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With the PlayStation 4 at 73M sold, Sony braces for sales to slow

While sales have remained strong for the console in the last few years, Sony’s latest financial statements show that the company is preparing for hardware sales to slow down.

Sony has sold 73.6 million PlayStation 4 systems since releasing the first version of the hardware back in 2013. And while sales have remained strong for the console in the last few years, Sony’s latest financial statements show that the company is preparing for hardware sales to slow down in the 2018 fiscal year.

Right now, that predicted decline is responsible for a 2 percent decrease in forecasted sales for Sony’s Game and Network Services segment, though rising software sales are expected to help soften the blow. 

According to the company’s predictions, hardware sales are expected to fall to roughly 16 million units during the current 2018 fiscal year. For reference, the PlayStation 4 is currently sitting at 73.6 million sold, with 19 million of those systems sold during its last fiscal year, down ever so slightly from the 20 million reported in 2016.

This all comes as the PlayStation 4 edges ever closer to the lifetime sales of the PlayStation 3, which saw roughly 83 million systems sold in just over a decade.

As those sales fall, however, Sony is banking on rising software sales to keep the company's operating income on the up and up. Speaking during a presentation to investors earlier this week, Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki noted that hardware sales fell year-over-year between 2016 and 2017, but that sales overall rose 18 percent thanks to rising software sales. The company’s forecasts for the current 2018 fiscal year show that Sony is banking on this trend to continue. 

Sony saw ¥920.1 billion (~$8.4 billion) from game software sales in its 2017 fiscal year, up from ¥718 billion (~$6.6 billion) in 2016 and ¥560.9 billion (~$5.1 billion) in 2015. The company didn’t specifically note where it expects game software sales for the 2018 fiscal year to fall, but did say that it expects PlayStation 4 software, especially digital, to continue to increase. 

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