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As PS5 Release Approaches, PS4 Hardware And Games Sales Slump

PlayStation Plus subscriptions rise as hardware and software sales fall.


Sony has detailed its financial performance for the three month period ended December 31, 2019. Overall it reported a decline of sales for the Game & Network Services division under which the PlayStation branch of the business operates. Sales of the PlayStation 4 reached 6.1 million units, which is a drop from 8.1 million units during the same period in the previous financial year.

In total, Sony has now sold 108.9 million PS4 consoles as of December 31, 2019. Looking ahead, Sony is modelling PS4 sales to decline in the future, which reflects the end of the console lifecycle.

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Similarly, sales of games declined year-on-year, dropping from 87.2 million units from 2018 to 81.1 million units in 2019. These factors, along with the impact of foreign exchange rates, have resulted in lower revenue for the Games & Network Services business. Despite the decline in hardware and software sales, however, there has been an improvement on PlayStation Plus subscriptions, year-on-year.

The decline in sales is not unexpected, given that the PlayStation 4 is now reaching the tail end of its lifecycle and the PlayStation 5 is on the horizon. A similar decline in the same areas of hardware and software sales was reported by Microsoft's Xbox division. This decline is no doubt a symptom of the creeping end of the hardware generation. In all likelihood, the decline in hardware sales will continue unless interest in purchasing consoles is massaged through a price cut or an incredibly compelling bundle.

Looking ahead, there are also a number of first-party titles with the potential to generate interest in purchasing a console. Chief among these is Naughty Dog's The Last of Us: Part 2, the sequel to a critically acclaimed game developed by a prestigious studio. Ghost of Tsushima, developed by Sucker Punch Productions, is also slated for release for the PlayStation 4 and has generated a great deal of buzz. The PS4 could also benefit from interest in third-party titles such as Cyberpunk 2077, the new game from CD Projekt Red, a studio that garnered widespread praise and attention for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Square Enix is also set to release the long-awaited remake of Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 4 this year.

Sony will launch the PlayStation 5 in 2020. The company has confirmed a "holiday 2020" release window for the PlayStation 5, but a more specific date has not been provided. Price will be a major factor on how strongly the new console sells out of the gate, and although Sony hasn't confirmed how much it will cost yet, it has said that the PS5's price will be attractive to gamers. Check out our breakdown of the known PS5's games, price, release date, specs, controller, and other information for more on the upcoming successor to the PS4.

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