Since the start of the year, Sony and Microsoft have noticed a worrying trait regarding their flagship consoles – their sales are plummeting. Compared to last year, there has been a 35% drop in hardware spending, while the total spending across all gaming is down by 26% for the same period. Sony and Microsoft may not be worried to the point that they expect the trend to continue in the long term, yet there’s no doubt the numbers are concerning. Sales are declining faster than either gaming developer would have ever expected, so what’s behind the decline? Is it anything for the companies to fret about with their next-gen consoles around the corner?
The rise of online casinos has been stratospheric in the last decade. Today, the gambling sector is worth billions, and a big chunk comes from remote wagering markets – Euro Weekly News puts the figure at 37%. Plus, the rise of mobile technology hasn’t helped matters for traditional console developers since the increase in mobile devices has made online casino games more accessible. Not only is there a wide range of games available for players, but users can play them from anywhere in the world, especially if they have access to 5G software. This means online casinos are eating into the market share of gaming giants such as Sony and Microsoft, as the plethora of promotions on Bonusfinder UK highlight. These free offerings are a sign of the sector’s dominance, a trend that the numbers suggest will stay strong over the long term.
In the past, the price points of the PS4 and Xbox One were symbols of exclusivity and quality. You had to pay £400-plus to secure the best gaming experience the industry had to offer, which was worth it for most gamers. However, due to advancements in technology and a rise in free games with unfettered accessibility, the prices of PlayStation and Xbox have become a stumbling block. At £350, without games or multiple controllers, Sony and Microsoft have struggled to keep up with the competition. A prime example is a rise in the popularity of the Nintendo Switch in 2020. According to NPD data, it topped the hardware sales for September and is set to be the best-selling console of the 2020 holidays. Plus, the next-gen consoles are due out soon, which makes an investment in old hardware a bad move.
The PS4 or Xbox doesn’t have the technology to play old games. The PS5 and Xbox Series X are designed to allow users to play games from previous console generations, also known as backward compatibility. Again, this makes it counterproductive to purchase a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One when the hardware becomes obsolete in a couple of months. From Microsoft’s perspective, it’s almost a fresh start since the One has never been that popular. On a Forbes’ list the top-ten best-selling consoles of all-time, it is way down in fifteenth place, behind multiple versions of the PlayStation, Game Boy, and the Wii.
The news that the latest next-generation consoles are due out is one reason sales are down. However, the concerning feature for Sony and Microsoft is that advancements in technology have made online casinos more popular thanks to their accessibility, range of games and price points.