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Image credit: Mike Blake / reuters

PS4 game sales almost doubled during the pandemic

And the vast majority of sales were digital.
Nick Summers, @nisummers
August 4, 2020
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The Sony Playstation logo is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017.  REUTERS/ Mike Blake
Mike Blake / reuters

Unsurprisingly, people have spent a lot of money on video games during the coronavirus pandemic. In its latest financial earnings, Sony reported that 91 million PS4 games were sold during the three-month period leading up to June 30th, 2020. That's an 83 percent increase on the 49.8 million sales it reported for the same quarter last year. First-party exclusives sold impressively well — 18.5 million copies, to be exact — buoyed by Naughty Dog's long-awaited sequel to The Last of Us. Again, that's a massive increase on the 11.7 million first-party titles sold during the same quarter last year.

Many PS4 owners were stuck indoors, so it's no surprise to hear that a whopping 74 percent of games were bought digitally last quarter. In addition, PS Plus -- a subscription service that's required to play PS4 games online -- now stands at 44.9 million members, up from 41.5 million at the end of the last quarter. While software is thriving, hardware continues to dwindle. The company sold 1.9 million PS4 consoles during the three-month period, which is up from the previous quarter (1.4 million) but down 41 percent on the same quarter last year (3.2 million). The ageing system will soon be replaced by the PS5, which is still slated to come out this holiday season.

"Although factors such as constraints due to employees working from home and restrictions on international travel remain, necessary measures are being taken and preparations are underway with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season," Sony told investors in its earnings report today.

Still, gaming was a bright spot for Sony this quarter. The division raked in sales of 606 billion yen (roughly $5.7 billion) during the quarter, up from 457 billion (roughly $4.3 billion) during the same period last year. Almost every other part of Sony's business, including TVs, smartphones, cameras and movies saw a year-over-year decline. The quarter wasn't abysmal for Sony, though. The company's overall sales were 1.97 trillion (roughly $18.6 billion) for the quarter, up from 1.92 trillion (roughly $18.1 billion) last year. Operating income, however, was 228 billion (roughly $2.15 billion), down from 230 billion (roughly $2.18 billion) during the same quarter last year.

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