Sony boosts PlayStation profits despite looming PS5 launch

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Sony’s gaming division is continuing to drive major profits for the company even as the PlayStation 4 era winds down. The company announced PlayStation-related revenue of 507 billion yen (~$4.9 billion) and an operating profit of 105 billion yen (~$1 billion) for its July-September quarter, respective improvements of 52 and 40 percent on the same period a year ago.

With the PlayStation 5 set to launch in a couple of weeks, normally you’d expect a significant negative impact on Sony’s books for the previous quarter as the company ramps up manufacturing before it starts to bring in more revenue. Sony does say that its profits were hit by an increase in costs, while revenue was reduced by a predictable decrease in PS4 sales. Higher game software sales and PlayStation Plus subscriptions, however, more than made up the shortfall.

Sony’s big PS4 release for the quarter was the open-world samurai adventure Ghost of Tsushima, which came out in July and sold 2.4 million copies in its first three days. Sony says it’s the fastest-selling new IP on the platform.

Sony has now revised its full-year gaming forecast upward slightly, expecting to make 2.6 trillion yen in revenue and 300 billion yen in profit by the end of March 31st. That’d be a 26 percent increase in both revenue and profit, which would be impressive for the first year of a console cycle.

Sony’s revenue is likely to be limited in the short term by the number of PS5 consoles it’s able to manufacture. In an interview with Reuters today, SIE chief Jim Ryan said there was “very considerable demand” for the device, which he says was preordered in the US more times in its first 12 hours than the PS4 was in its first 12 weeks. “It may well be that not everybody who wants to buy a PS5 on launch day will be able to find one.”

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