Sony’s PlayStation 5 Is Now the Fastest-Selling Platform in US History

Sony’s PlayStation 5 Is Now the Fastest-Selling Platform in US History

If you’ve been jonesing for a PlayStation 5 and unable to find one, there’s a good explanation for it: insane demand. We’ve known for a while that Sony’s PS5 was selling well, but a new report from the NPD suggests it’s actually the fastest-selling platform in US history.

NPD’s results for the month show a huge surge in game sales and overall spending. February revenue hit $4.6 billion, up 35 percent from a year ago. YTD spending is already $9.3B, 39 percent higher than the same period last year. Video game hardware sales hit $406M. That’s the highest in a decade (February 2011 hit $468M). Hardware spending to-date is $725 million, up 130 percent from this time last year.

US NPD HW – PlayStation 5 ranked as the 2nd best-selling hardware platform in February in both unit and dollar sales. PlayStation 5 is currently the fastest selling hardware platform in U.S. history (total dollar sales after 4 months in market).

— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) March 12, 2021

If you’re wondering what launched in January and February 2011 (because I was), it was one of the better months in game history. Mass Effect 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, and Dead Space 2 all launched that January.

The Switch moved the most units and earned the most dollars in February since the Wii in 2009. Lifetime sales of the Switch now exceed the DS (in the United States). The Switch is also the 7th best-selling hardware platform in US history.

The Xbox Is Apparently Supply Constrained

Last year, a number of prominent stories suggested Sony, not Microsoft, was the company facing supply constraints. According to NPD, Microsoft is facing some supply issues that are holding it back:

Completely sold out and facing severe supply constraints.

— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) March 12, 2021

Now, to be clear: The entire semiconductor market is supply-constrained at the moment, including Sony. “Severe,” in this context, implies that things are pretty bad. Microsoft has previously said that supplies could remain constrained through the entirety of 2021, but that’s scarcely unique to Microsoft.

All indications are that both companies are selling every platform they can ship as fast as they can ship them. Sony just seems to be getting a lot more systems than Microsoft is. Microsoft is laser-focused on growing Xbox Game Pass subscriptions rather than just trying to tie people into the Xbox ecosystem, but selling consoles is a really easy way to tie those goals together.

If nothing else, the semiconductor shortage has given us an interesting look at how difficult it is to un-snarl the silicon industry when demand rises during supply disruptions. All of this is going to make for an absolutely fascinating macroeconomic case study someday (if you’re that kind of nerd). It’s just not going to be a lot of fun to live through if you were hoping to score a PlayStation 5 this year.

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