The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have been difficult to come by since both consoles launched in November, but it seems the two could become even scarcer due to a global shortage of semiconductors! According to The Guardian, the shortage began following factory closings during the coronavirus pandemic. While chip production has restarted, demand currently far outweighs supply, and it seems that it could have an impact on several different industries. With Sony and Microsoft both struggling to meet demand at the moment, the shortage couldn't come at a worse time for the two companies, and the video game industry as a whole.
In the piece for The Guardian, Neil Campling, a media and tech analyst at Mirabaud, told the outlet that the current level of demand is unprecedented.
"Chips are everything," said Campling. "There is a perfect storm of supply and demand factors going on here. But basically, there is a new level of demand that can’t be kept up with, everyone is in crisis and it is getting worse."
Of course, this news will prove disheartening for those currently looking for a next-gen console. Over the last few months, resellers have made PS5 and Xbox Series X incredibly difficult to come by, and the chip shortage could exacerbate that problem. Sony released an ambitious 6 million unit sales target prior to the PS5's launch, and The Guardian says Sony may miss its goals as a result of the shortage. Similarly, the Xbox Series X could remain scarce until the second half of 2021.
The news shows just how much the coronavirus pandemic continues to present challenges for the video game industry. From shifts to remote development, to cancellations of in-person esports competitions, it's clear that the pandemic's impact on the industry will continue to be felt for a long time to come. Of course, GameStop is another company that stands to lose in this situation. The retailer has had multiple difficult years between declining interest in the PS4 and Xbox One, and the coronavirus pandemic. GameStop had a strong fourth quarter showing in 2020 thanks to the next-gen systems, but if PS5 and Xbox Series X remain scarce, that could hurt the company's progress.
It remains to be seen whether or not chip manufacturers will be able to increase production to meet demand, but semiconductors are used in a lot of different products, including cars, phones, and TVs. Sony and Microsoft will have to compete with a lot of other potential customers to secure more.
Have you managed to acquire a next-gen console yet? Are you concerned that the global chip shortage will make them harder to find? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!