The newest PlayStation console has dethroned its older brother in sales for the first two quarters after their respective launches. Despite the success in hardware sales, software paints a different picture.
It's hard to believe that we've seen 5 iterations of the mainline PlayStation consoles since its first release in 1994. With 2000's PlayStation 2 still reigning as the best selling game console of all time, PlayStation's storied history has cemented its place as a significant cultural icon.
According to Sony's official Q4 financial reporting, it's clear that this history isn't being forgotten. Although the current-generation PlayStation 5 (PS5) released only last November, it has sold 7.8 million units to date - beating out the PlayStation 4 (PS4) with 7.5 million units sold in a similar time frame. The PS4 currently reigns supreme as the fastest console to sell 100 million units, so the question remains - will Sony eventually beat its own record?
Thanks to the pandemic, supply scarcity in semiconductors (an essential ingredient in electronics such as computers and consoles) has disallowed Sony to keep up with demand of the PlayStation 5. Thus, it's quite the feat that the PS5 has outsold the PS4 even with this drawback, possibly being an indicator of demand frenzy in a post-COVID world.
The fact remains that a lot of these PS5s are in the hands of scalpers, which is a problem for not only the players, but for Sony. It's no secret that Sony sells their consoles at a loss (i.e. pricing lower than the cost to manufacture), relying on the PlayStation ecosystem (i.e. games and other media purchases) to fill in the profit gap. With scalpers storing the consoles to resell at egregious prices, effectively none of that ecosystem is being tapped into. Sony's target of 14.8 million PS5s sold after its second year may be fulfilled, but perhaps it's the 29% quarter-over-quarter decline in PlayStation's software sales it should really be worried about.
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