The chances of securing a PS5 pre-order have taken a significant hit as Sony is reportedly scaling back production by four million units for the current fiscal year due to manufacturing woes affecting the yield of the console’s custom system-on-a-chip.
According to a new Bloomberg report , the Japanese gaming giant now expects to ship 11 million units by March 2021, a significant cut from the 15 million production estimates reported during the summer. By December, Sony planned to produce up to 10 million units to cater to heightened demand spurred by the pandemic. This may no longer be the case, implying a curtailed launch supply.
The report reveals that production yields of the AMD-designed system-on-the-chip hit a low point of 50%, with half of the units not fit for purpose. Yields are reportedly steadily increasing, but have yet to reach sustainable and reliable levels.
Yield hiccups are part and parcel of new products as silicon manufacturers adapt machinery and perfect processes, but as analyst Daniel Ahmad points out, Sony’s are ‘more severe than expected.’
These lower yields mean the production of fully-assembled console has slowed; the SoC is the core component around which the rest of the machine is built. The issues have severely hampered Sony’s ability to pump out as many PS5s as intended.
While the revised production cut is substantial, it is roughly double the 5 to 6 million units Sony originally aimed to produce, as confirmed in April. Furthermore, a forecast of 11 million units by March 2021 will be slightly higher than PS4 production in the first six months after launch, roughly around 10 million.
It’s difficult to estimate whether the demand for the PS5 will surge past the number of available units at launch. The company has yet to reveal the price details for the console’s two versions, though it is expected to do so during a dedicated PS5 broadcast tomorrow.
Demand will very much depend on the price point Sony opts for, notably how it stacks up to the aggressively priced $299 Xbox Series S and $499 Xbox Series X. Should Sony undercut competitor Microsoft, we’re likely to see a run on pre-orders, which could drastically impact the ability for would-owners to pick up a PS5 at launch.