PS5 Is Seeing Unprecedented Demand But Sony Has An Ambitious Plan To End The Shortage

Sony PlayStation 5
During an investor briefing, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) CEO Jim Ryan offered a blunt assessment of the PS5 stock situation, saying Sony's ability to supply the market with its latest-generation console is "the one area where we've fallen short of expectations." In the next breath, however, he promised that much better days are ahead, in terms of console availability.

The thing is, the shortage is not a cut and dry situation. It's not just a silicon shortage at play, but what Sony says is "unprecedented demand" for the PS5. During its first year on the market, the PS5 outsold the PS4 during its own first year of sales. But then in the second year, the PS5 dipped below how the PS4 had performed "due to supply constraints."

"Covid-19 took its toll on our supply chain in 2021. The situation is starting to improve, although Covid-related uncertainties persist, specifically in the impact that ongoing impact that lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing might have," Ryan said.

PS5 supply chart
Source: Sony

That's the bad news. The good news is that, according to Ryan, the situation is "definitely improving" to the point where he and Sony expect the PS5 to close the gap versus the PS4 in the third year, and then leapfrog ahead again in the PS5's fourth year on the market. Key to this happening is a significant ramp in production.

"Beyond that we're planning heavy further increases in console production taking us to production levels that we've never achieved before," Ryan stated.

That's easy to say, but Sony doesn't have a magic wand it can wave to magically make more PS5 consoles appear in the market. It may not need one, though. Sony claims that by sourcing from multiple suppliers, it will be in a better position to navigate unstable market conditions. It's also banking on logistical negotiations to optimize PS5 delivery routes.

Is it all lip service? Time will tell, though Sony obviously has a vested interest in supplying as many PS5 consoles as possible. Looking at game monetization, spending on PS5 titles is 15 percent higher than PS4 when it came out. Sony is also seeing a higher engagement on PS5, with players spending more time playing games and spending more overall.

What this all means is, you might actually be able to buy a PS5 console this year or next. Fingers crossed, anyway. For those of you who already managed to get one, heads up that Sony's Days of Play 2022 sales event is going on right now, with big discounts on games and accessories.