Sony is coming off the back of a strong console generation in terms of the PS4’s success, but the way the winds are blowing, they are already boldly predicting that the PS5 is going to be an even better era for them.
Sony is predicting that the PS5 is going to outsell the PS4 both short term, where it’s meant to exceed the PS4’s 7.6 million units sold in the first two quarters, and also long term, where PS4 has sold over 100 million units, according to a recent investor call with Sony CFO Hiro Totoki. This joins comments made by Jim Ryan where he says that the PS5 sold more in 12 hours than the PS4 sold in 12 weeks.
There are a few catches here. It’s likely that because of this demand, PS5 will be supply limited this holiday season. And Sony also admits that they are taking a loss on each console for the time being, which is not surprising given the $400 price of the digital version and the amount of power it’s producing.
This is not to say Sony’s rival Microsoft is doing poorly with Xbox Series X and S sales. Like the PS5, pre-orders have been selling out for both consoles almost instantly, but since Microsoft no longer reports exact sale totals of consoles, we’re not seeing any similar predictions. But all indications are that it will likely have a stronger launch that the Xbox One, which struggled to take off among Sony’s record setting early PS4 sales.
Sony has a relatively strong launch line-up of games for PS5, with Godfall, Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man Miles Morales as the three console exclusive standouts. Microsoft infamously lost Halo Infinite for its launch window, and has to rely almost entirely on third party games that will also be available on PlayStation.
But the real reason that Sony is poised for another great launch here is because of how well the PS4 performed. We just finished an entire generation full of solid hardware and software from Sony, and that allowed them to snap up very significant market share. And now when the new generation is launching, unless there are very, very clear reasons to switch from Sony to Microsoft, many will simply, continue playing on the brand they know, which by more than a 2:1 margin, has been PlayStation. The Xbox Series X is a hugely powerful console and looks to correct many of the mistakes of its predecessor, but here, a tie isn’t really good enough, and add in some attractive exclusives and you have another early Sony edge once supply constraints are less of an issue.
All in all, it seems extremely likely that both consoles will dramatically outpace their predecessors, both in terms of gaming spending increasing during the pandemic, and increasing more generally over the years since the previous generational launch. Sony will sell more consoles, that seems clear, and yet keep an eye on subscriptions for Xbox Game Pass and xCloud on Microsoft’s side, which they are pushing more than physical hardware at this point. It’s going to be an explosive generation where more than likely, everybody wins.
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