Sony has reported that 7.8 million PlayStation 5s had been shipped by 31st March 2021, in what is “PlayStation’s best year ever” following the launch of the new generation of games consoles. While they’re struggling to meet demand for the PS5, being able to sell practically every console they can produce means that the PS5 is tracking just slightly ahead of the PS4’s own launch records.
Having managed to produce and sell 4.5 million PS5s before the end of 2020, Sony has followed that up with 3.3 million consoles in the first three months of 2021, up to 31st March. The 7.8 million total is inching ahead of the 7.6 million that the PS4 was able to achieve during its own first two quarters on sale.
It’s helped to propel Sony’s Game & Network Services division to their best ever year, per Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, with a reported revenue of $25.03 billion (corrected following the embedded tweet) for the last fiscal year.
This was Sony's best year ever for its Game & Network services division.
The Game & Network Services segment reported revenue of $24.4 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.
The increase was due to strong software and services sales + PS5 launch impact. pic.twitter.com/MBmXo9p47H
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) April 28, 2021
Sony expects the new fiscal year to be just as strong, with sales continuing to grow by around 9%. However, the start of a new generation is always a transitional period. Operating Income jumped by 44% from 2019-20 to 2020-21, but it is now expected to slide despite growing revenue off the back of new console sales and increased engagement with services like PlayStation Plus.
Sony put this down to several factors: the PlayStation 5 is currently being sold at a loss, as is typical of the start of a generation, their first party game development is getting more expensive, and they anticipate lower third party game and DLC sales. 2020’s financials were also coloured by the dramatic boost in engagement that entertainment companies saw from the pandemic and people spending more time at home. There likely won’t be a similar boost for 2021, as world governments aim to loosen lockdowns and restrictions.
Still, all of this is very encouraging for the PlayStation 5. Sony are off to a flier with the new console, and we expect they already have a clear lead over the rival consoles from Microsoft. The only thing that can really hold the PS5 back, it seems, is the global chip shortage and supply constraints…
Source: Daniel Ahmad