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Has the PS4 peaked? Annual console sales are flat for 2017

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Has the PS4 peaked? Annual console sales are flat for 2017

Postby MrFredPFL » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:56 pm

Story :

After the relative disappointment of the PlayStation 3, the PS4 has been an unquestioned sales success for Sony. The system has raced to sell an impressive 76 million units worldwide through the end of 2017, and it maintains a dominant position over the Xbox One in the high-end console sales race (though Microsoft claims not to care very much about that relative positioning).

But Sony's quarterly earnings report last night contained a bit of a gray cloud for the PS4's longer-term prospects. For the first time since its launch, shipments for the PS4 in the all-important holiday quarter were down year over year, from 9.7 million in 2016 to 9 million in 2017. The decline means calendar year shipments for the PS4 were flat from 2016 to 2017, sitting steady at 19.4 million.

It seems likely that Sony's annual shipments for the PS4 will never climb higher than that number based on historical analysis. Looking back over the sales trajectories for the last three PlayStation systems, annual sales tend to peak after the system's third or fourth full calendar year on the market (not counting the partial launch year; varied launch dates throughout the year make precise day-and-date-aligned comparisons a bit tricky). With the end of 2017, the PS4 has reached the end of its fourth full year on the market, and the console seems set to begin its long decline in annual sales (Fig. 1).

That's not to say the PS4 is going away anytime soon. The system will likely drop off from its sales peak slowly over the next few years before hitting a market near-saturation point where relative annual sales fall more precipitously (Fig. 2). PS4 software sales will likely continue to increase as the base of players with systems in the home continues to grow, too.

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