Sony appears to have real confidence in the PlayStation 5, as it’s increased production on the next-gen platform. Previously, the Japanese giant had planned to ship between 5-6 million units by the end of March 2021; it now expects that number to be somewhere in the region of 10 million during the same time period. This is significantly more than the 7.5 million units that the PlayStation 4 managed during its first two quarters on the market.
So, what gives? Well, clearly the platform holder expects demand for the device to be huge, and that’s reflected by the sky-high social media engagement that it’s been getting all year. The system has repeatedly broken records, whether it’s the logo on Instagram or the recent reveal livestream becoming one of the most watched in YouTube history, consumer interest is clearly already there. With a strong software slate including Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, that enthusiasm is only going to grow.
But as you’re all no doubt aware, this has been a strange year. Coronavirus has thrown the world for a loop, and many will find themselves unemployed as Christmas approaches. The economic challenges could hinder the PS5’s launch, but Sony may see things differently: with more people committing to home entertainment, there could also be increased interest in the Japanese giant’s next-gen system.
There are other factors to consider as well. The platform holder may feel that, with the world in such uncertain times, it’s best to produce as many units as it possibly can while it can – after all, a second wave of COVID-19 could potentially halt production entirely, at which point it’ll want to have systems stockpiled. Furthermore, it’s worth remembering that PS4 was heavily stock constrained during its first Christmas, and this is something Sony will want to avoid.
Moreover, boss Jim Ryan has hinted that we should expect a global launch for the PS5, which means that key regions like Japan will be included. The manufacturer famously decided to delay the launch of the PS4 in its home territory, so it’s going to need much more stock if it’s targeting a true worldwide release.
And then, of course, there’s the price: increased production is good news because it suggests that Sony’s hit a PS5 price that the majority of consumers will be comfortable with. There had been some concern that the system could go over $500, but it’s unlikely it’d need to produce this many units if that turns out to be the case. The bottom line here is that the platform holder is going big, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it achieves the all-important 10 million units install base milestone by Spring next year.