Since November 2020, PlayStation fans have had major difficulties getting their hands on a PS5. While 4.5 million consoles were reportedly shipped last year, the production line is still facing extreme delays. It means if you’re planning on purchasing the console in 2021, you could still be waiting in the months to come.
In a February earnings report, Sony explained that the reason for the lack of available stock is down to the global shortage of semiconductors and other essential parts. “It is difficult for us to increase production of the PS5 amid the shortage of semiconductors and other components,” Hiroki Totoki, Sony CFO, told investors during the report briefing.
These shortages are down to a combination of factors: U.S. regulation restricting the sale of semiconductors from China, and the supply chain deficiencies caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Essentially, less money going into chip sales and the need for coronavirus safety practices has meant an overall loss of production volume.
Despite these shortages, Totoki promised the company was doing “everything in [its] power to ship as many units as possible” to PlayStation fans.
The report made clear the PS5 has still been a major success, with Sony improving profits in the “holiday 2020” quarter by a whopping 50 per cent year-on-year. The company has forecast its best fiscal year on record for its gaming division in 2021 due to the release of the new console and a subsequent increase in PlayStation Plus subscriptions.
There were significant losses from the production of the console, however.
According to Sony, the manufacturing cost of the PS5 actually exceeds the $749 price point, which means the console is selling at a loss. The strategy behind this decision is to create a reasonably-priced console to encourage accessibility for all consumers. This loss is then made up with increased digital sales and subscriptions. With ongoing incentives like ‘Play At Home’ free games for PlayStation Plus users, there are plenty of reasons to sign up.
Another key takeaway from the briefing was that digital sales are on the rise 63 per cent of Sony’s game sales were digital in 2020, indicating a major shift in attitude from customers. According to Ars Technica, the interest in digital sales has increased year-on-year since 2018, when digital sales made up just 43 per cent of all games sold. While coronavirus has had a significant impact on the decisions of consumers to purchase digital games, it still indicates a major shift towards an all-digital future.
If you’re still in the market for a PS5 you’ll have to wait a bit longer for regular stock to hit stores, but there is hope. There’s currently no word on when stock shortages will ease, but stock drops for the console are currently increasing in frequency.
Keep an ear out (and stay tuned to Kotaku Australia) and you might just get lucky.