Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House set a sales target of five million PlayStation 4 units by March 31, 2014. With six weeks to spare, Sony has announced it has surpassed that goal.

As of February 8, Sony has sold 5.3 million PlayStation 4 units through to consumers. At the end of December 2013, Sony announced that 4.2 million PlayStation 4 units had been sold. Last week, when NPD data was revealed for January (a five-week reporting month), we were told only that Sony sold about double the nearest next-gen competitor in the United States (read: Xbox One).

This is most certainly good news for Sony, which faces a company-wide $1.1 billion shortfall for the fiscal year ending next month. During the last quarter financial report, the games division showed increased performance and positive net revenue.

We also know that the pace slowed a bit during the first six weeks of the calendar year. Sony was averaging 700,000 units per week from launch through the end of 2013. So far in 2014, the average is slightly over 183,000 weekly sales to consumers. 

[Source: Sony]


Our Take
The slowdown in January doesn’t surprise me at all. The new-generation libraries are still thin. I expect that February will be good for Sony with the Japanese launch, but drag for Microsoft. March (thanks to Infamous on PS4 and Titanfall on Xbox One) will see hardware sales jump again.

The early months are interesting to compare to last-generation, but in terms of competitive analysis, it’s still too early in the life cycles to know if Sony will hang onto the lead or if Microsoft will catch up and/or surpass. Reasonable analysis for that won’t begin to happen until after this holiday season.