The big picture: Sony sold 3.3 million PlayStation 5 consoles during the most recent quarter. That's the same number of systems sold in the year-ago period, suggesting ongoing supply chain challenges and resulting inventory shortages are still impacting Sony's ability to get the PlayStation 5 into the hands of gamers that want it.

It's not uncommon for a new console to be difficult to acquire at launch or during its first holiday season. That's par for the course when it comes to the season's most desirable gifts. What's disheartening about this whole situation is the fact that inventory woes almost always clear up after the holidays and certainly by the following year.

The PlayStation 5 is heading into its third holiday season after launching in November 2020 and things aren't looking much better for prospective buyers that have been patiently playing the waiting game.

A quick check of major retailers including GameStop, Best Buy, Target and Walmart reveal no inventory. Other sites like Newegg have limited stock, but you have to purchase the system as part of a combo that includes extras like gaming monitors or racing wheels to qualify. Amazon's listing shows the system as available by invitation only.

Plenty of systems are available on eBay so long as you are willing to pay a significant premium to bring one home. Most recently sold systems on the auction site command a minimum $200 premium over MSRP. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist might also be worth checking out, but be weary of scams.

Sony insists that manufacturing conditions are improving. In its quarterly report, the company said it produced more than 6.5 million units during the most recent three-month period. At the midway point of the fiscal year, Sony has sold just 5.7 million PlayStation 5 consoles but said it is still aiming to exceed their FY22 forecast of 18 million units sold. They're going to need a monster holiday season and a solid follow-up quarter to hit that goal.

Image credit: Charles Sims, Tamara Bitter