Sony’s PlayStation 4 has now reached 79 million sales according to their fiscal year results and they expect to ship another 16 million over the next 12 months. For a company that a mere 25 years ago really didn’t want to enter the video game market by itself, their game and network division is now their most successful and profitable. History shows that we can thank Nintendo in part, with their public double crossing of Sony leading to a mission of vengeance and revenge that has brought us some of the greatest consoles ever made.
Should their forecast be correct, by March 2019 the PS4 will have 95 million consoles in homes. Right within grasp of the fabled 100 million mark. Both the PS1 and the PS2 are in the hundred million club, with the PlayStation 2 officially being the best selling console of all time claiming a massive 155 million consoles sold. A feat unlikely to ever be repeated again given a flooded industry and the rise of mobile gaming. The lineup of PlayStation 4 games both cross platform and exclusive this year is another stunner. Rumours of an upcoming PlayStation Sequel the PS5 are starting to gain steam, but its looking unlikely that Sony has any need to move on just yet.
It is not easy to sustain success much less quality across generations, ask Sega, Nintendo, Microsoft or any of the multitude of companies that have come and gone over the years. Yet Sony have practised alchemy for more than two decades and are the masters of the slow burn. The PlayStation 3 was the closest the group came to a failure, with a rough initial reception fast forward a few years and the bulky system slimmed down, built its catalogue and became a personal favourite of mine and many others. Undeniably the PlayStation as a brand is the dominating force in gaming today.
So where does that leave the other consoles on the market. Sales wise clearly well in the distance. Although Microsoft do not publish their sales results, estimates are around the 30 million mark. Meaning the PlayStation 4 has more than double the installed base. The Nintendo Switch, though very new is around the 17 million dollar mark. Of course, sales for sales sake is not a reflection of the quality of games in the market and does not necessarily mean that all the best games are in one place. But on balance it would be hard to deny the strength of the catalogue supporting the console and its implication for gamers and consumers.
It may be that PlayStation 4 is now at its peak and its time to come back down the mountain, it could be expected for the sales to taper off over the next year or two as Sony ready their next blockbuster. But given the quality of the back catalogue and the incredible graphics featured in upcoming titles this year it is hard to imagine the PlayStation 4 going anywhere any time soon. In my opinion its dominance is well deserved.