Global chip shortage leaves local gamers in limbo


Gaming hardware

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE shortage of electronic component is a massive blow to the South African gaming industry, which prior to the crisis was estimated to grow by more than R5 billion (US$351,2 million) in 2023.

Semiconductors and substrates for central processing units (CPUs) are the most in short supply, leaving consumers in limbo as they are unable to get their hands on new gaming hardware.

Matthew Hall, Product Director at Rectron, explained the impact on the gaming industry.

“This ultimately affects the consumer as prices will go up for all sorts of electrical products,” Hall said.

Gaming hardware manufacturers have struggled with stock shortages for a year now.

“However, consumers are facing price hikes and shortages of products from TVs and mobile phones to cars as the global shortage in semiconductors grows,” Hall said.

The executive noted some high-end computer and gaming components were selling on auction sites for double the scarce components’ retail prices.

Wait times for new PlayStations and Xboxes may get pushed out further.

“Although it’s not hard to find a good desktop or laptop computer for everyday work, finding gaming PC equipment and game consoles have become more difficult and more expensive in the past few months,” Hall said.

The current chip shortage is the result of factors, including pandemic-related work stoppages, increased demand and disruptions within transportation logistics.

Hall explained the stay-at-home era caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed demand beyond levels projected by chipmakers.

Lockdowns spurred growth in sales of laptops to its highest in a decade.

Home-networking devices, webcams and monitors were bought as office work moved out of the office.

“Electronics companies bought up all extra chips to meet that demand, and when auto companies realised people still wanted cars it was too late,” Hall said.

The gaming industry is estimated to be worth $162,32 billion in 2020 globally. In South Africa it was projected to grow by R3,5 billion in 2018 and R5,44 billion in 2023.

Other industries such as motoring and mobile phone makers are also feeling the pinch.

– CAJ News

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