Will any console ever break the sales record set by the PlayStation 2? Maybe not, but with the PlayStation 5 on the horizon and console sales slowing for both Sony and Microsoft, the PlayStation 4 has just barely gotten closer to besting the record than any other system—and even so, it's over 50 million consoles short.
The all-time sales milestone is a positive take away from Sony's quarterly financial results, which saw slumping hardware and software sales in the games division. This isn't too shocking coming toward the end of a console generation (Microsoft, too, just reported a dip in hardware sales), but it didn't quite align with Sony's own expectations. Sony is revising its yearly sales forecast downwards due in part to lower-than-expected PS4 sales.
Compounding the issue for Sony is the delay of The Last of Us Part 2 from February to May 2020. That pushes the game into Sony's next fiscal year, which means both the actual sales of The Last of Us Part 2 and any expected bump in PS4 hardware sales have to be taken out of the company's projections.
Whether The Last of Us Part 2, Death Stranding, and any other exclusive or PS4-first titles help push the console's lifetime sales past 102.8 million units sold, it'll likely fall tens of millions short of the PlayStation 2's 155 million-unit record. Still, in the last quarter alone Sony sold another 2.8 million PS4 units, pushing it past both the Nintendo Wii (101.6m) and the original PlayStation (102.4), the previous all-time third and second-place holders.
As industry analyst Daniel Ahmad noted earlier this year, the PS4 has also reached the 100 million unit milestone faster than any other home console in history.
Of late, Sony has been reorienting other parts of the PlayStation business. PlayStation Now's price has dropped whilst gaining God of War as a temporary addition to its library, in a move that inches Sony's game subscription service closer to Xbox Game Pass. Sony also recently announced it is shutting down the PlayStation Vue live TV service at the start of next year. These decisions and more to come will presumably help set the stage for the arrival of the PlayStation 5 in holiday 2020.