Sony Sold Fewer PS4s This Quarter, But Digital Sales And PS Plus Subs Are Way Up


Sony’s latest financial report, covering the first quarter of the 2020 financial year, is now live, and there are some interesting takeaways about how the PS4 is going. Sales for the system were down, but with good reason, and a majority of software sales were digital.

Sony is reporting that PS Plus subscription numbers have risen to 45 million, while the increase in PS Now users is also “significant”. 45 million is a big increase from the 41.5 million figure reported in May, which suggests that a lot of players stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic are playing online.

The pandemic also likely accounts for the huge increase in digital game sales. 74% of PS4 game sales for the quarter were digital, with The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima cited as big sellers. The latter broke the record for a new IP on the system, while the former is the fastest-selling game ever for PlayStation.

Sales for the PS4 console were slower. 1.9 million systems were sold, down from 3.2 million the previous year. However, there were also production issues might have impacted sales. “Although production of PlayStation 4 hardware was slightly impacted due to issues in the component supply chain, these issues have now been addressed,” the report reads. As of right now, a PS4 can be built in 30 seconds–but stores have also been closed.

PS4 sales previously stood at 110.4 million, meaning that the PS4 has now sold 112.3 million units. Looking at the all-time console sales charts, the system stands a good chance of overtaking the Game Boy/Game Boy Color (118.69 million) to become the third-best selling console of all time.

The report also briefly touches on the PS5, but does not say much beyond again suggesting that the system will not miss a 2020 launch. “Regarding the launch of PlayStation 5, 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,” the report reads. “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.”

Overall, Sony is expecting sales of games and network services to “increase significantly year-on-year” with the launch of the PS5. However, this does not mean huge profits, necessarily. “Operating income is expected to be essentially flat year-on-year primarily due to the above-mentioned expected significant increase in game software sales and PS Plus sales, substantially offset by an expected increase in selling, general and administrative expenses related to the introduction of PS5 and an expected increase in the cost of sales ratio for hardware,” the report says.

Sony has scheduled a State of Play event for later this week, although there will not be any significant PS5 news given during it.

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