Sony Has Sold 100 Million PlayStation 4s. Can It Level-Up to Become the Best-Selling Console of All Time?
PlayStation 4 is making aging look easy. According to Sony's quarterly financial report, six years into the product's lifecycle, the console is still attracting customers. And now, after selling 100 million PS4s—the fastest a console has ever reached this milestone—Sony has outpaced sales of Nintendo's groundbreaking Wii system.
"Last year [PS4 sales] should have started to decline. But because of a really strong first-party release slate, it actually saw a late cycle bump," NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella says. "Sales went up in a year where traditionally sales should have gone down. The trajectory has been really good."
It's a massive achievement considering the impact that the Wii made when it was released in 2006. With over 155 million units sold, the PlayStation 2 is still the highest selling console of all time, followed by the original PlayStation and the Wii, both selling more than 100 million units.
But the PS4 isn't far behind those now-classic systems, and it will be another year or more before we see Sony's the next generation console. That means the PS4 has the wind of at least one more holiday season in its sails, as it races to become the best-selling video game console of all time. (For Microsoft fans keeping score, the Xbox One is trailing the PS4 by an estimated 20 million units.)
"The PS4 was already one of the best selling systems of all time," says Piscatella. "It's had a really amazing run, and it has another couple years in it for sure."
The PS4's sales numbers also tell a larger story about the gaming industry overall. Many competitors are branching out into cloud gaming, but the fact that a gaming system from 2013 sold just over 3 million units this past quarter proves the demand for consoles isn't going away any time soon.
Compared to Nintendo's Wii, a contemporary console that outsold its competition in their heydays, the PS4 is proving to have a very long shelf life. The Wii saw an incredible jump in sales, Piscatella notes, but then declined just as quickly as it took off due to a lack of sustained interest by the market. But the PS4 is proving it can bring in better and more consistent sales numbers later in its life cycle, especially compared to the Wii.
The PS4 has also handily beat its direct competitor, Microsoft's Xbox One, in terms of overall numbers. Exact sales figures for Xbox sales are unavailable since Microsoft stopped releasing them years ago, but Piscatella estimates it's not far off from its predecessor the Xbox 360, which he says has sold more than 80 million units to date.
With a few more marketable years left, Sony's current console could very well become the highest overall selling console—but the end is in sight.
"This year has been a little bit rough just because we're getting really late in the cycle," Piscatella says, referring to the PS4's sales this year. "So now we are seeing declines, but overall I think anyone would take what PS4 has done and be happy with it."
In other words, whether it's the best-seller or a runner up, the PS4 will be a big winner.