Not every business has been negatively impacted by the worldwide pandemic. Per GamesIndustry.biz, Sony’s PlayStation division is up in every category over last year’s quarter except one. That exception is console sales. They only moved 1.9 million PS4s in Q1 versus last year’s 3.2 million for the same period. With a PS5 on the horizon, that makes sense.
With everyone spending time at home, game sales are unsurprisingly good as well. The big winner was The Last of Us Part 2 with four million units sold by June 21st, but no other updated sales info after that. The total software sales were almost double last year’s Q1 with 91 million units versus 49.8 million. First-party games sold 18.5 million units versus 11.7 million units. The results also show that 73% of those sales were digital and only 53% were digital last year. When you’re locked down, that’s a reality, and (wild prediction here) the lockdown may do more to push us to a digital future than publishers could hope to do in several years.
PlayStation’s network had some extra strain during this time as 8.7 million PS Plus users raised the total subscriber count to 44.9 million. There were a total of 113 million monthly active PlayStation Network users during the reporting period. This is the first time Sony has revealed this number, but they intend to add it to the reports in the future. All of these new users and increases have lined Sony’s pockets. It reported ¥124 trillion ($1.2 billion) in operating profit. This is a 68% increase from the same quarter last year.
As I mentioned, the results are driven in part by the pandemic, and many wonder if the PS5’s launch will be delayed. Sony addressed this directly and reassured investors (and cool people like us) that we’ll still see a PS5 this holiday season (even if we can’t actually find one) by saying:
“Although factors such as constraints due to employees working from home and restrictions on international travel remain, necessary measures are being taken and preparations are underway with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season.
At this time, no major problems have arisen in the game software development pipeline for Sony’s own first-party studios or its partners’ studios.”
With strong numbers like these and good sales from first-party hits, PlayStation appears poised to be able to release the PS5 and give gamers more of what they want for another generation.
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Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.