Strong PlayStation 5 Sales Offset Sony Pictures Declines in Fiscal 2020

Japanese company moved 7.8 million PS5 consoles in the past year

Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sony sold 3.3 million PlayStation 5 consoles in the final quarter of fiscal 2020, bringing its full-year tally up to 7.8 million. That helped offset what the Japanese company referred to as a “significant decrease in sales” at Sony Pictures.

Sticking with the good news at gaming, Sony now touts a PlayStation Plus subscriber count of 47.6 million, which is up nearly 15% from last year.

Sony’s operating income for the final quarter was 342.2 billion yen. For the fiscal year, it was 971.9 billion yen, an increase of 126.4 billion yen.

For the full year, games revenue soared 34% and music sales grew 11%. Sony Pictures revenue decreased 25%, but it managed to grow profits from last year, just like the other two entertainment segments.

It’s simple math, really: no movies in theaters = lower marketing costs.

“The significant decrease in sales was primarily due to decreases in sales for Motion Pictures and Television Productions,” the company wrote about its Pictures division. “The decrease in sales for Motion Pictures was due to the absence of any major theatrical releases in the current fiscal year resulting from the impact of theater closures due to COVID-19, partially offset by higher home entertainment sales of prior year and catalog titles. The decrease in sales for Television Productions was due to lower deliveries of new shows primarily due to production delays related to COVID-19.”

All told, full-year Sony sales rose 9%.

Sony says it expects to sell even more gaming hardware (PS5s) than it just did over the next 12 months. The company is also optimistic about Sony Pictures’ current (fiscal) year.

“Sales are expected to significantly increase year-on-year primarily due to the impact of an expected increase in sales for Motion Pictures resulting from the increase in theatrical releases as theaters reopen, an increase in sales for TV Productions including revenues from the licensing of ‘Seinfeld’ and an expected increase in sales for Media Networks,” the financial statements read. “Operating income is expected to increase year-on-year primarily due to the above-mentioned increase in sales, partially offset by the increase in marketing costs in support of upcoming theatrical releases.”


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