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What just happened? Sony is the latest company to feel the post-lockdown effect. The Japanese giant has revised its annual profit forecast on the back of weaker software sales, which have fallen 26% year-over-year due to a dearth of big PlayStation releases in 2022.
In its latest earnings report, Sony lowered its profit forecast for the year by 16 percent from the 305 billion yen ($2.3 billion) it predicted in May to 255 billion yen ($1.9 billion). Part of that comes from the $3.7 billion acquisition of Bungie, but it's also the result of "an expected decrease in sales of first-party titles." The Verge notes that while excellent PlayStation exclusives Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7 did arrive in 2022, they had to compete against the multi-platform Elden Ring.
Sony sold 47.1 million games for the quarter ending June 30, 2022, 6.4 million of which were first-part titles. That's a significant drop from the 63.6 million games and 10.5 million first-party titles it shifted during the same quarter a year earlier.
It was also bad news for the PlayStation Network, which fell to 103 million active monthly users, down 3% YoY from 105 million. PSN subscribers were at 47.3 million. That's a year-on-year increase from 46.3 million but down from the 48 million reported in fiscal Q3 2021.
PlayStation 5 console sales, meanwhile, were up by only 4% YoY in the quarter to 2.4 million units, bringing total lifetime sales to 21.7 million. That puts the console's lifetime sales around the same level as the Nintendo GameCube.
The report also shows that digital versions of games keep taking more sales from their physical alternatives. The quarter saw 79% of PlayStation games sold digitally, up 11% YoY, helped by the digital-only PS5. The industry has been moving in this direction for years, affecting retailers like GameStop.
Sony's game sales for the rest of the year should pick up the pace. In addition to the launch of God of War Ragnarök and The Last of Us Part 1 remake, we can expect the usual uptick over the holiday season. But Sony will be hoping it can meet the still-strong demand for PS5 consoles. "Supply has not been sufficient [...] demand has not gone down. We really need to meet the demand, that is the important thing to do," said Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki in an investor call.