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Rumor mill: It seems that Sony is taking a leaf out of Nvidia’s book in dealing with the chip crisis by putting its faith in older products. In the case of the Japanese company, it will reportedly continue producing PlayStation 4 consoles throughout 2022 as the PlayStation 5 shortages show little sign of abating.
Sony had not made it official when it planned to stop manufacturing the PS4, but according to a Bloomberg report, the plan was to discontinue assembly at the end of 2021. The change of heart would see another million new PlayStation 4 units created in 2022.
Sony’s last-gen machine is not only more straightforward to make than the PS5, but it also sells for a lower price and uses less advanced chips that are in more plentiful supply. Bloomberg’s sources add that increasing production orders for the PS4 will give Sony more leeway when negotiating with manufacturing partners for a better deal.
A Sony spokesperson confirmed it would continue making the PS4 in 2022 and denied it planned to stop manufacturing the console. “It is one of the best-selling consoles ever and there is always crossover between generations,” the company said.
While the original PlayStation was discontinued 12 years after it launched, and the best-selling console ever, the PS2, lasted 13 years, the PlayStation 3 was around for 11 years. The PS4 launched in 2013, and the time between its arrival and its predecessor's has been shorter than any PlayStation before it: 4 years and seven months.
Although Sony denies it and once promised to support the PS4 longer than it did the PS3, it’s easy to imagine that the company did plan to discontinue the former console this year or earlier -- at least before the chip crisis threw a spanner in the works. We've also heard that it had partially discontinued PlayStation 4 production in Japan early in 2021.
The PlayStation 5 has been one of the products hit hardest by component shortages and demand outweighing supply. A full 14 months after launch, buying one today without resorting to eBay and paying scalper prices can be a frustratingly futile experience. It’s led to robberies and some extreme anti-scalping measures.
Sony will likely be hoping gamers who can’t get their hands on a PS5, or simply can’t afford one, will be tempted by a PS4/PS4 Pro as an alternative, which makes increasing production a sensible option.