11 years after launch, 49 million people are still using their PS4, matching the PS5

Enlarge / After almost four years of the PS5, many people are still using their old PS4.

If you’re still using your old PS4 after almost four full years of PS5 availability, new data from Sony shows you’re not alone. The Japanese electronics giant says that both the PS4 and PS5 currently have around 49 million monthly active users, suggesting that a significant number of PlayStation gamers still have to spend $400 or more to upgrade to the new console.

The new data comes from an extensive gaming and network services report presented as part of Sony’s most recent business segment meeting. Those figures suggest that around 42 percent of the 117 million PS4 units sold are still in active use, compared to 86 percent of the 56 million PS5 units sold so far.

Despite the parity in active consoles, Sony also notes that the PS5 is responsible for many more hours of gameplay than the PS4: 2.4 billion for the new system versus 1.4 billion for its predecessor (it’s unclear what time period it covers this comparison). Sony’s monthly user figures also include any console “used for gaming or [access] services on PlayStation Network,” so an old PS4 serving as a convenient Netflix box in the guest bedroom would still inflate the old system’s numbers here.

Still, it’s pretty impressive that nearly 50 million people are still regularly using a console first released in 2013 (even considering the 2016 Pro update). This could be partly because the PS4 is still receiving a lot of software support long after the PS5’s release; Sony’s PSN Store listings currently include 189 “just released” PS4-compatible games, including many “best-selling” titles that don’t require a PS5 at all. The fact that those PS4-compatible titles can also be played directly on the PS5 has likely helped convince some publishers to target the older console for their lower-graphics games.

PS5 owners spend less money on full games and much more on
Enlarge / PS5 owners are spending less money on full games and a lot more money on “add-on content.”

The longevity of the PS4 also does not appear to have had a significant negative impact on the PS5’s results. Sony’s gaming division has already made $10 billion in profits from $106 billion in sales over the nearly four years of the PS5 generation, compared to $9 billion in profits from $107 billion. in sales for seven years of the PS4.

PS5 owners have spent an average of $731 each on games, services, peripherals, and additional content. That’s significantly more than the average PS4 owner’s $580 in nominal spending at the same point in that console’s lifecycle, although what seems like a big increase is actually pretty flat when inflation is taken into account.

That spending on games per console is now focused less on “full game” purchases, which are down 12 percent between the PS4 and PS5 generation, and much more on so-called complementary content, which is up 176 percent between generations. We’re guessing big-spending “whales” chasing loot boxes have something to do with that increase.

Listing image by Sam Machkovech

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