The electronics firm said its power regulating chips, which are used by the new games consoles, are and will will continue to be in short supply for the foreseeable future.
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“The supply of chips will remain very tight until at least September next year,” said Takeshi Kamebuchi, a director in charge of semiconductors at one of Toshiba’s units, reported Bloomberg (opens in new tab). “In some cases, we may find some customers not being fully served until 2023.”
To be clear, this isn’t just a problem for the Xbox Series X and PS5. A shortage of power regulators — something that Bloomberg describes as “inexpensive but essential” — impacts other consumer electronics and cars too. But console makers are especially hit, something which saw Kamebuchi apologized for to the industry as a whole.
“We 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. 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," said Kamebuchi.
According to the report, “some console customers” have indicated that they may have to change their circuit board designs so that they’re less reliant on the components in question. Console designs undergo design revisions a number of times over their lifespan, and indeed the PS5 just underwent major surgery, losing 300g of heatsink in the process.
But as Bloomberg explained, power regulating chips are a particularly tricky part to replace thanks to the safety certification role they play. “Console makers can’t just go to the next semiconductor maker and ask for the same part,” the report said. And even if they could, you’d imagine that the chip shortage is so widespread that the timeframes offered would be no better. Not to mention the fact that this is just one component’s shortages — other parts could be equally impacted.
In other words, expect the stock shortages to last for some time yet. But we have some tips, especially our staff writer Rory Mellon who's told his story of a year-long quest tracking of PS5 pre-orders, sales and restocks, and building knowledge on how to secure a PS5.