PS5 restock update: Sony sounds off on shortage

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sony sold 4.5 million PS5 consoles worldwide last year. However, the Japanese manufacturer is now facing a shortage of components, which could make finding where to buy the PS5 harder than it already is. 

Sony had already claimed that the PS5 was its biggest launch ever. But it’s staggering that it managed to sell a huge amount of consoles in less than two months from its U.S. launch on Nov. 12. 

If you’ve been following our PS5 post-launch coverage, it will come as no surprise that Sony has sold vast amounts of PS5 consoles, especially given how the PS5 is almost always out of stock. And PS5 restocks sell in mere minutes. But these console sales indicate the sheer appetite there is for Sony’s new console, despite there not being a huge amount of PS5 games to play. 

However, the more surprising bit of information is that Sony is selling the PS5 at a loss. That means if you’re lucky enough to have found either the disc-drive sporting PS5 or the PS5 Digital Edition, then you’ll have got a bit of a tech bargain. 

Sony didn't break down the exact cost of making a PS5 and then selling it for $499, or $399 for the Digital Edition. But Sony did note that it had to offset some profit gains due to “strategic price points for PS5 hardware that were set lower than the manufacturing costs.”

That's understandable given the PS5 gives users 10 teraflops of graphics power, a cutting-edge PCI 4.0 SSD, the advanced haptics-equipped DualSense controller, and a console that’s capable of delivering 4K gaming with ray tracing. An equivalent PC would likely set you back some $1,500 or more. 

This isn't anything particularly new, as Sony sold the PS3 at a loss. Doing that allowed it to get a Blu-ray player into a lot of households. And with Sony getting a cut of every Blu-ray sold, making an initial loss on hardware was a shrewd move. Sony also makes plenty of money on game sales and service subscriptions. 

So it’s not a big deal that Sony is doing something similar with the PS5. From our experience with the console, it’s clear that services like PlayStation Plus are front and center, and the interface is pretty good at flagging new games to buy, all of which puts money in Sony’s coffers.

It’s not a stretch to predict that the four million-plus PS5s sold last year will keep generating money over those console's lifetime. 

This is a good thing in two ways. The PS5 is arguably a bargain at $499 given the hardware and performance it offers, as well as coming with an innovative controller. And the more money Sony makes over time, means better services for gamers as the Tokyo-based company continues to support and build out the likes of PlayStation Plus. 

Of course, this is all easier said than done. And getting hold of a PS5 is still stupidly difficult, with the stock situation not likely to change for a few months. But when that does change, 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the PS5

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • Ponk2k
    It is a big deal tbh. Sony may try and pass it off as nothing but they got burned hard on ps3 until really late in it's life and made a big point of telling their investors they wouldn't be doing the same with the ps4.
    The fact that they selling at a loss, for what is realistically(in comparison to pc tech) quite expensive internals is purely down to the fact that microsoft played price chicken with them right until the end. I don't doubt that Microsoft is selling theirs at a loss either but Microsoft set Sonys price for them.
    Pretending otherwise is just ignoring reality
  • BDComer
    The elusive console might get harder to find.

    You can't get harder to find than you can't find it at all. I have no idea who was able to buy one, but I wasn't. (I refuse to buy from a scalper at a premium.)