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Sony's video game division delivers record results as PS5 sells 7.8 million units

Sony's video game division delivers record results as PS5 sells 7.8 million units

April 28, 2021 | By Chris Kerr

Sony's video game division delivered its best ever financial results as PlayStation 5 sales reached 7.8 million units. 

According to Sony's report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 and highlights from Niko Partners' senior analyst Daniel Ahmad, sales in the Games & Network Services Segment increased by 34 percent year-on-year to 2.65 trillion yen ($24.3 billion). Operating income also reached 342.2 billion yen ($3.14 billion), rising by 103.8 billion yen ($952.5 million) year-on-year.

Sony said that significant increase in sales was "primarily due to an increase in game software sales, including add-on content," and rising hardware sales fueled by the launch of the PlayStation 5 last November.

Operating income rose due to similar factors along with "an increase in Network Service sales primarily from PlayStation Plus." The company noted those results were "partially offset by a loss resulting from strategic price points for PS5 hardware that were lower than manufacturing costs."

Digging into those results a bit more, Sony revealed the PS5 sold 4.5 million units in Q3 and 3.3 million units in Q4, meaning it amassed 7.8 million sales in under five months despite supply issues. By contrast, it took the PlayStation 4 over five months to achieve 7 million sales. 

Turning to Sony's last-generation console, PS4 sales reached 5.7 million units during FY20, down from 13.5 million units in FY19 -- though clearly the console was reaching the end of its lifecycle. 

As for software, combined PS4 and PS5 full-game software sales totaled 338.9 million units in FY20, with a digital download ratio of 65 percent. First-party software represented 58.4 million of those sales. 

The number of PlayStation Plus subscribers also increased to 47.6 million users as of March 31, 2021, compared with 41.5 million users at the end of the last fiscal year. 

Looking ahead, Sony explained sales are expected to rise year-on-year due to "an expected increase in hardware unit sales," but said waning third-party software sales will cause operating income to dip. 

With that in mind, the company is forecasting sales of 2.9 trillion yen ($26.6 billion) and operating income of 325 billion yen ($2.98 billion) in its Games & Network Services segment by the end of the next fiscal year on March 31, 2022.

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