What just happened? It's amazing to think that since it launched in November 2020, getting hold of a PlayStation 5 has often required a lot of luck, money, or both, the result of a chronic global shortage of the consoles caused by demand far outweighing supply. But according to Sony, the situation has finally come to an end.
Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, spoke about the PS5 shortages during the company's CES presentation. "Everyone who wants a PS5 should have a much easier time finding one at retailers globally, starting from this point forward," he said. Ryan went on to thank fans for their patience over the last two years.
Sony also revealed the PS5's latest sales figures. Worldwide console sales have now reached 30 million, marking an increase of around 5 million since the last time the numbers were announced in November. That places the PlayStation 5 just behind the Sega Genesis on the best-selling consoles of all time list and close to the Nintendo 64's 32.93 million lifetime sales.
The chip shortage and lockdowns meant buying a PlayStation 5 in the wake of its launch was almost impossible unless you were willing to pay scalper prices that often doubled or tripled the MSRP. The desperation led to one person being shot during an attempted robbery of a PS5.
Sony claimed the shortages had improved last summer, though buying one of the machines usually meant paying extra for a bundle pack that included several games and/or accessories like a headset.
It appears that the problems haven't disappeared entirely just yet. Both the standalone disk and digital versions of the console are out of stock at Best Buy, leaving only the God of War: Ragnarök bundles available. Sony's online store, meanwhile, has just the digital version and Ragnarök bundle in stock. It's a similar story in the UK, though it's the digital version that's more difficult to find.
Better PlayStation 5 stock levels would help Sony move more of its $549.99 PSVR2 units when they arrive next month, assuming the VR headsets don't also suffer from shortage problems.
One factor that could improve availability are the rumors that a PS5 Pro will arrive this year, which could influence some people's decision to buy a PS5.
h/t: The Verge