As retailers warn of pre-order delays stretching to 2021, would-be owners' hopes of securing a PS5 at launch are rapidly fading.
Amid a global pandemic, shipping out a next-gen console in sufficient numbers to satisfy demand was always going to be a tall ask. With this in mind, it’s reasonable to assume that many cut Sony some slack when it came to the PS5, that is until the gaming giant completely bungled the PS5 pre-order launch.
Sony assured would-be owners that it would give plenty of notice ahead of pre-orders going live. In reality, Sony offered a measly 12 hours or so for interested parties to prepare, announced via a simple tweet instead of the mega-phone blast across all communication channels many expected.
Worse, numerous retailers jumped the gun and launched pre-orders early, triggering a massive free-for-all as millions scrambled to secure a PS5 for launch day. The console sold out in a matter of hours.
As the dust settled, some of those lucky enough to have landed a confirmed pre-order began receiving emails from the likes of Amazon warning of potential delays. The retailer says it can not guarantee the console will arrive day-one for all.
As the weeks pass, the situation looks even direr. Sony has reportedly begun advising European retailers of their launch day allocations, prompting many, such as ShopTo in the UK, to follow Amazon’s lead and inform swathes of customers that they won’t be receiving their PS5 pre-orders on release day.
In Ireland, GameStop has emailed some customers with the disappointing news that pre-orders won’t be fulfilled until next year, citing ‘circumstances of out our control.’ Waiting until 2021 renders the whole point of pre-ordering obsolete, something that won’t be lost on many recipients of GameStop’s warning.
The incongruity between the number of pre-orders and available physical PS5 consoles is cause for concern and suggests some form of breakdown in communication between Sony and retailers. What exactly happened here? Did Sony go back on promised allocations, or did retailers wildly over-sell ahead of receiving a firm unit count from Sony?
We can’t discount shipping woes, either. Earlier this month, reports emerged that Sony plans to draft in a fleet of 60 cargo planes to ship enough units to the US market in time for launch.
Though Sony unusually stuck its head above the parapet to deny this, another possible culprit is a report of production issues stemming from low PS5 system-on-a-chip yields. Bloomberg News claims Sony scaled-back its fiscal year production goal by 4 million units as a consequence.
Sony’s apology published in the wake of the pre-order fiasco tried to soften the blow somewhat by noting that more PS5 pre-orders would become available in the following days, followed by more by the end of the year. There’s optimism in Sony’s words, that, once again, seem at odds with the current situation for affected pre-order customers.