Sony Has Sold Over 83 Million PlayStation 4 Consoles

Posted on July 31, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Games with 13 Comments

As part of its quarterly earnings announcement today, Sony revealed that it has now sold over 83 million PlayStation 4 video game consoles. So it will soon surpass the lifetime sales total for its predecessor, the PS3.

And by “soon,” I mean this quarter: Despite warning earlier this year that PlayStation 4 sales had peaked, Sony somehow managed to sell 3.2 million PS4 consoles in the most recent quarter, almost neck-and-neck with the 3.3 million it sold in the year-ago quarter.

This is interesting on a number of levels. But the most obvious is the relative time frames. It took the PS3 exactly 7 years to hit 80 million units (with the remaining 4 million dribbling in over the next four years until the console was discontinued). But Sony needed just over 4 years to hit the same level of sales.

While the PS4 will never attain the level of success enjoyed by the PS2, which sold an incredible 155 million units, it will clearly win this console generation and by a wide margin. (The original PlayStation sold over 100 million units too.)

And there are other signs of success here. Gamers purchased over 40 million PS4 games in the prior quarter alone. There are about 34 million PlayStation Plus subscribers. Digital games sales, which are more profitable, are up. And the division of Sony responsible for PlayStation just turned a $750 million profit, helping to offset the $250 million that the firm’s smartphone division lost in the quarter.

Game on.


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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Sony Has Sold Over 83 Million PlayStation 4 Consoles”

  1. ChristopherCollins

    So, are will still assuming half for the XB1 generation? 40+ million? I wonder if they improved the margin any with the 1S and 1X releases...

  2. jrickel96

    That attach rate is pretty bad. 40 million games sold in a quarter when there's over 80 million consoles. That either means that many PS4s are not used (possible) or that PS4 users don't even buy a single game during a full quarter. When you consider the hardcore fans that will buy multiples, it's not really that great.

    I've been told by devs that software sales for Xbox One and PS4 are not far off of each other so for many devs there isn't really a difference between the two. Sony funnels money from the hardware to give kickbacks to devs to continue the illusion that it is the dominant platform, but it is the software sales that matter, not the hardware. If no one is using the hardware then the sales are irrelevant to anyone except Sony.

    If the PS4 were selling at the same level as the Xbox One then it would be doing far worse than the Xbox because the PS4 users are less engaged. It is a great console - don't get me wrong there - but the user base is much more casual and some sales have been driven by intense fans that buy multiple consoles so they can play in different rooms. Awesome for Sony, not awesome for third party devs.

    From convos I've had, the PS4 has the worst attach rate of the three consoles. It's still a money maker, but software sales are disappointing considering the hardware footprint. None of the third parties would even consider leaving, but the Xbox versions are doing just as well in most cases.

    The one the industry is loving is the Switch. That has added a third viable platform to increase the bottom line for companies with minimal effort due to Nintendo actually using industry standards. They didn't anticipate a new market for Doom, Wolfenstein, etc and Ubisoft is loving making exclusives for Switch.

    Reality of the console wars: you can't go wrong with any of the three. All are very healthy. PS4 is not as strong as its hardware sales would have you believe - there's a lot of unused PS4s out there or users that just don't buy many games. But the software market overall is very strong.

    • pderosa

      Yeah this sounds right. Almost every guy I know well owns a PS4. Only my best friend buys tons of games for it. He also doesn't play them really...

    • My Hell baby speaking

      In reply to jrickel96:

      Concerning the attachment rate: We all know that Microsoft stopped publishing numbers of shoved console units when it continued going downhill for them and started some arithmetical magic show with 'attachment rate' (in Jim Sterling's 'Triple A industry' voice). You seem to take the same boat, however when I look at review numbers of multiplatform AAA titles (and not much else is left on Xbox to play) on (that Amazon in the Xbox heartland) the relation of review numbers on Xbox One in comparison to those on PS4 are desastrous.

      Assassin's Creed Origins: 528 (PS4) vs 296 (XBO)

      Far Cry 5: 478 (PS4) vs 246 (XBO)

      Now, I'm curious about the numbers in my home market Germany:

      Assassin's Creed Origins: 542 (PS4) vs 102 (XBO)

      Far Cry 5: 192 (PS4) vs 30 (XBO)

      And let#s not forget to compare Paul's daily intake of Call of Duty WWII:

      738 (PS4) vs 129 (XBO)

      Now, I means those numbers tell us something, don't they? When you still deny any correlation to the amount of activity on each console, then it follows Xbox owners to be more inapt of composing a text like a review. If you say, review numbers are dependent on buyer numbers I would argue, that not all reviewers have to have bought the game at Amazon. I for one, if I would have bought such a mainstream triple A title (J. Sterling's voice again) I would have done so digitally, for the PS4 and without bothering to review this c*p. And this touches another line of arguments from Xbox friends: Digitally distribution is _the thing_ on Xbox. Well, not when I had one in my living room. I just started buying digital content on PS4 because of the immensely attractive sales on Playstation store even for non-subscribing users. 

      My synopsis: Higher activity on XBO is a myth and in contradiction to reality like a burning bush and a talking snake is in contradiction to science and rational thinking.

