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PS5 Sales and PS Plus Subscribers Decreased in FY21; Sony to Buy Back 2% of Its Own Shares

Today, Sony released its earnings for the fiscal year 2021, reporting a decrease in PS5 sales both compared to the same timeframe in the previous fiscal year and to the company’s forecast for FY 2021.

PS5 sales were down to just 2 million units in Q4 2021, whereas Sony had sold 3.3 million units in Q4 2020. Overall, 11.5 million units were sold throughout the whole fiscal year. Added to the 7.8 million units sold in 2020, they bring the console’s total install base to 19.3 million units. But Sony had originally planned to sell over 14.8 million PS5 units in FY 2021 before they had to revise the forecast downward due to the ongoing chip shortages.

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PS5 sales started off very strong, outpacing the initial sales of its console predecessor, the PlayStation 4. However, severe supply chain issues have crippled Sony’s ability to satisfy the strong demand. The company is now targeting 18 million PS5 sales in the fiscal year 2022, another reduction compared to the initial target of 22.6 million units for FY 2022.

Sony is confident that demand will eventually bring PS5 sales back on track to become the company’s fastest-selling console, though in the meantime Microsoft’s Xbox Series S|X managed to beat PlayStation 5 in units sold throughout North America and Europe in Q1 2022.

While it gets the PS5 supply chain back on track, Sony is certainly relying on revenue from software and services to make up for the current hardware struggles. But today’s report also reveals that PS Plus subscribers decreased in Q4 2021 from 48 to 47.4 million, and monthly active users (MAUs) on the PlayStation Network also went down from 111 to 106 million users. Full game software sales for PS5 and PS4 games were down, too, having sold 303.2 million units in FY 2021 compared to 338.8 million units in FY 2020; similarly, first-party game sales decreased from 58.4 to 43.9 million units. Then again, 2020 was the year everyone stayed at home during the pandemic, leading to record sales throughout the games industry.

Overall, Sony missed analyst estimates for both operating profit and operating income. The company then announced it would buy back roughly 25 million shares (2% of the total for $1.5 billion over the next year.

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