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PS5 and Xbox Series X stock disaster — blame these $1 parts

ps5 xbox series x
(Image credit: Microsoft/Sony)

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have faced persistent stock issues since launch, with restocks of either console more often than not descending into a complete fiasco of scalper bots and server crashes as retailer’s website buckle due to the overwhelming demand. 

We have known for a while that the shortage of next-gen consoles is thanks in large part to a global chip shortage, which is impacting devices across multiple industries. But it turns out that some of the components that are causing Sony and Microsoft the biggest headache are worth around $1. 

Bloomberg reported that it's not a shortage of pricey parts that are causing the stock issues, rather meager PS5 and Xbox Series X restocks are down to cheap components that are usually available in great quantities for a relatively low cost. These typically include overlooked parts like display drivers and tiny power management chips. 

This would make sense as these parts are conventionally considered commonplace and inexpensive so manufacturers order thousands on a regular basis without a problem. When the supply chain gets impacted and demand doesn’t decrease, it creates a bottleneck and suddenly these insignificant components become hugely sought after. 

Bloomberg’s investigation also unearthed that the issues are being compounded by outdated production methods and a significant increase in the volume of chips being ordered from industries that previously had little or no need for these hardware parts. 

Curiously it’s also claimed that companies had assumed that lockdowns in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic would actually create less demand for computer-related products. This seems like pretty faulty logic to us; unsurprisingly the last twelve months have seen an explosion of demand for tech products as people look for ways to entertain themselves at home. 

The real kicker for anyone still on the hunt for a PS5 or an Xbox Series X (or any other tech product with limited availability such as an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics card) is that it doesn’t appear that production lines will be expanded in the coming months.

The companies manufacturing these components don’t appear to be interested in tweaking the existing supply lines according to Bloomberg’s report. This could mean that stock shortages for the PS5 and Xbox Series X remain constant throughout this year, and may even get worst as we approach the holiday season. 

While this definitely isn’t the most welcome news if you are in the market for a next-gen gaming system, we’re still tracking PS5 and Xbox Series X restocks in our dedicated buying guides to help tip the odds in your favor when restocks do occur. 

Make sure to bookmark our where to buy a PS5 and where to buy an Xbox Series X guides to ensure you never miss a drop. 

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.