It’s about to get a bit easier to get a PlayStation 5 come Christmas. A new report from the Nikkei Asian Review says Sony has ramped up their production order of PS5 consoles for the holidays, upping the amount of consoles manufactured by about 50 percent.
The report (paywalled) says that, according to sources, Sony were originally planning to have around 6 million consoles manufactured for the launch by later this year. Bloomberg is also reporting that Sony is planning on assembling about 5 million consoles between now and September, with another 5 million assembled between October and December.
If that seems a bit low, it’s not. Consoles typically get easier and cheaper to manufacture over time, and the first year of a console’s lifecycle typically lands within the high single digits.
The PlayStation 4 might have been the rampant winner for the current generation, but it only shipped 10 million consoles by August 2014. The Nintendo Switch shipped almost 3 million units in its first month, and over 10 million units before the end of 2017. The Xbox One, on the other hand, sold 3.9 million units by January 2014.
It’s worth keeping in mind that those figures were under normal circumstances, when life for most Western nations was relatively stable. 2020 has been a garbage fire, and the global recession and pandemic don’t make for a great combination when you’re asking people to drop hundreds of dollars on a new gaming console.
So ramping up production, while seemingly logical, is actually a big call. It should help resolve any issues around constrained supply, which were bubbling earlier this year with as the pandemic unfolded, particularly in regions like Australia. It might still not be enough, mind you. The extra consoles can’t be assembled until later in the year. Sony could use express air freight to ship consoles around the world faster, like they did with the PS4, but the amount of flights available are limited right now due to the amount of turmoil facing the airline industry.
We still don’t know how much the PlayStation 5 will cost, but we have at least got some visibility on what we’ll be able to play when it launches later this year. Sony has also done a good job of clearing up the initial confusion around backward compatibility, and more publishers are starting to confirm that buyers of PS4 games will be able to play the PS5 version for free.