It has been almost impossible to get your hands on a next-gen game console since their launch in late 2020, and you should not expect things to get better anytime soon. Sony has announced that it has cut its PS5 sales outlook, reports Kotaku, and that has nothing to do with demand. You can blame the continued shortage of PlayStation 5 machines on the chip shortage.
Sony just released its quarterly financial earnings, and gaming revenue has been increasing despite the limits on production. Sony brought in $7.09 billion in the last quarter, a modest drop from the $7.403 billion from a year ago. It made more money on that revenue, though, up to $810 million compared to $704 million last year. $2.28 billion of the revenue came from game sales, which is close to the $2.94 billion it earned from software in late 2020 when the PS5 launched.
However, Sony now believes it will only be able to sell 11.5 million consoles this year, down from a previous estimate of 14.8 million. Given the state of the market, Sony’s total production will probably be 11.5 million, and it will sell every unit it can crank out.
Demand certainly hasn’t been slowed by the pandemic — if anything, it’s stronger as people stick close to home and quarantine. And then there are all the crypto miners gobbling up every GPU in the world. When you account for the negative impacts of the pandemic on chip production, it’s not hard to see why we’re in this mess.
Most analysts expect the chip shortage to last through this year, but Intel has stated that it’s planning for semiconductors to be in short supply through 2023. The industry’s ability to dig itself out of this hole depends mainly on how and when the pandemic abates. In the meantime, it’s going to continue being hard to find a PS5, particularly in the first half of 2022. That’s not to say you can’t buy one — it’s just not worth it. The PS5 with a disc drive is supposed to retail for $499.99 in the US, but consoles available from resellers are clocking in at $800-900.
Sony expects demand to remain strong, and it’s laying the groundwork for the future with the acquisition of Destiny maker Bungie. This comes as Microsoft goes on a buying spree. It picked up ZeniMax (including Bethesda) last year, and it recently announced a plan to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68 billion. That’s a bold move for Microsoft that could help erode Sony’s lead in exclusive games.