Sony as a company is still losing money, but the PlayStation 4 is a success story. In the last quarter, Sony sold 3.3 million PS4 consoles. If Sony can continue at the current pace, PS4 might surpass the PS2 as the best-selling game console ever.
PlayStation 4 sales accelerating
Prior to launch, some analysts predicted that enthusiasm for dedicated game consoles was fading. There is no evidence to support that so far. In fact, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are doing more than fine, but the latter still stands out. Even Sony is surprised.
- “It's just beyond our imagination. We are so happy. But I for one am a bit nervous because we do not completely understand what's happening.” said Sony’s Shuhei Toshida to Eurogamer earlier this year.
In the last quarter - usually a quiet period for game consoles – Sony sold 3.3 million PS4 consoles. That brings total sales up to 13.5 million since the launch in November 2013. In comparison, Microsoft sold 2.4 million Xbox consoles in the last quarter, but has refused to specify the split between the 360 and One. It is estimated that Microsoft has sold around 6.1 million Xbox One consoles to date. (update: Microsoft says that it has sold almost 10 million Xbox One consoles as of November 13, 2014).
Sony also says that the PlayStation 4 is now at break-even financially. It took 4 years for the PlayStation 3 to break-even. The two companies will also launch the new game consoles in China this time around, as China recently removed a year-long ban on game consoles.
The last three months even suggest that PS4 sales are accelerating, despite a weak line-up of next-generation games. Going into the Holiday quarter, game studios will release some of their biggest titles. In November, several titles will be released, including Assassin's Creed: Unity, Far Cry 4, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and the re-mastered GTA5.
Some features are still missing
Microsoft has worked hard to catch up to Sony and has released a range of new features for the Xbox One, including a full media player, a TV tuner, 3D Blu-ray playback, and apps for several streaming services.
Despite Sony’s strong start they have been surprisingly mum on many of the features that were promised at the launch event. 3D Blu-ray was added recently, but PS4 still lacks a media player and does not support 4K video output that Sony confirmed at launch. PS4 also lacks the suspend-play feature that was one of the highlights at the launch event.
As the holiday season is approaching the trend may very well continue, but it is unclear to what extend new TV platforms such as Android TV or Apple TV will affect dedicated game consoles in the long term.