Since the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles launched there have been massive issues stock shortages thanks to COVID-19. And it won’t be improving anytime soon.
COVID-19 caused global manufacturing bottlenecks, shipping delays and reduced operational capacity in warehouses.
The knock-on impacts of the pandemic and subsequent changes to global manufacturing have meant consumer electronics like next gen consoles, which rely on unique semiconductor chips, have suffered major issues with stock.
Now, networking company Cisco is predicting these shortages will continue for at least six months.
In an interview with the BBC, Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO said, “We think we’ve got another six months to get through the short term.”
As for the long-term, Robbins said it would take between 12 to 18 months to build out more capacity for manufacturing and adapt to the increased demand for semiconductors.
And it’s not just gaming consoles that are set to experience manufacturing delays over this period.
Increased demand for consumer electronics like laptops, consoles, mobile phones and other devices has been driven by the pandemic as much as the shortages have.
With more people than ever working and living out of their homes, having access to communications-based technology is essential. But while demand for these goods rose during the pandemic, manufacturing capacity was significantly reduced.
The majority of the technology that has become popular during the pandemic relies on semiconductor chips currently being produced only in Taiwan.
This makes shipping and logistics an extra challenge. According to Bloomberg, the reliance on Taiwan for these chips has led to a global bottleneck impacting the every major tech industry, including car manufacturing. This is another issue highlighted by Robbins.
“Right now, it is a big problem … because semiconductors go in virtually everything,” he told the BBC.
Sony is the latest company to announce they’re focusing on the semiconductor shortage issue, and others have also joined the fight.
Intel recently announced a $25.7 billion expansion plan to boost chip production in the U.S. and the White House has also committed to addressing the issue further in the coming months.
Without semiconductors, global stock for new gaming consoles, phones, cars, laptops and other devices will continue to be scarce. And while a solution is being worked on, it still appears to be a long while away.
For now, we’ll just have to hold our breath that a definitive fix for the manufacturing shortages is on the way — but don’t hold it in too long.
If Robbins’ well-informed predictions are correct, we’ll have to put up with major stock shortages for most of 2021 and beyond.