If we were to look at the last six months on the computer market - even if only from the perspective of a gamer - from the perspective of game releases, we would see a successful period. Unfortunately, it's hard to enjoy the debut of new components and 9th-gen consoles, when the acquisition of both borders on miracle (not necessarily in the case of Xbox Series X/S). Partial blame for this lies with scalpers and crypto miners, but the main cause are the problems with production. Unfortunately, nothing is likely to improve in the near future. On the contrary, according to The Guardian, the situation can only get worse, which will probably result in higher prices of electronic devices.
The Guardian's article points to two reasons for the crisis. The first are the aforementioned problems with production of components used by various manufacturers, such as semiconductors. However, this mainly concerned the initial stage of the pandemic, as companies have now adapted to the restrictions imposed by governments in connection with COVID-19.
Ironically, the second reason for supply problems is the increased demand for electronics. On the one hand, this is supposed to be a result of changing lifestyles due to forced stay at home, which translates into more frequent purchases of computers, smartphones, etc. On the other hand, companies launched new models of GPU and consoles, but also smartphones, TVs, and cars, which encourages spending. All of these use chips, but manufacturers are unable to provide a regular supply sufficient to meet market needs.
"Chips are everything. There is a perfect storm of supply and demand factors going on here. But basically, there is a new level of demand that can’t be kept up with, everyone is in crisis and it is getting worse," says analyst Neil Campling of Mirabaud Group, quoted by The Guardian.
The effects of these shortages are all too visible. We constantly write about problems with buying new GeForce or Radeon cards, and PlayStation 5. Some time ago we also mentioned possible problems in the smartphone market and recently Samsung warned about the unavailability of devices due to insufficient supplies of semiconductors (via Bloomberg). The situation is no better for car manufacturers. At the beginning of the year, Ford was forced to temporarily close a car factory in Louisville, Kentucky due to lack of chips (via Assembly Mag).
An interesting and quite different evidence of the scale of the problem is a report from Japan, where the repair of a Renesas chip factory after a fire has grown to become a de facto national undertaking. Japanese car manufacturers (including Toyota) are helping to repair the damage, and the Japanese Ministry of Finance is also encouraging support for the initiative (cited by Bloomberg). Much earlier the reasons for the lack of chips for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S came under investigation by the U.S. government at the behest of President Joe Biden.
These and other facts clearly show how dire the situation is. One would like to console oneself that after more than a year the coronavirus situation should begin to normalize and, as a result, manufacturers will be able to drop some of the more pesky restrictions (and price increases). However, it's enough to look at the situation in the world to realize how illusory hope this is.
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