The two companies recently made announcements about console production of their previous generation systems
On Wednesday, Sony and the PlayStation brand made the news cycle as word that the PlayStation 4 would ramp up production to meet the needs of gamers in light of ongoing shortages of PlayStation 5 consoles spread like wildfire.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Sony’s reasoning behind focusing on PS4 production rather than putting that effort and those supplies into producing more PS5s is as follows: “The older console uses less advanced chips, is simpler to make and provides a budget-friendly alternative to the PS5.”
The report also stated that about a million additional PS4 units should hit the market in the coming months. Bloomberg says, according to its sources, the plan was originally to stop production at the end of 2021, but now production will continue through the end of this year.
On the other hand, Microsoft announced Thursday that production of the Xbox One ceased back in 2020. The end of production for the Xbox One X and Xbox One S was reported in July 2020, but this new confirmation now extends to the base Xbox One model as well, which stopped being produced a few months after the upgraded versions of the eighth-generation game console.
So, why the difference in approach? That seems to come down to the worldwide chip shortages that continue to plague electronics makers amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic and how that shortage is balanced with the way the two companies produce their respective consoles.
According to Xbox head Phil Spencer, via The Verge, Microsoft says it can produce chips for its Xbox Series S and Series X using the same die space, and that could explain why the cheaper Series S Xbox consoles seem to be more common on store shelves and at online retailers versus the PS5.
Microsoft is leveraging its supplies to produce more of the digital-only Series S consoles as the the lower price point, and perhaps a renewed interest in digital gaming over buying physical media as Microsoft continues to push its Game Pass service, is helping that version of the console sell more units.
Sony’s approach to chip production seems to be a bit more complicated, so for now, the company looks to focus on extending the PS4’s lifespan rather than trying to ramp up production on its newest system.
In either case, it doesn’t look like the true flagship next generation consoles – the PlayStation 5 nor the Xbox Series X – will be readily available to purchase any time soon.
But all is not lost for those wanting to play the majority of newer games. Since Xbox Series S can run all current Xbox One and Series X games (as well as Xbox and Xbox 360 games via backward compatibility), it makes sense to focus production on the Series S since it’s cheaper to produce, materials are more readily available and its sales are better, according to Spencer.
Sony’s strategy is a bit less sound because games that are exclusive to PS5, such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, cannot be played at all on PS4. However, many of the upcoming exclusive PlayStation titles like Gran Turismo 7 and next month’s Horizon: Forbidden West will also be released on PS4, so if you don’t own a PS4 and can’t find a PS5, perhaps picking up a PS4 is a good way to keep your gaming ventures current until the PS5 is easier to obtain.
It’ll be interesting to see if Sony delays any of the upcoming PS5 exclusives or holds PS5 versions of games back for a while in light of this news. Stay tuned to Game News Now for the latest updates on this story and more.