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PS4 Sales Hit 96.8 Million, PS5 Development Leads to Higher R&D Costs for Sony

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PS4 Sales Hit 96.8 Million, PS5 Development Leads to Higher R&D Costs for Sony
Highlights
  • 17.8 million PS4 consoles were sold in FY2018
  • 16 million are forecasted for the next year
  • PSN revenue hit $12.8 billion in FY2018

The PS4 has hit lifetime to date sales of 96.8 million. With 17.8 million units sold last year, Sony is forecasting 16 million for the year to come. Furthermore it has seen larger than usual expenses in terms of research and development (R&D) due to the PS5's impending release date. While Sony didn't call out the PS5 by name, it did say that its gaming division had an "increase in development expensed for the next generation console". While the PS4 is in striking distance of the 100 million sales milestone, hardware sales have been flagging and Sony's profits have been boosted by strong software sales as well as PSN revenue that's totalled $12.8 billion in 2018 alone. This includes full game downloads, add-on content, PS Plus subscriptions, PS Now, and other PSN services.

As for India, the PS4 has been the number one console in the country since it's launch. The widely accepted install base for the PS4 in India sits in the range of 380,000 to 400,000 units including grey market sales as well as the limited PS4 Pro sold via various channels (official or otherwise) sold till date, which has seen it surpass the PS3 with which only mustered 350,000 units in its lifetime.

In conversation with Wired, systems architect Mark Cerny confirmed that the PS5 will have an AMD Ryzen CPU, Radeon Navi GPU, support for ray tracing, and a solid state drive (SSD) that he touted to be  a "game changer". This comes after an anonymous post from an alleged PS5 developer suggested a similar set of specifications earlier this week. However, with an SSD, we won't be surprised to see a higher price point.

According to Cerny, the PS5 will feature a CPU based on the third-generation of AMD's Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company's new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. As for the GPU, it would be a custom variant of the AMD Radeon Navi family with ray tracing support to boot. It will be backwards compatible with PS4 games as well.

While Sony has laid bare what to expect from the PS5 in terms of specifications, backwards compatibility, and the inclusion of a solid state drive in conversation with Wired, there was no mention of the console's price. Turns out that part of the discussion didn't make it to the story. According to Peter Rubin, Senior Correspondent at the publication, the PS5's price did come up in his meeting with Cerny.

"I believe that we will be able to release it at an SRP [suggested retail price] that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set," Cerny said to Rubin. This revelation has arisen following intense speculation of the PS5's price what with it shipping with a solid state drive, which is still an expensive proposition. Usually pricing on a new console is announced closer to release. For example, the PS4's price revealed at E3 2013 in June with the console shipping in November. Chances are we're in for a similar situation this time around.


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Further reading: PS4, PS5, Sony
Rishi Alwani Rishi writes about video games and tech. Legend has it he bleeds pixels. More
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