Despite the fact that you still can’t get one, Sony has sold 10 million PlayStation 5 units to date. Sony revealed that figure in a press release today, alongside a fascinating wrinkle: The PS5 is apparently outpacing PS4 sales over the same time frame. It’s yet another statistic indicating that next-gen consoles on the whole are selling at a faster rate than last-gen consoles did in their day.
There’s also this: On an earnings call earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the Xbox Series X/S makes up Microsoft’s fastest-selling console line ever. Nadella did not provide a hard number on this week’s earnings call, as Microsoft stopped publicizing such figures years ago during the Xbox One’s lifetime. Kotaku reached out to Microsoft, nonetheless. We were pointed to the percentage increase of revenue as cited by Microsoft CFO Amy Hood on this week’s call.On Twitter, Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners, estimated that Microsoft has sold 6.5 million Xbox Series X/S units, compared to 5.7 million for the Xbox One and 5 million for the Xbox 360 during the same time frame.
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Earlier this year, as PS5 sales approached 8 million units, Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki said that the company hopes for the PS5 to continue outselling the PS4, which clocked 14.8 million in its second year, which the next-gen console is already approaching. Kotaku reached out to Sony for more specific PS4-to-PS5 comparisons but did not hear back in time for publication.
So, you might be thinking, what gives? These companies are selling more consoles than ever and yet, fewer people than ever seem to actually have their hands on one. Thanks to a semiconductor shortage that’s afflicted industry around the globe, production on next-gen consoles can’t ramp up to meet demand. On Microsoft’s earnings call, Hood went so far as to acknowledge that such demand for next-gen Xboxes far outstrips supply.
And yes, right now, getting your hands on a next-gen console — whether it’s an Xbox Series X, Series S, or PS5 — remains an onerous endeavour. If you’re serious about buying one at a fair price, you’d need to buckle up and swallow a maddening cocktail of trawling forums, Discord servers, and stock alert sites. (You also need a whole lot of time and patience.) Next-gen consoles are sold out at major retailers like Walmart, GameStop, Target, and Best Buy. When, or if, you do find a listing online, it’s likely sold via third-party, and at a staggering markup.
But these companies aren’t necessarily hurting for it. Typically, sell-through figures like these refer to how much of a particular product (in this case, consoles) is sold by a producer (in this case, console manufacturers), either directly or to retailers. Maybe many of these PS5s and Xboxes are going to resellers and scalpers who rely on bots to instantly scoop up supply. Maybe they’re flying off shelves because more people play games today than seven years ago (generally true). Whatever the case, Microsoft and Sony are still making millions without facing too much pressure to ramp up production.
The current availability shortage will pass eventually anyway; it’s a matter of when, not if. Consider it through the lens of history: In the halcyon BioShock-heavy days of 2013 and 2014, how long did it take you to get an Xbox One or PS4? For this generation, you’ll still be able to play the next Halo. You’ll still be able to play the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn. We’re still in an awkward transitory period between generations — for at least a little bit longer.
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