To help combat the global chip shortage, Sony is teaming up with TMSC and the Japanese government to set up a new factory.
Part of the reason why getting your hands on a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, or high-end PC hardware is so difficult is due to a global computer chip shortage. This came about due to the sudden surge in demand for electronic entertainment while people were stuck at home shielding from the coronavirus.
While the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have sold extremely well despite the shortages, it’s still not easy to get your hands on one of them, with Xbox head Phil Spencer predicting that console shortages could persist until well into 2022.
Sony is so sick of the problems that it’s going to set up its own factory to make the chips it needs itself. According to a Nikkei report covered by Reuters, Sony is entering a joint venture with Taiwanese company TMSC to build the factory in Japan, with the Japanese government also ready to pay some of the ¥800 billion investment (about £5.2 billion).
It doesn’t sound like it would only make components for Sony’s products, however. The plant is said to also produce things like semiconductors for automobiles and camera image sensors.
If you’re hoping this will immediately end the console shortages by next year, you’d best stop hoping as the factory isn’t expected to start operating until 2024.
Both Sony and TMSC declined to comment on the report, but TMSC had said in July that it was reviewing a plan to set up production in Japan – although it never mentioned anything about Sony at the time.
At the beginning of September, Toshiba warned that the console shortages could last until 2023. AMD’s CEO offered a more optimistic prediction earlier this month, saying that the chip shortage could be over by the second half of 2022, although the first half would be ‘tight.’
It’s worth remembering that the lack of chips isn’t the only contributing factor to the console shortages. While he didn’t specify what the other factors were, Phil Spencer said it’s ‘probably too isolated to talk about it as just a chip problem,’ mentioning multiple ‘pinch points’ in the process of building consoles and getting them to market.
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