The PlayStation 5 and the Challenge of Winning Over the Whole Audience

The PlayStation 5 and the Challenge of Winning Over the Whole Audience

The PlayStation 5 and the Challenge of Winning Over the Whole Audience

Sony’s PlayStation 5 has been a hit since its launch in 2020, selling just over 59 million units. However, this falls slightly short of the PlayStation 4’s sales during the same timeframe, which reached approximately 60 million consoles in four years. Despite the strong sales, it appears that the PlayStation 5 only represents around half of the active online user base of PlayStation. This means that the remaining 59 million users are still using the PlayStation 4.

It is not uncommon for people to take their time in adopting new console hardware, and the PlayStation 5 faced additional challenges due to supply shortages. However, this clear division between PS4 and PS5 users, especially as Sony describes this as the “latter stage” of the PS5’s life cycle, provides a perspective on the situation.

Game developers have also faced decisions regarding older hardware. For example, the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Shadows will be the first game in the Ubisoft series to skip last-gen consoles since the launch of the PS4. Despite this divide, Shadows will still be available on PC and Xbox Series X/S. Additionally, Square Enix’s exclusives, such as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and Final Fantasy XVI, have reportedly not met expectations on the PlayStation 5. In response, the company is shifting towards multiplatform releases.

Traditionally, early adopters of new consoles have had to wait for developers to fully utilize the hardware capabilities. However, as we approach the four-year mark of the PlayStation 5’s life, it is clear that it only represents half of Sony’s audience. The rise of service games like Fortnite allows some PS4 users to stick with their current systems, only using a PSN account for one game and not requiring an upgrade to the PS5. Nonetheless, as video game budgets increase and companies become more risk-averse, leaving half of the active audience behind becomes a more challenging proposition.

Recognizing this, Sony has started to release games on multiple platforms. Big exclusives like God of War: Ragnarök and Horizon Forbidden West have also launched on the PS4, and the company is investing resources into PC ports of games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and The Last of Us Part I. By expanding their reach, Sony aims to tap into the potential market and ensure the widest possible audience for their games.

Additional facts:

1. The PlayStation 5 was released on November 12, 2020, in select countries and on November 19, 2020, globally.
2. The PS5 comes in two versions: one with a disc drive and a digital-only version.
3. The PlayStation 5 introduces several new features, including faster loading times, ray tracing capabilities, haptic feedback with the DualSense controller, and support for 4K gaming.
4. The console has been praised for its exclusive games, including titles like Demon’s Souls, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Returnal.
5. The PlayStation 5 has faced supply shortages since its launch, leading to high demand and difficulty in acquiring the console.

Key questions and answers:

1. How does the PlayStation 5’s sales compare to previous PlayStation consoles?
The PlayStation 5 has sold just over 59 million units since its launch, slightly falling short of the PlayStation 4’s sales during the same timeframe.

2. Why are there still many users using the PlayStation 4?
Despite the strong sales of the PlayStation 5, it appears that only around half of the active online user base of PlayStation have migrated to the new console. Factors such as people taking their time to adopt new hardware and supply shortages have contributed to this.

3. What challenges do game developers face regarding older hardware?
Game developers have to make decisions about whether to release games exclusively for the newest console or make them available for older hardware as well. In some cases, developers have opted to release games on multiple platforms or shift towards multiplatform releases to cater to a wider audience.


1. Strong sales and popularity: The PlayStation 5 has been a hit since its launch, with high demand and positive reception from players.

2. Enhanced capabilities: The PS5 offers improved graphics, faster load times, and innovative features like haptic feedback, providing an enhanced gaming experience.


1. Supply shortages: Limited availability of the console has made it challenging for some consumers to purchase the PlayStation 5.

2. Division between PS4 and PS5 users: The clear split between users of the previous console and the current generation creates challenges for game developers in catering to both audiences.

Key challenges and controversies:

1. Balancing game development for multiple platforms: Game developers need to decide whether to focus exclusively on the PlayStation 5 or cater to both PS4 and PS5 users, which can impact the utilization of hardware capabilities.

2. Risk of leaving a significant portion of the audience behind: Sony faces the challenge of ensuring a wide audience for their games while managing the transition from the PS4 to the PS5.

Related links:
PlayStation Official Website