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Supply-constrained PS5 shifts 4.5m units as Sony predicts highest-ever profit

Loss leader.

The PlayStation 5 has sold 4.5m units, Sony has announced.

It's an impressive figure for the supply-constrained console, which was released in November 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cover image for YouTube videoEurogamer Next-Gen News Cast - Should Sony issue refunds for Control on PS5?
Eurogamer Next-Gen News Cast - Should Sony issue refunds for Control on PS5?

The sales figure, accurate as of 31st December 2020, is roughly in-line with the launch sales of the PlayStation 4 at the same point in its life. But it's worth noting demand for the PS5 has heavily outstripped supply, and it remains out of stock at a raft of retailers who have faced trouble with scalpers and bots.

Sony said it's on track to sell over 7.6m PS5 units by the end of its current fiscal year (31st March 2021). The hope is PS5 shipments will surpass the PS4's sales over this initial launch period to become the biggest console launch of all time.

During its Q3 2020 financial report issued this morning, Sony confirmed astonishing sales success, mainly due to the ongoing financial performance of its PlayStation business.

Its Game and Network Services division saw its best ever quarter, with revenue up 40 per cent year-on-year to 883.2 billion yen (£6.1bn). Operating income (profit) was up nearly 50 per cent to 80.2bn yen (£559m).

That profit came despite the PS5 being sold at a loss, which Sony confirmed overnight ("loss resulting from strategic price points for PS5 hardware that were set lower than the manufacturing costs"). The money, then, was made from profitable software sales (103.7m games were sold across the PS4 and PS5 in the quarter) and digital revenue from the likes of PlayStation Plus and DLC, which continue to contribute vast swathes of cash.

Sony first-party game sales, if you were wondering.

Some updated figures of note:

Insomniac's Spider-Man: Miles Morales has sold 4.1m copies. For context, predecessor Spider-Man had sold 13.2m copies as of the end of July 2019.

PS Plus now has 47.4 million subscribers, up from the 45.9 million Sony reported at the end of September 2020.

PlayStation Network now has 114 million monthly active users, up from the 108 million reported in the previous quarter.

The PS4 sold 1.4m units during Q3, down from 6m the previous year. That decline is to be expected as the world moves on to the PS5.

Sony is aiming to sell more than 14.8m PS5s in its next fiscal year, which would be more than the number of PS4s shipped during its second year. But the company is facing a chip shortage that could hamper manufacturing.

"We expect PS5's high demand to continue into next fiscal year and will do our best to meet that demand," Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said at a news conference attended by Nikkei.

"We will make efforts to secure enough materials."