PlayStation 5 gets first official sales numbers—will it outpace the Switch?

Sony has released the first official sales figures for the PlayStation 5, and the new console is off to an impressive start.

As part of the company’s Q3 FY2020 financial report, Sony announced that the PS5 sold 4.5 million units, as of the end of December 2020. Sony says it expects to meet its goal of selling 7.8 million units by the end of the current fiscal year, which wraps up in March.

So how exactly do those numbers stack up? Pretty well, it turns out. Back in 2014, Sony reported that the PlayStation 4 had sold 4.2 million units through the end of its first year. That would put the new console ahead of its predecessor’s pace—though the PS5 did launch three days earlier in the year, and in a wider number of countries on day one. The PS4, for comparison, didn’t launch in Japan until four months after it arrived in North America.

Given how constrained supply of the PS5 remains, the biggest impediment to the new console’s success appears to be how quickly Sony can actually manufacture additional units.

And how does the PS5 compare to systems from other manufacturers? It’s a bit more difficult to make direct comparisons here, but we do know thanks to Nintendo’s financials the the Switch moved 2.74 million units in its first four weeks, and added another 1.97 million in the following three months. The PlayStation 5 certainly seems poised to surpass that early total—4.71 million—much faster than the Switch did.

Still, what’s made the Nintendo Switch such a sales beast is its continued strong performance, month after month, and that may prove tougher for the PS5 to match in the long term.

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