You might be one of the many unlucky souls who wanted a new Xbox Series X for Christmas but just couldn't find one. The shortage of next-gen game consoles is absolutely real, and if you needed any more proof, just look to Raleigh, North Carolina.
The HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021 started last Friday as one of the first Halo Infinite tourneys to feature the biggest names in esports. Teams like OpTic, G2, eUnited, and Cloud9 were all competing for a $250,000 prize, with Cloud9 eventually emerging as the winner.
However, players might have noticed that their game consoles were a little different from the Xbox Series Xs you'd see in-stores. That's because 343 esports were forced to use Microsoft dev kits for the tournament because every available Series X was being sent to retail outlets for the holidays.
"Heads up open bracket players – you'll be playing this weekend on Series X development consoles," wrote 343 esports lead Tahir Hasandjekic just a few days before the start of the tournament (courtesy of Kotaku). "They're functionally identical and will be operating in 'Retail' mode so it's the exact same experience, they just look a little different."
There are lots of reasons why the global supply chain is as messed up as it is, but the biggest one is the chip shortage. The vast majority of the world's computer chips come from one place: TSMC, and they just can't meet the growing demand for chips anymore. Combine that with the logistical snafus caused by the ongoing pandemic along with unprecedented demand for new game consoles and you've got a recipe for millions of disappointed holiday shoppers. And apparently, at least one esports tournament needed to get creative for the show to go on.
Don't expect things to get better anytime soon, either. Phil Spencer expects Xbox shortages to continue into next year, and Intel doesn't think there will be enough chips to go around until 2023. That's why Sony is looking into making its own computer chips for its PS5 console.
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