Sony's Stellar Quarterly Results Driven by Gaming

Courtesy of Insomniac Games
'Spider-Man' for PS4

Led by the PlayStation 4, the game business posted bigger profits than the pictures, music and home electronics divisions combined.

When Sony Corp. posted record quarterly profits of $2.1 billion and again raised its full-year forecast on Tuesday, it was in no small part thanks to the continued runaway success of its PlayStation 4 (PS4) business.

Despite the fact that the PS4 is nearly five years old and should be nearing the end of its life cycle — let alone that console gaming was predicted by some to be endangered by the rise of smartphones — gaming accounted for nearly 40 percent of Sony's profits.

The PS4 has now sold more than 85 million units and has more than 34 million subscribers to its online PS Plus service. In-house titles Spider-Man and God of War, which make more money for the company than third-party games, set sales records and helped push software sales passed the 75 million mark in the July to September quarter, when it also sold another 3.9 million consoles.

The gaming division logged more than $800 million in profits in the second quarter, up 65 percent and more than the pictures, music and home electronics divisions combined contributed to Sony Corp.'s bottom line. Two-thirds of that came from network services: online game sales and subscription fees.

The traditionally strong year-end quarter is shaping up to be another good one for the PS4 and Sony, with Rock Star Games' Red Dead Redemption II logging $725 million in sales in its first three days of release — the kind of numbers movie studios can only dream of. Although that is shared between the PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, the majority will be on Sony's better-selling console.

Sony upped the forecast for its full-year profits in the game division to ¥310 billion, $2.74 billion at current exchange rates, contributing to it raising its overall profit prediction for the year to March 2019 to ¥870 billion or $7.6 billion.

Investors reacted to the figures by sending Sony stock up 4.75 percent in Tokyo on Wednesday to ¥6,140 ($54.23). That puts Sony up around 40 percent on this time last year.