Sony Interactive Entertainment will conclude the current generation with an impressive first-party portfolio on PlayStation 4. Prioritizing exclusive content and games was always a visible goal for Sony to pursue in the past few years and it has now become abundantly clear as to why.
According to official software unit sales shared for the past couple of fiscal years, first-party games accounted for 16.1 percent and 17.6 percent of all software sales on PlayStation 4 in 2019 and 2018 respectively. Furthermore, with the end of the first quarter of the new fiscal year, first-party releases accounted for a massive 20.3 percent of total software sales on PlayStation 4.
The number of notable first-party PlayStation 4 releases in the past couple of years were around a dozen or less. However, them still mounting up for nearly 20 percent of yearly software sales highlights why Sony continues to give first-party games so much importance. The software unit sales prove that exclusives have become an integral part of PlayStation for both Sony and consumers, which is important to understanding when heading into the next generation.
Sony has reportedly invested a lot into securing exclusive content and deals for PlayStation 5 throughout 2021. While Microsoft is doing the opposite by opening up its borders, Sony wants to give players a reason to own a PlayStation 5. These exclusives will presumably cover both timed and permanent releases for both games and content. Marvel’s Avengers, for example, just recently secured Spider-Man as a PlayStation exclusive post-launch character. Final Fantasy 16 is being rumored to have some sort of PlayStation exclusivity as well. There will be more.
Something else of interest is that 51 percent of all software sales on PlayStation 4 last year were digital. This is not unique to Sony though. Microsoft, as well as third-party companies like Ubisoft and Electronic Arts, have all reported a significant increase in digital sales. The next generation looks to be a prime time when digital takes another leap forward to make physical releases less desirable in the long run.