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Lower profits for the PlayStation 4 in 2018 are strong signs that Sony should consider a 2020 release for their next console, the PlayStation 5. Despite experiencing plenty of success over the last year, the PlayStation's profits for 2018 were down in comparison to previous years. It shouldn't be forgotten that the PS4, which launched at the end of 2013, is heading into its sixth year.
All things considered, 2018 was a big year for Sony. The company launched two high-profile PlayStation 4 exclusives, God of War and Spider-Man. Shortly after selling five million copies in one month, God of War became the PlayStation 4's fastest-selling game ever, but was eventually surpassed by Spider-Man, which released in September and has already sold over nine million copies. Sony also has a number of exclusives lined up for 2019, including the highly anticipated The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, and Ghost of Tsushima.
Sony has released its earnings for the final quarter of 2018, and the numbers are underwhelming. Stock in Sony slumped by 8.2 percent, which is the most it's fallen since June 2016. Operating income in games dropped 14 percent for the holiday quarter, as only 8.1 million PlayStation consoles were sold during this time, which is nine million less than the number of consoles sold in 2017. As a result, its revenue forecast for 2019 has been cut.
These numbers may seem surprising, considering that the PlayStation 4 still beat out the Nintendo Switch as 2018's best-selling console. The PS4 sold 17.7 million units, whereas the Switch sold 17.4 million. It appears that the PlayStation 4 is also going to reach the 100 million console mark before too long, which would make it one of the best-selling consoles of all-time. Regardless, the fact remains that the profits for the PlayStation 4 are lower than usual. While the console will most likely still have a profitable year in 2019, it's difficult to say the same for 2020 and 2021, which means the time may be coming for Sony's next big console to hit shelves, even though in 2018 it was stated that the PS5 was still three years away.
It's been rumored for a while that Sony will officially unveil the PlayStation 5 in 2019 with a release date of 2020. According to another rumor, developers have already begun work on games for the PS5. With the sales for the PS4 slowing down and the console nearing the end of its life cycle, 2020 could be the ideal time for the PlayStation 5 to finally launch.