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Sony's supply of PlayStation 5s reported to be limited, but Nintendo has made this approach work many times

This approach may not pan out in Sony's favor with an alternative available from Microsoft in the Xbox Series X

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • April 16, 2020 at 2:13 p.m. PDT • Comments: 20

Some potential bad news came down today about Sony's PlayStation 5 via a report from Bloomberg.

According to sources close to the matter, Sony is limiting its initial production run — in part — because it expects the PS5's demanding specs to contribute to a high price at launch. Although the novel coronavirus was asked about, Sony is allegedly not being impacted by this from a production standpoint, only their promotional plans.

Sony has told their assembly partners it would manufacture 5 to 6 million PS5 units by March 2021. When the PlayStation 4 was released, it moved about 7.5 million units in its first two quarters of release. Reports put the price of the new PS5 around $459 to $549 USD.

This report might instantly strike a point of reference about Nintendo, specifically for how the company is infamous for artificial scarcity. While reports differ on whether Nintendo actively practices this or not, in the past various examples, and even through executives who have worked at the company in the past, it has long been stated that they specifically limit product quantities on purpose.

Limited runs of the NES Classic, Amiibos and 3DS, 3DS XL should also point to the issues the company has with keeping up with demand, again whether that's due to an actual strategy, or just being bad at managing and anticipating demand is up for debate.

What's not up for debate is Nintendo's success in recent times.

All of the things contributing to Nintendo's success are hard to quantify, and the old adage that success has many fathers, failure is an orphan is highly applicable.

That said, it's clear Nintendo is doing a number of things right, and their strategy of limiting demand doesn't appear to be hurting them drastically from a business perspective, as their short supplies have created quite a bit of media coverage over the years, and kept the brand of Nintendo on the tongues and minds of gamers all over the globe.

Even though both Sony and Nintendo are both console makers, a complete apples to apples comparison is a bit more difficult, because Microsoft is seen as much more of a direct competitor.

Sony and Microsoft don't typically go after Nintendo with their marketing and messaging, as The Big N exists in a space somewhat unique to themselves, despite also creating video game hardware.

While Sony can cite Nintendo's limited hardware approach through the years as having worked, it may not work so well for them, when gamers are hungry for a next generation console which can play many of the same titles, like Microsoft's Xbox Series X.

It's hard to say what the outcome will be for Sony with this approach, but it's a damn interesting one, with some history on both sides showing how you can soar to new heights — or come crashing down hard — depending on what consumers decide.

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