Sony ups PlayStation 5 production as pandemic boosts gaming

Sony is forecasting stronger PlayStation 5 demand this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate around the globe.

The electronics giant has increased its 2020 PlayStation 5 production target to 10 million units, Bloomberg is reporting, citing sources with knowledge of its plans. Sony had previously planned to produce between 5 million and 6 million units by March 2021. A separate Nikkei report on Wednesday said Sony’s new production target is 9 million PlayStation 5 units.

Either way, it’s a sizable jump. And both outlets say Sony is forecasting higher-than-expected video game demand as players opt to stay inside with a pandemic raging worldwide.

However, the pandemic has also put a strain on Sony’s supply chain and the company may not be able to deliver all 10 million units to stores by the end of the year, Bloomberg’s sources say. Sony is also increasing its DualSense controller production to more than the 10 million it had previously ordered and may also have trouble getting those units to store shelves.

Sony did not respond to a Digital Trends request for comment.

Sony’s decision comes as a steady stream of reports say video gameplay has spiked during the pandemic. Microsoft said Xbox Live multiplayer surged by 130% year-over-year in March and April. Epic Games said earlier this year that Fortnite players logged 3.2 billion hours in-game in April.

That has also translated to strong hardware sales. In May, Americans spent $235 million on game hardware, a 56% jump compared to the prior year, according to market researcher NPD. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Switch has been nearly impossible to find on store shelves.

But it’s unclear whether stronger-than-expected PlayStation 5 sales will actually materialize. Sony still hasn’t announced an official launch date, and speculation abounds over how much the console will cost. Analysts expect Sony to price its PlayStation 5 at $499, though it’s unknown how any shift in pricing could affect demand. Sony will also sell a disc-less PlayStation 5 called the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition that should be cheaper and appeal to budget-conscious customers.

Like Sony, Microsoft is planning to launch to its Xbox Series X this holiday season but hasn’t announced an official launch date or price. The reports didn’t say whether Microsoft is also upping its production in anticipation of stronger consumer demand.

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