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Sony's PlayStation 4 is already profitable and on course to beat the PS2's success

Matt Brian, @m4tt
May 23, 2014
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If Sony is to reverse its heavy losses, big-selling products like the PlayStation 4 need to turn a profit. The good news is that the company's newest console is already fulfilling that requirement, having already recouped Sony's investment in the hardware, and it now looks set to beat profits achieved by the internationally legendary PS2. Speaking at a corporate strategy meeting, Sony president Kaz Hirai said the PS4 was "already contributing profit on a hardware unit basis, establishing a very different business framework from that of previous platform businesses." There's no doubt over which console Hirai is referring to here: the PS3 took three years to shed its loss-leading status, after cancelling out gains made from Sony's "biggest gaming success," the PlayStation 2.

The Sony president's comments don't come as much of a surprise. In fact, they back up the company's recent full-year earnings report that showed gaming-related sales had shot up 53 percent on the back of the PS4. The bottom line was also helped by Sony's gaming services, with "approximately half" of the 7 million PlayStation 4 owners worldwide having subscribed to PlayStation Plus. While none of this is likely to fix the company's deeper financial issues any time soon -- it still forecasts an overall loss in 2014 -- Hirai believes the upcoming launches of PlayStation Now (now in beta) and Sony's new cloud-based TV-streaming service (coming later this year) "have the potential to combine and develop into a platform capable of generating even greater profit." A few more solid exclusive PS4 titles probably also wouldn't hurt.

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