In Forecast/Sales, News, Sony

7 Million PlayStation 4 Units Sold

ps4-UK-SAPRIL 17, 2014 • The PlayStation 4 reached a new milestone at the end of March reaching 72 countries worldwide and selling more than 7 million PlayStation 4 units. Sony Computer Entertainment also noted that 20.5 million games had been sold between retail and digital sources. The console’s main competitor the Xbox One has distributed 5 million units to retail since its November launch. In related news, Sony Electronics confirmed that the nine new Bravia 4K Ultra HDTVs available in June will all support the PlayStation Now service that streams PS3 games. Consumers will have to purchase an optional DualShock 3 controller, however. The XBR-X850B, XBR-X900B and XBR-X950B models range from a low of $2,100 for a 49-inch model to $25,000 for the 85-inch unit.

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Impact: By this time we thought that Microsoft Corp. surely would have shared a new total of Xbox One units sold now that Titanfall has been in release for over a month. That hasn’t happened, but Microsoft has confirmed that 5 million units have shipped to retail worldwide. That number is in line with what DFC expected, yet we are still curious how well the Xbox One/Titanfall bundle improved system sales, especially considering the backdoor price cut on the SKU that became apparent on March 25. Reporting a 5 million sell-in is an indication that many of those units are sitting unsold on store shelves. Citing NPD numbers, Microsoft did report they sold 311,000 Xbox One units to consumers in the U.S. during March, which was up from 258,000 in February. Not trumpeting actual global sales numbers allows Sony to walk in and boast about how well the PS4 is selling without Titanfall. That the Xbox One is trailing the PlayStation 4 does not worry us as the former is by best accounts selling well. The Wii U is the poster child for a worrisome performance. Yet Microsoft would do better to share how many Xbox One units actually sold globally as it plays up the strengths of its system in this long race. Holding back just feeds a negative narrative in the media.

Sony’s $7,999 65-inch XBR-X950B.

Sony’s $7,999 65-inch XBR-X950B.

These new big-screen 4K Ultra HDTVs are intriguing examples of consumer electronics, especially as prices are coming down for entry-level sets. For now, however, those who buy them have a haphazard connection to 4K content available via Internet streaming as not every one of these UHDTVs can handle all of the content encoding out there. Those that cannot handle Netflix’s 4K service, for example, must purchase a separate 4K media player like Sony’s new FMP-X10 that replaces a $699 unit from last year. These 4K content questions make the sale more difficult for mainstream consumers to be sure, but the addition of PlayStation Now evens out the value proposition somewhat. DFC has long-standing questions about how well current broadband providers can handle the extra strain on bandwidth. Already Netflix is being forced into paying major ISPs to guarantee its streamed content is not shunted aside. In those cases where paying for priority is not an issue, major broadband providers are openly threatening to cap or throttle down accounts that consume too much bandwidth. So while we appreciate the utility that all of this new streaming content can provide consumers, we wonder how much extra they will be forced to pay for the pleasure.

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