It would seem that Fornite‘s astronomical success may be having a notable affect on console sales. Despite a relatively barren slate of releases, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch sales each reached an all-time high for the month of May. This is also particularly surprising because we are nearing the conclusion of this console generation, with Sony Interactive Entertainment President John Kodera claiming that the PS4 is reaching the end of its life cycle. While most speculate that new consoles won’t be released until around holiday 2020, it goes against common sense that hardware would be selling better this late into the console generation.
NPD analyst Mat Piscatella claims that “Fornite is certainty having an impact on PS4 and Xbox One Hardware, Accessory and Game Card sales”. While it may seem odd that a game that is free on PC may be driving players to pick up consoles, with over 125 million registered accounts, this isn’t entirely surprising. It’s easy to speculate that many more casual video game players are being pulled into the Fortnite vortex through their friends recommendations, players that wouldn’t even consider playing games on their PC. Their friends have picked up the game, and between the slew of celebrities endorsing it, and the general cultural phenomenon the game has become, they’ve been persuaded to buy new hardware.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out with Sony’s recent behavior, the company having banned the ability for Fortnite accounts created on the PS4 to be used on Switch or Xbox One. While there are no persistent upgrades or advantages tied to people’s accounts, the presence of cosmetic items means that many players may have sunk money into their profiles. With the influx of more casual users, this weirdly complicated situation may become even more hairy, and continue to antagonize Sony.