Why The PlayStation 4 Sold Out So Easily In Australia

Christmas 2013. If you were after an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 things were tough. PlayStation 4s, in particular, were extremely scarce, with Sony Australia legitimately unable to keep up with the demand of its pre-orders. We asked Michael Ephraim, the Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, why Sony had such a hard time meeting that demand locally.

"When we launched our pre sales were far in excess of our competitor, but there were stock constraints," explained Ephraim.

"First of all we launched in more countries initially, and there were some strategic imperatives for our company — the US is a big market; the UK is a big market so we had to work with what we had. It was unfortunate but when a product is in demand. But the pre-sales globally outstripped demand anyway — we weren’t the only country sold out. All countries for the first month were running out of stock, but that supply has improved tremendously and in 2014 things are going really well."

It was frustrating, says Ephraim, to watch consumers struggle to receive their pre-orders, and watch as Sony couldn't match the demand.

"We’re part of a global team and we had to look at it from a global basis. But we fought everyday to make sure we take care of the Australian market, and now the stock supply is good."


    So, basically just confirming what we already knew, that they short-changed us (Australia), so they could provide more consoles to the bigger markets i.e. UK.

      Makes sense to me. But we dont have to like it by any means.

      Yep. It was such a dick fucking move too. Sony KNEW there was a lot of pre orders here for the PS4 some people who pre ordered back in September/October didn't get their until January or later in 2014.

      Edit: Saying that we were kinda short on Xbox One's as well, but it wasn't nearly as bad.

      Last edited 18/07/14 1:20 pm

        Im pretty sure someone at Sony said "... on the bright side, we can spin the immediate sell out as a positive! Hi-five everyone! o/"

        I think calling it a ‘dick move’ is a bit extreme.
        What the hell are they supposed to do if they’ve got X million people globally who want PS4s and they have less than that to sell?
        It doesn’t seem like they gave Australia a disproportionately small shipment, most places had the same shortages.

        If anything the fact that Sony always whacks a healthy “Australia tax” onto their consoles means if they were smart we probably should have been sent more of them per potential customer than other territories where they make a smaller profit. Now THAT would have been a dick move!

        Actually, the Australia tax is a dick move anyway….. it’s all dicks.

          To be fair in the USA & UK you could walk in and buy one off the shelf from what I gather just after release. The Xbox One was the same. Yet here in Aus, we couldn't even give everyone who pre ordered week of E3 announcement a PS4, because Sony jibbed us. Our launch event at EB was about one fifth of the people (about 30) as there was the Xbone (150 or so) the week earlier :/ All because Sony did not allocate us enough stock and we had people on waiting lists until at least April this year.

            It could've been worse:

            In Asia (excluding Japan), the console didn't even release until December/January, so at least many thousands of Australians got the chance to play them months before then! ;)

            I believe you could only walk in and buy one in those countries because those countries keep some stock on the side for people who don't pre-order where as here in AU they like to push up the price and sell them all if they can. Most likely to try control supply/ demand. I asked some people all around at JB, Dick Smith, BigW, EB, Target, etc whether they will have some on the shelves day one and they all said that. (I had a PS4 on pre-order but my brother was late to the party.)

            Edit: Not saying we did/didn't get enough in the first place, but in the end if EB, JB etc had kept some aside there would have been some aside.

            Last edited 18/07/14 10:16 pm

              I'm in Thailand and my local games shops were all taking pre-orders a few months in advance. The shop near me actually had their launch event where the pre-orders got distributed and so on, on the 23rd of December - before the official release date of January 14.

            Being an Aussie who still reads this site religiously and lives in the US, i pre ordered mine and got it on release date but every where was sold out for the first month or so ps4 were no where to be seen. I had friends try and buy one and they just laughed saying we wont get stock for another month. We only just got stock of the ps4 camera back in April, we hadn't seen then on shelves since a week after release.

          Ah, the "Australia tax".

          Yes, having higher operating costs for the distributor, and the retailer, and a 10% GST on everything is such a dick move. This is a particularly dick move on Sony's part, because Sony are in control of the Australian economy. Of course, its not like Australians are paid very well or supported by an exorbitantly generous welfare system. Nope.

