Sony’s plans to mass produce its new PlayStation 5 gaming console have been put on hold because of disruptions in the global supply chain — forcing the company to keep cranking out its older PS4 systems.
The Japanese tech giant had initially planned to phase out manufacturing of PS4 at the end of last year and move to a full transition to its newer consoles, according to Bloomberg. But now it is pivoting to produce as many as 1 million of the old models in 2022.
After introducing the PS5 in November 2020, supply has been scarce due to shortages in advanced chips and other commodities needed to mass produce the hardware.
This past November, Sony reduced its PS5 production outlook. Initially, it aimed to make more than 16 million units in the year ending in March, but that number was trimmed to 14.8 million.
The older PS4 is cheaper to make and uses less advanced chips and software than its successor. Released in 2013, the PS4 has sold more than 116 million units and remains popular among gamers.
The PS5, which offers more sophisticated graphics and faster loading times than the PS4, was also met with great fanfare. As of September 2021, it has sold 13.3 million total units — surpassing the 7.6 million units that the PS4 sold in its first year of availability nearly a decade ago.
Sony told assembly partners late last year that it is pivoting to manufacture more PS4 consoles this year, though a company spokesperson denied that it had planned to discontinue production altogether.
“It is one of the best-selling consoles ever and there is always crossover between generations,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg.
This past fall, Sony reported a 27% increase in sales in its gaming division for the three-month fiscal quarter that ended on Sept. 30. The firm credited the popularity of the PS5.
In total, the Japanese conglomerate’s gaming division recorded $5.7 billion in sales during the three month period starting in July. Operating income fell 21% to $727 million while the company generated $10.8 billion in revenue.
Sony isn’t the only gaming company that is relying on its older technologies to keep profits flowing during the supply chain crunch.
Last year, Nvidia, the US firm that makes processing units for gaming consoles, revived its previous generation of GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards due to the shortage in semiconductors.
While the company never officially discontinued production of the card, it was not listed for sale as recently as November 2020.
The card was first introduced in 2016, but was gradually phased out in favor of the newer 16-series cards, according to PC Gamer.
Market observers say that the supply chain crisis and chip shortages will likely last through this year.