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What you need to know about next-gen consoles and the disastrous global chip shortage

Gamers have been in quite the scramble attempting to get the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. It’s like splitting hairs, watching a potential buy slip through our fingers because of scalpers. Hell, there’s an entire subculture concerning tracking and buying next-gen consoles. Why is it so difficult to get our hands on one? Well, it’s far more than greedy scalpers trying to make an extra dollar: There’s a global computer chip shortage.

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Global computer chips are the “brains” of electronic devices, to put it simply. Production took a hit because of COVID-19. Sony Interactive Entertainment (“SIE”) CEO Jim Ryan told GQ the coronavirus means that “supply chains become a little more complicated than would normally be the case.” Still, the initial issue was a temporary delay in supplies as factories shutdown. 

Now, we enter crisis mode. Production is back to normal, but companies can’t keep up with the surge in demand. We gamers have seen the consequences, as we’ve been collectively rolling our eyes at scalpers. The situation is bad enough that the US government is investigating after a please from market leaders. Due to the elevated nature of the issue, it’s essential to understand that the chip crisis hurts more than video games.

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What is affected besides consoles?

COVID-19 changed the way we learned and worked and made us shift our thoughts about which habits we could safely indulge. Many people bought new computers to work at home, learn from home, and game. Cellphone companies have seen increased sales of mobile devices. With countless more people looking to get connected, it’s no wonder the computer chips are running out.

The shortage impacts our technology, of course, but it’s also hitting the automotive industry. According to interestingengineering, Ford cut production at two plants that manufactured the F-150 pickup truck in February 2021. Nissan, General Motors, and others have dealt with similar production hurdles. 

Due to the shortage and everything it affects, 2021 will be an expensive year. Prices are expected to surge in the midst of the crisis. Not only that, but Industry specialists predict that the chip shortage may last well into 2022. So it’s safe to say the fight for next-gen consoles and graphics cards is just beginning. 

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