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Playstation 4 – Sony about unit shortages

by GH Staff

Sony has responded to the accusations that it is enforcing a market shortage on its latest console, the Playstation 4. In the latest Playstation Blogcast (available in full here), SCEA (Sony Computer Entertainment America) president and CEO Jack Tretton has shed some light on why it’s so hard to get your hands on a Playstation 4 console.

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First, he tried to clarify that it would make no sense from a marketing point of view to enforce a shortage on the market, especially now during a prime time for shopping. “Do you create an artificial shortage because you want there to be a feeding frenzy? No you don’t! You have competition out there; there are lots of things that people can spend money on, especially during the holidays; and the holidays only come around once a year so that’s really when you want to take advantage of the market opportunity.”


And we tend to agree. It would make absolutely no sense to starve the markets when parents are trying to get their hands on a Playstation 4 to hide under the Christmas tree. On the other hand, and this is what I think Tretton was hinting at, there’s stiff competition coming from Microsoft’s Xbox One, which is also doing very well sales-wise, and has opened on far fewer markets in comparison with Sony’s Playstation 4. Xbox One is available on 13 markets as of now, compared to 48 markets for the PS4. And I think this also has something to do with why most major retailers world-wide are sold-out on Sony’s console.

Tretton had also emphasized that it takes quite some time for the company to manufacture the consoles themselves. He hinted at the fact that “months” are necessary for 1 million units to be manufactured, and considering how fast they are selling (1 million on launch day, including pre-orders, and another million in the week following the launch). Sony is aiming to sell 3 million units by the end of the year, and 5 million units by the end of March 2014. These targets seem to be achievable – assuming, of course, that Sony can actually handle the unit-building load. Several new markets will be opening up as well at the beginning of the next year, including some major ones, such as Eastern-Europe.

Even if the rate at which Playstation 4 consoles are being sold will no doubt diminish over time, we’re still wondering whether or not Sony took a larger bite than it can chew by opening up to so many markets at once, without being able to manufacture as fast as people are buying. After all, it seems Jack Tretton himself has given up on his personal Playstation 4 in favor of a client somewhere out there, choosing to “sell it” rather than to enjoy it himself.