Half Of PlayStation Players Still Haven't Upgraded To PS5

Image: Sony
Image: Sony

The PlayStation 5 has sold just over 59 million units since it launched in 2020, which is slightly less than PS4’s sales in the same timeframe, as it sold roughly 60 million consoles four years into its lifecycle. And from the sound of it, those PlayStation 5s only account for roughly half of PlayStation’s active online user base.

According to Sony, PlayStation Network had 118 million active users as of March 31, 2024. As Game File’s Stephen Totilo points out, the PlayStation 5 install base accounts for exactly half of that total, meaning the other 59 million must still be using the PlayStation 4. It takes time for people to adopt new console hardware (and the PS5 suffering from a supply shortage early on didn’t help), but laying out the divide between PS4 and PS5 users in such clear numbers, during what Sony calls the “latter stage” of the PS5’s life cycle, puts things into perspective.

Assassin’s Creed: Shadows is the first time the Ubisoft series has skipped last-gen consoles since the PS4 went on sale in 2013, meaning that even with that divide, this is the first time Ubisoft has been comfortable leaving old hardware behind for its flagship series. However, Shadows has the luxury of being a multiplatform game that will also launch on PC and Xbox Series X/S. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and Final Fantasy XVI have reportedly not met Square Enix’s expectations as PlayStation 5 exclusives. As a result, the company is making a concerted effort to release games on multiple platforms moving forward.

Those of us who buy new consoles early spend the first few years waiting for developers to stop releasing games on old systems and “take advantage” of the beefier hardware. But we’re almost four years into the PlayStation 5’s life, and it still only accounts for half of Sony’s audience. The influx of service games like Fortnite means that some PS4 users only keep a PSN account open to play one game and don’t need to upgrade to PS5. However, as video game budgets balloon and companies become more risk averse, leaving half the active audience behind becomes a more difficult proposition.

Sony seems to have also recognized that, at this stage, it’s leaving money on the table by only releasing games on PS5. Some big exclusives like God of War: Ragnarök and Horizon Forbidden West have also launched on PS4, and the company has been putting a lot of resources into PC ports of games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and The Last of Us Part I.

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