The PlayStation 5 has been extremely hard to find ever since its launch. The gaming console has either been out of stock in most stores or comes with ridiculously high price tags in some cases. But, after two years of relentless shortages, the drought is finally over.
Jim Ryan, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, spoke on Wednesday at CES 2023. He told the audience that the console’s supply improved towards the end of 2022. This means that the PS5’s price may finally start returning to its original MSRP soon.
Ryan added that people looking to buy a PS5 would have a “much easier time finding one at global retailers starting from this point forward.” December 2022 was the console’s biggest month of sales and it sold more than 30 million units around the globe.
Inventory has been low ever since the console was released. This was due to a variety of factors including a continuing global semiconductor shortage and extreme weather such as the Taiwanese drought, which greatly affected chip production. Fabrication plants need several million gallons per day of specially treated pure water. While consumer demand for electronic goods soared, semiconductor foundries were forced to close down due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
These problems were further exacerbated by trade tensions with China and the United States. Both countries have been investing heavily in self-sufficiency and looking to the future as tensions continue to rise, particularly over Taiwan. The United States has committed $52 billion to build more domestic semiconductor foundries.
Thus, the PS5 had supply chain problems and lacked purchasing safeguards. This led to a flourishing cottage industry of machine-powered resellers, who used bots crawling vendors to find PS5 drops and bought dozens of consoles at once. Similar issues made the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Xbox Series X consoles scarce.
After widespread consumer backlash, retailers have implemented stricter buying policies to protect themselves against resellers. The PS5 sold at an average price of $1000 per console during the peak of reseller sales in November 2020. Then the console saw a 30% drop in resell prices last year, despite its limited supply.
Sony didn’t respond to a request for comment at the time of publication about why the PS5’s availability might have changed.