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Hardware grants Sony marginal sales boost as software sales and PS Plus subscribers dip

Hardware and peripherals drove a modest net sales increase within Sony's Game & Network Services segment during the first quarter of the fiscal year.

Hardware and peripherals drove a modest net sales increase within Sony's Game & Network Services (G&NS) segment during the first quarter of the fiscal year, although operating income suffered due to tumbling software sales. 

According to Sony's fiscal report for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, net sales in the G&NS division increased by 2 percent year-on-year to 615.8 billion yen ($5.63 billion). Operating income saw a "significant decrease," however, falling to 83.3 billion yen in Q1 FY21 from 123.9 billion yen ($1.13 billion) in Q1 FY20. 

Sony attributed that downward shift to a decrease in sales of third-party titles including add-on content, and losses resulting from the "strategic price point" of PlayStation 5 hardware. As has been the case for some time, PlayStation 4 hardware sales also declined. 

Those dwindling third-party sales also negatively affected the segment's overall sales performance, but were ultimately offset by an increase in sales of hardware and peripheral devices, with the PlayStation 5 shifting 2.3 million units during the quarter to achieve lifetime sales of 10.1 million units. The console notably reached that milestone in less time than it took the PlayStation 4.

As the table below shows, full-game software sales fell to 63.6 million units during Q1 FY21 from 91.4 million units during Q1 FY20, with first-party sales also decreasing by some margin. Digital sales were slightly down as well, representing 71 percent of those Q1 software sales compared with 74 percent this time last year. 

Elsewhere, PlayStation Plus subscribers dipped to 46.3 million in Q1 FY21 from 47.6 million in Q4 FY20, and the number of monthly active PlayStation Network users also dropped off, falling to 104 million MAU from 109 million MAU over that same period.

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