Sony is said to be holding back stock of PlayStation 4 to ensure "stores have something on shelves come launch day at the end of the year", MCV reports.

The comments come after retailers confirmed they could no longer take pre-orders guaranteeing a console for launch.

Sony refused to comment on the reports, stating: "Sony Computer Entertainment Europe does not comment on production and we have no further information to share at this time on our release strategy for PlayStation 4 which is scheduled for launch this holiday season."

An MCV source states that Sony is holding back stock because it "doesn't want consumers who couldn't buy PS4 to buy Xbox One instead".

Xbox One is also performing well, with one retailer telling MCV that pre-order numbers have been "fantastic" and in-line with those seen for the PS4.

The site states that HMV and ShopTo expect to end pre-orders for the Xbox One Day One Edition any day now, but this goes against what sources close to Microsoft have said, noting the firm has planned a pre-order campaign which lasts "longer than just eight weeks".

Microsoft's retail sales and marketing director Jon Grimes commented: "Xbox One pre-orders are strong and we are confident with the momentum we've seen to date.

"We are currently on track for our most anticipated console launch and are working hard to ensure we are able to meet customer demand."

PS4 will launch later this year priced £349.99, with the Xbox One coming in November priced £429.99.