Sony has announced that it has shipped 102.8 million PlayStation 4 family consoles to date, making it the second-highest seller of all time - behind only the company's earlier PlayStation 2, for many the first device capable of playing DVD videos.
That Sony's PlayStation 4 is popular should come as no surprise: At launch, the company stole a march on rival Microsoft's Xbox One by ditching plans to bundle a camera accessory as standard - a move Microsoft followed shortly after - in order to beat its competitor on price. A handful of other missteps by Microsoft, including again quickly-ditched plans to block the use of borrowed or second-hand games and to mandate always-on digital rights management (DRM), secured Sony's lead, which it has only been increasing with a range of popular exclusives and the launch of the PlayStation VR (PSVR) accessory.
Quite how popular Sony's PS4 family is, though, has been up for debate - right until Sony announced, ahead of its transition to the next-generation PlayStation 5, that the PS4 family has sold 102.8 million units globally, making it the second-highest selling console in history. The best? Sony's own PlayStation 2, which secured 155 million sales before being discontinued.
It's difficult to do a direct comparison to Sony's immediate competitors, but industry publication MCV has had a go with the estimate that Microsoft's Xbox One family has sold around 41 million units thus far - under half that of its rival, though a figure not confirmed by Microsoft itself. Nintendo's convertible Switch, meanwhile, has sold just under 42 million units - despite having launched nearly four years later than the PS4 and Xbox One.
All these numbers are, however, sell-in: The number of units shipped to retailers but not necessarily sold on to end-users. Sell-through, the number actually in players' hands, has not been released by any of the three companies.
Should Sony look to put the PS4 at the top of the all-time sales chart, though, it needs to hurry: The PlayStation 5 has been confirmed as launching in late 2020, giving the company one more year to beat its own record - assuming Nintendo's Switch doesn't get there first.
June 18 2021 | 12:30