Every time a new console generation rolls around, college students’ wallets collectively cry out in pain. Even if you aren’t a console enthusiast, the new generation of systems can serve as a baseline of quality to which PC games aspire, necessitating some form of upgrade. While this has proved somewhat true in former years, 2021 has introduced more challenges to the upgrade idea than ever before.
Demand and Supply
If you’ve wondered why new consoles and computer components like graphics cards are unavailable at the moment, there are three major reasons. The first of these is a manufacturing shortage. In simple terms, the development of high-performance chips can only be achieved in a few places in the world. These manufacturers have seen extreme levels of demand recently, having to split their output over many systems which cuts down on supply for certain specific products.
The second issue, which only exists in the world of graphics cards, is the cryptocurrency mining boom. Having seen an explosion of value recently for currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, a lot of the GPUs that go into uncovering these coins are being bought up in bulk by crypto miners. Using bots and other nebulously legal tricks, new stock can be bought up by these miners as soon as it hits shelves, leaving legitimate gaming customers in the dust. If you’re wondering why you can’t get a 30 series Nvidia card, crypto miners are the answer.
The final major problem is that of scalpers. Much like with crypto miners, scalpers use bots to buy up gaming hardware before most regular customers can. After all the stock is gone, the scalpers put the goods on sale for far above MSRP, acting as middlemen for those who want or need a part right away. This is why PlayStation 5s go out of stock as soon as they arrive, with the problem persisting months after launch.
The Need for an Upgrade
Until the supply starts to catch up to demand, few users are going to be able to get the new gaming systems they want. That said, few players will really need them. In the gaming world, it’s easy to get lost in constantly seeking the most demanding games, but history is full of examples where gameplay trumps graphics anyway.
There are immense libraries of games for new and old systems, and many of these are just as or more engaging than the cutting-edge AAA titles. Perhaps the most popular example of this is illustrated by BonusFinder US’s article on PA casino bonus features. Like their offline cousins, online casinos don’t need to push hardware to its limits, instead finding success through their range of games, welcome and deposit bonuses, and the potential for big wins.
Similar concepts hold to older PC and console gaming, where the range of titles available is in the thousands. If you own a console, then the change of a generation always comes with a price drop in older games, many of which you might have overlooked at launch due to the initial price tag. For PCs, free and cheap games on Steam or key-seller sites can include libraries dating back at least 20 years. Simply put, older doesn’t mean worse, and going back can help you discover gems you missed.
As for when the current lack of supply could be solved, that much is still in question. If you really want a part or console, it’s recommended that you put yourself on the waiting list at a major gaming hardware outlet. These are often given first-choice over direct to customer sales, and since they prevent buying in bulk, such systems can eventually guarantee what you want. Until then, stay strong, remember to take a look outside of your regular gaming wheelhouse, and most of all, don’t play into the game that keeps scalpers coming back.