For all of us soaked into the gaming world, we are facing some challenges lately. PlayStation
5 and the new Xbox Series consoles have been out there for some months but still are
extremely hard to find. You might find an Xbox Series S out in wild, if you are lucky enough
but you are more likely to spot the Yeti during your camping trip than score an Xbox Series X
or PS5 any time soon.
Scalpers are making it extremely hard for us who want to purchase a gaming console at a
fair price. These shopping outlaws are most of the time using snipe bots to purchase the
small stock of consoles put out to then resell them at double their price.
At this point, not the stores nor the law are doing anything for us consumers, so our only
weapon is playing the patience game and does not buy from these people. So, you may ask,
why are not these big companies making more consoles? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as
you may think.
For years now, there has been a semi-conductor chip shortage haunting the tech market.
And the same response applies to the chips. It’s not that easy to just make more chips.
Car manufacturers are suffering from this shortage also, it’s not just the gaming industry.
Word has it that the chip shortages was originated by crypto-currency miners. This activity is
power hungry to its limits and requires hundreds and hundreds of graphic cards.
Of course, this not only affects console gamers but PC gamers too. If you are not too exigent
about the games you play you can get away with it for a few more years, but if you are into
the “master race” movement you are only going to be disappointed.
Toshiba CEO gave us the heads up that we will have to deal with this shortage at least until
2023. That’s a lot of time in a constantly changing gaming industry. Fortunately, companies
like Xbox are betting on cloud gaming and still supporting their current platform, the Xbox
One, so Xbox players will be busy for a while.
Now that we know what the problem is, what do we do to keep feeding this beloved hobby.
Here are some options for you.
The challenge of videogaming in 2021
Nintendo switch was released worldwide in 2017. While it suffered from a shortage at
launch day you can easy purchase a console online or at stores today.
It’s the successor of the failed WiiU (loved by the ones who owned it) and Nintendo 3ds. It’s
a hybrid console, where you can either play in portable mode or you can use a dock to
charge your console and play the games on a big screen TV.
The catalog has grown widely since launch date and, now most of Nintendo’s Ips are present, with either new exclusive games or ports that were note played by the few WiiU owners a few years back.
There have been three hardware revisions already and even a Switch Lite without TV
docking capabilities, including the latest version with its screen upgraded to Oled.
Also, Nintendo fans can finally catch up with the latest generation of classics such as Skyrim
and L.A Noire.
Phone and tablet gaming
We all have phones and probably a tablet laying around the house somewhere. Phones are
getting bigger and faster; the possibilities are endless. Phones have, in a way, replaced
portable consoles. While real gamers still prefer to stick to an actual dedicated console for
portable gaming, the market has been shrinking due to most casual gamers moving into the
phone gaming world, and you can’t blame them. The screen looks sharp, they are fast, and
everyone has one already, so no extra investment has to be made.
The advantage of gaming on your phone is that most of the games are fairly cheap. Most
games that would be considered expensive cost as low as 10 dollars when they are not free.
These devices are capable of playing popular games such as Fortnite, PUBG, Call of duty and
Among us. These games have cut deep into the gaming community. As we mentioned
before, everyone has a phone that means there are games for everyone across all ages.
If you are and old school gamer, you’ll find games such as Sega classics that you can play for
free and unlock for just a small fraction of the money you would have paid for them back in
the 90’s. Also, you can run emulators to re-play those classics you love from your childhood
Finally, there’s even a new Contra game, free to play for you to enjoy.
If you are more of a casual gamer, you have available classics such as candy crush, the
treasures of Montezuma or even Tetris. There are huge options of online gambling games as
well that appeal to the many, regardless of the player’s background. Today, for example,
there are specialized casinos in Arab countries, such as Arabian betting, for those who
cannot visit a land-based casino. The advantages offered by a casino as such are extensive.
The experience at any table dedicated to games such as roulette or blackjack is unique, as
they offer a live dealer to play safely. In addition, the bonuses are varied, such as welcome
bonuses or live dealer bonuses.
Cloud gaming platforms
While still new and a bit rough around the edges, if you live in a country with good internet
access you can get away with playing AAA games on the devices you already own. Cloud
gaming consists of streaming games over the internet from servers directly into your
devices, either a low end PC, cellphones or a table. Some even work on TV’s.
Google Stadia requires you to purchase a controller and a subscription of 9,99 a month
which includes a few games. Otherwise, you can buy games from their store and no
subscription is needed.
GeForce now. This service is very interesting. It allows you to stream your Steam and Epic
library to supported Android devices. They add new supported games every Thursday so the
list keeps growing. You can play games on your smart TV, for example. Or you can use your
low budget computer to play even with ray-tracing on.
The cost of the service is 9,99 dollars and it offers an annual payment for 99,99 dollars.
Xcloud is another option. Xbox has launched this Beta access for the service at the
beginning of the year. It’s included in the acclaimed Gamepass Ultimate service, and it
features more than one hundred games between 3 rd party and Xbox exclusives.
It works on Android devices, IOS devices, Windows and Mac. IOS and Mac are supported
through browser only. You can use an Xbox controller or, if you are on a mobile device there
are some games that have touch control option.
Microsoft stated that by the end of the year, Xcloud will be available on Xbox one consoles
too which means you will be able to play the new Series X exclusive games on your previous
generation hardware without the need for an upgrade. Xbox is working its way up to attract
The price for this service depends on your location, but it’s around 15 dollars a month. This
service also includes Games with Gold, which is the service to play online Xbox games. It’s a
dream come true for gamers.
PSnow is the response to Gamepass from Sony. It gives you the option to play in the cloud
on PC or download on your PS4/PS5. The Japanese juggernaut includes some of its
acclaimed exclusive franchises such as God of War or The Last of us. The price is 9,99 dollars
a month or 59,99 dollars a year. It’s a very good option if you can’t get your hands on a PS5
while the shortage lasts.
Keep your old console
Another option that is not often considered is keep squeezing fun out of your current
console, if you happen to have one already.
Truth is that the consoles catalog nowadays is big enough to fill a lifetime of fun. Not
hundred but thousands of games are available for current gen consoles and some of them
are even backwards compatible which means you’ll have more than one generation of
Maybe you can dig under the surface and look for those obscure hidden gems and get a few
extra hours until the chip shortage is history. It’s not the most fun option, but this combined
with cellphone gaming you can spend countless hours on your favorite hobby.
There’s a phrase you hear a lot: “I have nothing to play!” Well, let me tell you that in 2021,
that excuse is not valid.
If you have a PC, a phone or a tablet you have options. You can play free-to-play games,
online casino games or purchase games for less than the price of a coffee. If you want to
spend some money and have the right internet connection you can go for cloud gaming, and
if you are lucky enough to have a previous gen console you can stick to it, plus all the above
and have the time of your life. Probably, by the time you get bored with all these options
the semi-conductor chip shortage will be over and the console you want will lower its price.