Sony had hoped to quickly transition away from the hugely successful PlayStation 4 following the release of the PlayStation 5. However, the dastardly semiconductor shortage has scuppered its plans. The company is now reportedly continuing production of the PS4 throughout 2022, despite hoping to end it by the end of 2021.
Speaking to Bloomberg, people close to the matter say the company is planning to produce roughly one million PS4 consoles to help offset the lack of PS5 availability.
Sony reportedly has confirmed this is the case, and that production of the PS4 will continue in 2022. However, it suggested that it had no plans to discontinue the console by the end of 2021.
As of September 2021, the PlayStation 5 has sold 13.3 million units in total. The PS4 sold 7.6 million in its first year (2013), nearly doubling that figure to 14.8 million in its second year of production (2014).
The PS5 has the ongoing semiconductor shortage to contend with, however. It was first launched just as the semiconductor shortage was beginning to choke hold the technology industry, which was in large part fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, and so far has been unable to escape its grasp.
That's the same issue that PC hardware is facing, too. The PlayStation 5 SoC is built by TSMC and designed by AMD, which means Sony (like most PC gamers) is struggling to get hold of as many chips as it would like. Furthermore, wider component shortages are impacting all fields of technology, from consoles to cars, causing headaches throughout the supply chain.
Nvidia, facing similar difficulties, has rereleased older graphics cards and pulled others from the brink of end-of-life status in response. Of course, we're yet to see these efforts have any real impact on the graphics card market—the RTX 2060 12GB is either unavailable or exceedingly expensive—but you could say both Nvidia and Sony have had similar ideas of how to deal with the chip crisis.
Unfortunately there is no clear end to the chip crisis in sight, though some senior executives are positive for some improvements later in 2022. Intel, TSMC, and others are all looking to 2023 for new manufacturing capacity to come online, and that's when we'll really see change in production and supply.
That may mean GPU generations, like the RTX 30-series and RX 6000-series, as well as even first-wave consoles, appear as sort of 'lost generations' of gaming tech, in line to be replaced by newer models once supply improves. But that needn't mean giving up completely in 2022.
There are ways to snag this highly sought-after hardware with the right guidance, and a bit of luck. Stock alert apps and Discord channels can prove mighty in the search for the latest tech through legitimate retailers, and prebuilt gaming PCs and gaming laptops are a guaranteed way to get yourself the latest graphics tech.