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News hardware & software 08 April 2021, 20:09

author: Hubert Sledziewski

Production of PS5 is Stalled by Lack of Parts for $1

In May, it will be half a year since the launch of PlayStation 5, and the purchase of Sony consoles remains difficult. The blame for the lack of hardware on the shelves turns out to be small chips, the production of which costs only a dollar.

Buying a PlayStation 5, despite the fact that the console is available on the market since last November, still, unfortunately, requires more than just a few clicks or going to the store. Sony's console, when it is available, sales like hot cakes, and the next delivery isn't coming untila a few weeks later. All of this is due to the shortages semiconductors - small parts that cost around 1 dollar to produce.

The chips in question are the so-called display drivers. Their only task is to transmit basic instructions concerning screen backlighting. They are used in consoles as well as in telephones, monitors or navigation systems - generally in everything that has a computer in it. That's why the new consoles - both PS5 and XSX|S - are so hard to buy these days.

Production of PS5 is Stalled by Lack of Parts for $1 - picture #1
"We suffer the torments of fear and doubt for... something so small. So tiny." Source New Line Cinema.

Almost as big a problem is the shortage of chips responsible for power management in devices. They're - right next to display control chips - the most unique components in supply chains whose shortage is holding up global electronics production, including the PS5.

If you're wondering whether it's possible to manufacture consoles without these parts... the answer is: no. Stacy Rasgon, who covers the semiconductor industry at Sanford C. Bernstein, shed some more light on the issue (via Bloomberg):

“It’s not like you can just make do [without the chip - editorial note]. If you have everything else, but you don’t have a display driver, then you can’t build your product.”

There are hundreds of types of chips produced in the semiconductor industry. Some cost $100 and some as much as $1000. If these were in short supply, the situation would be easier to understand. Giants like Qualcomm and Intel are doing what they can to meet the ever-increasing demand, but we shouldn't expect an excess of the troublesome parts anytime soon. The scale of the problem is well reflected in the words of Jordan Wu, co-founder and CEO of Himax Technologies, one of the leading semiconductor suppliers (via Bloomberg):

“I have never seen anything like this in the past 20 years since our company’s founding, Every application is short of chips.”

So if you were hoping that soon, after the restrictions are lifted, you will go to your favorite electromarket and just buy your dream console, you may be sorely disappointed. It doesn't look like the situation is going to change overnight, and the only right strategy seems to be to keep calm.

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