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Why It’s So Hard to Buy Next-Generation Consoles

next-generation consoles

Since PS5 and Xbox Series X started arriving in stores, everyone was rushing to buy and join the fun with the next-generation consoles. Sadly, this has been an issue as many stores all across the world have been sold out for months.

Scalpers have been purchasing nearly all of the stock of the next-generation consoles and reselling at a higher than the normal price. This is evident on any merchant site, where the price of these consoles can be seen at over 160% mark-up.

This is certainly a large part of the problem that we’re seeing, but it’s not the only issue afoot.

The shortage we’re seeing globally is actually due to the coronavirus pandemic that’s still ravaging day-to-day life. Sony’s CFO, Hiroki Totoki explained that “It is difficult for us to increase the production of the next-generation console amid the shortage of semiconductors and other components”.

What is a semiconductor?

Now, you can already see the issue, but you may be wondering “What is a semiconductor and why is hard to find them?”

Semiconductors have been around since 1959 and have been revolutionizing the field of technology ever since. Their main purpose is to conduct some electrical charges whilst not conducting others thus the term semi (or partial) conductor.

next-generation consoles
Credit: General Electric

These little wonders in the tech world are actually used in many different industries. From the auto industry to the smartphone you carry around, semiconductors have been tied to the life you live much closer than you ever could’ve expected.

So, why is there a global shortage of semiconductors? With the pandemic raging on, many manufacturers didn’t see the need for large swathes of their merchandise to keep being made. This was incredibly evident in the auto industry (one of the largest global purchasers for semiconductors) where the total sales of automobiles dropped by roughly 15%.

next-generation consoles
Credit: Bloomberg

How will this next-generation console shortage be fixed?

While all these issues are certainly keeping you from playing the games you’re dying to play, remember this is only a temporary set-back. Currently, we’re seeing subsidies for US-based semiconductor manufacturers rolling out and Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has increased it’s spending budget to allow for even more semiconductors to flood the market.

We’re hoping for these to appear on the market soon and bring the next-generation consoles into our homes, it looks like we may have to wait for a while until they come back in full force.

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