Nine months into its run, the PS5 is still amazingly hard to find, and a global semiconductor shortage seems to be the main culprit. There’s some good news on the PS5 restock horizon, however, as Sony has now officially secured enough of the elusive chips to meet its PS5 sales goals for the year.
That’s great news, when you consider that Sony wants to sell almost 15 million consoles in 2021 — and bad news, when you realize that the company has already sold through most of its intended stock.
Information comes via Sony’s quarterly earnings conference, via Twinfinite. Hiroki Totoki, Sony’s chief financial officer, discussed the semiconductor shortage and how it relates to the PS5 in particular. While the PS5 has actually outsold the PS4 in the same relative time span, it’s still an incredibly rare commodity, with infrequent restocks selling out within minutes.
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The bottom line, Totoki said, is that Sony intends to sell 14.8 million PS5s by the end of the year. Furthermore, the company has acquired enough semiconductors to do so. That sounds like a lot of PS5s — and it is — but there’s one potential hitch in the plan. During the conference call, Sony also confirmed that it’s already produced 10.1 million PS5s in 2021, and has sold approximately 10 million of them.
In other words, depending on how you do the math, Sony has already produced and sold two-thirds of the PS5s it intends to produce and sell this year. On the one hand, this is fine, since the year is about two-thirds done. On the other hand, it means that the cadence of PS5 restocks is not likely to improve much — unless Sony decides to drop millions of PS5s at once, which doesn’t seem likely.
Granted, the year isn’t over yet, and all other things being equal, Sony wants to sell as many PS5 as it can. If demand stays consistent and the next 4.7 million PS5s don’t ease it, Sony could still attempt to secure more chips for an even bigger resupply. But semiconductors are still relatively scarce at the moment, and they’re in demand for everything from cars to washing machines. Securing five million of these chips was probably not easy to do. It probably wasn’t cheap, either, considering that Totoki confirmed that selling the PS5 hardware itself is still not profitable for Sony. (But, he added, it should be in the future.)
In the meantime, people are clearly buying the PS5 — it’s just that there are even more people who can’t. The numbers will eventually hit a tipping point, but it depends on exactly how many people want PS5s overall. The PS4, for example, has sold more than 115 million units in the past eight years, so the numbers could still take a while to stabilize.