Sony shipped just 3.9 million PlayStation 5 consoles in its crucial holiday quarter, up slightly from the previous quarter's figure of 3.3 million, showing how the electronics giant is still struggling to meet demand during the current global supply chain crisis to satisfy. A total of 17.3 million units had been shipped through December 31, almost three million fewer than the PlayStation 4 had achieved at the corresponding time after launch. However, the PS4 was easy to find on store shelves in its first year of sales, while we still don't have a good measure of actual demand for the PS5.
The gaming division's revenue fell 8% year over year to 813.3 billion yen (~US$7.09 billion), but operating profit rose 12.1% to 92.9 billion yen (~US$810 million -Dollar). That's to be expected a year after the release of a major console: Sony still can't muster enough loss-making PS5 hardware, but that bodes well for the bottom line so early in the product lifecycle.
PlayStation is now Sony's largest single division, accounting for more than a quarter of the company's total sales and almost a quarter of its operating profit. Sony has revised down its full-year 2021 gaming revenue forecast by 6 percent to 2.73 trillion yen due to lower-than-expected PS5 sales, indicating that supply issues will persist, at least in the short term. The operating profit forecast was then increased by 6 percent to 345 billion yen. Full-year PS5 shipments are now expected to reach 11.5 million units, up from 14.8 million.
Sony's key image sensor division had a strong quarter, with revenue up 22% year over year to 57.8 billion (~$504 million). Operating profit rose 26 percent to 13.3 billion yen (~$116 million), although Sony attributes 12 billion yen to yen weakness. According to Sony, the increase in sales was due to higher sales of image sensors for smartphone cameras, a large proportion of which were premium products.
The film division saw a big increase in sales, rising 141 percent year-on-year to 461.2 billion yen ($4.02 billion). Spider-Man: No Way Home and Venom: Let There Be Carnage contributed much higher film revenues than last year, while Sony says its TV production business got a boost from licensing Seinfeld.