To put the PS5's current sales numbers into context, it's already sold more units compared to the original Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. More importantly, the PS5 has a significant lead over the Xbox Series S/X in sales, which is estimated to have sold around 18 million units. However, while this is already a big win for Sony's flagship console, the PS5 now lags behind the PS4 over an identical period of time.
Between its official release on November 15, 2013, until September 30, 2015, Sony shipped 29.4 million units of the PlayStation 4. This implies that the PS5 is down 4.4 million units to the PS4 in its first two years of launch. It's a big deal when you consider that the PS5 initially outpaced the PS4 and would've continued doing so despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Sony is facing multiple issues due to the current financial state of the world and possible global recession, as well as the ongoing energy crisis.
According to Bloomberg, the company's chief financial officer, Hiroki Totoki, "players are cutting the number of titles they buy on the back of global macroeconomic conditions." Totoki adds that the combination of people spending less and Sony having fewer new titles for them to spend on has led to the company cutting back on its outlook of game sales for "two straight quarters".
If it's any consolation, some of Sony's ongoing problems are universal. The increasing cost of making current-gen games, raw materials used to produce the PlayStation 5 and other hardware, as well as the high dollar value have all contributed to Sony posting lower profits posted (49%) by its gaming division. Sony has already hiked the price of the PlayStation 5 in all territories except the United States. But, given the recent revelations, it wouldn't surprise us if another price hike happens with the US market suffering from a similar price increase.
In the same financial report, Sony revealed that the PS Plus rebrand hasn't gone as well as planned. The company saw its subscriber numbers dip by two million in the last quarter.
The good news is that PS5 shipments in the United States are up from last year and things are starting to trend that way. With God of War: Ragnarok and PC ports of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, as well as Sackboy: A Big Adventure, all coming out in the current quarter, there's a fat chance that video game sales will pick up during the holiday season. Besides, the PS5 has a massive slate of exclusives coming out in the next quarter that's headlined by Forspoken and Resident Evil 4 Remake.
Fingers crossed, things will start trending up for Sony's gaming arm soon enough.