The PlayStation 4 proved Sony's continued dominance of the console market, but the PlayStation 5 has shown that there's potential yet to be reached. However, it seems that there's been a shift in how consumers spend money on games in the transition from PS4 to PS5. An official report from Sony compared what PlayStation gamers are spending money on between the PS4 and PS5's launches. It turns out PS5 owners are spending less on full games and significantly more on microtransactions.
Sony recently published a presentation on its Game & Network Services Segment, which delved into PlayStation's current successes, growth, and plans for the future. Within the presentation is a page showing how game spending on the PS5 has grown compared to the PS4. During the PS5's launch window, spending increased 15% compared to a similar window for the PS4's launch. What's especially interesting from the chart is how full game spending has decreased.
While overall spending on the PS5 increased 15%, spending on full games between the PS4 and PS5 decreased 21%. Even accounting for increasing overall spending, PS5 owners are spending substantially less on game purchases than they did for the PS4. As for where the increased spending is coming from, spending on "add-ons" is shown to have increased 247% from the PS4 to the PS5. That means PS5 owners are spending significantly more on microtransactions, DLC, digital currencies, and similar.
Sony's chart doesn't specifically mention the proportion of overall spending full game sales and microtransactions make up. However, judging by eye it appears full game sales make up around 50-60% of spending, while add-on sales account for between 30-40%, with PS5 subscriptions making up the remaining spending. It's easy to see how add-on spending will likely overtake full game spending during the PS5 generation.
There are a variety of circumstances to consider when looking at these numbers, of course. When the PS4 launched, free-to-play games were only just realizing their potential and monetization paled in comparison to what it is today. The PS5 launched with much free-to-play game support and the vast majority of AAA game releases have some type of monetization. Still, that doesn't fully explain why the PS5 is seeing less spending on full games.
As interesting as the trend is, there's also a warning being conveyed by these numbers. The average PS5 owner may now be less likely to buy a full game on their console than they were last generation. Instead, they'll download a free-to-play game or purchase a live-service game and spend their money on microtransactions. For publishers and developers working on new games, that could mean the PS5 is a less attractive platform than the PS4. Then again, with PS5 sales being what they are, perhaps it won't matter in the slightest.
Related Forum: PlayStation Forum