Regardless of which console you want to buy, both the Xbox Series X and its little brother, the Xbox Series S, are impossible to find online or in stores.
But why is that?
Why is it so hard for us, other than the scalpers, to get our hands on Microsoft’s next-gen consoles?
In the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of people ask me that question. So, being the question answering kind of guy that I am, I decided to slip on my best research spectacles and start digging for an answer.
This is what I found…
So, why is the Xbox Series X and S out of stock? The Xbox Series X and S is out of stock because:
- supply chain difficulties caused by covid19
- High demand due to lockdown
- Xbox Series X and S’s very low price
- key components hired by other businesses
- Chinese manufacturing shuts down mid-pandemic
- TSMC, the maker of the Xbox Series X/S CPU/GPU, don’t have the capacity
Now, you’ve got a quick answer to your question, I’ll take a look at each reason in more detail.
Then, after divulging the Xbox Series low stock details, I’ll take a brief look at when the stock shortage will end and what you can do in the meantime.
Reasons why the Xbox Series X and S is out of stock everywhere
Covid19 causing difficulties in the supply chain
2020 was a hellscape of a year. Covid 19 washed Tsunami like across every continent on earth, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake.
Covid has shattered Families and brought the world’s industries to their knees.
The economic world stopped, and Xbox Series X and S production along with it.
With the world shut down, Xbox Series components couldn’t be made. Xbox Series X and Ss couldn’t be assembled. And finished Xbox consoles couldn’t be shipped around the world.
Console creation effectively stopped, dead.
Covid19 created an unprecedented demand for games
Governments of the world had few weapons to fight covid.
But one of those weapons was lockdown: telling the citizens of the world to say home and avoid seeing people at all costs.
Overnight, the world fell silent. Streets were swept empty by the lockdown. Cars, busses, and pedestrians vanished. The only company for the concrete jungle was the titter of playing foxes and the flitter of birds.
People across the world craved escapism. And escape was a promise the Xbox Series X and S could definitely keep.
The need to escape the crushing psychological weight of lockdown drove demand for consoles and interest in gaming beyond all expectations.
Both The Xbox Series X and S were extremely well priced
Another major reason both the Xbox Series X and S sold out is because of their low price tags.
The Xbox Series X retails for $499 dollars.
The Xbox Series S retails for an even smaller $299 dollars.
To give you some idea of much value you are getting in Microsoft’s consoles, you need to look no further than the price of a comparable gaming PC.
A gaming PC that is as powerful as the 12 teraflop Xbox Series X would cost you roughly $1800. And that doesn’t even include a mouse, keyboard, and controller. That makes the Xbox Series X 3.6 times better value than a comparable gaming PC.
And it’s even better for the 4 teraflop Series S. A comparable gaming PC would cost about $1500! 5 times cheaper than a comparable gaming PC, the Series S even better value than the Series X.
These low prices have driven demand to unprecedented extremes. And that’s before we factor in the Covid effect.
Electronic component hoarding
In response to the pandemic. Companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei were hoarding components to ensure their products continued to be produced.
This hoarding caused problems for the likes of Microsoft as they faced difficulty acquiring key components for Xbox Series S and X production.
Will Bright, co-founder and chief product officer at Drop, stated that there is a “chip stockpiling arms race”.
Also, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, has openly admitted that chip shortages will last at least until the middle of 2021. Which is bad news considering AMD design the Xbox Box Series X and S’s CPU/GPU combo.
Covid shut down Chinese manufacturing hubs
Covid ripped across the earth like a meteorite’s apocalyptic shockwave.
Civilization staired the threat of imminent collapse in the face.
In response, a war between humankind and covid erupted. Lockdowns and social distancing were held aloft as the weapons with which the war would be won.
But no weapon can be used without consequence…
As lockdown’s grip tightened around the throats of countries, economies wheezed what seemed like their last breaths.
In China, manufacturing centers became ghost towns. The “world’s factory” had no choice but to throw down tools in the wake of covid’s unwavering assault.
And the Xbox Series X and S’s production suffered immeasurably for it.
TSMC, Taiwan’s premier chip manufacturer, is at capacity
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC for short, is the world’s premier chip-making foundry and the maker of millions of semiconductor products for thousands of companies across the globe.
AMD, the designer of the Xbox Series X and S GPU/CPU combo, contracted out the production of the chips to TSMC.
But there was a problem:
The rest of the world also needed TSMC to make their chips.
Massive demand meant that TSMC’s fabrication plants were stretched to their capacity limits.
