Sony to continue making PlayStation 4 through 2022

Sony to continue making PlayStation 4 through 2022

Sony Group Corp. will continue producing PlayStation 4 consoles throughout the 2022 as it navigates disruptions to the global supply chain that have limited output of its pricier PlayStation 5.

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A Japanese conglomerate, whose flagship PS 5 console has been in scarce supply since its debut in November 2020, told assembly partners last year it would continue making its earlier-generation machine through this year, according to people familiar with the matter. Sony never announced when it would stop making the PS 4, but they had previously planned to discontinue assembly at the end of 2021, they said, asking not to be named as the plans are not public.

The strategy would add about a million PS 4 units this year to help offset some pressure on the company's PS 5 production, a figure that will be adjusted in response to demand, the people said. The older console uses less advanced chips, is simpler to make and provides a budget-friendly alternative to the PS 5.

Two of the people said that Sony would have more leeway when negotiating with manufacturing partners by increasing production orders by adding the cheaper-to-make PS 4.

A Sony spokesman confirmed that PS 4 production would continue this year and said the company had not planned to stop making the console. The company said that it is one of the best-selling consoles and there is always crossover between generations.

The PlayStation 5's ambition was to make a quick transition to the latest hardware, according to Jim Ryan, PlayStation chief. The coronaviruses slowed software development across the games industry, leading to a surge in hardware demand that made even the most basic components scarce. The result has been a console that is hard to find and lacks a strong portfolio of must-have exclusive games.

The predecessor PS 4, which was released in 2013, has sold more than 116 million units and remains a popular option among players. It still provides a large portion of Sony's gaming division income from subscriptions and software sales.

The PlayStation unit is grappling with a series of unanticipated challenges, including a slower than expected PS 5 production pace and online scalpers choking off retail supply of the newer console. A Sony official who isn't authorized to speak publicly said that extended PS 4 availability is seen within the company as a means to fill the supply vacuum and keep gamers within the PlayStation ecosystem.

Some of the most severe supply chain bottlenecks are cheap general-purpose chips for audio, power, and wireless communication functions. Some console makers have found that even offering a higher price won't secure the supply of such components, as all current production has already been sold, according to the people. Distribution is a challenge even with finished consoles, as shipping costs have gone up sharply.

While gaming is the biggest source of Sony's revenue, the Japanese electronics giant is exploring new arenas to sustain growth. It is preparing to make more powerful virtual reality headsets to take advantage of future games and applications in the so-called metaverse and is considering launching its own electric vehicles.

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