According to an insider, Microsoft would have increased the availability of its Xbox Series X thanks to a trick: pay chip suppliers to skip the line.
There’s a reason Microsoft seems to be having less trouble ensuring the continued availability of its Xbox Series X next-generation console . And no, the lesser popularity compared to the Playstation 5 has nothing to do with it.
According to industry insider Nick “Shpeshal Nick” Baker , Microsoft would almost certainly pay chip vendors to skip the line and lessen the damage wrought by the so-called semiconductor crisis. It is simply a hypothesis, but according to the expert, who spoke during an episode of the XboxEra podcast, it would be an extremely likely scenario.
Microsoft has managed to guarantee the availability of its console thanks to frequent restocks , in the same period competing companies, such as Sony, have failed to do the same. Not only that: since the launch of the console, Microsoft has also managed to market a limited edition of the Xbox Series X branded Halo Infinity . Sony has yet to announce a single special edition of its new consoles.
One of the hosts of the podcast revealed that he received a message from his source warning him that Microsoft would significantly increase the availability of the console in the fall of 2021. And indeed, that’s how it went.
The increase in availability of the console is well demonstrated by the price trend in the secondary market. Brand new PS5s still sell for insane prices on platforms such as eBay and StockX, while for the Xbox Series X, resellers often have to settle for a ‘ridge’ of just 50 euros.
We repeat, there is no official confirmation, but Nick “Shpeshal Nick” Baker’s thesis still appears quite likely, if we look at what has happened in other sectors.
Tesla was one of the few automotive brands not to suffer particularly from the so-called semiconductor crisis — even managing to increase the number of vehicles registered both in 2020 and 2021. In the smartphone sector , it was Apple who won the chip war , another brand only marginally penalized by supply-chain problems . Both companies have one thing in common: they were both forward-thinking enough to strike lucrative deals with suppliers before the situation got too bad.
So yes, in times of crisis companies can pay a premium to suppliers in order to guarantee supplies to the detriment of competing companies that do not have the means or the possibilities to make the same agreements.
The cause of the chip crisis can mainly be explained by Covid-19 . On the one hand, the pandemic has blocked the production chain for months, with the factories of Asian suppliers subject to frequent lockdowns imposed by the Chinese authorities (it keeps happening, just look at Shenzhen); on the other hand, consumer demand has also skyrocketed, forced to stay at home all the time due to lockdowns or the transition to so-called smart working. The result has been the bogging down of the entire supply chain, with very serious delays that have had serious repercussions on the entire consumer electronics industry.