PlayStation 5 sells less well than expected

Launched in 2020, the PlayStation 5 is entering a declining phase of its sales, and it is Sony which indicates this in its financial results.

La PlayStation 5 Slim.

Let’s talk numbers. At the end of 2023, Sony had sold 54.8 million PlayStation 5s, a very good result but below the PlayStation 4 over the same period (57.3 million) as noted Oscar Lemaire on X. Likewise, the Nintendo Switch or the Wii (two consoles with great success) did better with 55.77 and 67.45 million. And if 2023 was a good year for Sony – 22.7 million consoles sold – it is a sham result: Sony had suffered from component shortages in 2021 and 2022 and the competition is not very strong, between a Nintendo Switch at the end of its life and Xboxes which are less successful. But in 2024, the console is mass available.

What’s more, the figures for the last quarter (Christmas 2023) are worse than expected. Sony has certainly sold 8.2 million consoles, but it is less than the PlayStation 4 at the same time (9.7 million) or the Switch (10.8 million) and the Wii (11.3 million). And it is above all less than the expectations of analysts… and Sony. In fact, the Japanese firm has also lowered its ambitions for the 2024 fiscal year, which were 25 million, to 21 million.

A different market

One thing must be taken into account to understand the comparison with the PlayStation 4. Firstly, the PlayStation 5 is more expensive initially: it was priced between €400 and €500 at launch (without or with a disc player), versus €400 for the previous console. Second, Sony had updated its console after three years, with a Slim version (less expensive) and a Pro version, faster but more expensive. With the PlayStation 5, Sony only offered a Slim version and it sold for more than the PlayStation 5 at launch (€550).

Big slimming diet for the PS5

Still, as explained Bloomberg, if the hardware part is at half mast, the software part absorbs the losses. There were 281.8 million games purchased for Sony consoles over the year, including 37 million titles published by Sony (which therefore bring in more money). Interestingly, DLC and other microtransactions largely take precedence over the rest in revenue: over the period April-December 2023, the latter represent almost 50% of revenue (48.38%, 4,896 million euros), compared to 39.37% (4,984 million euros) for dematerialized games. Physical games are purchased less and less (9.1%, 921 million euros) and the rest (3.14%) is made up of games sold on other platforms, such as the PC versions of some Sony games.

Spider-Man will not save sales in 2024.

And as Sony forecasts declining console sales for the next fiscal year (April 2024 to March 2025), we can assume that the brand does not plan to release any updates to its flagship console in the short term. Likewise, Sony also expects lower sales of games first-party (simplifying, the exclusives), lack of games from major licenses over the period.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.