Semiconductor chip shortages have plagued the technology industry since the onset of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Largely, they were caused by covid-induced lockdowns and manufacturing restrictions – but global shipping and distribution network delays have also been contributing to a mounting problem that isn’t going away any time soon. According to Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, the problems with these chips – which are used in Xbox and PlayStation consoles, among many other things – won’t subside until at least 2024.
The reasoning? That semiconductor chips are needed to run the machines that create the semiconductor chips. It’s a strange chicken-egg scenario that has no real fix. As such, the bottlenecks in supply lines will likely continue for years to come.
‘That’s part of the reason that we believe the overall semiconductor shortage will now drift into 2024, from our earlier estimates in 2023, just because the shortages have now hit equipment and some of those factory ramps will be more challenged,’ Gelsinger recently told CNBC.
The chip shortage is a global problem and is impacting supply of nearly every major technology, including cars, televisions, appliances, as well as gaming consoles.
Two years on from the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, these consoles are still extremely difficult to find. Stores simply don’t have stock – and this could continue well into 2024, more than halfway through a typical console’s life cycle.
Should shortages continue as predicted, it’s likely swathes of PlayStation and Xbox users will be locked out of the ‘next gen’ life cycle – an advent that may impact software releases going forward. Should players not be able to pick up a new console, it makes little sense to discontinue support for last generation releases, for example.
While both the PlayStation and Xbox continue to sell well, these numbers are hampered by a lack of supply and a plague of bots that tend to sweep up any stock as soon as it lands. It’s tough to nab a console, and extremely good luck is now needed to purchase one.
With the situation only getting worse, those who already own a next generation console should hold onto them very tightly. It appears we’re in for ongoing challenges in the long term as bottlenecks in chip production continue to mount.