The PlayStation 5 is the fastest-selling PlayStation console ever. In an ideal world, it could've ended up outselling any console in history, at least in its launch year. Unfortunately, Sony just couldn't keep up with the demand. The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on many industries, including the manufacturing process of the PS5. Due to supply chain and other issues, the PS5 could not maintain its momentum. Now, the PlayStation 5's sales are in danger of slowing down even further after Sony refused to rule out a potential PS5 price hike.
Make no mistake. The PS5 is reasonably priced. The honor of Sony's biggest pricing blunder still belongs to the PS3. High off the success of the PS2, the best-selling gaming console of all time, Sony thought that it could get away with a $499 console in 2006, but it didn't. Sony still sold a fair amount of PS3 units in the console's early years, but its high price point opened the way for its competition. The Xbox 360, in particular, was the biggest benefactor.
History aside, the reason for concern among PlayStation fans right now is Sony's refusal to draw the line on where it stands regarding a PS5 price increase.
According to the company's latest earnings briefings, Sony revealed that it "only" sold 21.7 million units of PS5 since November 2020. In comparison, the company sold 25.4 million PS4 units during the console's first seven quarters on the market. This represents a 28.571% difference in sales, which is a lot given how the PS5 flew off store shelves when it first came out.
Then again, Sony can only blame itself for the issue. Even if the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, Microsoft can keep up with the demand for the Xbox Series S/X. As a result, the Xbox Series S/X has outsold the PS5 numerous times earlier this year, including in Sony's home country, Japan.
When asked about the possibility of raising the price of the PS5 to account for the still-ongoing chip shortage and higher costs of manufacturing as well as shipping, here's what CFO Hiroki Totoki had to say (via VGC):
About a potential price increase for the PS5, at this point in time there is nothing specific I can share with you about prices.
The good news is that Sony is looking forward to setting new records with the PS5 after it officially ended the lifecycle of the PS4. In the same report, Sony claims that it will continue with its plans to ship 18 million PS5 units before the current fiscal year ends. If this happens, the PS5 will set a new record for most PlayStation units sold in a fiscal year. Unfortunately, Sony is making adjustments to its financial projections for the year after posting a slight decline in Q1 2022. Sony attributes this downtrend to a "fall in game sales" as well as the lack of first-party titles and players just spending less time playing video games.