It’s been a great year for Sony, notably for its Game and Network Services division. A freshly released earnings report for the fiscal year 2019-2020 ending March 31, 2020, points towards one of the Japanese giant’s best years on record.
Although Sony noted a year-on-year slump due to the natural decline of the PlayStation 4 as it approaches the end of its life cycle, the flagship PlayStation 4 has pulled some impressive numbers.
Chief among these is that the Sony sold through 13.6 million units last year alone bringing the lifetime total to a staggering 110.4 million. The figure positions the PlayStation 4 as Sony’s second best-selling console as well as the fourth best-selling of all time regardless of platform holder.
And, it’s not just the console itself that’s selling. Game software sales for the fiscal year hit 245 million units – a slight decrease compared to the previous year’s 257.6 million.
But among those odd 250 million units, 51% were digital sales, marking the first time digital downloads have surpassed their physical counterparts.
In Q4 alone, which ran from January to March this year, digital accounted for 66% of total sales, presumably aided by consumers flocking to Sony’s PlayStation Store digital storefront in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic and sweeping lockdown measures.
Sony also recorded the best quarter on record for digital sales in Q3 with 39.7 million digital sales. Subscriptions to Sony’s PlayStation Plus grew as well, topping 41.5 million by year-end, up from 36.4 million for the same period last year.
Gaming revenue did drop by 14.4% percent year-on-year from ¥2310.9 billion to ¥1977.6 billion, but this tracks with the end of the generational cycle. These results grant Sony’s Game and Network Services division the second-best year on record, trailing only a standout 2018.
Regarding the launch of PlayStation, although factors such as employees working from home and restrictions on international travel have presented some challenges in regards to part of the testing process and the qualification of production lines, development is progressing with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season. At this point in time major problems have not arisen in the game software development pipeline for Sony’s own first-party studios or its partners’ studios.
It appears that, as it stands, Sony is optimistic about a holiday 2020 launch, but unforeseen complications linked to the volatility of the global crisis are likely to affect plans.
All things considered, the earnings report suggests Sony is well-positioned ahead of the next-gen PlayStation 5 launch.