Tech site SemiAccurate is reporting that Microsoft has experienced major problems manufacturing the chips for the unannounced Xbox 720, which could force them to delay the console’s planned 2013 launch.
According to the report, the console’s chip, dubbed “Oban”, is providing much lower-than-usual yields [the yield is the number of production units produced during the microchip manufacturing process that actually turn out to be functional chips]. Apparently the yield is so low that it is at best described as “painfully low”, and would need some work to bring it up to “horrid” levels.
To try and solve the problem with the Oban chip Microsoft has contracted with three separate factories, with the hope that one of them will find a breakthrough and increase the yield.
The catch is that Microsoft has only scheduled for “two months of slack in the supply chain”. The report claims that the Xbox 720 is being planned for a September 2013 launch, meaning that the chip manufacturing problem would have to be completely solved by next February at the latest. Anything later would force Microsoft to delay their launch plans until 2014.
Keep in mind that all of this, including the existence of the Xbox 720, is rumor at this point. With that said, Microsoft does not have a good track record of producing quality hardware, so it’s hard not to believe that they have run into some manufacturing issues.