Sony shows impressive quarter leading up to PS5 release

Pete Flint

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In brief: Sony released its quarterly financial statement showing an impressive quarter bolstered by strong games sales, PlayStation Plus subscriptions, and a boom in the gaming industry due to the pandemic. It also projects a strong fourth quarter with the release of the PS5, but this will be subject to production schedules and supply lines.

Sony released its quarterly financial statement this week, beating expectations despite the release of the PS5 just around the corner. It saw a profit of about $1bn between July-September, a marked 40% increase on last year's third-quarter profits. Total revenue increased by 52% as well, amounting to around $4.9bn.

The financial quarter prior to a big console release usually sees a dip in revenue as gamers collect their couch cushion coins in preparation. There was a hint of this as their operating costs have risen recently and PS4 sales dropped, but the gaming giant's books were more than balanced by recent successful releases and PlayStation Plus subscriptions. It's also possible that, as we've seen with streaming services, this is further evidence the pandemic has bolstered the gaming market.

Sucker Punch Productions also saw epic sales of the new title Ghost of Tsushima, a first-party IP for the PS4. Selling over 2.4 million copies in just 3 days, the new title surely boosted Sony's numbers.

Almost a side-note in the statement was the official purchase of the remaining 35% of shares of Sony Finacial Holdings Inc (SFH) for a whopping 400bn yen ($3.72bn). Previously, Sony was a majority shareholder of the financial subsidiary, so this acquisition indicates it's making a play at the fintech industry.

As with many of the releases we've seen this Techtober, Sony's earning potential from the PS5 will be limited by its production line as demand clearly outstrips supply. CEO Jim Ryan told Reuters in an interview that demand was "considerable," which was more than evident when pre-orders sold out in under 24 hours. With the recent delay of Cyberpunk 2077, as well as other big titles, the biggest challenge in Sony's, and its competitors', futures will not be sales but production.

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