Why is the PS5 Out of Stock?


Regardless of the city or country you’re in, the PS5 is nearly impossible to buy. 

But why is that? 

Why can’t any of us, other than the scalpers, wrap our fingers around Sony’s next-gen console? 

Having had a number of people ask me that question, I decided I’d find an answer. 

After digging through the dregs of Reddit and padding through pages of gaming sites, I found answers… 

So, why is the PS5 actually out of Stock? The PS5 is out of stock because:

  • Covid19 caused supply chain difficulties 
  • Lockdowns have lead to high demand
  • PS5’s low price
  • Businesses hoarding key components 
  • Chinese manufacturing grinds to a halt mid pandemic
  • TSMC, the maker of the PS5’s CPU/GPU, overwhelmed
  • Scalpers

Ok, now that, you’ve got a quick answer to your question, I’ll take a look at each reason in a little more detail below. 

Then I’ll take a brief look at when the stock shortage will end and what you can do in the meantime. 

Reasons why the PS5 is out of stock everywhere

Covid19 causing difficulties in the supply chain 

Covid19 hit 2020 hard. The virus swept across the world erasing lives and livelihoods, leaving behind a wake of social and economic destruction.

Every industry was beaten to its knees by Covid’s relentless assault on our society. 

The gathering of raw materials in mines ground to a halt.

Goods traditionally shipped by sea freight floundered. 

Asian manufacturing centers became ghost towns.

Shops shut their doors to shoppers.

The economic world stopped, and PS5 production along with it. 

With the world shut down PS5 components couldn’t be made. PS5 components couldn’t be assembled. And finished PS5s couldn’t be shipped in mass around the world. 

Unprecedented demand brought on by Covid19

When nations were gripped by Covid19, governments plunged our world into unprecedented times with mass lockdowns. 

Only those who absolutely had to leave their homes could leave their homes. The rest of us ate, worked, slept, and played at home. 

The streets were deserted. The crumpling bags of bargains and quick feet were replaced by the rustle of lonely leaves through city centers. 

Hidden behind the summer’s sun were dark days. 

People looked inwardly for a break from the lockdown oppression. 

And games provided a torch to defeat the dark.

As a consequence of covid, gaming as a hobby was boosted massively. Beyond all expectations of everybody in the industry. 

People across the world craved escapism. And the PS5 could hand it to them. 

PS5 was priced well 

Another major reason the PS5 is sold out everywhere is because of its $499 price. 

At just shy of $500 the PS5 represents fantastic value for money. 

Consider for a moment the tech inside the PS5. There’s a state of the art ray-tracing enabled GPU that’s 5 times more powerful than the original PS4. 

For comparison, a comparably powered gaming PC would cost about $1500 dollars at the moment. 

The PS5’s low price has stoked an inferno of interest that’s pumping the pistons of demand to extremes. And supply can’t keep up. 

Electronic component hoarding 

In response to the pandemic. Companies such as Huawei, Samsung, and Apple are actively hoarding components to ensure their own products can be brought to market without issues. 

This hoarding causes problems for the likes of Sony as they face difficulty acquiring key components for PS5 production. 

As Will Bright, co-founder and chief product officer at Drop told Bloomberg News, the situation is a “chip stockpiling arms race”.

Also, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, has openly admitted that “chip shortages will last at least until the middle of 2021”. And if the covid situation doesn’t ease, shortages could extend into early 2022.

Covid shut down Chinese manufacturing hubs 

Early in the Chinese epidemic, Covid’s hand gripped tightly around Wuhan’s neck. Life squeezed to a standstill, while its other hand stretching menacingly toward neighboring cities.

As the epidemic grew into a global pandemic, a war between mankind and the virus erupted. Our weapons of choice: lockdowns and social distancing. 

But just like weapons of war, the weapons of choice for viral destruction come with their own form of collateral damage: economic annihilation. 

Manufacturing centers stopped making. Shops stopped selling. Restaurants stopped serving.  

The western world’s factory threw down tools in the wake of covid’s unwavering assault. And the PS5’s production suffered immeasurably for it.

TSMC, Taiwan’s premier chip manufacturer, is at capacity

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC for short, is the world’s premier chip making foundry and the maker of the PS5’s CPU/GPU combo.

But Sony doesn’t have TSMC all to themselves.  

Every major chipmaker, from Apple to AMD, uses TSMC’s state of the art semiconductor fab plants to make their chip designs. 

The reason for this: it’s much easier for a company like AMD to design a chip and outsource manufacturing than to design and make the chip themselves.

But this causes a major problem:

TSMC’s manufacturing volume though vast is still limited. And with so many companies asking for chips to be made, there’s a shortfall. 

AMD, the designer of the PS5’s main chip, can’t get enough PS5 chips made by TSMC to suppress demand. 

This gives rise to the shortage of PS5s. 

Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki spoke to Ars Technica and said that the manufacturing of PS5 consoles has taken a hit in the last few months because of a shortage of semiconductors and other components.

“It is difficult for us to increase the production of the PS5 amid the shortage of semiconductors and other components,” Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki went on to explain.

Scalpers

Scalpers: People who buy in-demand products using nefarious means to resell those products at vastly inflated prices. 

Scalpers have bought vast quantities of PS5s across the world by using a legion of bots to do their bidding. 

These automated bots scour the internet looking for PS5 stock. When they find a PS5 for sale they automatically strike with efficiency and speed far beyond our biology. 

Once in hand, Scalpers then resell these PS5’s on websites like eBay at inflated prices. 

This action of buying many PS5s limits the real-world stock available to end users like me and you. 

This shifts the supply curve lower while demand stays high. This leads to artificial scarcity which drives prices higher. 

While the scalpers keep on buying supply will stay low.

When will the PS5 Shortage end

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the PS5 shortage does not look like it will end any time before summer 2021.

Some industry insiders are even suggesting that the shortage will even stretch into 2022. 

So the shortage will likely continue throughout 2021. And the shortage will get even more drastic near Christmas 2021.

And sadly, stock levels will likely stay low while scammers and scalpers rain supreme well into 2022. 

What to do in the meantime

If you can’t get a PS5 there are still plenty of other games and activities you can do instead. 

Try a few of these: 

Unplayed PS4 games

Try working through your back catalog of PS4 games. If you’re anything like me, you have a library of PS4 games you’ve either bought or been given via PS Plus. Go back and take a look at them and give some of them a go. Try a few genres you normally wouldn’t play. 

Also, check the secondary market. Older PS4 games can be bought dirt-cheap.

For example, I bought Assassins Creed: Odyssey: Legendary Edition (Legendary edition gives you all the DLC plus a much-needed XP bonus) in the PSN Sale for just £24 pounds. I’ve sunk over 60 hours into it so far.  

Buy a different last-gen console

If you don’t own a Nintendo Switch or Xbox One, hold off on buying a PS5 and buy these consoles on the cheap instead. 

There are loads of fantastic exclusives on Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s consoles. 

For example, Microsoft has Forza, Halo, Gears of War. 

The Nintendo Switch has Zelda, Mario, and Pokemon to name just a few. 

Retro gaming 

Why not jump in the time machine and visit the games of yesteryear? 

There are loads of retro consoles readily available that can be bought cheaply. You could give games on the Xbox 360, PS3, or PS2 a try. 

Or you could dial the Delorian’s date back even further and revisit the 16bit era. The SNES and Genesis are home to some stunning games.  

In fact, I’m playing through Super Tennis on the SNES mini at the moment. 

Pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill 

Instead of pining over your long lost PS5, why not pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. 

Not having a PS5 is painful. I get that. But the vacuum the PS5’s absence has created can be filled with something far more fulfilling and rewarding. 

Learn how to set up a Youtube gaming channel. Learn how to design platform game levels Learn how to paint. Learn how to train like a professional gamer. Start that game development course so you can finally change your career. 

The PS5 gives you the gift of time in its absence. 

Don’t waste it. 

Conclusion 

It’s that time in the article where I like to summarise all the major points I touched on in the article:

  • There is no PS5 stock because:  
    • Covid19 caused difficulties in the supply chain
    • Unprecedented demand brought on by covid19 lockdowns
    • PS5 is well priced
    • Electronic components have been hoarded by other businesses 
    • Chinese manufacturers shut down in the middle of the pandemic hampering PS5 production 
    • TSMC, the maker of the PS5’s SOC, overwhelmed with other orders by many other companies
    • Scalpers are buying PS5 creating artificial scarcity
  • The shortage is not expected to end until, at the earliest the 3rd quarter of 2021
    • Many projections believe there will be a shortage of PS5s well into 2022
  • If you can’t get a PS5 there are still plenty of other games to play
    • Try working through your back catalog of PS4 games
    • Buy an older Xbox to try Xbox exclusives 
    • Buy a Nintendo Switch and play its exclusives. 
    • Play retro games on consoles such as Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, SNES, Genesis. There are 10s of thousands of games out there to be discovered and played 
  • Pick up a new hobby 
  • Learn a new skill 

What is the EXT of the PS4 controller? Good question. The EXT port on the PS4 controller acts as a secondary port. This port can be used to charge the controller of to connect peripherals. For a better explanation, take a look at my PS4 controller EXT article here

My mate has a PS5 but I still use a PS4. Can I play online with them? Yes, PS4 and PS5 players can play online with each other. Take a look at my article here to learn how.

Is the PS4 controller compatible with PS5? The PS4 controller will work on the PS5. But only with PS4 games played on the PS5. The DualShock 4 will not work with PS5 games. Take a look here for an in-depth explanation.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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