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August 4, 2020updated 05 Aug 2020 9:10am

Sony Q1 results: Profit slips but gaming demand soars in lockdown

By Robert Scammell

Electronics and entertainment firm Sony reported operating income of 228.4bn yen ($2.15bn) in its Q1 results, a 1.1% decline from the year-ago period.

Sales and operating revenue for Sony Corp were up 2% year-on-year for the April-June period.

Analysts had been expecting a larger drop in profits, but the Japanese conglomerate’s Q1 results were boosted by strong sales from its gaming division, with stay-at-home restrictions fuelling demand for PlayStation 4 games, consoles and services.

Revenue for its gaming segment stood at 606.1bn yen ($5.7bn). This marks year-on-year growth of 32%, while operating income for its gaming segment was 124bn yen ($1.2 bn), up 68% over the same quarter last year.

The company sold 91 million PS4 games during the quarter – an 83% increase from a year ago.

Popular game releases helped drive record sales, with Sony exclusive title The Last of US Part 2 shipping more than 21 million copies alone.

The console’s subscription service, PlayStation Plus, reached a record 45 million subscribers as of the 30 June, up from 36.2 million users in Q1 2019.

Stay-at-home measures appear to have boosted digital games sales, with PS4 full game software digital download ratio standing at 74%. A year ago, the ratio was 53%.

Sony Q1 results: PS5 on track despite pandemic

Sony has slated Q4 for the release of its next-generation console, the PlayStation 5. It said it has addressed problems with its supply chain, previously affected by the pandemic, so that it can ramp up production of the PS5 ahead of its launch.

“Although factors such as constraints due to employees working from home and restrictions on international travel remain, necessary measures are being taken and preparations are underway with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season,” the company said.

“At this time, no major problems have arisen in the game software development pipeline for Sony’s own first-party studios or its partners’ studios.”

Sony is predicting its gaming segment to post a profit of 240bn yen for the financial year, versus 238bn yen for the previous financial year.

Elsewhere the firm cited “significant production delays” for its film segment due to the pandemic,

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