Sony still managed to sell 4.5 million PS5s in 2020, slightly more than the 4.2 million PS4s sold in a similar amount of time. That number would clearly be much higher if the stock was available.
“Demand was greater than we anticipated,” Ryan told the Washington Post. “That, along with the complexities of the supply chain issues, resulted in a slightly lower supply than we initially anticipated.”
Sony and Microsoft can’t make more consoles available to consumers because crucial components are in short supply: chips. The PS5 and the new Xbox both run on chips from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), an American semiconductor company. … The PS5 and Xbox don’t use Nvidia cards, but millions of PC gamers do.
The hope, then, is that the PS5 supply will slowly stabilize as the world manages to creep closer to some semblance of normal and that in a few months anyone that wants to buy one will be able to. Sony’s next major target is likely the holiday season, always the biggest time for video game consoles and also when Sony is planning on releasing some big exclusive games that could once again charge demand. The console is a major success no matter how you look at it, but more stock will only make it bigger.
Additional reasons for the stock shortage for PS5.
Sony PS5 setbacks began with the pandemic
Sony didn’t announce the PlayStation 5 for months during the first half of 2020 (if you recall, we first saw Xbox in December 2019), allegedly delaying the initial reveal several times due to the pandemic. Rumors of a February launch event gave way to a supposedly scheduled March unveiling, which turned into an April reveal that never was. We didn’t even see what it looked like until June.
Manufacturing and shipping timelines were stretched, and demand has outstripped supply – it’s been seven years since a major Sony console launch. So Covid-19 has a lot to do with why you can’t find PS5 in stock today. Things didn’t get off to a running start for a product everyone wanted so badly.
But it’s not the only reason.
PS5 is the collateral damage of ‘Work From Home’
This is what people aren’t thinking about when they think about fun and entertaining video game consoles: changes to your work life have impacted PS5 stock.
The move from central offices to an almost universal Work From Home situation put incredible demand on computers and webcams, and therefore semiconductors and components – some of the same parts used by Sony for the PlayStation 5 console. We’ve seen laptops surge in sales, and that’s something manufacturers prioritized.
Resellers are ruining things for everyone
Resellers bear the brunt of the blame for why you can’t find a PS5, and although they aren’t the only reason (they often get all of the blame), they’re a contributing factor. People buying from eBay and StockX don’t help either.
The most insidious resellers are able to ping retail websites every few seconds to see if there’s a restock with bots, scoop up the inventory either through automation or a manual checkout, and take consoles away from everyday consumers. They are then able to resell the PS5 for around $1,000, doubling their money.
Scammers are making things even worse
Worse than resellers are scammers who target down-on-their-luck consumers via Twitter, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and completely fraudulent websites made to look real. Scammers promise to sell buyers the PS5 for around $550, a small, but believable markup (except when you think that they must have paid tax, but most people ignore this detail). Of course, scammers never actually deliver the console.
Scammers often do have several consoles on hand – just enough inventory to take a photo of a piece of paper with the name of the buyer (the victim) written on it. Their console is usually surrounded by nine other PS5 boxes. This “proves” to the buyer that this is a legitimate seller. Money is sent through using one of four apps: Cash App, Venmo, Zelle, or Apple Pay Cash. The seller then ghosts on their victim.
Cryptominers worldwide are to blame, too
It may be more profitable to buy Bitcoin during its dips than actually mine it at this point. However, this hasn’t stopped people from buying up GPUs in an effort to one day profit from mining Bitcoin, Etherium, and other decentralized, open-source blockchain currencies – once their electricity bills are covered.
There’s such a strong demand for graphics cards that we can’t find the Nvidia 3080 in stock for more than a few seconds at a time once a week. AMD GPUs are going through the same crisis. Good luck finding something like the AMD 6800 XT in stock.
And guess what PS5 and Xbox use for their graphics? AMD GPUs.