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PS5 sells 50M units, a big milestone after a turbulent start

Sony says the PS5 is just slightly behind the same pace as the PS4

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A photo of the standard PlayStation 5 console with a DualSense controller leaning against it Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Sony announced Wednesday that it has sold 50 million units of its PlayStation 5 console since the system launched three years ago. That puts the PS5 on pace with the PlayStation 4, which also hit the 50 million sales mark in 2016, just three years after Sony’s last-gen console launched in 2013.

In fact, the PS5 needed just one more week to hit 50 million, compared to the PS4. According to data from the Financial Times, it took the PS5 161 weeks to hit 50 million. The PS4 took 160 weeks.

That’s an impressive feat, considering the major supply constraints that affected PlayStation 5 sales in its early days. For months after the PS5’s launch, PlayStation fans scrambled to secure (or scalp) the high-demand, low-supply system. It wasn’t until 2023 that Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan declared that the global PS5 shortage was over.

“Everyone who wants a PS5 should have a much easier time finding one at retailers globally, starting from this point forward,” Ryan said at the time. The PlayStation boss also boasted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January, that December 2022 “was the biggest month ever for PS5 console sales” and that Sony had sold 30 million PS5s by that point.

This year’s sales were seemingly just as good, if not much better. Eric Lempel, senior VP for global marketing, sales and business operations at SIE, told the Financial Times that 2023’s Black Friday sales period was the biggest November for PlayStation sales, in both units and revenues, in PlayStation’s history.

“We’re grateful for all of our players who have joined the PS5 journey so far, and we’re thrilled that this is the first holiday season since launch that we have a full supply of PS5 consoles – so anyone who wants to get one can get one,” Ryan said in a news release. Based on a survey of online retailers just days before Christmas, Ryan’s assessment appears accurate. Various stand-alone PS5 consoles and bundles with games like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are in stock at online retailers, including PlayStation’s own direct-sales store.

As of last year, Sony had shipped 117.2 million units of the PS4, making it the fifth-best-selling console of all time. If the PS5 matches the last-gen console’s pace, it could come close to unseating it. But the PS5 would have to sell more than 155 million units to outperform the company’s biggest sales success to date, the PlayStation 2.

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