What just happened? Sony has reminded us that the chip crisis isn't going to end anytime soon. The company revealed that it has shipped fewer PS5 consoles than the PS4 managed at the same point after release, and it has lowered the forecast for PS5 shipments throughout the fiscal year.
Sony's latest earnings report shows it shipped 3.9 million units during the holiday quarter, marking only a slight increase over the previous quarter's 3.3 million units. As of December 31, 17.3 million PlayStation 5 consoles had been shipped in total, almost three million fewer than what the PlayStation 4 had managed during the same period after it launched.
As a result, Sony's gaming division generated 813.3 billion yen ($7.09 billion) in revenue, down from 883.2 billion yen ($7.703 billion) compared to the same quarter the previous year. But because Sony sells the PS5 at a loss, operating profit rose 12.1% to 92.9 billion yen ($810 million).
Sony has now revised its forecast for PS5 shipments during the fiscal year due to the chip shortage, from 14.8 million units to 11.5 million. That means its full-year 2021 gaming revenue forecast has been lowered by 170 million yen ($1.48 billion) to 2.73 trillion yen ($23.8 billion), while the operating profit forecast has been increased 6% to 345 billion yen ($3 billion).
Sony's image sensor division did have a good quarter: sales were up 22% year-on-year to 57.8 billion ($504 million) while operating profit jumped 26% to 13.3 billion yen ($116 million). The movie division fared even better, climbing 141% YoY to 461.2 billion yen ($4.02 billion), much of it due to the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
According to recent reports, Sony is ramping up production of its last-gen PlayStation 4 this year to offer at least one of its consoles to those who can't get a PS5.
Microsoft's recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard had the knock-on effect of wiping $20 billion off Sony's value when its shares fell 13%, likely prompted by fears of game exclusivity deals. Sony later responded by purchasing Bungie for $3.6 billion.