Finding a PS5 is a little easier now than it was in November, but not by much. Resupplies can last for up to 10 minutes now, rather than about 30 seconds. That’s good news in a vacuum, but still not very helpful for console-seekers who don’t have all day to devote to refreshing retail websites.
Jim Ryan, PlayStation’s CEO, has some good news, however: Sony is doing its darndest to increase PS5 production. The bad news, of course, is that the world is still in the middle of a pandemic, and that slows down the supply chain considerably.
Robert Leedham GQ conducted an extensive and wide-ranging interview with Ryan, in which they discussed everything from the PS5’s 2021 lineup to the upcoming PSVR successor. The very first thing Leedham asked was about the PS5’s still-very-limited availability.
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“All I can say is we’re working as hard as we possibly can,” Ryan said. “We’re working as we always have, but with renewed vigor and energy post Christmas to get supply up, it will increase as each month passes. And the situation will start to get better hopefully quite quickly. We have been relentless in terms of trying to increase production and I can’t really say more than that.”
While Ryan’s answer doesn’t give us a hard date for widespread PS5 availability, the “hopefully quite quickly” remark is encouraging. Historically speaking, consoles are extremely scarce right after debut, but when the supply and demand even out, they do show up everywhere seemingly overnight. The PS4, for example, was essentially impossible to find around Christmas 2013; by March 2014, most electronics stores had a steady supply.
Ryan does at least give a reason for the PS5’s supply-chain woes, and unsurprisingly, it’s the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Obviously in a pandemic supply chains become a little more complicated than would normally be the case,” he said. “One very visible example is the difficulties in the semiconductor market. [Whether] it’s automobiles, smartphones, PCs or games consoles, the problems in all those areas are very widely documented. We had to move to a distribution model that is entirely online and that’s something we never had to do before.
“And, finally, just the level of demand for PlayStation 5,” he added. Even by console launch standards, there are simply an awful lot of people who want a PS5, and want one right now. (Remember that many of those people are stuck indoors, and gaming is both a way to pass the time and a lifeline to friends in the outside world.)
In any case, “Sony is working hard to improve PS5 production” may not come as a shock, but it’s better news than “Sony has hit a brick wall and PS5 production will slow to a trickle.” While Sony’s popular new console may seem impossible to find now, someday soon, the scenario may flip, and we’ll all wonder why we spent so much time and energy worrying about the big white box.