Why There Are Still Major PS5 Console Shortages In 2021

Why There Are Still Major PS5 Console Shortages In 2021
Image: Sony

Since November 2020, PlayStation fans have had major difficulties getting their hands on a PS5. While 4.5 million consoles were reportedly shipped last year, the production line is still facing extreme delays. It means if you’re planning on purchasing the console in 2021, you could still be waiting in the months to come.

In a February earnings report, Sony explained that the reason for the lack of available stock is down to the global shortage of semiconductors and other essential parts. “It is difficult for us to increase production of the PS5 amid the shortage of semiconductors and other components,” Hiroki Totoki, Sony CFO, told investors during the report briefing.

These shortages are down to a combination of factors, but it’s predominately affected by a lack of semiconductor supply out of Taiwan, plus additional supply chain deficiencies caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Essentially, less money going into chip sales and the need for coronavirus safety practices has meant an overall loss of production volume.

Despite these shortages, Totoki promised the company was doing “everything in [its] power to ship as many units as possible” to PlayStation fans.

The report made clear the PS5 has still been a major success, with Sony improving profits in the “holiday 2020” quarter by a whopping 50 per cent year-on-year. The company has forecast its best fiscal year on record for its gaming division in 2021 due to the release of the new console and a subsequent increase in PlayStation Plus subscriptions.

There were significant losses from the production of the console, however.

According to Sony, the manufacturing cost of the PS5 actually exceeds the $749 price point, which means the console is selling at a loss. The strategy behind this decision is to create a reasonably-priced console to encourage accessibility for all consumers. This loss is then made up with increased digital sales and subscriptions. With ongoing incentives like ‘Play At Home’ free games for PlayStation Plus users, there are plenty of reasons to sign up.

Another key takeaway from the briefing was that digital sales are on the rise — 63 per cent of Sony’s game sales were digital in 2020, indicating a major shift in attitude from customers. According to Ars Technica, the interest in digital sales has increased year-on-year since 2018, when digital sales made up just 43 per cent of all games sold. While coronavirus has had a significant impact on the decisions of consumers to purchase digital games, it still indicates a major shift towards an all-digital future.

If you’re still in the market for a PS5 you’ll have to wait a bit longer for regular stock to hit stores, but there is hope. There’s currently no word on when stock shortages will ease, but stock drops for the console are currently increasing in frequency.

Keep an ear out (and stay tuned to Kotaku Australia) and you might just get lucky.


  • The global supply chain is in bad enough shape without further disruptions from America and its desperation to remain world leader in the tech races they’ve already fallen so far behind in.

  • China outright isn’t doing a lot of manufacturing either with their shortage in power (by refusing to import Australian coal with their power stations are best suited to work with. Whoops.) and the refusal of workers to return to factories in absolutely appalling conditions. Unless they up and move the factories elsewhere like Apple did, this’ll be persisting until China’s government stop being morons. Given it’s China, we’ll all be dead before that ever happens.

  • I asked in my local EB last weekend about the expected waiting times if I wanted to order one. They’re not even taking orders anymore.

  • You can pick up a PlayStation 5 in less than a week. The article doesn’t go into it.

    60-70% of retailers, if you go in person and pay fully will allow you to order and pick up a PlayStation with less than a 2 week wait time. Usually under a week.

    This is to combat BOTS automatically buying them.

    You have to call around a few of them as some only take lists/names but a lot will sell you a PlayStation 5 with a very short wait time. They take names and ID and put it into a database they have shared to flag people buying more than 1 unit.


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