The PS4’s continued strong sales seem to suggest that traditional life cycles for home consoles are no longer a thing.
Sony confirmed yesterday that the PS4 has reached lifetime shipments of 86 million units, and the system’s continued strong sales have resulted in their projections for its sales for the financial year to be increased. It was a bit of a surprising announcement, because the PS4 is now 5 years old. Traditionally, console life cycles have seen system sales slowing down by the time they reach this point, but the PS4 seems to be showing no signs of slowing down, while the same can also be said for the Xbox One.
According to NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, who spoke about the matter in a response on Twitter to a question bringing it up, this is happening because, in his words, “traditional console cycles are over”. While he also mentioned a few other reasons for strong console sales even five years since their launch, such as the impact of service-model games, Piscatella stated that the same sales patterns that used to apply to consoles are no longer applicable.
There’s a lot of sense in what Piscatella is saying, and you only need to look at the numbers to realize that. As already mentioned, the PS4 and the Xbox One are still going strong, while the fact that they both got mid-generation refreshes also has to be a huge factor in their sustained sales. There’s also Nintendo to consider, who seem to have dropped traditional console generations entirely, having released two of their consoles since 2012.
It remains to be seen if this can continue for a couple more years, at which point it’s fair to assume that successors to the PS4 and Xbox One will be launching- looking at current trends, though, as well as the upcoming lineup for both consoles, it’s safe to assume that it probably will.
A few reasons… PS4 Pro, strong slate, Fortnite bump, impact of service based games being the most prominent. And you’re right, normal cyclicality would have sales declining at this point. Xbox One also up big this year for similar reasons. Traditional Console cycles are over.
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) October 30, 2018