Sony recently released its fourth-quarter earnings report to close out its fiscal year. While there are some odd little bits and pieces buried among the balance sheets, like Game Show Network becoming a fully owned subsidiary of the company, there are also some far more interesting statements towards the end.
Sales of hardware have been going down, though digital game sales and PS Plus subscriptions have helped offset that to some extent. As one would expect, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into production schedules and engineering consultations for Sony's various manufacturing facilities across the globe.
In the short term, PS4 consoles may be slightly more scarce than they have been, though Sony feels confident they have enough parts on hand for the moment. Looking a little further out, Sony has this to say regarding the upcoming release of its PlayStation 5 console:
Regarding the launch of PlayStation®5, although factors such as employees working from home and restrictions on international travel have presented some challenges in regards to part of the testing process and the qualification of production lines, development is progressing with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season.
While it's heartening to hear that Sony seems to be on schedule, there is potentially a bit of slippage built into that particular statement. The "holiday season" covers a good bit of ground on the calendar, so it could be as early as November or it could be as late as the new year.
The report does not give any indication of how large the initial production run is likely going to be. Sony indicates that, after several temporary shutdowns, their factories are back up and running. However, a resurgence of COVID-19 could potentially hinder not only the production of the console but its distribution to retail outlets as well as its early adoption among consumers.