As Sales Grow, Sony Says the PlayStation 5 Is the ‘Most Profitable Generation To Date.' However, the PS4 Is Far From Dead

  • The PS5 closed 2023 with 56 million units sold, but the number of PS4 and PS5 gamers remains very even.

  • Sony intends to continue releasing its games on PC, but will do so at two speeds.

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It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been four years since Sony unveiled the PlayStation 5. The Japanese company’s latest console is currently in the middle of its product lifecycle. With the release of Sony's newest report, we now have the opportunity to assess the console's performance so far, the current number of PlayStation 5 consoles in circulation, the status of the PlayStation 4, and what we can look forward to in terms of video games, PCs, and peripherals.

Let’s take it step by step.

PlayStation 5 status. According to a Sony Business Segment Meeting report, the PlayStation 5 is the “most profitable generation to date.” In its first four years, the PlayStation 5 has brought in $106 billion in sales and $10 billion in net income, surpassing the PlayStation 4, which generated $107 billion in sales and $9 billion in net income over its seven-year lifespan. This represents a significant improvement, particularly considering that there’s still more to come, as the PS5 Pro is around the corner.

Playstation 1 Revenue generated by each generation of consoles. | Image: Sony

It’s a console theme park. The PlayStation 5 closed 2023 with 56 million units sold, which is an increase of 21 million units sold over the past year. However, the PlayStation 4 continues to play a significant role in the gaming community, with both consoles having 49 million monthly active users. Despite this, the PS5 leads in total game hours, with 2.4 billion hours compared to 1.4 billion hours on the PS4.

Playstation 2 Engagement for Sony consoles. | Image: Sony

You get the picture. Companies and distributors are gradually abandoning the previous generation. However, it’s interesting to note that in 2024, there are still games that are compatible with both generations. One would expect the PS5 to be powerful enough to fully replace the previous generation, but the reality is that there are still a significant number of players on the PS4 platform.

PC releases. Recently, Sony has started releasing some of its games on PC, including Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, and Horizon. Sony aims to expand the PlayStation brand to other platforms, including PC and virtual reality.

Hermen Hulst, head of PlayStation Studios, explained that they plan to release multiplayer games and games-as-a-service (i.e., games intended to have a prolonged content life cycle and generating constant revenue via micropayments, battle passes, etc.) on PS5 and PC simultaneously.

However, narrative games, which are considered the “backbone” of PlayStation Studios, will have “a more strategic approach.”

“We’re finding new audiences that are potentially going to be very interested in playing, for example, sequels on the PlayStation platform,” Hulst said.

It seems that the plan is to release games on PC shortly before it releases sequels on PS5, similar to what happened with God of War and Spider-Man, which were launched on PC right before God of War: Ragnarok and Spider-Man 2. The intention is clear: To encourage users to switch to the PS5 by making the sequels immediately available.

Virtual reality. Finally, Sony wants to expand the use of its VR headset beyond just its own consoles. To give credit where credit is due, the PS VR2 is a capable device, but it’s currently limited to the PS5 while virtual reality is popular on PC. Sony has already announced that they’ll allow the headset to be used on PC, which will need an adapter.

The South Korean agency RRA has issued a certificate that provides some hints of such an adapter, although nothing’s official as of yet. This information, though, might be confirmed during the upcoming State of Play event, which will focus on virtual reality.

Image | Charles Sims via Unsplash

Related | Best 21 PlayStation 3 Games: Best-Selling and Best-Rated PS3 Titles of All Time

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