July 15—Sony is doubling PlayStation 5 production because of a perceived coronavirus related surge in consumer demand, Bloomberg reports. The Japanese electronics giant is aiming to manufacture 10 million video game consoles in 2020. However, supply and logistics problems threaten the brand’s move to capture the zeitgeist.
Sony is Making a Lot More PS5s
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant and multifaceted effect on Sony’s production goals for the PS5. Back in April, the corporation only wanted to manufacture 5 million to 6 million units through March 2021. At the time, the conglomerate had concerns the outbreak would depress consumer demand for its ninth-generation video game system.
However, since then, coronavirus cases have begun to climb once again in regions like the United States. Consequently, consumers have taken to relaxing with homebound distractions because their live entertainment options have largely vanished. Netflix added nearly 16 million new subscribers to its streaming service because of the pandemic, while online gaming platform Steam broke its concurrent user record for the same reason.
The conglomerate has sought to address the change in consumer behavior by ramping up production on its forthcoming gaming console. Sony reportedly told its assemblers and component vendors to double their output so it can have 10 million systems ready in 2020. However, supply chain constraints might upend the company’s near-term revenue ambitions.
Supply Chain Problems Threaten 2020 Sales
Sony began mass production on the PS5 in June intending to have 5 million units ready by September. The firm now wants another 5 million gaming platforms manufactured between October and December. However, its plan to ship 10 million consoles this year is hampered by the realities of international logistics.
The problem is Sony’s video game systems are assembled in China and shipped to Europe and the U.S. by sea. As a result, the company needs several months to transport its flagship consoles to its biggest markets. The firm addressed a similar issue with the PS4 in 2013 by shipping them to the West via airfreight.
However, the pandemic has significantly disrupted the airline industry, meaning Sony will not be able to book enough flights to execute its plan.
Another issue is the corporation might not have access to enough components to rush out 5 million PS5s. Last month, Business Korea reported the system’s launch would increase demand for NAND chips by 5 percent. But by doubling its production order, Sony will further ramp up interest in flash memory through the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the world smartphone manufacturers are in the process of producing this year’s new flagships, and they also need lots of NAND.
In addition, data centers and cloud service providers have been stocking up on flash memory to expand their capabilities in response to coronavirus prompted usage spikes.
With only so much NAND available, Sony may find itself in the same position Nintendo did earlier this year. The pandemic created unprecedented interest in its Switch console, but supply chain issues meant it could not meet demand. As such, this may be a bleak holiday season for PlayStation fans.