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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Waiting for PS5 or Ola S1 e-scooter? Blame the global chip shortage for longer wait times

Without enough chips available, companies are either delaying launches or the products are expected to go out of stock as soon as they become available. Experts suggest the situation will only get worse during the peak holiday season when demand will fast outstrip supply.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
Updated: November 24, 2021 5:32:52 pm
Sony is struggling to produce enough PS5s to meet the high demand, thanks to the ongoing chip shortage. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

The year is about to end, and the global semiconductor shortage continues to create havoc for tech companies as well as automakers. The situation hasn’t improved a bit, with products like the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch OLED and some iPhone models still continuing to be hard to buy. The latest to join the queue is the Ola S1, which has been delayed by at least a month due to a shortage of computer chips.

Without enough chips available, companies are either delaying launches or the products are expected to go out of stock as soon as they become available. Experts suggest the situation will only get worse during the peak holiday season when demand will fast outstrip supply.

Here are the products that are hit hard by the global semiconductor shortage.

PlayStation 5

When the PlayStation 5 made its debut towards the end of last year, it sold out immediately and instantly became the hottest device in the market. While its limited retail availability was always on cards due to high demand, nobody knew the semiconductor shortage would make the console literally out-of-reach for millions of customers. Even to this date, getting a PS5 is nearly impossible with restocks selling out quickly. The chip shortage is likely to be blamed for making the PS5 so hard to buy with shipping difficulties adding to delays.

Because Sony is unable to bring more PS5s to the market, scalpers have taken advantage of the issue by reselling the console for prices exceeding the suggested retail price. Despite the ongoing chip shortages, Sony did manage to sell an impressive 13.4m PlayStation 5 consoles worldwide. However, the company recently warned that it expects to make fewer PS5s. In a way, Sony has indicated that it will be a lot difficult to secure a PS5 this holiday season.

“Semi-conductor shortage is a global phenomenon for the foreseeable future which has impacted various businesses and industries, and India is no exception,” Sunil Nayyar, Managing Director at Sony India told indianexpress.com. Although Nayyar did not comment on the PS5 restock updates, he did say the company has sufficient inventories in place for the home entertainment segment such as soundbars and party speakers to maintain the supply chain without any disruption in the near future. “At the same time, no shortage is expected in the personal audio category such as headphones, earphones and Bluetooth speakers,” he added.

Read our review of the PlayStation 5, in case you are interested in knowing more about the next-generation console.

chip shortage, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 delays, PlayStation 5, Ola S1, Ola electric scooter, PS5, PS5 sale in India, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, Ola S1 Ola S1 electric scooter. (Image credit: Ola)

Ola S1

Ola’s in-demand S1 electric scooter is dogged by semiconductor shortage as the company has delayed deliveries by up to a month. The first batch of deliveries was scheduled for the end of November but now has been pushed further due to a lack of chips and other key components.

“Due to the ongoing global shortage of chipsets and electronic parts, there are some unavoidable delays to your Ola S1,” the company said in an email to customers. “We apologise for this delay and assure you that we are ramping up production as fast as we can so you can get your Ola S1 at the earliest,” said the email, seen by indianexpress.com. The estimated delivery timeline for the S1 will now be between Dec 15-31. Despite the delays, the company still offers test drives in key metro cities and promises to expand the availability of test drives to customers across 1000 cities by Dec 15.

Even if Ola manages to deliver the first batch of e-scooters, it will be challenging for the company to keep up with strong demand. Low semiconductor supplies may further delay the availability of the electric scooter, which has been hyped by Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal. Ola has stopped taking any new bookings for its S1 scooter for now but the company is likely to restart bookings by Dec 16, sources told indianexpress.com.

chip shortage, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 delays, PlayStation 5, Ola S1, Ola electric scooter, PS5, PS5 sale in India, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, Ola S1 Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

iPhone 13 and MacBook Pros

Unlike other tech companies, Apple usually does not face supply chain issues. But this year is different. After launching the iPhone 13 in September and the new MacBook Pros in October, Apple did acknowledge that some of its products may be hard to get this shopping season.

Although at the time of writing the iPhone 13 series and new MacBook Pros are available to buy on Apple’s online store, the situation might change in the coming months. The Cupertino-based tech giant, known for being the champion in the supply chain, said it took a hit of $6 billion due to chip shortages and manufacturing disruptions in the last quarter.

A report by Nikkei citing unnamed sources said Apple has reduced production of the iPad in order to shift those components for use in iPhone 13. The chip shortage has impacted Apple but is not as significantly as other companies. Those who are planning to buy the new iPhone 13 series, expect shipping delays on certain models especially on the higher end.

chip shortage, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 delays, PlayStation 5, Ola S1, Ola electric scooter, PS5, PS5 sale in India, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, Ola S1 Xbox Series X. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Xbox Series X

It’s not just the PS5, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X has also been hard to find in the market. Tech insiders believe Microsoft did a better job at handling the supply of Xbox Series X initially but since the demand for the console remains high, buying one right now is nearly impossible. Microsoft’s Xbox boss Phil Spencer warned of ongoing shortages in September, saying the Xbox supply issues will last into 2022.

The Redmond company doesn’t release sales figures for its Xbox hardware but experts suggest the Xbox Series X is the fastest-selling Xbox. Like in the case of the PS5, the chip crisis has made it difficult to produce enough Xbox Series X. And then there’s this shortage of shipping containers resulting in companies considering expensive alternatives to deliver game consoles from factories to retailers. Sony has reportedly started using air freight to get an increased amount of PS5 stock into the UK.

Read our review of the Xbox Series X to know more about what it’s like to play games on the next-generation console.

Nintendo Switch OLED. (Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo Switch OLED

There aren’t enough Switches in the market, and the new model with the OLED screen is seemingly always out-to-stock in many parts of the world. The Japanese gaming titan is badly impacted by the chip crisis and the company now expects to sell 24 million Switch consoles by the end of the fiscal year, down from a previous projection of 25.5 million units. The Switch is a mass-market game console but the ongoing semiconductor shortage is making it difficult to produce enough units.

Unlike Sony or Microsoft which do not make a ton of money by selling hardware, Nintendo’s business model is different. The company makes profit on its hardware unit but also earns cash by selling games that are exclusive to the platform. Nintendo was one of the big winners of the global pandemic last year, with the hit game “Animal Crossing” which is an example of a metaverse-style game where players can build their own worlds.

Steam Deck

Valve’s Steam Deck is delayed too. The portable console was supposed to hit retail shelves this holiday season but will now launch in February next year, missing an initial December release date. Valve is blaming the global chip supply issues for the delay. “We’re sorry about this—we did our best to work around the global supply chain issues, but due to material shortages, components aren’t reaching our manufacturing facilities in time for us to meet our initial launch dates,” the company said in a blog post.

Even before the delay, it was expected that getting your hands on the Steam Deck would be difficult. Valve isn’t to be blamed, but the delay in the Steam Deck shows that for many companies which cannot match the scale of Apple nor have the grip on the supply chain launching a new product at this time is not going to be easy.

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