Consumers still looking to purchase Sony's PS5 will have to contend with even less consoles to go around throughout this holiday shopping season. On a conference call late last month whose details are only now surfacing via Blommberg, Sony Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki told investors that logistics and parts procurement for the PS5 had become increasingly difficult. According to people familiar with the current situation at Sony, it seems that the company has reduced its PlayStation 5 production outlook for this fiscal year due to these constraints.
Initially hoping to have delivered 16 million PS5 consoles by March next year, Sony has now cut its PS5 sales guidance by one million consoles; and a lower number of manufactured consoles naturally translates into lower consoles for sale. The supply chain issues had already manifested in lower than expected PS5 console sales as of September 2021; the delta between Sony's initial outlook and actual production capabilities seems like it could be widening even further.
The logistics constraints have already resulted in the PS5 losing its (small, but real) sales lead over the previous-gen PS4. While the initial cavalcade towards the 10 million shipped consoles was faster to achieve for the PS5, its sales now lag behind those of its predecessor, the PS4. Not by much - a mere 400,000 units separate both consoles yet. But it remains a testament to the severity of the pandemic and its impact - production capabilities have only increased since the PS4's debut in 2014.
Slower and unpredictable vaccine rollouts throughout various nations involved in one form or another in the PS5 production means that production, packaging and shipment can be affected by localized outbreaks. Even daily contact between Sony's assembly partners and component makers seems to have only improved the situation up to a point - shipments are frequently arriving outside their original schedules. This impacts all stages of production and produces delays for every manufactured console, from the one that's just entering the assembly line to the one that's awaiting for a packaging order to arrive.
It's expected that the PS5 will remain in tight supply throughout the entirety of 2022; Sony is likely revising its sales outlook for the end of 2022 as well. A 22.6 million PS5 sales target by the end of 2022 seems somewhat unfeasible at the present time. Adding insult to injury, scalpers are still active on the PS5 front - and they will until there's been enough of a market penetration for the console that demand abates. Luckily, Sony is itself trying to stop scalpers in their tracks (at least in the U.S.) with a direct purchase option being made available through its website.
Even as virtual worlds and storytelling have only become more massive, expansive, and a way for us to exit stage right and get immersed in other realities, it's been a somewhat bumpy ride since the latest generation consoles' launch. We've put together a comprehensive retrospective article looking back at the both Sony's PS5 and Microsoft's Xbox family - it's an easy way to get a full picture of events leading up to this continued shortage.