There are not enough chips to go around. The continuing global shortage of semiconductors means the difficulty of buying a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or high-end graphics processor from companies like Nvidia or AMD can last for months – if not for the rest of 2021.
And it’s not just gaming equipment: car companies like Ford and GM are having trouble making trucks, Apple supplier Foxconn warns of parts delays that could last until 2022, 5G deployment is slowing, and Samsung warns of “Serious imbalance” In the semiconductor industry.
There are many reasons why this shortage is hitting now: reduced delays from the shutdown of COVID-1
But the problems lie even deeper: it’s not that there aren’t enough chips, and that there aren’t enough chip makers. “In 2000, we had 30 companies that made their own integrated circuits. Then they found it cheaper to outsource, ”said UCLA professor Christopher Tang in an interview with On the edge.
As demand for products – and the increasingly computerized nature of even more ordinary products such as cars or smart home accessories – grows, there has never been a need for chips. But at the same time, the industry has shrunk over the past few decades as many technology companies and even chipmakers like AMD have moved to a hassle-free model that outsources actual production to other companies (such as Samsung or TSMC).
Solving this however, the chip shortage is likely to be a matter of time: eventually demand will stop outpacing limited supply and things should return to normal (and you can just buy a PlayStation without skipping online hoops and endless digital queues).
But preventing future shortages is likely to require greater change in the way the large semiconductor industry reflects our increasingly digital world. We already see some of them: TSMC has announced plans to invest $ 100 billion over the next three years to increase its capacity to meet growing demand. And Intel plans to spend $ 20 billion to expand its Arizona plants, as well as open its chip production doors to other companies (similar to how TSMC and Samsung already operate), adding a new major market vendor.
But these changes will take time and commitment from the industry to actually build a stronger supply chain over the next few years and decades. And it is very unlikely to make it easier to buy this hard-to-access gadget in the next few months. But these changes may eventually make buying a hypothetical successor to the PlayStation 6 or Xbox easier.