Sony’s latest financial reports have made for disappointing reading, with PlayStation 5 console sales through the last quarter flat year-over-year, game sales down, and PlayStation Plus subscriptions dropping off despite the big PS Plus relaunch this summer. The save graces here are that the PS5 has now passed the 25 million console sales mark, that the weak Yen against the US Dollar has led to increased revenue despite a flattening and drop in various figures, and we are still heading into the holiday season which will likely step up over previous years.
PlayStation 5 sales through the 2022-23 financial year so far have basically just tracked those of 2021-22. From April-June Sony sold 2.4 million consoles, fractionally up on the 2.3 million from the previous year, but then from July-September, it was a dead heat at 3.3 million. That still means that PS5 sales have now hit a cumulative 25 million sales. Sony had previously pledged to ramp up console manufacture to meet demand, but with their sales target of 18 million PS5 consoles sold through this year, they will need a truly massive holiday selling season that doubles their sales from last Christmas. That might be trickier after the recent PS5 price hike.
Perhaps more disappointing is the drop off in game sales compared to last year. In general game sales on PlayStation are down from 76.5 million to 62.5 million year on year, and since Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7 helped to boost first party game sales in the final quarter of last year, there’s been a dearth of big first party games. While not as dramatic as the first quarter, first party sales have slid from 7.6 million to 6.7 million year-on-year. Expect God of War: Ragnarok to help arrest that slide for the end of this calendar year, though.
It also seems as though the major PlayStation Plus relaunch in the summer has had little impact on the total number of users subscribing to the service. In fact, they slid from a high of 48 million at the end of 2021 to 45.4 million subscribers 9 months later. This is the lowest it’s been since before the pandemic hit in early 2020, and a sign that gamers are tightening their belts with more than just video streaming services as the cost of living increases through inflation.
We never had regular subscriber counts for PlayStation Now before it was folded into PS Plus, though it was around 3 million in early 2021. Assuming many of those were folded over to higher tiers of PS Plus, this could still amount to increased revenue from a smaller overall user base. There has been a jump from 100bn Yen to 117bn Yen in the Network Services category, year on year, but when factoring the significant slide in the exchange rates from Yen to USD over the last year, that’s actually a decrease from around $878 million to $795 million.
This helps to put some of Microsoft’s own struggles into perspective, Sony’s console gaming rival having admitted that subscribers to Xbox Game Pass on console have largely levelled off at around 15% of the total player base.