Global Chip shortage timeline: From COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found solace in video games. However, getting your hands on a new PlayStation 5 console during quarantine proved to be a difficult task for many. While boredom and increased demand played a factor in the console shortage, the root cause is much more complex and highlights a significant supply chain issue.
The shortage of PlayStation 5 consoles is largely due to a shortage of semiconductors, the essential component that powers electronic devices. This shortage has affected many industries, including automobiles and consumer electronics. The pandemic disrupted supply chains and manufacturing processes, causing a ripple effect that led to a shortage of semiconductors.
However, the semiconductor shortage is not solely due to the pandemic. Political tensions and conflicts also played a role. The war in Ukraine, for example, made it nearly impossible to acquire enough semiconductor-grade neon gas, which is used in the manufacturing process. Ukraine was producing nearly 90% of the gas used to manufacture chips in the United States. The political climate and travel restrictions also made it challenging to resupply the chips.
To address this issue, Samsung has made a significant investment in opening a new chip manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas. This investment will eventually help combat the chip shortage, but it will take some time before the facility is fully operational.