Sony is banking on a big year for the PlayStation 4 — the company is anticipating PS4 sales of 20 million units worldwide in its current fiscal year, according to the corporate forecast that Sony released today.
Sony's 2016 fiscal year runs from April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2017. The company said today that it sold 17.7 million PS4 consoles in its 2015 fiscal year, so the forecast represents a 13 percent year-over-year increase. Last year's figure came in 19.6 percent above the 14.8 million PS4 systems that Sony sold during its 2014 fiscal year, the first full year of the console's life cycle.
Earlier this year, Sony announced that global PS4 sales had reached 35.9 million units by the beginning of January. That means that if Sony hits its target, the company will likely be approaching 60 million consoles sold by April 2017.
The gaming branch of Sony — which is reported in financial documents as "Game & Network Services" and is publicly known as Sony Interactive Entertainment — was profitable in its 2015 fiscal year, tallying 1.55 trillion yen ($14.1 billion) in sales with an operating income of 88.7 billion yen. The sales figure represented an 11.8 percent increase over the previous year, while operating income grew by 84.4 percent.
Sony is expecting another jump over the next year. The company is forecasting sales of 1.68 trillion yen for its Game & Network Services division during the 2016 fiscal year, which would be 8.3 percent above the 2015 result, and operating income of 135 billion yen, which would represent a 52.2 percent jump. Sony expects the revenue and operating income boosts to be powered by increased sales of PS4 hardware and software, while anticipating that declining sales of PlayStation 3 games will affect operating income. The company doesn't specifically mention the PlayStation VR headset, which is scheduled to launch this October for $399.
Of course, there's nothing in Sony's document that mentions the rumored "PlayStation 4 Neo," and it's unclear if the company's forecasts account for that console. We'll have to see how Sony's E3 2016 press briefing shakes out.