EIGHTEEN months on from the launch of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, the consoles are no easier to get hold of.
Global stock shortages have plagued the elusive machines since release – leaving millions of gamers high and dry.
And according to one major U.S. tech firm, there’s no end in sight to the shortfall any time soon.
Intel says it expects the global microchip shortage that’s driving the dearth of console stock to continue until 2024.
Those chips, also known as semi-conductors, power everything from cars and laptops to smart fridges.
They’ve been in short supply since the start of the pandemic as lockdowns slowed production and demand skyrocketed.
Factories were producing fewer chips than usual for months while consumers clamoured for more laptops, smart TVs and consoles.
As a result, there’s a backlog that’s showing no signs of slowing up, according to Intel boss Pat Gelsinger.
Speaking to CNBC last week, Gelsinger – CEO of one of the world’s biggest chip manufacturers – revisited an earlier prediction that the chip shortage could end in 2023.
He now claims it will carry on into the following year, blaming the ongoing lack of manufacturing tools for disrupting the industry.
“We believe the overall semiconductor shortage will now drift into 2024, from our earlier estimates in 2023,” Gelsinger said.
“Shortages have now hit equipment and some of those factory ramps will be more challenged.”
This will hit many industries in addition to gaming, with major car manufacturers such as Tesla also set to suffer.
Microchips have been in short supply since the start of the pandemic and simply producing more of them is no easy task.
“The industry was at close to capacity already and manufacturers couldn’t increase supply overnight,” analyst Alan Priestley told the BBC last year.
“It would require building a new factory, and just one new factory would take three to four years to build.”
Sony and Microsoft have both made glum predictions about when stock of their new consoles might be in plentiful supply.
In July, Sony CEO Jim Ryan told Reuters: “We’re some time from being able to meet all the demand that’s out there, which makes me feel bad.”
Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer has said the shortage will continue well into 2022.
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