Sony’s PS5 Enters ‘Latter Stage of Its Life Cycle’

After missing its sales target in the last quarter, Sony says it plans to emphasize the PlayStation 5’s profitability over unit sales as the console approaches its fourth birthday. “Looking ahead, PS5 will enter the latter stage of its life cycle,” said Sony senior vice president Naomi Matsuoka. “As such, we will put more emphasis on the balance between profitability and sales. For this reason, we expect the annual sales pace of PS5 hardware will start falling from the next fiscal year.” Sony also said it has no plans to release “any new major existing franchise titles” in its next fiscal year. The Verge reports: Sony now expects to sell 4 million fewer PS5 consoles in its 2023 fiscal year ending March 31st compared to previous projections, Bloomberg reports. The revision came as part of today’s third-quarter earnings release which saw Sony lower the PS5 sales forecast from the 25 million consoles it expected to sell down to 21 million.

While PS5 sales were up in Sony’s third quarter, increasing to 8.2 million units from 6.3 million in the same quarter the previous year, Bloomberg notes that this was roughly a million units lower than it had previously projected. That’s despite the release of the big first-party title Spider-Man 2, strong sales of third-party titles, and the launch of a new slimmer PS5 in November.

In its third quarter, Sony’s gaming revenue was up 16 percent versus the same period the previous year, sitting at 1.4 trillion yen (around $9.3 billion), but operating income was down 26 percent to 86.1 billion yen (around $572 million) due to promotions in the third quarter ending on December 31st.

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Sony Halves Reported Sales Expectations For Coming PSVR2 Headset

Sony is drastically scaling back its sales expectations for next month’s launch of the PlayStation VR2 headset, according to a Bloomberg report citing “people familiar with [Sony’s] deliberations.” Ars Technica reports: The PlayStation 5 maker now expects to sell just 1 million PSVR2 units by the end of March, down from sales expectations of 2 million units in that period, as reported last October. Sony expects to sell about 1.5 million more headsets in the following fiscal year, which ends in March 2024, according to the report. The scaled-back sales expectations would put the PSVR2 slightly ahead of the pace set by the original PSVR headset, which sold just under a million units in its first four months and 2 million units in just over a year. But that kind of sales pace looks less impressive today, when a headset like the Meta Quest 2 can sell a reported 2.8 million units in its first quarter, on its way to total sales of over 15 million, according to market analysis firm IDC.

The Quest 2 has a few key advantages in the competition with Sony’s upcoming headset, including an asking price that’s $150 less, even after a recent price hike. The self-contained Quest 2 also doesn’t need to be tethered to any external hardware, contrasting with the PSVR2’s reliance on a hookup to a $499 PlayStation 5. Despite the Quest 2’s success at its relatively low price, though, the VR industry at large seems to be moving toward the higher end of the pricing spectrum these days. Meta’s Quest Pro launched last October at a bafflingly high $1,499, though a one-week sale has slashed that price by $400 for the moment. And next month’s standalone Vive XR Elite will cost $1,099.

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PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan ‘Flew To Brussels’ To Voice Concerns To EU Over Xbox’s Activision Deal

PlayStation boss Jim Ryan reportedly flew to Brussels last month to meet with European Union regulators currently scrutinizing Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The visit was first reported by Dealreporter sources (paywalled). Video Game Chronicle reports: As has been widely publicized in recent weeks, PlayStation’s concerns over the deal are around the future release arrangements for the Call of Duty series — which is regularly PlayStation’s annual best-seller — and whether it will be pulled from their platforms. Google is also said to have voiced its concerns to EU regulators, according to the same sources.

Last month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft had committed to making Call of Duty available on PlayStation for “several more years” after Sony’s current marketing deal with Activision expires. However, SIE CEO Ryan, who is reportedly seeking access to future Call of Duty games on equal terms and in perpetuity, responded publicly by calling Microsoft’s proposal for keeping the series on PlayStation consoles “inadequate on many levels.” “By giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry,” Sony claimed. “We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers.”

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Ex-Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei Who Led Firm’s Digital Push, Dies At 84

Sony said Tuesday that Nobuyuki Idei, its former chairman and CEO who led the Japanese giant’s push into the digital network business, has died of liver failure. He was 84. Kyodo News reports: In addition to enhancing Sony’s presence in the digital and communications fields, he also focused on the entertainment business, such as movies, music and game consoles, laying the foundation for its current operations. Idei joined Sony in 1960, becoming president in 1995 and CEO in 1998. He served as both chairman and chief executive from 2000 to 2005. He stepped down as chairman and CEO amid lackluster sales in its appliance business, making headlines for naming Howard Stringer as his successor at a time when it was still rare for a Japanese company to be led by a non-Japanese CEO. Idei also contributed to the advancement of the internet environment in Japan, having been appointed to head the government’s IT strategy council in 2000. […]

Under Idei’s tenure as CEO, the conglomerate launched its Vaio-brand personal computers and domestic internet service provider So-net. It also ventured into online-based banking services and the nonlife insurance business. But after its earlier success with sales of bulky CRT televisions, Sony was slow to transition to flat screens and was outpaced amid intense competition with South Korean and other overseas rival manufacturers. Company stocks plunged in 2003 in what was referred to as the “Sony shock,” and sluggish growth for much of the following decade led Sony to focus on corporate restructuring initiatives.

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