Sony saw a drop in PlayStation 4 console sales during the three-month period ended December 31, the company's third-quarter of fiscal 2017. In a newly released earnings report, Sony indicated it sold 9 million PS4 consoles during the quarter, down 700,000 units from the 9.7 million PS4 consoles it sold in the same quarter a year prior. That said, the PS4 is on pace to surpass cumulative PlayStation 3 console sales this quarter.
Back in October, Sony said that lifetime PS4 shipments stood at 67.5 million units. If we add the 9 million more it added during the previous quarter, then the cumulative total stands at 76.5 million, as of December 31 (even higher now that we are into February). By comparison, the PS3 stands at more than 80 million units sold. If not this quarter, than certainly by the middle of the year the PS4 will overtake the PS3 in terms of sales.
One thing to note is that Sony's fiscal third quarter represents the holiday shopping period, and that is typically the quarter with the highest numbers. In the previous quarter, for example, Sony sold less than half as many PS4 consoles (4.2 million units), and only about a third (3.3 million) during its fiscal first quarter. Assuming performance in the following quarters follows the same historical trend, cumulative PS4 sales for this current quarter should top 80 million units, and reach 88-90 million units by the middle of the year. Cumulative sales could even reach 100 million by the beginning of 2019.
Though Sony saw a slip in PS4 console sales during its most recent quarter, its games division posted a healthy 16.2 percent jump in revenue, driven by strong software sales. As a whole, Sony's game division earned 718 billion yen (around $6.8 billion in U.S. currency) in revenue. That resulted in an 85.4 billion yen (~$778 million) profit, up 50 percent year-over-year. So, we don't think Sony is lamenting the drop in PS4 hardware shipments.
As a whole, Sony collected 2.67 trillion yen (~$23.6 billion) in revenue, up 11.5 percent from the same quarter a year ago. More importantly, Sony's profit shot through the roof, climbing a staggering 1,407 percent to 296 billion yen (~$2.68 billion).
In related news, Sony CEO Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai is stepping down effective April 1, 2018. Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida will take his place.