Bad news for anyone who’s been struggling to find a new generation console such as a PS5 or Xbox Series X – the ongoing shortage of components is likely to see availability continue to be a problem until 2022, and in some cases 2023.
That’s according to Toshiba, which builds components used in the manufacturing process of new consoles, most crucially power-regulating chips (thanks, Bloomberg). The problem is two-fold, with shortages in raw materials used to make the chips, and a surge in demand across multiple industries.
“The supply of chips will remain very tight until at least September next year,” Bloomberg quotes Takeshi Kamebuchi, a Toshiba director in charge of semiconductors. “In some cases, we may find some customers not being fully served until 2023.”
Although the chip shortage is also having an impact on the automotive sector – with Toyota’s own motor division having to reduce production on cars – and makers of industrial machines, amongst others, Kamebuchi specifically points to console manufacturers feeling the sting.
“Game console makers are among the customers making the strongest demands and I’m sincerely sorry for their frustration as none of them have a 100% satisfaction,” he says.
Kamebuchi also said Toshiba is having to “consider which customer faces the most severe situation, such as the risk of the whole production line halting or the business getting obliterated without the supply of chips.”
Although power chips aren’t the only shortage plaguing console manufacturers at the moment, Toshiba’s plans to invest $545million (£393.2m) by March 2024 boosting its output of power semiconductors may help ease matters. At present, even the four-year-old Nintendo Switch is struggling to match demand on its existing models, with a new OLED model set to launch in October.
In July 2021, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said it would be “some time” before PS5 production would be able to meet demand. Sony is also already tweaking the design of the PS5, potentially to address – in part – component shortages. A revised PS5 was spotted in Australia in August, although the main change appeared to be to its heat management systems.
In other games console news, Microsoft could be working on bringing Android apps to Xbox consoles, while developers will soon be able to get their hands on Valve’s handheld Steam Deck.