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Potential PS5 production shortage might not be that bad

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Update - September 15: Sony has now denied reports that PS5 production was shorted due to chip constraints. You can find more information here

Original story: 

Sony is reportedly cutting the production of PS5 consoles by four million units, but a potential drop in production is unlikely to be felt by consumers until 2021. According to Bloomberg, Sony was originally planning to produce 15 million PS5 consoles by the end of March 2021, up from original plans to make 5-6 million units. However, production issues with a custom-designed system-on-chip have forced Sony to cut that figure back down to 11 million in the same timeframe. While that’s a significant dip, the extent to which it will be felt by consumers might not be so severe.

In its first six months, the PS4 sold 7.5 million units. In order to sell that many consoles, industry analyst Daniel Ahmad suggests that Sony would have produced around 10 million units. If Bloomberg’s 15-million unit report is accurate, even with the cut to supply, Sony will still have produced more PS5s in the new console’s first year than the number of PS4s it made in 2013-14.

That bodes relatively well for consumers, and as Sony is said to have begun production in July and is planning to use air freight to expedite the PS5’s distribution process, if you’re planning to pick up a console at launch, it’s looking like you’ll be relatively well catered for. While supply is up, however, Ahmad suggests that “the real question is how high is demand?”

Sony has clearly been expecting higher-than-usual demand for its new console - its decision to double its launch day stock plans suggests the company assumes the PS5 will be particularly highly sought-after. A number of highly-acclaimed PS4 exclusives in recent years have also raised Sony’s profile compared to its competitors. It’s looking increasingly likely, however, that Microsoft has managed to significantly undercut Sony’s pricing model with its own consoles. 

We already know the prices for both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and the most recent PS5 price leaks suggest that Microsoft’s consoles will be $100 cheaper than their Sony equivalents. Tomorrow’s PS5 showcase is likely to confirm the console’s price and reveal more about its launch line-up, but Microsoft has certainly outmanoeuvred Sony in the run-up to the beginning of next-gen, which could see demand for the new Xbox rise at the expense of the PS5.

If there is a discrepancy between supply and demand, Ahmad says that the issue won’t hit until 2021, by which time Sony might have managed to solve the worst of its production woes. The change in output “does seem more severe than expected,” but Ahmad does point out that “production yield issues will always exist, especially at the beginning of a console launch.” Either way, if you’re a die-hard Sony fan and don’t want to take the risk, it might be a good idea to get your pre-orders in sooner rather than later.

For more info, here are all the upcoming PS5 games confirmed so far.