Sony Shipped 4.5 Million PlayStation 5s, Record Gaming Revenue

Posted on February 3, 2021 by Brad Sams in PlayStation with 14 Comments

While Microsoft reported its earnings last week, this week, Sony has announced their financial results for Q4 and as expected, they knocked it out of the park; the company hauled in over $8 billion (converted to USD) in gaming revenue for the quarter.

For the quarter, Sony stated that they shipped 4.5 million PlayStation 5s and even though this isn’t a sales figure, it’s easy to conclude that every single console was sold. With the console perpetually out of stock, it’s safe to assume that the company sold every console that was shipped.

For the last generation console, Sony stated that it shipped 1.4 million units of the PlayStation 4 – a significant drop year-over-year. This is hardly surprising and it is expected that shipments of the older console will continue to fall for the foreseeable future.

In its earnings release, Sony confirmed that it is selling the PlayStation 5 for a loss, stating that “strategic price points for PS5 hardware were set lower than the manufacturing costs”. This is not unusual for consoles to be sold at a loss with the goal of recovering revenue from game and service sales post-sale monetization.

This likely also confirms that Microsoft is selling both of its next-generation consoles for a loss as well. Not unexpected but considering the PlayStation 5 is using parts also from AMD, Microsoft is likely not getting a bigger discount from AMD than Sony who likely bought more chips during the same period as Xbox.

When compared to the PS4 launch, Sony shipped roughly the same number of consoles during the launch quarter; PS5 and PS4 game unit sales reached 103.7 million, up from 83.3 million in the same quarter in 2019. The company also reported 114 million monthly active users on the PlayStation Network in the quarter that can be compared to 100 million Xbox Live monthly active users.

With Microsoft reporting 5 billion in revenue and Sony at 8 billion during the same period, it’s clear that Sony still has the edge over Microsoft in the gaming space. That being said, both companies appear to be doing well out of the gate for the initial launch window.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Sony Shipped 4.5 Million PlayStation 5s, Record Gaming Revenue”

  1. nbplopes

    I still couldn’t get a unit :(. Mind you haven’t tried hard.

  2. geekwithkids

    It seems surprising that Sony only has 14 million more active users than Microsoft, considering how many more PS 4 sold than X-Box ones.

  3. crunchyfrog

    Sony must be able to get more consoles produced than Microsoft, I don't really know. Last time I was at Best Buy, behind the pick up counter was at least 20 PS5's all tagged with 'Sold' labels. There were no Xbox consoles at all.

  4. martinusv2

    Yeah the bots was buying all Sony's PS/5 stock :)

  5. b6gd

    There is not doubt the PS5 will be successful based on the PS4/Pro audience that is out there today. Most of those users will go to the PS5 when they upgrade.

    They did make more because they did not wait until full RDNA 2 support in the GPU like the Xbox did and they started making the consoles sooner than Microsoft did.

    That said I think this round will change with the Xbox being more successful and the PS actually not selling as many as they did in the last generation. Close but I think it will be lower.

    Game Pass, Microsoft's hard push on exclusives, combined with the recent big acquisition is making the Xbox more attractive. Also if you look to the future, Microsoft simply has more of.....everything really. Lots more money, Azure and Windows gaming combined. Only Microsoft can mess up its momentum now.

  6. scovious

    Sony made 9 billion dollars of profit this last quarter, and 8 billion of that was from their PlayStation. Do you know what that means? Sony won't make any risky moves with gaming because any slip ups and Sony could lose their profit powerhouse. When it comes to gaming, Microsoft has the financial freedom to take risks and change the game, which they are with Game Pass. It's amusing that Sony, being so gaming centric when it comes to profit, has chosen to spend their recent capitol acquiring anime studios. Perhaps they don't want to become like Google, depending on one aspect of the company for everything.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Put another way, successful companies keep doing what works while unsuccessful companies need to change the way they do things. No Xbox fan would have wanted Xbox One to fail so badly, but the net result was a huge positive for all of us who do care about the platform. Not sure this is funny or ironic, or whatever, but it is the best possible outcome given what happened.
      • Greg Green

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        It showed that when MS paid half assed attention to its gaming market, gamers got upset and went elsewhere. Sad because 2 decades ago MS had quite a good reputation with gamers. I can remember the Close Combat gaming series boxes with the MS logo on them, it was considered a good thing, a serious attempt to satisfy gamers. And the flight sims were another good product.

    • waethorn

      In reply to scovious:

      Sony has a huge presence in Japan, and there are a lot of American players that play anime games and watch imported anime TV shows too. Microsoft has none of that. Sony is listening to what customers want.

      Also, at some point either game publishers or Microsoft are going to figure out that Game Pass isn't profitable without making prices unattractive. You can't monetize the network. Remember when Netflix was only ~$7 for streaming HD on multiple screens with many popular TV shows? Now the price has doubled, and the quality content from real studios has been replaced with a load of overrated liberal propaganda original programming.

  7. waethorn

    Dunno about the US right now, but Best Buy and Walmart in Canada can't get rid of Xbox Series S's. I've been getting alerts every day for the last two weeks saying that both stores have the Series S in stock. The respective websites aren't even going down due to traffic either. Seems that Microsoft is manufacturing too many gimped systems that aren't selling. I'd be interested to see the breakdown of sales between the S and X.

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