Sony targets bumper PS5 sales as annual profits hit record

Pandemic gaming boom balances against hit to image sensor business

Since its November launch, Sony has sold 7.8 million PS5 consoles. Photograph: AFP via Getty

Since its November launch, Sony has sold 7.8 million PS5 consoles. Photograph: AFP via Getty

 

Sony hopes sales of its PlayStation 5 games console will outpace those of its hugely popular predecessor system this year, despite warning that the global chip crunch is likely to persist for the next 12 months.

The Japanese group’s target for the new console came as the pandemic-driven gaming boom lifted its annual profits to a record, even as the US-China trade dispute caused a heavy hit to its image sensor business.

On Wednesday, Sony also said it would buy back up to ¥200 billion (€1.5 billion) of its own shares, which are trading near a 20-year high.

Since its November launch, Sony has sold 7.8 million PS5 consoles, slightly more than the PS4 units sold during the same period following the latter system’s release in 2013. For the new financial year, which ends in March 2022, the company said it would aim to sell more PS5s than the 14.8 million PS4s sold during the second year following its launch.

“It continues to be the case that supplies have not been able to keep up with the very strong demand for PS5,” Hiroki Totoki, Sony’s chief financial officer, said at an online briefing on Wednesday. “We expect semiconductor-focused supply constraints for devices to continue into this current fiscal year.”

Blockbuster

But following a blockbuster year, Sony is bracing for weaker profits in many of its mainstay businesses including games, music and image sensors.

For the 12 months to March 2022, the group expects its net profit to fall 44 per cent to ¥660 billion due to rising tax expenses. That came in below analysts’ forecasts of ¥743 billion, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Revenue is expected to rise 8 per cent to ¥9.7 trillion. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021