While most of the news about console sales nowadays are related to the impressive launch of the Nintendo Switch, another device has been selling more than three years now at a stunning rate. We are talking about Sony’s PlayStation 4, which got a review at length of its financial position by Sony global game development boss Shawn Layden in an interview for Time Magazine, in which he shared some rare sold-through numbers.
With almost 60 million consoles sold through to customers, the PS4 is Sony’s fastest-selling console ever released, beating the historic numbers of the PS2. This may have changed the narrative foreseeing the death of consoles as a physical device by the next generation, as Layden says. That is definitely not a likely scenario for Sony’s devices, considering that the PS4 doubles the sales for its most frontal competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox One, in North America, a difference that is even wider in other territories: “In Europe, it’s really been fortress PlayStation by at least 3-to-1 in unit sales.” Layden could have also mentioned the market situation in Japan, where Microsoft’s console is largely irrelevant.
This privileged position in the market allowed the company to attempt the daunting task of releasing three new hardware products in a matter of 60 days last year. Those were, the slimmed down version of the base PS4, the more powerful PS4 Pro, and Sony’s own virtual reality headset PSVR. While the latter two have suffered from severe supply constraints at a worldwide scale, Layden seems more than satisfied with the numbers of both products.
The PSVR has passed the 1 million sold-through mark, and it’s gaining traction as more headsets are becoming available on stores, while the company calculates that 1 PS4 Pro is sold for every base PS4 consoles, which Levy says: “It is way ahead of our expectations (…) as with PSVR, and I suppose in forecasting these things we haven’t done a very good job, the product is in desperately short supply. So that’s one-in-five under severe constraint.”
PSVR has certainly expanded its catalogue in the recent weeks, with the releases of the first-party exclusive Farpoint and Ubisoft’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew, both of them gaining positive reviews from us. PSVR currently leads sales for advanced VR headsets ahead of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.