During Sony’s quarterly financial conference call for investors and analysts, CFO and COO Hiroki Totoki talked extensively about the PlayStation Business, and commented on the layoffs at Bungie and the plans for live service games.
Totoki-san mentioned that the percentage of PS5 users among PlayStation Network monthly active users (107 million) has now grown to “a little over 40%.” Total gameplay time during the latest quarter has also increased 4% year-on-year.
Sony is also sticking to its target of 25 million PS5 units to be shipped during the current fiscal year (between April 2023 and March 2024). The slimmed-down PS5 and PS Portal are seen as factors that will assist in increasing the sales momentum during the Holiday season, which is the largest opportunity of the year to sell products.
The company also plans to “carefully monitor the results of its sales promotion activities” for the Holiday season with the aim of balancing the importance of the market penetration of PS5 with profitability.
Later in the call, the executive also admitted that 25 million units is a high target and won’t be easy to achieve. Yet, he reiterated that the Holiday Season is the biggest sales season of the year and the slimmed-down PS5 on top of the availability of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will be positive factors.
At the moment, Sony has shipped 8.2 million units from April to September, so it’d have to ship 16.8 million units between October and March to achieve its lofty goal.
Totoki-san also explained why the loss Sony suffers for each PS5 unit has increased in the latest quarter (as mentioned in the financial results shared earlier today). It’s due to a technical reason related to currency exchange rates and the long load times for the purchase of parts.
The executive was also asked about the layoffs at Bungie and other PlayStation studios. He mentioned that there have been initiatives to increase efficiency and competitivity and confirmed that about 100 employees have been laid off at Destiny 2’s developer.
Sony previously planned to launch 12 live service games by fiscal year 2025 but Totoki-san confirmed that this is being reviewed. He admitted that Sony hasn’t been able to meet the gamers’ expectations on this front, but the company is doing its best to create games that will be played for a long time.
As a result, only 6 of the live service games will are now planned to be released by fiscal year 2025, while Sony is still working out when to release the rest. Totoki-san believes that quality should be the most important factor in this.
Lastly, Totoki-san was also asked to comment on its upcoming tenure as acting CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment following the departure of Jim Ryan.
He explained that he was appointed PlayStation chairman as of October 1 and he’ll take on the mantle as acting CEO as of April 1, 2024. He will perform that role for a maximum of one year.
During that time, his most important mission will be to find Jim Ryan’s successor for the CEO title, on top of overseeing the transition so that it happens smoothly.
Since PlayStation is a strategically important business for Sony and employees and all other stakeholders have high expectations from it, so Totoki-san wants to meet these expectations by selecting the right CEO as soon as possible.
If you’d like to read more about Sony’s financial performance alongside an update on PS5 shipments, you can read our dedicated article from earlier today.