It’s going to be harder for everyone to find PS5’s cheaper Digital Edition at retail.
The PS5 pre-order process has so far been a mess. Unlike what Microsoft is doing with Xbox Series X and Series S, Sony didn’t set time/dates for when PS5 pre-orders would be going live.
This resulted in a free-for-all that saw retailers opening up pre-orders shortly after the conclusion of the PS5 Showcase event. There didn’t seem to be a plan in place, so it looked like each retailer was simply reacting to their competitor’s moves, making for a terrible experience for customers.
Sony admitted that this could have gone a lot better, and promised to replenish stock throughout the year. But what Sony neglected to mention was the difference in unit allocation between the standard, disc-based PS5, and the $100 cheaper Digital Edition.
According to multiple reports, Digital is much harder to find because Sony didn’t make enough of it. Ars Technica contacted GameStop stores at nine locations across the US, and found that roughly 24% of the allotment is taken up by the Digital Edition, whereas the rest has all been standard.
20% was the most common ratio, but it could go as high as 33% and as low as 13%. A similar ratio could also be seen at other retailers Ars spoke to off the record. VGC has likewise heard that far fewer PS5 Digital Edition units will be available compared to the disc-based model.
PlayStation boss Jim Ryan was even asked specifically by AV Watch to clarify the split, but wouldn’t budge.
“The ratio between the Digital Edition and the disc drive model is currently something we cannot disclose at this time,” said Ryan. “We cannot give specific information on numbers, but we can say that we plan to produce the necessary number of units to meet the demand for that model type.”
“However, we’ve never produced two different console models at the same time before so deciding on the right number and the right ratio is very hard to know. We are doing our best to predict demand,” he added.
It goes without saying that specialist retailers like GameStop would likely order more of the disc-based console, as it allows them to continue selling discs to customers, whereas a digital unit would limit their reach greatly.
But it also seems Sony itself may not be interested in offering the Digital Edition in mass quantities right now because the initial launch allotment will be bought by the hardcore anyway, so it may not be worth taking a hit on the – by most accounts, subsidised – Digital Edition until we clear this launch period. Of course, this tactic could end up biting Sony in the butt if Microsoft uses it to sell more of its $300 Xbox Series S.
We may never get clarity on this, but you can consult our PS5 pre-order page to keep up to date with stock refreshes across retailers, and hopefully get a console in time for the holidays.