Report: PlayStation 5 and X Box Series X production increasing PCB demand

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The price of the Xbox Series X and PS5 may be more than $500.
Image: Cody DeBos / The Burn-In

The mass production of Sony’s PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is driving demand for Taiwanese-made printed circuit boards (PCB), reports DigiTimes. The publication notes the region’s PCB makers expect the consoles’ imminent launch to boost their revenue through the fourth quarter.

However, the island’s electronic components manufacturers have encountered production problems caused by intense consumer interest in the new systems.

PS5 and Xbox Series X Launches Benefit Taiwanese PCB Vendors

Like many conglomerates, Sony and Microsoft maintain global supply chains to facilitate their new product introductions and device refreshes.

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For instance, both corporations depend on Santa Clara, California-based AMD to design the chipsets to power their next-generation consoles. The two firms also rely on Taiwan’s thriving semiconductor industry to produce their PCBs.

DigiTimes notes Nan Ya PCB Corporation and Unimicron Technology Corporation are manufacturing substrates for the upcoming gaming systems. The component makers have the resources to produce Ajinomoto Build-up Film (ABF) substrates, which the consoles need to support AMD’s custom 7nm processors.

In addition, Nan YA, as well as HannStar Board and Tripod Technology, are fabricating rigid motherboards for the latest iterations of the PlayStation and Xbox.

Thanks to all that production activity, some of Taiwan’s semiconductor firms will exit 2020 in strong financial condition. That said, some of the area’s component companies are struggling to keep up with all the interest in its offerings.

Demand is Outpacing Supply

Currently, Sony has plans to manufacture around 11 million PS5 units by the end of the fiscal year. Similarly, Microsoft intends to release two different versions of its new flagship console this November. Both corporations expect brisk sales of their latest consoles due to conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, the two technology companies have put considerable strain on their supply lines to hit their production targets. In February, the conglomerates encountered problems sourcing reasonably priced flash memory modules. Earlier this month, Sony reportedly slashed its PS5 output quotas because of a shortage of system-on-a-chips (SoCs).

Microsoft and Sony’s component vendors have not produced enough PCBs to meet their partners’ needs. Specifically, Nan Ya and Unimicron are struggling to manufacture adequate quantities of ABF substrates. Taiwan’s leading PCB makers have even taken to contacting smaller local vendors to bolster their output rates.

Ultimately, the region’s semiconductor companies will likely experience a significant surge in earnings because of the PS5 and Xbox Series X deployments. But pandemic related gaming usage has fostered a level of interest in new gaming hardware that no one expected. Consequently, production constraints may force Taiwan’s PCB makers to leave money on the table heading into Q4.

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