PS5 is now the fastest-selling console in history — even though you can’t buy one

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The PS5 is officially the fastest-selling console in US history, despite being plagued by restock problems that have led to many potential buyers not being able to get their hands on one.

That's according to the NPD Group, which regularly compiles data from across retailers and which now says the PS5 is the fastest-selling console both in terms of units sold and dollars earned in its first five months on the market. While hard numbers weren’t provided, we know that the PS5 sold 4.5m units in 2020 and Sony previously claimed to be on track to sell 7.6m consoles by the end of March.

The NPD’s executive director Mat Piscatella took to Twitter to announce the news last week. In the past, some industry analysts have argued that mobile gaming would become the dominant force, but the runaway success of the PS4 and now the PS5 suggests that console gaming is very much alive and well. 

Last month, video game hardware sales totaled $680 million, which is significant as it broke the long-standing record of $552 million set back in March 2008. The previous record was boosted by the peak of the Nintendo Wii’s popularity, and the PS5 is currently enjoying a similarly seismic demand as gamers desperately try to purchase a machine. 

Interestingly, the PS5 was not in fact the best selling hardware platform in March. That honor went to the Nintendo Switch, which topped the charts both in units sold and dollar amount earned. Looking at the first quarter of 2021, the Switch is actually the best selling console of the year to date, however sales of the PS5 generated the most money in the period. 

These figures are even more impressive in light of the disastrous state of PS5 restocks. Actually buying a PS5 has been incredibly hard since launch, as retailers struggle to keep the machine in stock for longer than a few minutes due to supply issues caused by the ongoing global chip shortage, and the overwhelming demand. 

It would be very interesting to see how much the PS5 had sold if Sony was able to supply the console at a more regular pace. Nevertheless, the Japanese tech giant will surely be very pleased with these numbers and the demand for the console is only likely to increase as we enter the second half of the year. 

If you’re still trying to track down a PS5 yourself, be sure to bookmark our where to buy a PS5 guide, which is regularly updated with the latest stock information as we get it. It’ll save you from having to endlessly hammer F5 on retail websites. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.