Will PlayStation 4 Be the Best-Selling Console Ever?
If you follow the console wars, you probably know that the PlayStation 4 has been outselling its competition this generation. But it’s pretty astonishing to see exactly how much better Sony is doing than Microsoft and Nintendo — and how much better Sony is doing than it has in the past. Simply put, the PlayStation 4 is shaping up to become the best-selling game console in history.
Let’s talk numbers. Sony recently released its quarterly earnings and announced it sold 3 million PlayStation 4 units in the last three months, ending in June. During the same quarter, Microsoft sold 1.4 million Xbox units — which includes both the Xbox One and the Xbox 360 — and Nintendo sold a meager 470,000 Wii U units. All told, Sony destroyed the competition last quarter.
The same holds true when you zoom out and look at this console generation so far as a whole. Since the PS4’s launch in November 2013, Sony has sold a total of 25.3 million PlayStation 4 consoles to customers. For its part, Microsoft has sold somewhere around 14 million Xbox Ones during the same period. Nintendo’s Wii U has been on the market an entire year longer than the other two systems, but has only managed to sell 10 million units.
That’s where we are now, with Sony selling more consoles than its competitors combined.
Which begs the question of what the future of this console generation looks like. For starters, we might as well cut the Wii U out of the conversation entirely. If it hasn’t been a competitor in its first three years on the market, it’s not going to start now. More games will come out for Wii U, but it’s clear Nintendo is shifting focus to the NX, a system it will formally announce (and possibly release) in 2016.
That leaves us with the Xbox One and the PS4. Microsoft made a handful of bad decisions during the launch of the Xbox One, but it did everything it could to get back on track, cutting the console’s price to $50 below the PS4 in November 2014. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that hasn’t resulted in a big sales boost. The PS4 continues to outsell the Xbox One by a wide margin month after month.
In the current market, the PS4 seems unstoppable. Where things become particularly interesting is when you compare what’s happening now to previous console generations.
The best-selling game console in history is the PlayStation 2, which sold about 155 million units. It took the PS2 two years and eight months to reach 20 million units sold. The PS4 isn’t even two years old yet, and it blew past that milestone months ago.
With such strong sales momentum and such weak competition in the Wii U and Xbox One, it’s not hard to imagine the PS4 becoming the best-selling console of all time in a few years.
What’s really crazy is that the PS4’s success is somewhat inexplicable. In an interview with Eurogamer, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said that even he doesn’t know why it’s selling so well.
It certainly isn’t because of the PS4’s exclusive game releases. Of all the systems on the market, the Wii U has the best exclusives by far, and it’s dead last. Even the Xbox One has better exclusives than the PS4, with games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Forza Motorsport 5, and Sunset Overdrive.
Looking ahead, Microsoft also has a better lineup of exclusives planned for 2015, with games like Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Forza 6 coming our way by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the PS4 has very few big exclusives in the pipeline, at least until 2016, when we’ll get Uncharted 4 and the Project Morpheus VR headset.
But if the recent past is any indication, PS4’s lineup of exclusives won’t matter. The PS4 has tons of momentum, and the third-party games coming to the platform this year will be more than enough to help it maintain its sales.
Maybe the Xbox One’s exclusives will help bolster sales this holiday season. Maybe Nintendo’s NX will sell like crazy next year and offer some decent competition. But none of it is likely to matter. More and more, the PlayStation 4 looks unstoppable. Don’t be surprised if the PS4 becomes the best-selling console of all time.