While the seemingly inevitable demise of traditional console gaming in favor of incrementally upgradeable set-top boxes looms on the horizon, the leader of the current generation of console wars is unquestionably Sony, at least based on pure sales numbers. While the PlayStation 3 console consistently lagged behind both Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360 during the previous gaming cycle, the PS4 continues to easily outstrip its competitors the Xbox One and Wii U in market share.
According to a new press release from Sony, the PS4 has now sold over 40 million units worldwide since its initial release in 2013, making it the fastest selling console in company history. This puts the PS4 on track to possibly dwarf the PS3's total console sales numbers in the long run, which are estimated to be between 80 and 90 million sold in the near-decade since its 2006 release. That said, with the impending release of the PlayStation 4.5 (a.k.a. the PlayStation Neo) coming later this year, one wonders both just how many regular PS4 consoles will continue to sell going forward and just how Sony will choose to calculate sales numbers for the PS4.5 in future press releases.
As has been established, the PS4.5 is being marketed as an improved version of the PS4, so one could argue that Sony would be correct to lump sales of the Neo into the total PS4 unit sales numbers. After all, nobody expected Sony to count sales of the slim PS3 separately from sales of the original "fat" rendition, since the consoles are still (essentially) the same in every way other than aesthetics. On the other hand, the PS4.5 is likely to actually feature fairly significant upgrades to the console's inner hardware, muddying the waters a bit on whether its sales should be organized under the same umbrella as its progenitor.
By contrast, the PS4's rivals Xbox One and Wii U are basically eating its dust when it comes to total worldwide sales, with the former console estimated to have sold between 10 and 20 million units since its 2013 release, and the latter having sold just under 13 million units since its 2012 launch. The reason exact sales numbers are unavailable for the Xbox One is quite simple: Microsoft stopped releasing them, possibly to save face at how much their fortunes have swung in the other direction since the days of the 360 topping the PS3.
With E3 2016 set to take place next month, the eyes of the gaming world are once again getting ready to focus on the showcase presentations put on by the big three console makers. While Nintendo has said that their new system the NX won't be the main focus of their presentation, Microsoft is rumored to be planning some type of big reveal for the event, likely of its next Xbox model. Things are about to get interesting indeed, but for right now, Sony can feel at least somewhat comfortable in its position on top of the console mountain. Whether that remains true by E3 2017 remains to be seen.
The PlayStation 4 Neo has not been officially announced, but an announcement is expected later this summer.