PlayStation 4 Sales Hit 50 Million Units

Posted on December 7, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Games with 23 Comments

PlayStation 4 Sales Hit 50 Million Units

Sony announced today that it has now sold over 50 million PlayStation 4 video game consoles worldwide. That is roughly double the number of Xbox One consoles sold in the same time period.

“We’re truly delighted that the PS4 community continues to flourish since launch three years ago.” Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Andrew House said in [a prepared statement](Andrew House). “With tremendous support from our fans and partners across the globe, this year we were able to deliver an unprecedented lineup of hardware such as the new slimmer PS4, PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR. We will continue to provide the best gaming experiences available through our ground-breaking software lineup and network services, as we focus on accelerating our business and expanding the PS4 ecosystem.”

A few key take-aways from this announcement:

  • Sony last revealed sales figures for the PlayStation 4 in May, when it announced total unit sales of 40 million. So Sony has sold 10 million PS4 consoles in the intervening 6 months, or about 1.67 million units per month on average.
  • These are sales to consumers, not into the channel. That is, this is a “real” number in the sense that there are 50 million actual PlayStation 4 users out in the world. Many companies note sales into the channel, which are no less real but do not necessarily represent the user base because many units could be on store shelves or elsewhere in the channel.
  • Sony says that last week was “the best ever Black Friday week in the history of PlayStation,” while not providing specific sales figures for the time period.Microsoft, you may recall, had previously stated that it experienced “strong demand” for Xbox One on Black Friday (the day, not the week). And I’ve seen reports that Xbox One outsold the PS4, in the United States, on that day. But it appears that PS4 has won the holidays, which was expected.
  • PlayStation 4 sales include the original PS4, the “slim” PS4, and the PS4 Pro. Which is both expected and acceptable. (Total Xbox One sales will likewise include the original console, the S console, and, when released, “Project Scorpio” too. These aren’t separate products, just separate models.)
  • Total PS4 software sales hit 369.6 million units sold in retail and digitally, Sony says. That’s another great measure of growth and strength, and I’d love to be able to compare that to game title sales on Xbox One. Basically, the average PS4 owner has purchased 7 games.

So. What about Microsoft?

Back in March, we theorized that Microsoft had sold between 18 and 24 million Xbox One consoles, or roughly 20 million units. (The company long ago gave up revealing the real figure, given how badly it was being beaten by Sony.) Assuming that’s true, we know that Xbox One outsold PS4 in July, August, September, and October in the United States, and that Xbox One S sales have been solid since that device’s introduction in August. Therefore, I will calculate/invent that Microsoft has sold approximately 25 million units. It could be lower, it could be higher.

Regardless, what hasn’t changed is that PS4 has outsold Xbox One by roughly 2-to-1. That has apparently been consistent for a while now, and I had hoped—even expected, frankly—that the success of the Xbox One S would narrow the gap.

This would be a wonderful time for Microsoft to chime in.


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Comments (23)

23 responses to “PlayStation 4 Sales Hit 50 Million Units”

  1. 6761

    One thing I find interesting is that Halo 5 sold more copies then Uncharted 4 despite the later releasing on the more popular platform. May have something to do with the 10 different Xbox bundles that came with Halo 5 at the time (and still do), but I find the thought interesting.

  2. 940

    You mean that the number of "Xbox Live active users" that Microsoft reports isn't as accurate as actual sales number?!? :-)

    • 6761

      In reply to matsan:

      I'm assuming sarcasm, so this is mainly at others reading this comment; the MAU includes Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 10 (including those who just use the Xbox enabled Solitaire) and Xbox enabled games on other platforms. Thankfully it measures accounts so if I log in on both Xbox and Windows, I'm only counted once.

      • 940

        In reply to Ukumio:

        You are so right - sarcasm it is.

        Giving numbers like the number of minutes spent in games or the number of accounts instead of giving the actual number of consoles sold to actual users is just FUD. Especially when announcing loud and clear the single months where the XBOX actually outsold the competitor in a narrow region.

        • 2354

          In reply to matsan:

          Narrow region?  Like the biggest market for both systems?

          Usage SHOULD be the metric used.  Engagement is far more important than how many $0 profit console sales are made.  Engagement can probably be directly tied to software licenses, and THATS where profits in this market come from, not console sales where the profit margins are close to or even below $0.

          when I boot up one of my ps4s and go into my friend list there are numerous ppl that haven't logged in for months.  How sales of the console to those people should matter even in the slightest is a mystery.

          7 games per ps4 sold is pretty pathetic in anyone's books though, and the last time numbers were known for both systems, nov last year, sales were almost at parity regardless of the PS4's 2:1 system advantage (89 software sales on xbox for every 100 on the PS4 platform).  If those numbers haven't changed a lot, sony should be worried.

        • 5767

          In reply to matsan:

          Especially when most PS4 owners play single-player games. Not everyone plays multiplayer AAA crap.

          • 5234

            In reply to MutualCore:

            Lots of people play Destiny.  Especially on PS4.

