Sony Reports PlayStation Stumbles in Earnings

Posted on November 1, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in PlayStation with 2 Comments

As part of its latest quarterly earnings release, Sony reported that PlayStation monthly average users (MAUs) and PlayStation Plus subscribers were both down.

The firm earned a net income of $1.79 billion on revenues of $18.7 billion (up 13.9 percent) for the quarter ending September 30. And its Game & Network Services division remained its largest business unit, earning an operating income of $290 million on revenues of $4.9 billion (up 10.4 percent).

That said, PlayStation stumbled badly in a quarter in which Sony relaunched PlayStation Plus to better compete with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscriptions.

The best news for the platform, perhaps, was that Sony sold 3.3 million PlayStation 5 consoles in the quarter: that’s flat with the year-ago quarter, but because Sony raised prices, the console family earned more revenues. Sony still says it plans to sell 18 million PS5s by the end of its fiscal year in March 2023, but it’s unlikely it will meet that target: the firm has sold just 5.7 million units in the first half of that fiscal year.

From there, the news just gets worse. PlayStation Network reported 102 million MAUs in the quarter, a drop from the 104 million it reported a year ago, and the lowest number since Sony began reporting this figure.

PS Plus also suffered a usage downturn, with 45.4 million subscribers, down from 47.3 in the year-ago quarter. But Network services revenues, which include PS Plus, actually rose 10 percent in the quarter regardless, most likely because PS Plus subscription tiers are now more expensive than before too.

During a post-earnings conference call, Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki said that the declines were due to “more people going outdoors,” which is a roundabout way of saying that the pandemic-era video gaming boom is cooling, as it must. But he said that he expects usage and subscriber numbers to rise again in the current quarter, thanks in part to the recent release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

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