PS5 restock disaster — there's finally some relief in sight

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It's now been five months since the PS5 launched, and PS5 restocks are still a mess, with inventory getting snatched up within minutes. Sony is well aware of the situation, and according to a recent interview, at least some relief could be coming soon.

Sony has asked its manufacturing partners to increase PS5 production. However, those manufacturers are bound by the worldwide semiconductor shortage.

This information comes from an interview in Nikkei Business Daily, a publication associated with the titular Japanese stock exchange. Video Games Chronicle translated the interview. In it, journalists from the Nikkei spoke with Jim Ryan, president and CEO of the PlayStation side of Sony. The discussion covered Sony’s basic strategy for making and selling PS5s, as well as the associated games.

The bulk of the interview focused on PlayStation’s unique relationship with Japanese gamers, as well as Sony’s plan to invest more in exclusive PS5 games. Toward the end of the interview, however, Ryan talked about the harsh realities of trying to make more PS5s.

“There are several reasons why the PS5 was hard to come by,” he told the Japanese publication. “Supply under the new coronavirus was very complicated, and we had to limit distribution to online. The supply and demand for semiconductors is also tight worldwide. We are asking our suppliers to allow us to increase production, which will flow into the market this year.”

This is more or less what we’ve heard before. There’s a global semiconductor shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s affecting just about every advanced computer part in the consumer market. It’s the reason why you can’t find the PS5, the Xbox Series X or a variety of computer GPUs anywhere. The lack of semiconductors means that companies can’t produce as many devices as they’d like; the huge demand for said devices means that whatever goes on sale gets gobbled up instantly.

As such, Ryan’s request to manufacturers may be impossible to fulfill. The chip shortage is likely to last until at least 2022, and possibly longer than that, depending on how long the COVID fallout takes to fully address.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. There may be steps that Sony and its partners can take to get PS5s produced and shipped faster. Manufacturing is a complex process, and one limiting reagent doesn’t tell the entire story. Furthermore, while PS5s are tough to find, Sony has actually sold an awful lot of them already, so the demand will begin to measurably decrease at some point.

If you’re still trying to get ahold of a PS5, all you can do is be patient and persistent, and keep working through the best PS4 games in the meantime.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.