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PS5 sales hit 21.7 million units, but PlayStation owners are spending less time playing games

Sony said players are delivering "a much lower level of engagement" than it previously anticipated.

PlayStation owners are spending less of their time playing games, according to Sony.

Outlining the situation in its fiscal report for the first quarter ended June 30, 2022, the company explained the total gameplay time for PlayStation users declined by 15 percent year-on-year.

Although there were some minor ebbs and flows throughout the quarter, the console maker conceded that players are delivering "a much lower level of engagement" than it anticipated in its previous forecast.

The Japanese company claims a bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic is the "primary reason" for its engagement woes, claiming "the overall game market has recently decelerated as opportunities have increased for users to go outside due to a reduction in COVID-19 infections in key markets."

"Taking this situation into account, we intend to take action to increase user engagement in the second half of the fiscal year, during which major titles including first party software are scheduled to be released, primarily by increasing the supply of PlayStation 5 hardware and promoting the new PlayStation Plus service," it added.

Engagement wasn't the only metric to take a hit during Q1. Looking specifically at the company's Game & Network Services (G&NS) segment, sales decreased by 2 percent year-on-year to 604.1 billion yen ($4.5 billion) due to declining first and third-party software sales, including add-on content.

Operating income also fell to 52.8 billion yen ($395.9 million) -- representing a decrease of 30.5 billion yen year-on-year -- as a result of that software sales dip and rising development costs.

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Looking more closely at hardware and software sales, Sony revealed the PlayStation 5 sold 2.4 million units during Q1 -- slightly more than the 2.3 million units it sold in Q1 last year -- meaning the console has now sold 21.7 million units to-date.

Full game software sales fell to 47.1 million units in Q1 FY22 from 63.6 million units in Q1 FY21, however, with first-party software sales also dropping to 6.4 million units from 10.5 million units over that same period.

Although PlayStation Plus subscribers remained relatively flat at 47.3 million users, the service's number of Monthly Active Users (MAU) fell to 102 million in Q1 FY22 from 105 million in Q1 FY21.

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Looking ahead, Sony has reiterated its existing hardware forecast and still expects PlayStation 5 sales to hit 18 million units by the end of the fiscal year.

The company is now also forecasting G&NS sales of 40 billion yen (a downward revision of 1 percent) and operating income of 50 billion yen (a downward revision of 16 percent) for the full year ended March 31, 2022.

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