Sony sold 4.5 million PS5s in 2020 despite inventory issues

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Sony finally revealed what the PS5 looks like.
Image: Sony

Anyone that has tried to get their hands on a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X knows that it is incredibly hard to do so. Since the next-gen consoles released in November, demand has exceeded what Sony and Microsoft have been able to meet. That isn’t like to change anytime soon.

Although it might seem like everyone is unable to buy a PS5, there are plenty of people that have been lucky enough to get one—4.5 million of them, in fact. That’s the number Sony published along with its most recent earnings report. Thanks to its incredible PS5 sales, as well as steady numbers from the PS4, Sony’s gaming segment had its best-ever fiscal quarter to close out 2020.

Profitable Gaming

There was never any doubt that gamers would be eager to start playing on the PS5. Sony’s latest console promised a wealth of new features and high-powered performance that any player could appreciate. So far, it has lived up to those lofty expectations—although its true potential won’t be revealed until more next-gen games are released over the next few years.

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Even so, the PS5’s launch has been a smashing success in terms of sales. Getting 4.5 million consoles into the hands of consumers in such a short time is an impressive feat—especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply chain challenges it poses.

Sony’s latest fiscal quarter saw its gaming segment collect $8.4 billion in revenue. That marks a 40 percent increase over the same frame in 2019. However, the PS5 console itself didn’t help that figure.

The PlayStation manufacturer admitted that it is taking a loss on each PS5 sold. Since the PS5 features a multitude of high-end components, it is actually worth much more than its $499 retail price.

Sony says that it set “strategic price points for PS5 hardware that were… lower than manufacturing costs.”

This isn’t surprising considering the hardware in question. If Sony priced the PS5 to make a profit, many players wouldn’t be able to afford the console.

Strategic Profits

Despite taking a loss on its latest console hardware, Sony is still making money from the PS5’s launch. The company reports that its game sales almost doubled, bringing in $763 million. Its PlayStation Plus subscription also saw a successful fiscal quarter. The service grew by nine percent.

Moving forward, demand for the PS5 isn’t likely to wane. Until Sony can ramp up its production line, consumers will continue to face “sold-out” pages and long wait times for the latest console.

The fact that the PS5’s launch numbers were identical to those of the PS4 is a good sign. It should indicate that demand is nowhere close to slowing down and that consumers will be eager for the new hardware for years to come.

It will be interesting to see how numbers for the Xbox Series X stack up once Microsoft announces them. The difference will tell the tale of who is winning the console war of this generation.

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