Three months out of release, Sony's PS4 remains a rare beast in the world of retail. I’ve never seen a physical unit for sale in a store despite making a point to look wherever I go, and I’ve only seen a couple anywhere else. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist — 5.3 million have been sold so far — it just means that they’re moving so fast they’re hard to see. With the big launch in Japan today and demand not really slowing down, Sony doesn’t think that supply will stabilize until April.
“I can’t work it out precisely. But based on what I’ve seen so far, I think it is going to be tricky until around about April. You might get a fortnight or a week here or there where it is more available, but we should be back to free supply by about April,” Playstation UK and Ireland boss Fergal Gara told MCV.
“That’s our best guess. It might be a little earlier than that, or it might be a little later. But we’ll get there.”
Gara says that pre-order numbers gave Sony some indication of the demand it would be facing come launch time, but the numbers were so high that the company started worrying they wouldn’t line up to actual sales. Demand has been high no matter how you slice it, and it’s going to be months before we can start to get a picture of
A few factors have contributed to the rapid adoption. First, and most obviously, is that the last generation went on for as long as it did, meaning that gamers were ready and waiting for new hardware to come their way — some of them with huge stacks of games to trade-in in lieu of money. Secondly, Apple and other major tech companies have made us much more accustomed to buying hugely expensive electronics on the regular. Thirdly, there was a lot of vitriol towards Sony’s chief conception, the Xbox One, which gave ardent fans even more reason to follow blogs and get excited.
What’s especially impressive is that Sony has yet to deploy any attention-grabbing software. The particularly thin launch lineup made me a little skeptical, with only Killzone: Shadow Fall and Resogun deserving any real attention right off the bat. And while there have been a few new releases, we’re still shy of Infamous: Second Son, the first major release outside of the launch window. What we’re seeing now is the core of the core market, the gamers that want the powerful new toys and will patiently wait for the games later.
I’m still curious to see whether this sort of excitement will translate to a broader market whose options for gaming are becoming increasingly diffuse, but Sony is operating from a very strong base.