Even though PlayStation 5 is in short supply (i.e. demand is higher than supply), Sony still managed to carry last year on its back…
Ampere Analysis reported that Sony maintained its market share in the console space when looking at global ratios. It has increased its slice of the pie compared to 2020, as the “blue company” has increased its share to 46%. In addition to console sales, this increase was also helped by the games’ line-up and PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now.
Sony’s growth, on the other hand, means a change in the share of Microsoft and Nintendo: compared to 2020, the big N has fallen by 2%, but the 29% share is still a fair one, although Nintendo is lagging behind its two rivals in terms of online services, eShop and in-game monetisation. Microsoft has strengthened its Xbox brand somewhat from 2020 to 2021: it pulled in 25% of the market last year, Ampere says.
Console services showed a 20% increase from 2020 to 2021, with demand for PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Now, Xbox Live Gold, (Xbox) Game Pass and Nintendo Switch Online seeing a healthy increase last year. The growth was driven by Game Pass Ultimate, and the Redmond-based company was able to achieve it mainly because many games were included in the subscription service from the day of its launch (and even at its base level). Perhaps, for this reason, rumours that Sony is working on a rival, codenamed Spartacus, are justified. We wrote earlier that Jim Ryan could be preparing a three-tier subscription service.
Store sales fell below 30% for the first time last year. PlayStation/Sony’s share is unknown, but Ampere pointed out that Nintendo continues to show reasonably strong sales in traditional purchases, so there’s life for Nintendo Switch cartridges after the first sale, as second-hand sales are not a negligible factor. And the Xbox Series S has strengthened Microsoft’s digital expansion.
So Sony is still in the lead, albeit modestly. Can it keep it up this year? The market had 60 billion dollars in sales (2020: 56.6), and it is expected to grow to 61.1 this year.