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Is the PS5 Sony's fastest selling console ever?
Sony has experienced unprecedented demand with the launch of the PlayStation 5 console, and supply chain issues haven’t exactly helped get them into the hands of everyone who want’s one. Still, the PS5 is selling like hotcakes, having delivered over 30 million units to households worldwide in its first three years. With some of the best exclusive games still on the way and supply finally catching up with demand, PS5 sales are on track to keep rising. Here’s everything you need to know about the sales history and future of PS5 consoles.
Read more: PS5 buyer’s guide: All you need to know about Sony’s PlayStation 5
THE SHORT ANSWER
Three years after launching, Sony sold more than 30 million PlayStation 5 consoles globally, achieving record-breaking earnings. Supply constraints are expected to resolve by 2024, meaning PS5s are starting to stay in stock.
PS5 sales numbers: Here’s how many have sold and why
As of December 2022, the PlayStation 5 has sold 30 million units worldwide. And believe it or not, that number could have been bigger.
If you have tried to purchase a PS5, you’ll know that they typically sell out in minutes, if not seconds. Since launching in November 2020, retailers in the United States have sold PS5s at a rate of nearly 1,000 units per minute. For comparison, PS4 units in the US were selling at six per minute at the same stage in the product lifecycle.
Not only is higher demand making it harder to acquire a PS5, but a constrained supply is making it nearly impossible. PS4s, on the other hand, are still freely available in abundant supply. To Sony’s credit, many new games have had a dual-release on both PS4 and PS5 consoles, offering players a free upgrade to the PS5 version once they get the console, so they don’t have to wait to play the latest titles.
How has the pandemic supply chain disruption affected sales?
The PS5 outsold the PS4 in its first year on store shelves. But due to supply constraints, the PS5 undersold the PS4 in its second year. The two biggest obstacles to getting more PS5s manufactured have been the COVID-19 pandemic, causing staff shortages and factory shutdowns, and Russia’s impact on logistics, slowing down the parts inventory.
The good news is that the PS5 almost closed the gap with PS4 sales for its third year. Sony sourced multiple suppliers for greater agility in unstable market conditions and working on negotiating new logistical partnerships to maintain delivery routes for their consoles. That strategy seemed to pay off in reaching the 30 million mark. For comparison, the PlayStation 4 hit 30.2 million units sold on November 22, 2015, a little over two years after the console’s North American launch in November 2013.
Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan announced at CES 2023 that December 2022 was the biggest sales month to date for the console and that going forward, “everyone who wants a PS5 should have a much easier time finding one at retailers globally, starting from this point forward.” If all goes as planned, the PS5 should overtake the PS4 in terms of sales again by its fourth year.
Read more: Grab a chair; the global chip shortage could be with us for a while
How do PS5 sales compare to the first two years of PS4 sales?
The PlayStation 4 was an incredibly popular console for Sony, having sold over 100 million consoles to date, more than twice as many units as the Xbox One during its lifetime. The PS4 managed to reach the 20 million-units-sold milestone earlier than the PS5, in 15 months compared to 18 months, but to be fair, if it were not for the global chip shortage, the PS5 would have hit that milestone far sooner.
In terms of revenue, the PS5 has been a massive success for Sony, surpassing two billion dollars in net sales in 2020. Granted, the PS5 console costs more than the PS4, but a significant digital shift has also occurred. With more people staying at home during the pandemic, more players bought games directly from the PlayStation store rather than physical discs from traditional brick-and-mortar stores. In 2017 sales were split nearly 50/50 between digital and disc games, but by 2021, they were split 80/20.
Is the PS5 out-selling the Xbox Series X?
How does the PS5 compare to its rival Xbox Series X console? Like the last generation of gaming, Sony is leaving Microsoft in the dust. The PlayStation 5 currently has lifetime sales of over 30 million, while the Xbox Series X/S has lifetime sales of just over 20 million.
However, the number one selling console is neither the PS5 nor the Xbox Series X. At the top of the charts is the Nintendo Switch, having sold an impressive 118 million units to date. Part of the reason is that the Switch is less powerful than the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, using weaker components and thus is less affected by the chip shortage. More Switches on the shelves at a more affordable price have made for a tempting option for gamers.
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To date, roughly 30 million PlayStation 5 console’s have been sold worldwide.
Demand for the PlayStation 5 is higher than for any other console in Sony’s history. Additionally, supply chain constraints and chip shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed down manufacturing. Retailers have limited stock for the PS5 and have generally set a limit of one unit sold per household to deter scalpers.
Sony sold roughly five million more PS5s than Microsoft sold Xbox Series X/S consoles.