PS4 software sales spike during the pandemic

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The PlayStation 4 era may be winding down, but people are playing their consoles more than ever at home. Sony just announced as part of its first-quarter earnings that despite a 22 percent decrease in sales of hardware and packaged games, digital software sales are up 83 percent year-on-year, bringing in revenue of 395 trillion yen ($3.72 billion).

At 599 trillion yen ($5.65 billion), total PlayStation revenue was 36 percent higher than the same period last year and was the highest for any April-June quarter in PlayStation history. More than 112 million PS4 consoles have now been shipped worldwide, and Sony has nearly 45 million PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Sony cites sales of The Last of Us Part II and also calls out Ghost of Tsushima as a strong performer, though the latter game wasn’t released last quarter so isn’t a contributor to these figures. The company says that it has addressed slight COVID-19-related hitches in its PS4 supply chain and is still preparing to launch the PlayStation 5 this holiday season. Sony also says “no major problems have arisen” with first-party or third-party game development.

This financial year, Sony expects a further 31-percent increase in gaming-related revenue due to the PS5’s launch, though operating profit should only see a slight bump. That’s because Sony’s expenses are going to increase significantly with the introduction of the new console; the company says the cost of sales ratio will be higher with PS5, which is normal when selling expensive new hardware at initially lower margins.

Sony has reportedly upped its production goals for PS5 by 50 percent, aiming to manufacture as many as 10 million consoles through the end of the year. The biggest first-party PS5 title this holiday season is likely to be Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the sequel to Insomniac’s excellent web-slinging action game from 2018.

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