Sony shipped 3.9 million PlayStation 5 consoles during its fiscal Q3. That brings the company’s total to 17.3 million PS5s shipped as of the end of 2021. While that is another strong number for one of the fastest-selling consoles ever, it is down from the 4.5 million Sony shipped during the same period last year. Sony told investors that this shortcoming is due to supply-chain disruptions and component shortages. The company also expects these issues to continue.
An easy way to understand the detrimental effects of the shortage is to compare the PS5 to the PS4. By most measures, demand for the PS5 is equal to or greater than that of the PS4 at this same time in its life cycle. But Sony had managed to ship 20.2 million PS4s through this same timeframe. Again, this has nothing to do with an inability to sell the PS5s and has everything to do with an inability to source key components to make PS5s.
During Q4 of 2014, Sony sold 6.4 million PS4s. A handy chart from Neko Partners gaming analyst Daniel Ahmad shows how the PS5 missed out on its potential due entirely to supply issues.
Supply for the PS5 is so limited that Sony is actually revising its outlook for what it calls its “games and network services” division. Here’s how the company put it in its earnings report:
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“Sales are expected to be lower than the October forecast due to an expected decrease in PlayStation 5 hardware unit sales, primarily due to shortages in the supply of components, especially semiconductors. Operating income is expected to be higher than the October forecast due to an expected decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses.”
Sony Group Corporation earnings report, February 2, 2022
Those pesky semiconductors have caused trouble for Sony and Microsoft since the start of this new generation. It’s also caused shortages of GPUs and CPUs in PCs. And the supply will continue to run dry through most of this year and possibly beyond.