Where are all of the PlayStations? How gamers are handling the global shortage

Like many gamers in recent weeks, Nicole DeSantis, 33, from outside Philadelphia, combed through social media sites trying to find insider information on where to get a PlayStation 5 this holiday season. Stemming from the global chip shortage, video game consoles this year are particularly hard to come by.

After successfully scoring a unit from Walmart.com, she’s helped more than a half dozen local moms secure various video game consoles for their children. She also posts tips on popular Facebook groups — such as “PS5/XBOX SERIES — RESTOCK,” which has 27,700 members — on how to find them. “You definitely need intel to get a console,” DeSantis told CNN Business. “You can’t just get it without.”

More than a year after their initial launches, Sony’s PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Microsoft’s high-end Xbox offering, the Series X, are still difficult to find. The more recently launched Nintendo Switch OLED model, which launched in October 2021, is even harder to find on shelves and online. Restocks of the devices sell out in minutes, and one incident in Harris County, Texas, even resulted in an armed robbery attempt when a 19-year-old man tried to sell his PS5 to a man he met online.

Supply shortages and logistical issues have impacted many industries, including autos and consumer electronics, but the gaming industry has been hit notably hard as it competes with these other sectors for similar parts. “The supply chain issues that plague other consumer items are more even more pronounced for gaming consoles for a few reasons, namely the chip shortage, logistics backups and bots exploiting the supply and demand imbalance,” Forrester tech analyst Alla Valente told CNN Business.

Late last year, Sony (SNY) pulled back on its forecast to produce 16 million PS5 units between March 2021 and March 2022, adjusting the number to 15 million units. Nintendo (NTDOY) and Microsoft (MSFT) both warned customers earlier this month that console sales will be down stemming from the chip shortage. “We will try our best to meet demand for all of our products, depending on the current situation and any challenges related to shipping and supply chain management,” a spokesperson for Nintendo told CNN Business. “Our goal is to manufacture enough systems to fulfill demand, so that we can satisfy as many consumers as possible.”