Sony has allegedly increased PS4 production to help offset the ongoing demand for PS5 consoles and to “keep gamers within the PlayStation ecosystem.”
According to Bloomberg, Sony has informed its assembly partners to produce more PlayStation 4 consoles throughout 2022, despite initially planning to “discontinue assembly at the end of 2021.”
The decision will see about a million PS4 consoles hit shelves this year, and will hopefully give consumers an alternative if they’re new to PlayStation and can’t find a PS5 to purchase. As the PS4 uses older hardware, it’s easier for Sony to produce and could provide a budget-friendly option for those who can’t wait any longer to experience Sony’s marquee titles.
Although Sony never planned on ending PS4 production, which has sold more than 116 million units to date, it apparently foresaw an opportunity to transition to its latest hardware quickly – something which a Sony spokesperson denied to Bloomberg.
However, due to the global semiconductor shortage, disruption from the pandemic, and extremely high demand, Sony has found getting PS5 consoles into retailers’ hands a challenge. Despite being on sale for over a year, finding a PlayStation 5 on sale is still a bit of a lottery.
The PS5 stock shortage has also meant that Sony’s proposed budget option, the PS5 Digital Edition, hasn’t been a viable option for consumers – and is often even harder to find than the disc version. At $399 / £359 / AU$549, the digital-only model of Sony’s PlayStation 5 is $100 cheaper than the disc version.
Analysis: is it still worth buying a PS4 today?
If you’ve been searching for a PS5 but haven’t been able to find one yet, the PS4 is still a great option if you simply want to play Sony-exclusive games like Uncharted 4, God of War, The Last of Us 2, and Horizon: Zero Dawn.
The console continues to receive countless new games, too, as many of the best PS5 games like Resident Evil Village, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and FIFA 22 are cross-gen titles, so there’s a breadth of titles to jump into from day one.
However, if you’re sold on Sony’s lineup of current-gen titles, the new DualSense controller, or simply want to experience significantly better performance at higher resolutions, the PS4 probably won’t be an attractive proposition.
The PS4 Pro, which is at least capable of 4K, has also been discontinued by Sony, which means you’ll have trouble finding Sony’s mid-gen refresh console. If you want the best possible experience, then, a PS5 is the way to go.
Sony’s inability to offer a genuine alternative to the PS5 does make Microsoft’s decision to sell the Xbox Series S seem extremely savvy in hindsight. The more affordable Xbox, which has proven itself to be a true next-gen console despite its caveats, is now readily available at a number of retailers. The cheaper console has helped make the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S Microsoft’s fastest-selling consoles of all time, something which simply wouldn’t have been possible if Microsoft only offered its flagship console.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has previously warned that supply issues could persist until 2023, which would mean that the PS4 and Xbox Series S are the only realistic options for the foreseeable future.