PlayStation misses PS5 sales target, but revenue is up – WGB


Sony has releases its financial results for the past year, giving us 12 months of data to sift through and a forecast of what it expects for the coming year. It preceded its financial date with the announcement that Herman Hulst and Hideaki Nishino would be taking over from Jim Ryan as co-CEOs of PlayStation.

Let’s kick off with the hardware: Sony had originally forecast 25m PS5 sales for the financial year but dropped that target to 21m at the beginning of the last quarter. In the last three months, 4.5m consoles were shipped, bringing the total to 20.8m and thus slightly missing the revised target. It is, however, still an improvement on the 19.1m PS5s sold the year prior, and overall hardware revenue saw a 9% boost.

According to Sony, this would mean the PS5 isn’t doing quite as well as the PS4. At this point its lifespan the PS4 had sold 60.2m units, whereas the PS5 currently sits at 59.3m. Of course, its pretty hard to draw direct comparisons because there are about a million and one different factors at play, from the initial console shortages during the pandemic to the games being released to the world economy.

Sony does expect a drop in hardware sales in the coming year, which is hardly surprising. In fact, it’s forecasting a dip of 1.5% for the Game & Network Services segment, while the operating income will rise 6.8%.

Comparing to the other brands, the Nintendo Switch sold an impressive 15.7m units in its last fiscal year. That’s not bad for a machine which launched in 2017. Xbox is harder to judge as Microsoft tends to dance around the numbers. According to data from the Financial Times, the Series S and Series X sold a combined 7.6m in 2023.

Moving on to software, I’ve already covered the fact that Sony is extremely pleased with the 12m copies of Helldivers 2 that have been sold. Apart from that huge success, the company reported that sales of software ($14.1 billion) were up 24% year on year. Sony said “This significant increase in sales was mainly due to an increase in sales of non-first-party titles, including add-on content, and the impact of foreign exchange rates.”

In total, Sony reports 286.4m games were sold for the PS5, of which just under 40m were first-party titles. Last year saw slightly fewer game sales overall (264.2m) but that was offset by more first-party sales (43.5m).

Looking ahead, Sony is expecting a bump in 2nd and 3rd party sales and a drop in first-party, which is probably due to its prior revelation that there will be no new entries in any of PlayStation’s blockbuster franchises until the next fiscal year which will be in April 2025.

Finally, let’s address the PlayStation Network. Sony reports that there 118m PSN users by the end of Q4, down from the previous quarter’s 123m but up from last years 108m during the same time frame. Once again though, Sony has declined to share PSN subscriber numbers, something they haven’t done 2022 when subscribers numbers started to drop.

Helldivers 2 likely contributed a good chunk to the PSN numbers as Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt claimed that a “significant” amount of people did link their Steam and PSN accounts. The mandatory PSN account linking debacle was most likely because Sony really wants to add PC players to its PSN numbers.

Overally, the data is looking good for PlayStation. While the would undoubtedly love the console sales to be far surpassing the PS4, they are still likely very pleased with how well it is doing. The next year could potentially be rougher for PlayStation without any major releases in its “blockbuster” franchises, but there are still games like Concorde to come, which the company reiterated is launching this year.

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