocky working conditions for developers, or the sheer difficulty of pushing out a massive AAA game).God of War Ragnarok's latest trailer doesn't feature any actual gameplay, but it delivers the usual does of super-powered butt-kicking from Kratos and his son Atreus. It's your typical father and son outing: Facing a variety of demons, a near-death fall off a cliff and a giant wolf of some kind. If anything, Atreus looks like more than just a boy, this time around.

Fitbit's Charge 5 fitness tracker is on sale for $110 right now

A new sale at Wellbots knocks the Fitbit Charge 5 down to the best price we've seen it. The GPS-toting fitness band is on sale for $110, or $40 off its usual price, when you use the code ENGDTRUN40 at checkout. If you want something more advanced, Fitbit's Sense smartwatch is $120 off and down to $180 when you use the code ENGDTRUN120 at checkout.Buy Charge 5 at Wellbots – $110Buy Sense at Wellbots – $180The Charge 5 is Fitbit's most capable fitness tracker and it earned a score of 82 from us. It's pretty similar to the Charge 4 that came before it, but it now has a full color touchscreen with an always-on mode that will make it easier to glance down at the time and activity information on your watch screen. It's also 10 percent thinner than its predecessor, making it even more low-profile than before and, more importantly, more subtle than many smartwatches.The Charge 5 is a good option for those that prefer the band style but don't want to compromise when it comes to fitness chops. It has a built-in GPS for mapping outdoor workouts, plus an all-day heart rate monitor as well. It tracks activity and sleep while you're wearing it, and it comes with Fitbit Pay as a standard feature, which means you can go out for a coffee after your run and pay using NFC tech.Bands like the Charge 5 also tend to have better battery lives than their smartwatch counterparts. In fact, the Charge 5 lasted about 2.5 days in our testing with the screen in always-on mode. That's already more than you'll get out of most smartwatches, but if you turn off the always-on feature, you'll get a total of five days of life out of the wearable.But if you're willing to spend a bit more, Fitbit's Sense smartwatch has a few extra features you won't find on the Charge 5. You'll get stress tracking with EDA sensors, plus blood oxygen and skin temperature monitoring. It's the most advanced smartwatch that the company makes, and since it typically costs $300, it's worth considering while you can get it for more than $100 off.Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Meta's latest AI can translate 200 languages in real time

More than 7,000 languages are currently spoken on this planet and Meta seemingly wants to understand them all. Six months ago, the company launched its ambitious No Language Left Behind (NLLB) project, training AI to translate seamlessly between numerous languages without having to go through English first. On Wednesday, the company announced its first big success, dubbed NLLB-200. It’s an AI model that can speak in 200 tongues, including a number of less-widely spoken languages from across Asia and Africa, like Lao and Kamba.According to a Wednesday blog post from the company, NLLB-200 can translate 55 African languages with “high-quality results.” Meta boasts that the model’s performance on the FLORES-101 benchmark surpassed existing state-of-the-art models by 44 percent on average, and by as much as 70 percent for select African and Indian dialects.Translating between any two given languages — especially if neither of them is English — has proven a significant challenge to AI language models because, in part, many of these translation systems rely on written data scraped from the internet to train on. Super easy to do if you speak what this sentence is in, much more difficult if you’re looking for quality content in Fan or Kikuyu.Meta AILike most of its other publicly promoted AI programs, Meta has decided to open-source NLLB-200 as well as provide $200,000 in grants to nonprofits to develop real-world applications for the technology. Applications like Facebook News Feed or Instagram, for example. “Imagine visiting a favorite Facebook group, coming across a post in Igbo or Luganda, and being able to understand it in your own language with just a click of a button,” the Meta post hypothesized. You can get a sense of how the new model works on Meta’s demo site.

Amazon's kid-focused Glow device is 55 percent off for Prime members

With early Prime Day deals in full swing, Amazon has discounted one of its more niche devices for Prime members. The Glow, Amazon's interactive video-call and projector device, is down to $150 ahead of Prime Day, which is 55 percent off its normal price. That's also the best price we've seen on the gadget since it became widely available in the US earlier this year.Buy Glow (Prime exclusive) at Amazon – $150The unique device combines an 8-inch LCD display with a projector that creates a 19-inch touch-sensitive surface in front of it. This allows kids to play games using the projected touch screen while video chatting with parents or other loved ones, who can also see the play surface and what the kids are doing. Adults can also join in on the games via their own smartphones or tablets. The Glow comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, too, which includes a bunch of compatible games for the device.While admittedly a niche device, the Glow could be a good solution for parents who don't mind their kids playing digital games but would prefer something more interactive than what a standard tablet could offer. Kids can interact with things like digital storybooks with animations, card games, puzzles and more, and create digital art as well. The Glow also works with Tangram Bits, which are physical pieces that kids can use to solve digital puzzles projected in front of them by the device.The Glow is likely a bit of a hard sell at its normal price of $330, but Prime members may find it more enticing while on sale like this. At $150, it's currently cheaper than picking up a Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet, but that could change if you're willing to wait until Prime Day proper, when it's likely that most of Amazon's kid-centric tablets will be discounted, too.Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribing to the Engadget Deals newsletter.