With no extra capacity available, no extra consoles could be made to meet the world’s demand.
Scalpers: People who buy in-demand products using nefarious means to resell those products at vastly inflated prices.
Scalpers have bought vast quantities of Xbox Series X and Ss across the world by using a legion of bots to do their bidding.
These automated bots scour the internet looking for Xbox Series stock. When they find a console for sale they automatically strike with efficiency and speed far beyond our biology.
Once in hand, Scalpers then resell these Xbox’s for inflated prices on websites like eBay.
This action of buying many Xbox Series X and Ss limits the real-world stock available to end users like me and you.
This shifts the supply curve lower while demand stays high. This leads to artificial scarcity which drives prices higher.
While the scalpers keep on buying supply will stay low.
When will the Xbox Series X and S shortage end
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the Xbox Series X and S shortage does not look like it will end any time before summer 2021.
Some industry insiders are suggesting that the shortage will even stretch into 2022.
But expect the shortages of the Xbox Series X to last longer than the Xbox Series S because the demand for the Xbox Series X is expected to be greater.
What to do in the meantime
If you can’t get an Xbox Series console there are still plenty of other games and activities you can do instead.
Try a few of these:
Unplayed Xbox One games
Work through your back catalog of Xbox One games.
You probably have a library of Xbox One games you’ve never got around to playing. For me, I never got around to playing Gear of War 4. You should go back, take a look at your unplayed games, and give some of them a go.
Also, check the secondary market. Older Xbox One games can be bought dirt-cheap.
For example, I bought Assassins Creed: Odyssey: Legendary Edition (Legendary edition gives you all the DLC plus a much-needed XP bonus) in the PSN Sale (it wasn’t on sale on Xbox live at the time) for just £24 pounds. I’ve sunk over 60 hours into it so far.
Buy a different last-gen console
There are loads of fantastic exclusives on Sony’s and Nintendo’s consoles.
For example, the PS4 has the stupendous The Last of Us: Part Two. And I can honestly say, it’s worth buying a PS4 just to play this game. It’s that good.
Why not jump in the time machine and visit the games of yesteryear?
There are loads of retro consoles readily available that can be bought cheaply. You could give games on the Xbox 360, PS3, or original Xbox (remember the DUKE?) a try.
In fact, I’m playing through Super Tennis on the SNES mini at the moment.
Pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill
Instead of pining over your long lost Xbox Series X, why not pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill.
Not having a new Xbox is painful. I get that. But the vacuum the Xbox’s absence has created can be filled with something far more fulfilling and rewarding.
Learn how to set up a Youtube gaming channel. Learn how to design platform game levels Learn how to paint. Learn how to train like a professional gamer. Start that game development course so you can finally change your career.
The Xbox Series X and S give you the gift of time in thier absence.
Don’t waste it.
It’s that time in the article where I like to summarise all the major points I touched on in the article:
- There is no Xbox Series X or S stock because:
- Covid19 caused difficulties in the supply chain
- Unprecedented demand brought on by covid19 lockdowns
- Both the Xbox Series X and S offer fantastic value for their price
- Electronic components have been hoarded by other businesses
- Chinese manufacturers shut down in the middle of the pandemic hampering Xbox Series production
- TSMC, the maker of the Xbox’s SOC, overwhelmed with other orders by many other companies
- Scalpers are buying Xbox Series X and Ss creating artificial scarcity
- The shortage is not expected to end until, at the earliest the 3rd quarter of 2021
- If you can’t get an Xbox Series X or S there are still plenty of other games to play
- Try working through your back catalog of Xbox One games
- Buy an older PS4 to try PS4 exclusives
- Buy a Nintendo Switch and play its exclusives.
- Play retro games on consoles such as Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, SNES, Genesis
- There are 10s of thousands of games out there to be discovered and played
- Pick up a new hobby
- Learn a new skill
Will my sound system work with the Xbox Series X and S? Well, it depends. Microsoft decided to remove the optical port from the Xbox Series X and S. So if you have a sound system that uses the optical port on your Xbox One or PS4, you may need to either check the Back of Your TV for an optical port or buy an HDMI/Optical port splitter. Take a look at my article here for more info.
Do you actually need the internet to use the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S? First, you absolutely need the internet for the Xbox Series S because it doesn’t have a disk drive. As for the Xbox Series X, like most things to do with these next-gen consoles, it’s complicated. Technically, you don’t need internet to use an Xbox Series X. But in practice, you really should use the internet. Take a look at my article here for a better explanation.