Sony believes PS5 hardware sales have peaked, focuses on live service titles

Sony believes PlayStation 5 hardware sales have peaked and will now begin to 'gradually decline.'

The company shared that appraisal in its fiscal report for the year ended March 31, 2024, and explained PlayStation 5 sales over the past 12 months totaled 20.8 million units. That brings lifetime PlayStation 5 hardware sales to 59.2 million units. Sony expects to shift another 18 million consoles during the current fiscal year.

Digging into the wider performance of the company's Game & Network Services business, full-year sales increased by 17 percent year-on-year to 4.26 trillion yen ($27.2 billion). Operating income increased by 40.2 billion yen to 290.2 billion yen ($1.85 billion) over that same period.

Sony attributed that sales upswing to rising third-party software sales. It singled out Helldivers 2 for praise and noted the live service shooter has 'far exceeded expectations' after selling 12 million copies across PC and PS5 in just three months.

'The game has become our biggest PC hit title to date, and as a multi-platform title, it also contributed significantly to sales and profit last quarter,' said Sony.

'Following this success, we are looking forward to the release of live service games such as the expansion content Destiny 2: The Final Shape, which is expected to be released by Bungie on June 4, and Concord, which is scheduled to be released this year by Firewalk Studios, which we acquired in 2023.'


The success of Helldivers 2 and the 'growing penetration of PS5' attracted 118 monthly active users across PlayStation in March 2024, an upswing of 9 percent year-on-year.

'Total play time on PlayStation in the month of March increased 15 percent year-on-year, and, for the entire fourth quarter ended March 31, 2024, it reached the second highest level in history, second only to the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 ('FY20'), which benefited from significant stay-at-home demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic,' added Sony.

Sony eager to drive user engagement across PlayStation ecosystem

Opining on the broader state of the console business, Sony claims the PlayStation business model has changed 'significantly' since the launch of PlayStation 4 in 2013 to become more reliant on engaging active users throughout its digital ecosystem.

'The business model up to and including the PlayStation 3 was focused on increasing the number of software units sold in relation to newly sold hardware for each console generation,' added the company. 'After a transition period during the PS4 generation, the PS5 model has shifted to one where playtime on the platform has increased due to expansion of the user community beyond console generations.'

With that in mind, Sony expects PlayStation 5 hardware sales to wane during the second half of the console cycle, but believes it can increase sales and profits by 'steadily maintaining and expanding the consistently increasing number of active users and user engagement.'

'In addition to the stable earnings base on the PS platform, we are aiming to grow sales of first-party software, which we have been actively strengthening in recent years, and by doing so, we plan to achieve a new record high in profits in this segment during the 5th Mid-Range Plan,' it continued.

Sony's pledge to expand first-party software sales comes with the company having just laid off 900 workers from key internal studios including Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Guerrilla, and Firesprite.