PlayStation 5 outselling its predecessor despite near-constant stock shortages

Ed Nightingale April 28, 2021
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PS5: PlayStation 5 stock will increase throughout the year, says Sony boss

The PS5 is currently in high demand. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Sales of the PlayStation 5 are set to surpass its predecessor, the PS4, with current figures at 7.8 million so far.

It’s an impressive feat, especially considering the high demand and near-constant stock shortages.

Those 7.8 million sales are from the first two quarters since the console launched in November. By comparison, the PS4 sold 7.6 million in its equivalent launch period.

If sales of the PlayStation 5 continue at this pace, it will outsell the PS4, which is currently the fourth best-selling console of all time (just behind Nintendo‘s Game Boy and Game Boy Colour consoles combined).

Over the course of the past 12 months, Sony’s older console still sold 5.7 million units. That brings lifetime PS4 sales to 115.9 million units – impressive, but still well behind the PS2 that stands as the top selling console of all time with 155 million units sold.

That’s despite Sony discontinuing all but one model of the PS4 in Japan as it ramps up PlayStation 5 production.

All of this is to say, Sony is having its most profitable year yet for its Game & Network services division, as per this tweet from Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad.

Total revenue for the past fiscal year was a record $24.4 billion.

Actual profits are $3.15 billion, due to Sony selling the PlayStation 5 at a loss. This is standard practice for a new console launch, where it’s sold for a lower price than manufacturing costs to entice consumers.

Costs are made up by software sales and, in Sony’s case here, subscriptions to its PS Plus service.

In an interview back in March, Sony boss Jim Ryan apologised for PlayStation 5 stock shortages and claimed that stock would increase month-on-month throughout the year.

Still, retailers are devising creative ways to beat the scalpers buying console stock. Currys recently launched a priority pass that requires consumers to sign up on the website to receive a unique priority buying code.

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