Sony still intends to launch the PlayStation 5 sometime this holiday, albeit with a shorter supply than originally planned, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The outlet notes that the Tokyo-based tech giant has told assembly partners it will produce five to six million units of the PS5 in the fiscal year ending March 2021. Its predecessor, the PlayStation 4, launched in November 2013 and went on to sell 7.5 million units in its first two quarters.
Bloomberg reports that Sony is limiting its initial PS5 production run in part because it expects the console’s ambitious specs to result in a high price that will reduce consumer demand. While Sony has reportedly been struggling to determine the PS5’s costs due to scarce components, game developers told Bloomberg that they expect the console to be priced in the region of $499 USD (about $706 CAD) to $549 USD (about $777 CAD).
On the other hand, Macquarie Capital analyst Damian Thong told Bloomberg that he thinks both the PS5 and Microsoft’s rival next-gen console console, the Xbox Series X, will end up at $450 USD (about $637 CAD). This is in spite of the fact that they would both lose money at that price, says Thong. For context, the PlayStation 4 was priced at $399 CAD when it launched, although it was raised to $449 the following March. Meanwhile, the Xbox One — which also launched in November 2013 — was priced at $499 CAD.
COVID-19 is affecting PS5 plans, but not in the ways you might think
Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic is not actually impacting Sony’s PS5 production capacity, according to Bloomberg‘s sources. Instead, the global health crisis has affected how Sony has gone about promoting the console. Due to fears surround the spread of the virus, Sony may forgo a public event to reveal the PS5’s price and release date, reports Bloomberg.
Elsewhere in its report, Bloomberg states that Sony’s plans to unveil the PS5’s new controller, the DualSense, were also changed. In its report, Bloomberg notes that this reveal was made “in a hurried fashion,” as the controller has been shared with outside developers and Sony was worried about being unable to prevent leaks.
For its part, Microsoft has already confirmed plans to make all of its events digital-only going into 2021. For Xbox, specifically, the company intends to hold some sort of digital event to further detail the Series X in favour of its traditional annual E3 keynote, which will no longer take place due to the trade show’s cancellation.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 travel restrictions have prevented Sony engineers from flying to China to assist with mass production preparation, although Sony’s assembly partner is still expecting console manufacturing to proceed on schedule, notes Bloomberg.
Because of the global disruptions associated with COVID-19, there has been speculation as to whether Sony will delay the PS5. According to Bloomberg, Sony doesn’t anticipate its release plans changing due to the virus. Supposedly, Sony will still release the PS5 this holiday as long as Microsoft does the same with the Xbox Series X. Both companies are also planning for global launches, rather than staggered rollouts in specific markets.
To combat the initially shorter supply of the PS5, Sony is supposedly looking to push sales of the PlayStation 4. To do this, Bloomberg‘s sources speculate that the company may drop the price of both the standard PS4 and its 4K-capable sister console, the PS4 Pro. All the while, Sony will supposedly look to further drive revenue from its PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now subscription services.
Finally, Bloomberg notes that development of PS5 games is likely to be most affected by COVID-19, resulting in delays on the software side. With respect to the PlayStation 4, this has already happened with The Last of Us Part II and Marvel’s Iron Man VR. Both games were slated to launch in May but have been delayed indefinitely.
For now, though, little is actually known about which PS5 games are officially in development, besides action game Godfall. Therefore, it remains to be seen how PlayStation 5’s lineup of games will actually be affected.