This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 have been available at brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites since September 17, but it has been reported that pre-order stock for the Digital Edition without an optical drive may be much fewer than the Standard Edition with a standard disc drive.
This is an estimate made by ArsTechnica based on initial pre-orders confirmed at nine stores of major gaming retailer GameSpot. Digital Editions account for approximately 24% of the stock at these stores, with the Standard Edition accounting for 76%. Digital editions accounted for between 13 and 33 percent of all PS5 stock available for pre-order at each store, with the most common pattern being 20 percent.
This sample survey is not a scientific study, as there were only a total of 15-30 units per store in each store, and the number of stores is small. However, ArsTechnica research shows that this is consistent across multiple stores in multiple regions, indicating a national trend. Sources from other retail affiliates have also confirmed that Digital Edition allocation rates are similar.
These numbers only reflect the initial supply of PS5 available in each store and do not represent a percentage of demand for the Digital and Standard Editions. Stores covered by ArsTechnica also sold out of initial pre-orders within minutes, just as they did in Japan, because they don't include the potential need to try to buy the console but were unable to do so. However, it is said that there was a voice saying that they wanted to buy the Digital Edition, but because that was sold out, they had no choice but to choose the expensive Standard Edition.
Obviously, the digital edition is low on pre-order stock, how should we analyze this situation? ArsTechnica points out three possibilities (as neither Sony nor GameStop has responded to an Ars Technica request for comment).
The first possibility is that Sony's initial allotment of PS5 units is simply skewed toward the Standard Edition. Sony may believe that there is a low overall need for inexpensive Digital Editions and that the majority of prospective buyers are willing to invest extra money in a disc drive. Or it could be that Sony is focusing on early adopters (people who are eager for new products and services) who want to buy the "full-fledged" version.
It's also possible that Sony is trying to maximize its hardware revenue. Manufacturing costs for the optical disc drive portion of the unit are likely to be much lower than $100 (which is the price difference between the standard and digital versions), and the Standard Edition may have a higher profit margin.
A third possibility is that retailers may be ordering fewer Digital Editions than Standard Editions. GameSpot, in particular, makes most of its revenue from physical packaging, including its high-profit margins from buying and reselling used discs, and the analysis suggests that if a customer buys a digital edition, there is a risk that that customer will never buy the game in stores again.
Whether that decision is on Sony's side or on the retailer's side, it's certainly likely that "the initial shipments of the Digital Edition will be far less than the Standard Edition". It's up to your personal discretion which one you choose, but it may help you make a decision.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.