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PS4 sales boost Sony's finances; PS Vita and TV drag it down

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Sales in Sony's Game & Network Services division (which the PlayStation business calls home) increased 16.8 percent year-over-year to $4.39 billion, thanks to "an increase in PS4 hardware unit sales, the favorable impact of foreign exchange rates and a significant increase in network services revenue," according to the company's consolidated financial results for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014 (PDF link).

That multi-billion dollar third-quarter figure was partially offset by a decrease in PlayStation 3 hardware and software sales, a pattern that also appeared in Q3 2013.

The G&NS division's operating income increased to $228 million but was offset by a $93 million write-down of components for PS Vita and PlayStation TV. "This write-down was recorded because the latest forecast of PS TV unit sales does not reach our original forecast as a result of lower than expected unit sales in the current quarter," the document explains.

Sony reiterated its bullish Feb. 4, 2015 financial forecast for G&NS, which was revised upward from a previous forecast.

"Sales are expected to be higher than the October forecast primarily due to an expected increase in unit sales of the PS4, an expected increase in network services revenue and the favorable impact of foreign exchange rates," the document reads. "Operating income is expected to be above the October forecast primarily due to the above-mentioned increase in sales, partially offset by the unfavorable impact of the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, reflecting the high ratio of U.S. dollar-denominated costs in the segment."

In the chart at bottom, Sony expects to sell a combined total of 17.5 million consoles, between PS3 and PS4, and a combined total of 3.5 million "portable" hardware units between PS TV, Vita, and PSP. The chart comes from the slides accompanying the financial results (PDF link).

Results for the same quarter reported last February recorded an operating revenue of $4.35 billion. That quarter also included a $59 million write-off of certain PC titles sold by Sony Online Entertainment."

In February 2015, Sony sold SOE, the developer of DC Universe Online, H1Z1, EverQuest and PlanetSide, to the investment firm Columbus Nova. The former Sony Online Entertainment is now known as Daybreak Game Company.

sony q4 2014 chart