Sony Posts Surprising PlayStation 5 Sales Figures
Ever since Sony launched the PlayStation 5 console in late 2020, it’s been out of stick with most major retailers. Some retailers haven’t had any stock at all since launch day, and even stores the size of Amazon have experienced long waits for new supplies. Difficulties with obtaining the new console led to disappointment for a lot of gamers at Christmas, and in a lot of cases, the people who didn’t get them at Christmas are still waiting for them now. Demand for the console greatly outstrips supply, and the impression given by the press is that hardly anyone has a PS5 at this point. That’s why the news that Sony released this week is surprising.
According to Sony’s latest sales figures, the number of PlayStation 5 consoles sold between launch day and the final day of 2020 was 4.5 million. That’s a gigantic number, and far higher than the number of units you might have suspected have been sold based on the constant press coverage of the stock shortage.
While it’s true to say that Sony can’t build the new consoles as fast as they’d like to because of issues with obtaining components, they’re still packaging and issuing them at a remarkable rate. In fact, four-and-a-half million is exactly the same number that the PlayStation 4 sold during its first quarter after it was launched. The PS5 doesn’t appear to be any less available than its predecessor was – it’s just the tone of press coverage that has changed.
Unexpected High Sales of PS5
The unexpectedly high number of PS5 sales – which can safely be assumed to have passed 5 million and perhaps even 6 million by this point – wasn’t the only eyebrow-raising statistic in Sony’s report. During the same period, the company also sold a further 1.4 million units of the PS4. This is an enormous drop from the same quarter in 2019 but suggests that people haven’t given up on buying the PS4 purely because the PS5 is now available. Given the vast back catalogue of PS4 games available, most of which have become cheaper to buy since the launch of Sony’s next-gen console, it might be the case that the console now appeals to budget gamers who either can’t afford a brand-new PS5 or don’t mind waiting a little longer for it.
Past vs. Present Sales
It will take the PS5 a long time to surpass its predecessor in terms of total sales. The PS4 crashed through the one hundred million sales barrier in mid-2019, and as of the beginning of February 2020, it has sold just under 114 million units. That’s an incredibly high bar to reach, and yet it wasn’t even the best-selling PlayStation console in history. That honor goes to the PS2, which sold 159 million units and is also the all-time best-selling console made by any company in any era.
For comparison, the very first PlayStation sold 102.5 million units, whereas the PlayStation 3 lagged some distance behind with 87.5 million units sold. In defence of the PS3, it should be noted that it went up against the Microsoft Xbox 360, which is the best-performing Microsoft console to date, selling 85 million units and temporarily poaching several million customers who’d previously bought PS2s, and went on to buy PS4s when the next generation came along.
Streaming Model’s Competition
It might be the case that the PS5 never goes on to break the one hundred million sales barrier. It’s up against more competition than ever before, with the Xbox Series X expected to sell more than the Xbox One did and the Nintendo Switch enjoying strong sales. There’s also the new streaming model of gaming to consider, as demonstrated by Google Stadia and Amazon Luna.
In just the same way as online slots websites dealt a heavy blow to traditional casinos when they first appeared at the beginning of the 21st century, streaming could pose a threat to traditional methods of playing games. We’re now at the point where more people are using slots UK websites than there are people visiting standard casinos. That’s because you don’t need to get dressed up and leave the house to visit an online slots website, so it’s a convenience benefit.
The convenience with the streaming model of gaming is that you don’t need a console to play them, and nor do you need to physically own any of the games you play, so the cost is lower. If Stadia and Luna grow in the way they’re expected to grow during the next two or three years, they’ll take customers away from Sony and Microsoft. This will probably be a decisive factor when it comes to Sony deciding whether to make a PlayStation 6 in five or six years’ time or whether they’ll jump aboard the streaming train at that point.
Going into the Future
The streaming question is something for Sony to worry about in the future. For now, the company is enjoying its best gaming quarter in history. Revenue has increased by over forty percent year-on-year to give them total sales of $8.4bn, leading to operating profit of $763m. That profit is purely down to sales of games rather than sales of PS5 consoles. While the company makes a small profit on every PS4 sold, they actually incur a tiny loss on every PS5 sold because of the current issues with components.
That problem is expected to be resolved during the next 12 months when the components become easier to acquire. Notwithstanding that, sales figures of both consoles and games are expected to increase dramatically because of the sheer number of people who are desperate to buy a new PS5 and will do so the moment an opportunity presents itself.
The message we hope you take from this, if you’re one of the millions of people who are still waiting to join the next-gen revolution, is that the consoles are out there. More than five million people have one by this point, and more are coming.
The console launch didn’t go smoothly by Sony’s own admission, but the company is working hard to solve problems and is getting stock to retailers as quickly as it possibly can. They hope to have all suppliers fully stocked by June at the latest, so if you’ve waited this long, you’ll only have to wait a little while longer.