PS4 sales top 76 million – but numbers have dipped

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been a consistently high performer, taking the crown as the best selling console of this generation thus far. However, in a recent earnings report, Sony has revealed that sales for the console are beginning to slow, with numbers down year-on-year.

For the 2017 Christmas period, Sony revealed that it sold 9 million PS4 consoles, which is down slightly on the 9.7 million sold across the same period the previous year. 

Overall, it’s estimated that PS4 sales are now over the 76 million mark, which is close to the lifetime sales of the PS3, which hit over 80 million sales. Given the PS3 reached this figure over a period of seven years and the PS4 is closing in on it in just four, it’s safe to say that the company’s latest console has the potential to be its most successful ever. 

Ups and downs

Despite the fact that sales have dipped slightly over this Christmas period, however, it’s not necessarily bad news for Sony. Consoles are still selling in large amounts and it seems natural that a certain degree of market saturation would see sales fall slightly this late into a console’s generation. 

That said, given the more recent release of the PS4 Pro, it could be considered somewhat surprising that sales have slowed so early into that console's lifetime. It's possible that the PS4 Pro is a simply a non-essential mid-generation update that's targeted towards a more niche high-end consumer, meaning it hasn't boosted sales to a huge degree

Offsetting this dip is a rise in sales and income for Sony’s game software division, Game and Network Services. As hardware reaches its peak, you’d hope that you’d see an increase in the number of games being purchased for it, and Sony has seen an uptick in the adoption of its first-party titles as well as an increase in digital PSN sales. 

The increase in sales and operating income appears to be rather significant as can be seen from the chart below. Sony attributes this to favorable currency exchange rates as well as an increase in its software sales.

Despite this significant rise the company has been conservative in its software sales estimates for the next quarter, ending March 31. The reason for this appears to be a “change in launch dates for certain software titles.” 

There aren’t any specific games named, but given big first-party releases such as God of War, Spider-Man and The Last of Us Part 2 are falling after this period it’s an unsurprising estimation.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.