The PlayStation 4 got an unexpected reprieve

It's not exactly a secret that the PlayStation 5 is a hard-to-find console and has been since the day it launched. With no sign that the console shortage is going to get better in the near future, Sony has apparently decided to continue on with PS4 production longer than it originally anticipated. This serves a few different purposes, but the most important one is keeping players in the PlayStation ecosystem as we wait for PS5 stock levels to normalize.

PS4 gets a stay of execution

Of course, when a new generation kicks off, we don't expect companies like Sony and Microsoft to kill off their previous-gen consoles immediately. Typically, they'll keep producing those older consoles for a couple of years after the launch of their new-generation machines, letting sales dwindle naturally as more people move to the new platforms.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Sony was originally planning to discontinue the PlayStation 4 at the end of 2021. With PS5 consoles still hard to find, however, Sony has decided to keep producing the PS4 through 2022, according to sources with knowledge on the matter. Sony's apparent thinking here is that it's better for people to buy a PS4 when they can't get their hands on a PS5 rather than buying no PlayStation at all.

While these sources say that Sony originally planned to end PS4 production at the end of 2021, Sony's official story is a bit different. In a statement to Bloomberg, a PlayStation spokesperson said that Sony didn't actually plan to stop producing PS4s at the end of last year, adding, "It is one of the best-selling consoles ever and there is always crossover between generations."

Continued PS4 production helps Sony in more ways than one

Continuing with PS4 production could help Sony in several different ways. As we've already mentioned, giving people something to buy is better than giving them nothing, even if those people would prefer a PlayStation 5. Tapping into the patient gamer market is never a bad idea.

Beyond that, though, continuing PS4 production could help Sony maintain a good relationship with manufacturing partners. At a time where everything, including production line capacity, is hard to come by, Sony's plan to continue producing the PS4 simply because it has access to these inexpensive parts may keep its manufacturing partners happy. That could prove to be a good move when shortages ease and Sony starts ramping up production at the same time as everyone else in the consumer electronics space.

At the end of the day, though, it's not like Sony has many choices here. It's safe to assume that Sony is producing PS5s as quickly as it can, so if there's production capacity left over, it might as well produce more PlayStation 4s. All added up, these sources say that Sony is poised to produce as many as one million PS4s this year and is ready to change that amount based on demand, so even though the console may be on the way out, it isn't dead yet.