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PS4 software sales up at Sony as hardware decline continues

Sony has released its financials for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, and once again software is driving sales at the Japanese company.

Sony has released its financials for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, and once again software is driving sales within the company's games business.

Full-year sales in the games and network services segment rose by 19 percent year-on-year to 2.31 trillion yen ($20.7 billion), while operating income increased to 311 billion yen ($2.8 billion) from 177.5 billion yen ($1.6 billion) over the same period. 

Sony has attributed that upswing to an increase in game software sales, with PS4 full game software sales rising to 257.6 million units during 2018 from 246.9 million units in 2017. 

The company also benefited from a rise in premium PlayStation Plus subscribers, and revealed the number of paying members jumped to 36.4 million in 2018 from 34.2 million in 2017. 

It's a different story on the hardware front, with year-over-year PlayStation 4 console sales falling to 17.8 million units from 19 million units. Naturally, Sony has been expecting sales of the aging console to decline, and as we found out earlier this month is already hard at work developing the (unofficially named) PlayStation 5

Moving forward, Sony expects PS4 hardware sales to drop off once again, and is forecasting sales of 16 million units by the end of the next fiscal year. 

Although the company believes software sales will continue to deliver, it anticipates rising development expenses for its next-gen console combined with a drop off in revenue from first-party titles to cause sales and operating income to dip next year.

With that in mind, Sony expects sales and operating income in its game division to fall to 2.3 trillion yen ($20.6 billion) and 280 billion yen ($2.5 billion) when the financial year winds down on March 31, 2020. 

Oh, and for those interested in how the company is doing as a whole, consolidated sales rose by 1 percent to 8.66 trillion yen ($77.5 billion) while profits increased by 87 percent to 916 billion yen ($8.2 billion).

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