Playstation 4 sees surges in digital sales, up to 74 per cent of full game sales during COVID-19 pandemic

Sony’s Q1 FY2020 (April-June 2020) has been enormously successful for the company, with the COVID-19 pandemic boosting digital sales on the Playstation store.

Overall in the quarter, Sony’s Games and Network services division saw ¥606 trillion (£4.3 billion) in revenue, a 32 per cent increase year on year.

Much of that revenue came from software sales, with huge releases like The Last of Us Part II, which was by far the highlight of the quarter. While Sony has not updated the sales figures for Naughty Dog’s title, the game is Sony’s fastest-selling release this generation. 

Sony’s first-party titles sold 18.5 million units during this quarter alone. For context, Sony has sold 91 million PS4 games overall, making this quarter’s sales a significant percentage of that.

The COVID-19 pandemic has likely been the cause for this surge in software sales. In Q1 of the last financial year, Sony sold 49.8 million PS4 games. This quarter, it sold 11.7 million units.

74 per cent of these full game sales were digital, an increase on the 53 per cent digital sales seen in the same period last year. Again, COVID-19 is likely the cause of the increase, especially with a number of stores having been closed for months due to social distancing measures.

Playstation Plus also saw a boost during the pandemic, seeing an extra 3.4 million users join during the quarter – one of the largest quarter-on-quarter jumps in the service’s history. Sony also, for the first time, shared the number of monthly active users, 113 million for the quarter, and has pledged to do so in every future quarterly report.

Hardware sales were, predictably, down. Just 1.9 million PS4s were sold during the quarter, down from 3.2 million in the same period last year. This is to be expected, given the company is preparing to launch the Playstation 5, and has not pledged to support older systems in the way that Xbox has. Overall, Sony has sold 112.3 million PS4s.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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