That seems like a big number, but what does it actually mean? Well, the PS4 sold about 7.6 million units during its first five months of retail availability (roughly), so the PS5 is outselling the PS4 so far. That’s a pretty big deal when you consider that the PS4 went on to sell over 100 million units and only trails the PS2 for the title of “best-selling PlayStation console ever.” So, in terms of historical PlayStation sales, it is indeed a big number.
One other thing that should be noted about any PS5 vs. PS4 sales comparison (especially this early into the PS5’s lifecycle), though, is the fact that the PS4 wasn’t even released in Japan until about 4 months after its Western launch. That means that it would have likely sold more units had it been released globally at the same time as the PS5 was.
What about the Nintendo Switch, though? The numbers are a little weird given the differences between the PS5 and Nintendo Switch’s release dates and the circumstances of their launches, but about 7.6 million Switch units were sold during the console’s first five months. The difference is small enough to create a reasonable margin of error, but it seems like the PS5 may technically be outperforming the Switch so far. At the very least, the comparison confirms that the PS5 is on or near pace to set hardware sales records.
Before we get too bogged down in comparisons between companies, though, let’s be clear that the PS5’s sales are a big deal for Sony based solely on their internal expectations and revenue reports. The PS5 has already met (and potentially surpassed) the lofty sales goals Sony set for it during this time, and the PlayStation brand’s revenue is way up over the last fiscal year. If you were worried about the PlayStation brand’s profits for any reason whatsoever, you can rest easy tonight.
What’s interesting to note, though, is that the PS5 isn’t necessarily directly responsible for PlayStation’s recent financial success. In fact, Sony has revealed that they’re selling PS5s at a loss. While that’s fairly common for new consoles, it also means that Sony is (like many other companies) relying on software sales and microtransactions for their record profits at the moment rather than hardware sales.
Still, the PS5 is quickly proving to be a sales powerhouse in spite of shortages, scalpers, and the fact it was released in the midst of a global pandemic.