Sony plans to release the PS5 (opens in new tab) at the end of the year, but the next-generation console may be difficult to find once it hits store shelves.
That’s because the supply of the PS5 might be limited, Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports. Sources familiar with Sony’s PlayStation production have said the company won’t be making as many units of its new console at launch as it did for the PS4 (opens in new tab).
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According to Bloomberg’s sources, Sony is anticipating to hit six million PS5 consoles from its release to March 2021. This means there could be a shortage of PS5 consoles if it proves to be as popular as the PS4 at launch, as that machine sold 7.5 million units in the same period. And it’s worth noting that Sony sold this high-volume of PS4 consoles despite suffering from a launch delay.
While the coronavirus pandemic has caused problems on the promotional side for the PS5, it has apparently not affected Sony’s production plans or its capacity to crank out millions of consoles. Instead, the reason behind the move to limit the number of consoles that will be made and shipped in the post-launch period may have to do with price.
Sony doesn’t expect to sell as many PS5 consoles as it did with the PS4, according to Bloomberg's sources, as the next-generation console will have a higher launch price. Currently, the PS5 is expected to cost between $499 and $549, which is a notable jump from the PS4's $399 launch price. This could dampen the enthusiasm for PlayStation fans, as a $100 price hike is pretty significant.
It was previously thought that the PS5 could have a shockingly low price (opens in new tab), with a leak suggesting it could cost around $396. But that was based on a pre-order price put up by Canadian retailer Play N Trade Vancouver Island, and it looked more like a placeholder price than a more concrete figure. Given the powerful hardware Sony is putting into the PS5, including super-fast SSD storage and 3D audio capabilities, a higher price is not unexpected.
The reason behind this rumoured high launch price is down to the manufacturing cost of the PS5 set to be higher than that of the PS4. Whereas the PS4 cost some $125 to make, the PS5 looks set to cost around $250, which would put it in the same ballpark as Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (opens in new tab).
Microsoft’s next-generation console looks poised to cost around $499, but Xbox head Phil Spencer has said that Redmond’s console will “not be out of position on power or price.” The Xbox Series X is already the more powerful console, so going by Spencer’s remarks, it could also see its price come in lower than that of the PS5.
Sony has already been burnt once by having a high-priced games console; the PS3 cost $500 at launch and was thoroughly beaten by the cheaper Xbox 360. And Microsoft suffered the same problem with its launch version Xbox One, which came with the Kinect accessory by default and cost $500; as a result, the PS4 beat it in launch sales.
Nevertheless, Sony looks to have a price and launch strategy lined up and doesn’t seem to be expecting to sell the PS5 as well as the PS4, at least initially. We’ll just have to wait and see if the Sony has made the right decision, or if the Xbox will come out on top in the next-generation console wars.