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PlayStation generates $9.6 billion in holiday quarter, but expects hardware decline in 2024

Sony has released its latest financial results, showing an increase in sales for both the whole company and its PlayStation division.

But the company has lowered its sales forecasts for PlayStation, in part due to an expected hardware decline with the company adding that it is not planning to release any games from its biggest franchises in the next fiscal year.

Here’s what you need to know:

The numbers

For the nine months ended December 31, 2023

Sales: ¥9.54 trillion ($63.3 billion, up 20% year-on-year)
Operating income: ¥979.4 billion ($6.5 billion, down 15%)

Game & Network Services

Sales: ¥3.2 trillion ($21.2 billion, up 23%)
Operating income: ¥184.2 billion ($1.2 billion, down 12%)

The highlights

Sony shipped 8.2 million PlayStation 5 units in the three months ending December 31, 2023 – Q3 for the company, the all-important holiday quarter – which was an improvement on the 7.1 million units from the same quarter in the previous year.

In total, 16.4 million units have been shipped since the company’s fiscal year began in April. Add in calendar Q1 units and 22.7 million PS5s were shipped in 2023.

Monthly active users for PlayStation Network were at 123 million by the end of the quarter, up from 112 million.

In Sony’s Q3, 89.7 million full games were sold, of which 16.2 million were first-party titles. The total is higher than the 86.5 million games sold in the same quarter last year, but first-party sales are down from 20.8 million.

Q3 also saw PlayStation’s only major first-party release of 2023 in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, which shipped 10 million units after 107 days on the market. By comparison, the original game shipped 13.2 million after nearly a full year on the market, while Miles Morales shipped 6.5 million after 249 days.

However, it looks like PlayStation fans will be waiting a while for the next blockbuster from Sony’s internal studios. According to VGC, Sony president, COO and CFO Hiroki Totoki told investors during an earnings call that there will be no new entries from established IP until April 2025 at the earliest.

“Regarding first-party software, we aim to continue to focus on producing high-quality productions and producing live service games,” he said. “But while major projects are currently under development, we do not plan to release any new major existing franchise titles next fiscal year like God of War: Ragnarok and Marvel Spider-Man 2.”

This, combined with the PS5 “entering the latter half of the console cycle,” has led Sony to forecast a decline in hardware sales during the next fiscal year.

The platform holder has also lowered forecasts for the current financial year, now expecting Game & Network Services sales of ¥4.15 trillion ($27.5 billion), which is 6% down from the previous guidance of ¥4.4 trillion ($29.2 billion) but still a 14% improvement of the ¥3.64 trillion ($24.2 billion) achieved in the last fiscal year.

Forecasts for the segment’s operating income remain unchanged at ¥270 billion ($1.8 billion, up 8% year-on-year).

Overall, Sony still enjoyed a solid holiday quarter, with G&NS sales up 16% year-on-year to ¥1.44 trillion ($9.6 billion).

Digital game and add-on content sales rose 23% to ¥632 billion ($4.2 billion), while network services revenues were up 12% to ¥137.2 billion ($910.7 billion) and hardware sales increased 13.5% to ¥659.7 billion ($4.4 billion).

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