In an interview with Naver (via Gamesindustry.biz), Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan seemingly made a bold prediction when he stated that Sony believes the PS5 will “sell more in its first fiscal year than [we] sold in the first fiscal year at the time of [the] PS4 launch.”
It’s worth reiterating that Ryan’s quote does come via a translation. While the translation appears to be reliable, this would hardly be the first time that even a reliable translation misses some subtlety that changes the meaning of a statement. It’s also been mentioned that it’s possible that Ryan was talking about the sales of the PS5 vs. the PS4 in Korea.
Based on what we currently know, though, it really does sound like the PlayStation team expects the PS5’s early sales to surpass the PS4’s. That may leave you wondering what that actually means once you start breaking down the numbers.
Well, the PS4 seemingly sold just over seven million units from the time it was released in November 2013 to the end of that fiscal year in April 2014. Again, it’s entirely possible that Ryan meant something else when he talked about the PS5’s fiscal year, but for the moment, let’s assume that’s the sales figure that he thinks the PS5 will beat.
Honestly, it would be impressive if the PS5 really did outsell the PS4 in that timeframe. Not only was the PS4 cheaper than the PS5 but it wasn’t launched in the midst of a global pandemic that has interrupted everything from game development, hardware manufacturing, and the personal financial situations of millions of potential customers.
On top of that, you could easily argue that the PS4 was much more appealing than the Xbox One at launch (due to its lower price and stronger initial library of games). While that’s clearly a subjective argument, it feels safe to say that the Xbox Series X/S launch is already shaping up to be better overall than the infamously botched reveal/debut of the Xbox One.
It’s certainly not impossible that the PS5 could outsell the PS4 early on, though. PS5’s early pre-orders suggest that there are many people who want one as soon as possible (even if we don’t really know how many units will be available at launch). The PS5’s launch lineup is also impressively strong with Godfall, Demon’s Souls, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales all figuring to be late contenders in the GOTY race. There are certainly reasons to own a PS5 between now and April, but whether or not enough people are able to actually buy one to beat the PS4’s sales mark may just be the more important question.