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Sony Extends PlayStation 4 Production to Battle PlayStation 5 Shortages

Sony
(Image credit: Sony)

Severe game consoles and graphics card shortages sometimes make developers rethink their plans for previous-generation products. In a bid to fight its PlayStation console shortage, Sony intends to keep producing PS4 machines throughout 2022. That essentially means that Sony will extend the PS4's lifecycle for a period of time, which means a slower transition to the latest PlayStation 5. 

Sony originally planned to stop producing its PlayStation 4 consoles by the end of 2021, reports Bloomberg (citing confidential sources). However, Sony decided to keep manufacturing its previous-generation PlayStation 4 system throughout 2022 because it is easier and cheaper to make after having already spent years in production.  

Sony has never disclosed its plans for its PS4 after the PS5 launch, but traditionally the company keeps selling its previous-generation consoles for years after it launches its newer-gen system. With PS5, the company reportedly intended to quickly transit its console business to PlayStation 5. 

Unfortunately, it is unclear from Bloomberg's report whether Sony plans to keep producing the PlayStation 4 Slim, PlayStation 4, or both systems. But Sony has officially confirmed that PS4 is still in production. 

"It is one of the best-selling consoles ever, and there is always crossover between generations," a statement by Sony reads.  

Since demand for game consoles is generally high, Sony needs all the hardware it can get to maintain its unit market share. Meanwhile, due to chip shortages and a limited number of leading-edge chips that AMD and its partner TSMC can supply, Sony opted to keep making its previous-generation console and sell it to customers who cannot get or afford the latest system. Also, the relatively cheap PS4 might be considered as a viable competitor for Microsoft's inexpensive Xbox Series S.  

Since Sony (and Microsoft) now sell everything they can, keeping the PlayStation 4 in production for another year or so does not necessarily mean a significant extension of the active PS4 lifecycle since the systems will be gone from stores unless there are plenty of PS5s available. Meanwhile, since there will be more recently purchased PlayStation 4 systems in the hands of users, game developers will certainly extend their support for the platform. In some cases, it could mean that they will spend less effort on games for the latest PlayStation 5.

Anton Shilov
Anton Shilov

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • husker
    "It is one of the best-selling consoles ever, and there is always crossover between generations," a statement by Sony reads.

    The statement is true but only in the context of the pre-PS5 world. Once the PS5 is out there in the wild, the PS4 loses a lot of appeal for buyers. Also the "crossover between generations" is a result of people already having the older generation before the newer one is released, not the other way around.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    Why? There's 90 million PS4's out there, just buy a used one.
    Reply
  • drivinfast247
    gggplaya said:
    Why? There's 90 million PS4's out there, just buy a used one.
    Have you seen the prices?
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    drivinfast247 said:
    Have you seen the prices?

    Looking at facebook marketplace, they're selling for $150-$200 in my area depending on how many games they come with and controllers. They're $299 brand new from Sony Direct. Seems about right.
    Reply
  • shady28
    Everything regressing. First its brand new 2060s, then a 6500XT that is matched up vs a 1650 Super. Retro gear FTW.
    Reply
  • adamboy64
    I think this is a good move.
    I imagine it's much easier to get the older components made, and hence it won't infringe on PS5 production..
    I do think they stopped producing the PS4 Pro way too soon.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    They should be producing PS4 Pro and not PS4. The move to produce a console that is quite a lot slower than a PS5 is going to make game optimisation a problem for game developers.
    Reply