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PS5 lifetime sales hit 21.7 million but Sony profits are down 37%

Sales for the PS5 are still ahead of the Xbox Series X but the gap is narrowing, as the revamp of PS Plus actually sees user numbers fall.

It’s financial report season at the moment, for big companies, and Microsoft has already had theirs, announcing that fourth quarter sales were down by 7% on last year, due to lower console and game sales. And now it’s revealed that Sony has had similar problems, but even more severe.

That’s not a surprise, as while the Xbox Series X is, more-or-less, constantly in stock now (at least during this quiet period of the year) the PlayStation 5 is not. Sony also hasn’t released a first party game since Gran Turismo 7 in March.

Even so, they still had a disappointing last three months, with game sales down from 63.6 million in 2021 to just 47.1 million at the same time this year. Despite the revamp of PlayStation Plus, the total number of users also fell slightly, from 47.4 million to 47.3 million.

The total number of monthly active users for the PlayStation Network also fell, from 105 million in 2021 to 102 million this year – the lowest since they started reporting numbers in 2020.

Finally, the Game & Network Service division reports that sales fell by 11% over the previous year, which it blames on a decrease in the number of new first and third party games, as well as a drop in DLC sales.

That’s all perfectly understandable, given what a quiet (and hot) summer it’s been, but Xbox has still weathered the storm better and is catching up in terms of console sales.

Microsoft doesn’t reveal its console numbers, because during the Xbox One period they were embarrassingly low, but the official lifetime total for the PlayStation 5 is now 21.7 million, compared to an estimated 16 million for the Xbox Series X/S.

That’s still a comfortable lead for Sony but much less than the 2:1 advantage they used to have, and with no indication of when the PlayStation 5 might become more easily available.

Profits being down by 37% is not necessarily a concern though, as that’s not only due to R&D costs of the expensive PlayStation VR2 but also the cost of acquiring Bungie and what is describes as ‘increased game development costs’.

Clearly, Sony has many more games in development than the small handful currently announced but the peculiarly low profile they’ve been keeping since the spring means there’s no official indication of what they are or when they’ll be announced or released.

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