What is the status of Sony’s latest console now that it has been on the market for six months? Aside from supply issues, it’s proving to be much more than a simple evolution.
Six months after its release on November 12, the PlayStation 5 is well on its way to becoming a Sony success story. As of March 31, the company had sold 7.8 million of the new video game consoles worldwide, making it the largest console launch in US history in terms of both units and dollars. Greater in size than the Nintendo Wii. Greater in size than the Xbox One. Even larger than the PS4. And who knows what that number would be if everyone who wanted one could get one.
PlayStation reigns supreme in the gaming world, but it is not Supreme. It’s not using scarcity to generate marketing buzz like a streetwear company. Instead, the company is trying to get its $399 console into the hands of customers. That’s why, in the same breath as they discuss how the PS5 is outselling even its mega-seller predecessor, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan apologizes.
If you’re one of the unlucky few who are still having difficulty obtaining one, you’re already familiar with the plot. Back in November, the PS5 and Xbox Series X launched simultaneously in the midst of a global lockdown—and what seemed like ideal timing for stir-crazy gamers turned out to be a perfect storm for sales chaos. Distribution was hampered by the same production and logistical issues that made it nearly impossible to get a home appliance last year. Vendor relations became far more difficult in the absence of factory visits and in-person quality checks.
When the release date arrived, the requirement of online-only sales allowed bots and predatory resellers to scoop up large chunks of valuable inventory and jack the prices higher than Usher’s falsetto. Then there’s the semiconductor shortage, which has impacted both TV manufacturers and automakers.
Though we don’t know where the PS5 will end up in the long list of game console rankings, it’s a safe bet it’ll be near the top. Sony’s ninth-generation console has a bright future.
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