PlayStation 5 is doing better than even Sony expected

It raised its annual forecast on the strength of its game and music divisions.

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Sony has published its earnings report for the first quarter of the year (PDF) ending on June 30th and an adjusted forecast for the fiscal year, and they paint a picture of mixed results for the company. Its overall operating profit for the period was down 31 percent year-over-year, from 364.9 billion yen ($2.54 billion) to 253 billion ($1.76 billion). The company's revenue was up 33 percent, however, thanks to significant increase in sales by its game and network services, music, imaging and financial services businesses.

Sony believes its game and music segments will continue to do well and has raised (PDF) its sales and revenue forecast for the fiscal year ending on March 31st, 2024 by 6.1 percent due to higher-than-expected sales for those businesses. It also expects its net income to be 2.4 percent higher than its previous forecast, from 840 billion yen ($5.86 billion) to 860 billion ($6 billion).

For its game division, in particular, Sony has tweaked its forecast, because it's anticipating an increase in sales for non-first-party PlayStation titles, including add-on content. Several much-awaited games are coming out for PlayStation gamers this year, such as Spider-Man 2, Assassin's Creed Mirage, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Expansion, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and EA Sports FC.

This expected increase in sales for non-first-party titles will be aided by a decrease in costs and expenses. That said, they will also offset by a "deterioration in profitability of PlayStation 5 hardware." Sony has dropped the PS5's pricing in several regions around the world recently. While that translates to lower overall earnings from the console, it could also get people on the fence to finally purchase the PS5, which in turn could lead to more game purchases.

To note, Sony has shipped 3.3 million PS5 units in the first quarter of the year. That's almost half of the previous quarter's sales of 6.3 million units, though that figure was for the holiday season, when businesses typically do better than usual. This is Sony's best-performing first quarter for PS5 sales so far, bringing the total number of units sold to 41.7 million.

Despite adjusting its outlook with better numbers for the year overall, Sony has lowered its expectations for the sales of mobile sensors due to the continuing downward trend in smartphone sales. Sony Pictures' earnings was also down year-on-year despite the success of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The company doesn't foresee a recovery for the business, as well, and believes it will perform worse than what was predicted last April due to the impact of strikes by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild.

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