What just happened? Even with all the supply problems, the PlayStation 5 sold 4.5 million units in 2020, matching the PS4’s launch figures from 2013. That’s an excellent result for a console that only arrived on November 12, helping the company's gaming business to its best-ever fiscal quarter.
In Sony’s financial results for the third quarter of its fiscal year, which covers October to December, its gaming business was up 40 percent YoY to 883.2 billion yen ($8.4 billion), while operating profit jumped 50 percent to 80.2 billion yen ($763.3 million)—records for the segment.
More game sales and PlayStation Plus subscriptions helped make up that healthy profit. Interestingly, Sony says it loses money on every PlayStation 5 sold because it set price points for PS5 hardware lower than the manufacturing costs.
The number of people subscribing to PlayStation Plus increased to 47.4 million, a leap of 1.5 million over last quarter and 9.1 million YoY. Sony revealed that over 87 percent of PS5 owners are Plus members. Meanwhile, combined game sales for the PS4 and PS5 hit 103.7 million—20 million more than the previous year. Digital titles accounted for 53 percent of these sales.
Looking at the PlayStation 4, the last-gen console’s shipments continued declining, dropping to 1.4 million during the quarter, down from 6 million a year earlier.
The news wasn’t good for Sony’s camera and mobile segments, which both saw sales fall compared to the previous year. The company sold just one million smartphones during the quarter, a 23 percent YoY decline.