PlayStation VR2, new IPs, live service games, PC sales and mobile plans were all mentioned in Sony’s business summary.
Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), outlined how the Game & Network Services segment (including the PlayStation brand) progresses. In the US, three different leading retailers reported nearly 1,000 PlayStation 5 units sold per minute (80,000 in 82 minutes) at the end of its first full fiscal year (i.e., end of March 2022), while the PlayStation 4 only achieved six per minute (9 days to reach 80,000 sales) at the same point in the console’s lifecycle (end of March 2015).
In China, 670,000 PlayStation 5s had been sold by the 72nd week of the console’s life due to limited stocks; the PlayStation 4 only reached 250,000 without such problems. The PlayStation 5’s stock shortage is a ‘top priority’ for the company: the console outsold the PlayStation 4 in its first year, but the tables were turned in its second year due to the stock shortage. In the third year (which runs until the end of March 2023), the aim is to catch up, and in the fourth year, the PS5 will be tasked with overtaking the PS4. The PlayStation VR2 will launch with more than 20 major first-party and third-party games, with Horizon: Call of the Mountain likely to be among them.
SIE acquisitions will continue. The acquisition of Bungie has created synergies. From Bungie towards SIE, they will offer: live services expertise to PlayStation Studios; help build Sony Interactive Entertainment live services centre of excellence; live services business operations to platform business. And SIE will provide Bungie: leverage scale of Sony Interactive Entertainment publishing and platform (marketing, global business operations); PlayStation Studios central services; general and administrative support (legal, finance, accounting, human resources).
In fiscal 2019, PlayStation Studios published 77% existing IP and 23% new IP. This ratio will change to 66/34 for the current fiscal year and 50/50 for the fiscal year 2025. SIE’s first-party portfolio in FY 2019 was 90% PlayStation 4, 10% PC. For FY 2022, the ratio will be 40% PlayStation 5 + PlayStation 4, 30% PlayStation 5, 20% PC and 10% mobile, while for FY 2025, the expectation is 50% PS5, 30% PC, and 20% mobile. In FY 2019, PlayStation 5’s investment business model was 88% traditional and 12% live service games. For 2022, the target is 51-49%, and for 2025, 45-55%, the live service model will take over by then. The target is to release three live service games in the current financial year. One game was released by March 31 (i.e., FY 2021), MLB The Show 22. They plan to release six in FY 2023, 10 in FY 2024 and 12 in FY 2025. Wonder what’s coming this year from SIE…?
Net sales of PC games in fiscal 2020 were $35 million, which increased to $80 million last year, and this year’s expectation is $300 million. SIE has also released exact official sales figures: on PC, Horizon Zero Dawn sold 2,398,000 copies, God of War reached 971,000 and Days Gone achieved 852,000. And on mobile, SIE plans to team up with “respected, established, and successful” developers to bring its best IP to more players and create an internal development/project network. It will allow the company to release third-party games and cross-platform expansion where relevant.
These are high ambitions.