  3. Brazbit

    I do wonder how many are just sitting on shelves. We bought both the Xbox One and the Playstation 4. We've bought dozens of games for the Xbox, and received hundreds through Gold so far and bpught one for the PS4 and received about 4 through their plan before my wife gave up on it. The PS4 hasn't been turned on in years and the Xbox is used daily.

    My wife, who had to have the PS4, bought a Switch and uses it regularly and so we've bought a bunch of games for it as well.

    So our PS4 may be one of the 83 million, bit it probably cost Sony money in the long run.

    I know ours is anecdotal, but I have heard simmilar for years. Someone else mentioned that developers are having similar profits regardless of platform right now.

    So congrats to Sony on moving units, but I think there's a bigger story behind the scenes in this generation (even if Nintendo had to double dip to make it happen) than in most previous generations.

  4. Bats

    WOW...this is a major butt kicking by the Playstation 4. All of this, despite Microsoft's attempts to get back in the game with their Xbox revisions (S and X), Sony continues to kick butt.

    Think about it, 40 million games. 40 MILLION GAMES! 40 million PS4 games vs 39.1 million Xbox One's sold (One, S, and X).

    I think it's safe to say that the Xbox One X failed in it's mission to gain any kind of traction against the Playstation. Nobody cared for the Xbox One X's slightly better graphics. It's like what I said earlier (months ago), the Xbox One X was not a game changer. Not even for Microsoft!

    In all honesty, Microsoft should just quit the console business and just stick to PC gaming. Sony clearly controls this space and they will continue to do so in the future. I look at the Xbox One X's launch as Microsoft's MOAB on Sony....and it did nothing. Now, when it's Sony's time to launch their MOAB, aka the PS5, I'm quite certain it's going to be a hit. That's because we all know that the PS5 will be technologically greater than the XBox One X. Also, because of the Playstation's tremendous popularity, as well as their services, developers will continue to flock and develop for that platform first.

    I am a PS4 user. I've always wanted to buy an Xbox One, just to have it, but I never did, mainly because it's not that important for me to have one. All I can tell the Xbox One faithful is this, ..... the party is kick'n with the PS4. People are streaming on Twitch, the PvP Online game play is always full, the free games that come with a PSN account are popular and the non-free ones are really cheap. I one time bought the Tell Tale Batman series (season 1) for $10. A few months later, it became free on PS+. I have a friend who came to me with this problem, because his kid wanted a PS4 Pro. He didn't want to get for him, because he bought him the Xbox One a couple of years ago. However, he was torn because his son is a good kid (with good grades in school) and he really really wanted it and it's because all his friends have the PS4 and he can't take part of any of their "online" adventures. Eventually my friend bought him the PS4 Pro with the VR and put the Xbox One on Ebay for $200, but sold it at $150 because no one wanted to buy it for $200.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to Bats:

      40 million games is weak compared to 83 million consoles. Xbox One game sales are at around 33 million for the quarter based on what I've heard from devs I work with.

      PS4 has a lower attach rate than the PS3 did. It sells a lot of games, but if it ran the same attach rate the PS3 did at its peak then it would be selling over 50 million games a quarter.

      Reality is this: if you subtract the exclusives for the PS4, software sales for third parties are near even. For EA, Activision, Ubisoft, etc there is not any huge advantage for the PS4.

      PS4 is not any more popular than the Xbox One. There are more consoles out there that are either not being used or not being used frequently. There are also markets where it does much better, but overall the only reason that developers do anything first on PS4 is if Sony gives them money. They funnel money from the hardware sales to get prominent IP as part of their marketing deals in order to promote more hardware sales. But for third parties there is very little advantage, if any.

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to jrickel96:

        PS4 is not any more popular than the Xbox One

        It's more popular with people who don't seem to game much. Most of my friends with consoles have PS4s and wouldn't even consider buying an Xbox. I kind of want one too so that I could play online with them, except that I know full well that won't happen as I also know those PS4s just sit there being unused. Had I had one when Destiny was new then maybe it would have gotten some use, but until there's some new PS4 exclusive that everyone is playing there's no point - I'll just stick with playing alone on my One X (which I do frequently).

        the only reason that developers do anything first on PS4 is if Sony gives them money

        Which is not always a bad thing for Xbox owners. Just look at No Man's Sky.

        • jrickel96

          In reply to maethorechannen:

          Good points.

          The PS4 is the "it" console. There are a lot of people that just feel the need to buy a console just in case or teenagers that want one, etc. I'm sure many of the are used frequently, but not for gaming. They may be used as a streaming box that can play a game just in case something interesting comes out.

          I know someone that bought a PS4 just to play Arkham Knight a few years ago and has only occasionally done anything else with it. I think he has around 3 games for it and streams with it. There are a lot of PS4 users like that. Good for Sony because they got the hardware sales but does nothing for third party devs.

  5. Pierre Masse

    It's a little scary when you discover suddenly that you have 83 millions personnal enemies.

  6. dontbe evil

    this is (was) for the players

  7. Bob2000

    The momentum on the PS4 is immense, were even seeing types of games not seen in a long time on the machine even movie tie games that are not lego based or a mobile game, it's been a long time since those were done.

    MS is doing a great job evolving Xbox as modern platform with things like Freesync, Dolby Vision/Atmos etc eclipsing the Playstation but there is no way MS can close in on Sonys lead, they (MS) will be better positioned for the next console cycle.