The PlayStation 5 was officially announced by Sony ($SNE) and already speculation is running rampant about what we don't know. It's coming out holiday 2020, it will be a video game console, and that's about it for real specs and details. But all of that was to be expected, and what wasn't was this headline about a potential restructuring within the ranks of the company ahead of the launch next year. Coupled with the sudden unexplained departure of PlayStation Worldwide Studios head Shawn Layden, and we were immediately intrigued as to how Sony is staffing up (or slimming down) ahead of the PS5's debut.
As you can see, hiring ramped up slowly all the way to October, when the console was named and confirmed, in which case it's been slowly going down as people join the team. The next 12-14 months will be nothing but prep, manufacturing console hardware, testing, market research, promotion, and all sorts of other work needed to successfully launch a gaming console.
Although the record-breaking numbers for PlayStation 4 sales signaled an obvious follow-up, job listings containing "PS5" and "next-generation" terms only doubled recently.
The most impressive chart comes from Sony's ability to grow and grow without stopping or slowing down. While this includes every department (movie studio, music, gadgets, televisions, etc.), the PlayStation brand is really the most important thing for Sony.
And finally, as it turns out, the social media data confirms people still like their PlayStations a heck of a whole lot.
Twitter followers have gone up steadily by 15% since October 2017.
Sony is currently the top dog in the video game world but has some steep competition coming its way. Not only is Microsoft ($MSFT) releasing the next Xbox at the same time, Nintendo ($TYO:7974) always has the Switch to appeal to people looking for a cheaper alternative. There's also Google Stadia ($GOOG) introducing streaming without a console, and of course, the PC market and mobile games. Nobody thinks about Apple ($AAPL) being in the industry, but with Apple Arcade, they are always a force to be reckoned with for time and money spent by consumers looking to game.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.