“Shortage” has been a theme of 2021 so far, with many industries — rental cars, chicken, pool chlorine and furniture, to name a few — experiencing more demand and less supply. The most recent scare was with gasoline, and a video went viral, showing a woman panic-filling a plastic bag with gas. Well, this phenomenon is happening once again, but people can’t run to the local Shell and load up on gaming consoles. The new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles have been out for nearly six months, but there aren’t enough semiconductor chips to meet demand. Sorry, gamers.
Why don’t we make more chips?
Tom’s Guide says semiconductor chips are why our devices don’t experience too much or too little current. So, they’re pretty important to our phones, cars, consoles and even washing machines. But these special chips aren’t easy to make. Bloomberg reported that the industry has a funny saying: “It’s not rocket science — it’s much more difficult.” The article said manufacturing a chip is no easy task, requiring more than three months, dust-free rooms, molten tin, lasers and more. It can take years and billions of dollars even to build a fabrication facility. Many of these facilities slowed or halted production during COVID, and now, they’re playing catch-up.
According to Tom’s Guide, gaming consoles currently aren’t considered everyday consumer items; they’re now rare luxury goods. Scalpers are seizing the opportunity, reselling the PlayStation 5 and new Xbox series for way more than retail price.
Restocks are selling out in minutes. People are refreshing their pages over and over in hopes that the gaming consoles will be in stock.
These gaming companies are seeing heightened popularity and demand for their products, but they can’t keep up. Unfortunately, Young Liu, chairman of a leading electronics manufacturer Foxconn, told investors that chip shortages could last until mid-2022. This era, dubbed “chipageddon,” has thrown a wrench into the well-oiled machine of gaming. How does it affect you? (Besides making you hold onto your PS4 a little longer.)