Hardware shortages across the world have affected industries of all stripes. PC gamers were hit particularly hard with parts shortages, which also affected console manufacturing. Sony's latest console, the PlayStation 5 has been notoriously difficult to get a hold of, and that doesn't look likely to normalise until around 2024.
In Sony's recent financial presentation (opens in new tab), (spotted by Eurogamer (opens in new tab)), the company acknowledged the issues with supply when it comes to PS5 sales. The presentation included a slide showing the comparative sales for PS4 and PS5 consoles. While the PS5 outsold the older PS4 in its first year, it fell behind the year after due to supply constraints. Sony also upped its PS4 production due to the shortages (opens in new tab), which probably helped.
The graph goes on to show Sony's projections for year three, in which it is hoping to close the gap between PS4 and PS5 sales. That means Sony's not expecting the PlayStation 5 to resume the top spot for the company's console sales until 2024. That also happens to be when Intel CEO is thinking the chip shortage might finally ease up (opens in new tab).
Both Covid, and Russia's invasion of the Ukraine were cited as continuing obstacles to increasing supply, so Sony's current strategy involves sourcing from multiple different suppliers. Given the issues hampering Sony's sales seem to be around supply, rather than demand, it makes sense the company is doing everything it can to close that gap.
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And Sony has plenty of incentive to make sure the PS5 does well. Aside from console sales alone, the financial report shows that there's a clear spike in games sales when there are consoles available to buy. There's also the new PlayStation VR 2 (opens in new tab) that's set to be a huge improvement over the previous virtual reality efforts and will need the PS5 to run it.
But this is also a testament to the strong end life of the PS4, especially compared to the PS3 before it. These reports show that digital PS4 sales including those in Free to Play games are making up a fair chunk of of profit for Sony with games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact noted for their financial contributions. With the PS5 still potentially 2 years away from meeting PS4 sales, these numbers might not change for a while yet.