PS4’s 15M sales is historically significant

Posted: November 29, 2014 in Game Articles

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by Kevin Femmel

Many people thought the PS4 would pass the 15 million mark in global sales during the holidays and it didn’t take long to happen.

Just a few weeks ago Sony’s console passed 14 million globally and 5 million in the US alone. It is being reported now that the holidays have pushed the system to 15m globally, with over 57 million games sold for the system.

I’ll admit to being wrong on the PS4’s first year. It had a terrific line up of games, both first party and with indies, but I didn’t believe pre-November 2013 that it would pass 15 million units within one calendar year. I thought 10-12 million for sure. The declining sales of Wii, Wii U, PS Vita, Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2013 had me thinking that even the Xbox One and PS4 would struggle out of the gate a bit. Proved me wrong! The Xbox One and PS4 combined are achieving higher sales than the PS3/360 in the same time frame!

How does this compare to other popular consoles? Well, the PS2 released in Japan during March 2000 and by March 2001 Sony said they had shipped 10.61 million consoles globally and 9.2 million sold to consumers. The system wouldn’t come out in the US until October 2000, so there’s a bit of an asterisk behind these sales. You could argue that the PS4 didn’t come out until February 2014 in Japan and that the decline of console sales in Japan compared to how much more popular the PS2 was in Japan makes the PS4’s sales look even more impressive.

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How does the PS4 compare to the Wii? Well, by the end of December 2007 Nintendo had shipped 20 million Wii units. It truly was a sales juggernaut and may never be replicated again. The Wii released in Europe, US and Japan all at the end of 2006 so it does have a bit of an advantage on the PS4. Again, the Japanese console market was much bigger back in 2006-2007 too so that explains why the Wii had sold so much more in Japan in its first 12 months than the PS4 has done so since February.

By December 31st, 2006 Microsoft had sold 7.6 million Xbox 360 consoles, half of what the PS4 has sold. Sony shipped 10.5 million PS3 systems globally by December 31st, 2007.

The lesson here? The PS4 is selling better, faster and in greater numbers than most other consoles in history except the Wii. During the first 12-13 months on market, from November 2013 to now, the system has had a historically significant run. The system has clearly benefited from some sustained momentum from 2013 through this year. Fans can debate whether the system has received the AAA retail blockbusters they expected from the first year of a new console but for no one can deny the run away commercial success of the system. Only the Nintendo Wii stands ahead of it historically and seeing how different the Japanese market was back in 2006 compared to today, I’d say its even more impressive the PS4 has gotten this close to Wii-like numbers.

With Project Morpheus coming in 2015, possibly along with a $299 PS4 SKU, and a solid lineup of exclusives or console exclusives like No Man’s Sky, Uncharted 4, The Order and Bloodborne, I can only imagine that Sony will be able to repeat this 15 million number in 2015 again at the very worst.

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