Next-gen hardware was always going to be in short supply this holiday season. But a new Bloomberg report is stating that the problem is worse than expected for Sony with ‘people familiar with the matter’ telling the news outlet that manufacturing is well below expectations.
The sources say that production yields for the system-on-chip are as low as fifty per cent. Which in turn
Sony’s PS5 chip has less compute units than the Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (XSX) but is running them at a higher clock speed in order to help close the gap. It may be that speed boost (and higher temperatures created) is proving tricky with the new 7nm process that both are using, or that Sony has less contingency (unused compute units) in its chip design to offset such issues (we don’t know as Sony hasn’t provided a full breakdown of the chip to date). Of course, it may be that Microsoft is suffering from similar issues with the XSX as well.
On the plus side the sources say that: “Yields have been gradually improving but have yet to reach a stable level.”
Even if the XSX is suffering from poor yields on the AMD-designed 7nm chip, the shortage might give Xbox an advantage elsewhere, with the lower-complexity, lower-speed chip in the Xbox Series S unlikely to be as badly affected.
Despite a lack of standout day-and-date launch exclusives on both sides, and the economic impact of the pandemic, it was still looking likely that after seven years of the current generation, that next-gen consoles would be in short demand come the end of the year.
The upside of course, is that a lack of launch exclusives mean there won’t be many developers losing sales over a lack of consoles of launch, as there would have been in previous generations. With strong cross-gen compatibility and digital stores, the industry will easily be able to continue to monetise both new and existing consoles this winter.