Time will tell if Sony is able to keep up the supply—or if demand stays strong in the face of instant stock depletions—but it seems the PlayStation 5 is on pace to surpass its predecessor's strong first year. Already, Sony says the PS5's debut is its "biggest console launch ever," which would then make it the biggest console launch in history. On top of that, Sony's assuring would-be buyers that more units are on the way soon.
"We want to thank gamers everywhere for making the PS5 launch our biggest console launch ever," Sony says via the official PlayStation Twitter account. "Demand for PS5 is unprecedented, so we wanted to confirm that more PS5 inventory will be coming to retailers before the end of the year—please stay in touch with your local retailers."
At GamesIndustry.biz, James Batchelor has the relevant record statistics close at hand. In December 2013, PlayStation announced that it had sold over 2.1 million PS4s in its first 20 days on the market, a record for Sony. Not long after, game industry analytics firm DFC Intelligence named the PS4's launch as the biggest in console history.
Unfortunately, Sony hasn't announced an exact breakdown in sales between the standard PS5 and the cheaper all-digital version. This launch marks the first time that Sony has simultaneously brought two SKUs of a brand new console to market.
It's also too early to gauge the full effects of launching primarily via e-commerce during the pandemic. With Sony going as far as to limit launch window sales to online storefronts for safety's sake, resellers have endeavored to capitalize on demand for the PS5 (and for the new Xbox consoles) through rampant use of retail bots.
Yesterday, in an interview with The Verge, Xbox's Phil Spencer (ever-opposed to competitive grousing) said that part of the console supply shortages on the Microsoft side come down to their decision to start manufacturing later than Sony. Still, while we don't know exact numbers, Microsoft says that the combined launch of the Xbox Series X and the lower-powered, lower-priced Xbox Series S is the brand's biggest hardware launch in history, surpassing a record set by the Xbox One in 2013.
Around this time last year, the PS4 crept past the 100 million-sold milestone, cementing it as the second best-selling console of all-time behind the PlayStation 2 (155 million units). The next record Sony's hoping to break with the PS5 is 7.6 million sold by the end of the current fiscal year, which would again put the PS5's sales pace ahead of the PS4.