        Why are our pre orders more valuable than other countries pre orders?

          Actually other countries had PS4's available for walk in purchase when we couldn't fill our pre-orders, thank you.

            So? We are a smaller market. It would be stupid to prioritize us. They're a business it would have be more financially beneficial to them to do it how they did it. Don't like it don't buy it. Sony aren't around to serve you they're not an essential service, there goal is to make money.

    Thats fine other Markets are more important than Australia..we get that.

    Would be interesting to see if when the Xbone launches in another 26 countries in september whether that will close the gap at all. Surely the fact the PS4 is in 48 compared to Xbone's 13 that has to make a difference to numbers.

      Well technically when you divide sales by regions sold, Xbox One is outselling PS4. So could be interesting when they expand their reach.

        Although if sales of both consoles have primarily been limited by supply, then that isn't very relevant.

        If they can maintain sales by simply building more consoles, then increasing the demand won't necessarily help.

        I'm sorry, but that is literally an irrelevant statistic. Sales per country as a comparative statistic? That makes the absurd assumption that each country sold similar amounts, which we all know is false. We don't even need data to back that up simply due to notion of market sizes. There's a reason why Xbox One only launched in 13 countries initially, those 13 pretty much encompass the bulk of markets that the 360 sold well in, with, surprising no one, the USA took the lion's share of. Take a guess where the PS3 sold really well in, and where the bulk of those 48 countries are.

        When the large chunk of 5 million is actually in the USA, dividing by regions and saying it's outselling the PS4 is what we call butchering the numbers.

        EDIT: there's a reason why companies use global sales figures when boasting.

        Last edited 18/07/14 8:28 pm

      I'm sure it'll get at least a brief spike when it first launches. But the fact is it has already launched in the markets it has traditionally done well in (e.g. North America, UK, Australia). Most of Europe has traditionally been PlayStation dominated for a couple of generations now, and it's hard to see any reason why that would change. Likewise Japan - the 360 has sold less than 2 million there across its entire lifespan (compared to PS3 and Wii which sold over 30m each). Given that home consoles in general seem to be on the decline in Japan in favour of handhelds and phones/tablets, I can't see it even matching the 360 there, let alone outselling it.

      Last edited 18/07/14 12:59 pm

      Yeah I'm sure Uganda, Lithunia and Honduras are gonna make all the difference.

        Its not being released in either of those countries but I was thinking more Russia, Korea, South Africa, Japan, most of Europe and maybe India.....you twat.

          What?! Uganda's not getting the PS4? Those guys have it rough.

      If you count many of the smaller European countries, note that nearly all of them already have XB1 for sale for months via transfers from nations like Germany. So it wouldn't change much to "officially" release there now.

    I thought the reason was because Microsoft came off as completely evil.

      I think June was the first month that it ever out sold Sony in. (due to the no kinect im guessing)

        Yes, they outsold Sony when they decided to not be evil.

          Just like when Sony decided to stop putting rootkits on their Music CD's :)

          having a Kinect with your system is evil... wow it all makes sense now.

            That's why Sony removed their camera. Because they realised it would make them evil.

        Huh? I thought the PS4 was still outselling the Xbone.

        Yeah, what @elwyn5150 said.


        In the comments they posted the numbers:

        The US hardware numbers for June:
        PS4 ~ 269k
        XB1 ~ 197k
        3DS ~ 152k
        Wii U ~ 140k
        360 ~ 62k
        PS3 ~ 42k
        Wii ~ 19k
        PSV ~ 15k

        Still, not bad for all involved. Except the poor Vita. :'(

        Last edited 18/07/14 10:18 pm

    because they only send 3 or 4 at a time.

      I know you are being sarcastic. But when I was trying to get my brother on the 'post launch second shipment list's' there were pages and pages of names on those lists at every JB hifi I visited.

      The pages went at a rate of about 2/3 pages per shipment per store. That's quite a lot of consoles for a global launch...

    The PS4 was sold out for months hear in the UK, i couldn't my hands on one until Feb, but with the Xbox one i walked into a store and walked out with one in Dec.

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