          • 2354

            In reply to MutualCore:

            Engagement numbers aren't anything to do with multiplayer vs singleplayer.  Each console keeps detailed records on everything, some info goes to the console maker, much of it goes to the game maker so they can identify problems etc.

            To somehow think that engagement numbers would unfairly disadvantage sony is just deluded, based on the stupid assumption that ONLY online multiplayer engagement is counted.

  3. 2175

    There are millions of us who are team Xbox through and through, and that will never change

  4. 5554

    Your turn, Mickeysoft.

  5. 2354

    Making this announcement the day BEFORE NPD numbers most likely means they got their ass handed to them in the US for the FIFTH straight month, despite 3 new PS products, one of which we know has had its projected sales slashed from 2.6 million to a 'mere' 750k.

  6. 5510

    I have read multiple reports that Xbox won Black Friday, but the PS4 won CyberMonday. In addition, this past CyberMonday was the biggest ever. With that said, PS4's ownage of Xbox One started on CyberMonday and never looked back.

    There are a ton of reasons why it's better to own a PS4 (and even a PS3) over an Xbox One. For one thing, the ecosystem. It goes without saying how it's not even comparable.I am not just talking about for gamers, but for non-gamers as well. One reason, is Playstation Vue. The prospect of truly cutting the cord for a low flat rate (no taxes) is a no-brainer. I have said this time and time again,'s not about the hardware, it's about the ecosystem. Microsoft always makes good stuff, but as for the supportive ecosystem, it's not there. As for the PS4/PS3, it's not only supportive but also very powerful.

    • 8444

      In reply to Bats:

      Good point. They also have Spotify as exclusive and many ps3 games are playable thanks to ps live.

      Now that the hardware has improved it is easier to be backwards compatible. Just like ps4 and ps4 pro runs the same games. If the ps5 still can run all the ps4 games then gamers are likely to buy a playstation again since all their previous purchases still work so people are less likely to switch to Xbox.

      Apart from Office and Windows Microsoft isn't really number one in anything these days. How times have changed...

  7. 5767

    Pretty safe to say Sony crushed Microsoft this generation and will continue doing so. Nothing MS can do.

  8. 5394

    The lower sales is why Microsoft should further segment Xbox One as Entertainment DVR, Living Room PC, and Cortana Media Unit. There's nothing to lose by increasing its audience beyond pure gaming. I have absolutely no use for the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, but I may have several for a PC desktop replacement in the Living Room or Bedroom with DVR recording since they are quiet to use and a few hundreds dollars cheaper.

    • 5234

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Bin there, dun that.

      Microsoft did DVR's: first with MCE PC's, second with Mediaroom.  They still make Windows Embedded with DVR capabilities, but nobody is buying it.

      Living Room PC: See above.  MCE PC's are dead.  Xbox One was supposed to be their saving grace.

      Cortana: not available in many regions around the world.  Other than the US, it's still mostly a beta.

  9. 170

    So, if XBox sold 20 million and Playstation sold 40 million before July and XBox outsold Playstation in July, August, September, and October with Playstation out selling Xbox in Nov that gap between the 2 grew from a difference of 20 million to 25 million?  With November being a much bigger sales month than the others it very well could be true but also seems that the 25 million number for Xbox could be a little low.  

    If Playstation avg 1.67 million per month and there was a 4 month span that Xbox out sold them, that would push Xbox sales close to 8 million over that period potentially.  Using 20 million as a starting point, that would put Xbox sales at 28 million with out even including November.  

    • 6761

      In reply to Sprtfan:

      Remember the figures for Xbox One outselling PS4 were in the US, not worldwide. That being said, the last few months Xbox One has been on top in UK and Aus as well, though sadly worldwide figures are harder to get since most don't record that stuff, so UK/Europe and US are the only trackable markets.

      • 170

        In reply to Ukumio:

        That is the information we have and the information that was used to base all of the speculation.  All I'm saying is from the numbers included in the article, the Xbox number seems low.  It is also far to say that since Xbox normally didn't out sell the Playstation in the US, UK, and AUS, doing so for several months should have narrowed the gap, not increased it.  

        Ultimately, its just an estimate and no matter how you look at it the Playstation has outsold the Xbox by a large margin.   Mostly what I was referring to was that statement that the Xbox has not narrowed the gap.  

        • 6761

          In reply to Sprtfan:

          The Xbox may have sold better in those areas, but maybe the PlayStation sold better in others. Also from memory the gap between Xbox and PlayStation, in the US at least, was not that big.

  10. 2175

    Many Xbox fans have contracted a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, including Paul. I'm just not sure if they are aware of it

    For example, this line: "[Microsoft] long ago gave up revealing the real (LTD sales) figure, given how badly it was being beaten by Sony" Or this one: "Regardless, what hasn’t changed is that PS4 has outsold Xbox One by roughly 2-to-1".

    Yeesh. These may be factual, but it is mentioned in every conversation about Xbox vs PS4. It's essentially the "Xbox is doing great, but.." argument every single time