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Sony boosting output of PlayStation 5 to meet surge in demand

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Even with a boost to manufacturing, Sony may still be unable to put enough PlayStation 5 units on store shelves in the coming year-end holiday season due to shipping constraints.

[TOKYO] Sony is roughly doubling its PlayStation 5 (PS5) production to 10 million units this year as it sees the prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic boosting demand for gaming, according to people familiar with its plans.

The electronics giant has informed assembly partners and suppliers it's radically increasing orders for its next-generation console, though logistics may yet pose a challenge to delivering all those machines on time for the holiday shopping season, the people said, asking to remain anonymous. Sony had previously aimed to produce five million to six million PS5 units by the end of March 2021, Bloomberg News has reported.

A Sony spokesperson declined to comment. Japanese business daily Nikkei earlier reported Sony's planned production boost of the game machine, which is scheduled to release this fall.

Concerns about a second wave of coronavirus infections may keep more people at home for longer, as governments around the world closely monitor efforts to reopen their economies. Sony's revised expectation is that this ongoing situation will stir additional demand for the PlayStation 5 console, whose official debut captivated the gaming community.

Even with a boost to manufacturing, Sony may still be unable to put enough units on store shelves in the coming year-end holiday season due to shipping constraints, the people said. A large proportion of Sony's consoles are made in China and sent out via sea around the world. It takes months for shipments to travel from China to the US and Europe via ocean lines, and Nintendo earlier this year had trouble refilling stock of its popular Switch console for this reason.

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Sony had previously advised suppliers that it would require 10 million units of the DualSense controller for the new PlayStation machine by March next year. Production of the new controller is also being increased to match the console's new output plan.

Sony began PS5 mass production in June and, under the latest plan, expects to assemble five million units by the end of September and another five million between October and December. A large portion of the latter tranche would turn into stock for 2021 due to the logistical delay. Sony could try to use air cargo for faster delivery, as it did in 2013 around the launch of the PlayStation 4, though airlines are running vastly reduced schedules due to Covid-19 and Sony's ability to reserve flights would be limited.

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