This 'sand' battery stores renewable energy as heat

A company in Finland has created an an unusual storage solution for renewable energy: One that uses sand instead of lithium ion or other battery technologies. Polar Night Energy and Vatajankoski, an energy utility in Western Finland, have built a storage system that can store electricity as heat in the sand. While there are other organizations researching the use of sand for energy storage, including the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Finns say theirs is the first fully working commercial installation of a battery made from sand.Similar to traditional storage systems for renewables, Polar's technology stores energy from wind turbines and solar panels that isn't used at once. To be precise, it stores energy as heat, which is then used for the district heating network that Vatajankoski services. Sand is inexpensive and is very effective at storing heat at about 500 to 600 degrees Celsius. Polar says its technology can keep sand “hotter than the stoves in typical saunas” for months until it's time to use that heat during Finland's long winters. As the BBC explains, the resistive heating process used to warm the sand generates hot air circulated inside the structure. When it's time to use the stored energy, the battery discharges that heated air to warm water in the district's heating system, which is then pumped into homes, offices and even pools. At the moment, Polar's sand battery only serves a single city, and it's still unclear whether the technology can be scaled up. The BBC also says that its efficiency “falls dramatically” when it comes to returning electricity to the grid instead. It's early days for the technology, though, and other companies and organizations might be able to find solutions for those issues. 

Amazon's Fire TV Cube drops to $60 in early Prime Day deal

A bunch of Amazon devices are starting to go on sale for Prime members ahead of the two-day shopping event next week, and that includes the company's most powerful streaming device. The Fire TV Cube has now been discounted to $60 for Prime members, which is $10 cheaper than its previous all-time low. Amazon appears to be staggering out its early Prime Day deals because the Fire TV Cube is one of two streaming gadgets on sale right now, the other being the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is $10 off and down to $40 for everyone — not just Prime members.Buy Fire TV Cube (Prime exclusive) at Amazon – $60Buy Fire TV Stick 4K at Amazon – $40The Fire TV Cube is Amazon's most capable streamer, with support for 4K content, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and HDR10+. It also works as an Alexa speaker as well with its built-in mics. Not only can you ask Alexa to look up TV shows and movies you want to watch, but you can also ask the voice assistant to do things like control smart lights, add things to your shopping list and more. The Cube is the only Fire TV device that has hands-free Alexa support, making it a good option for those that want a new streaming device and basic virtual assistant features in one device.If you're looking for something more portable, or just an even more budget-friendly device, the Fire TV Stick 4K is a good option. Like the Fire TV Cube, it also supports 4K HDR streaming with Dolby Vision and Atmos support. However, its dongle-like design makes it easy to toss in a bag before you go on vacation or ever so slightly easier to install on your aging TV. It also supports voice commands via the Alexa remote that comes with it.Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribing to the Engadget Deals newsletter.

Apple's MacBook Air M2 ships July 15, with pre-orders starting July 8

Good news for those who've been waiting for Apple's colorful laptops to come out: The new M2-powered MacBook Air will be available for pre-order starting on July 8th at 5AM PDT/8AM EDT. It was first introduced in June at WWDC alongside the redesigned 13-inch MacBook Pro that's similarly powered by the tech giant's new M2 chip, but Apple had released the latter first. Those who prefer the redesigned MacBook Air may not have to wait that long to get their laptops after pre-order begins, because it will start shipping to buyers worldwide on July 15th. The new MacBook Air design gets rid of the model's signature wedge silhouette and swaps it for a squarer look close to its Pro-tier siblings. It has a larger 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, but it's lighter than its predecessors and is 20 percent smaller in volume. It will also be available in four colors, namely Silver, Space Gray, Midnight (deep blue) and Starlight. The laptop has a full row of physical function keys instead of a Touch Bar and brings back the older models' MagSafe charging port.Of course, users can expect a boost in performance, thanks to the new SoC that gives it access to more memory bandwidth and more graphics cores. The laptop also supports fast charging and has a battery that Apple says can last up to 15 hours of web surfing on a single charge. Prices for the new M2-powered MacBook Air start at $1,199, and it will be available for purchase from Apple's website and from retailers like Adorama and B&H.