Sony’s game division has lost more than $45 million in three months. There’s a simple story behind it: sales of consoles and games are both markedly down.
The entire Sony group lost 24.6 billion yen (US $315 million) between April and June, despite an increase in sales across all product types. The losses were partly the result of unfavorable exchange rates.
That’s not a valid excuse when it comes to games however. PS3 console sales dropped from 3.2 million in the same period last year to 2.8 million, while combined sales of the PSP and Vita dropped from 1.8 million to 1.4 million. Considering the Vita only debuted earlier this year, the fact that Sony didn’t list specific sales for it may be a clue that it’s not been received well at all.
Games sales are also down by around seven million on consoles and one million on handhelds. That’s something of a consistent pattern across the industry, blamed mainly on a lack of new blockbuster titles.
Considering the PS3 has been available for well over five years, it may simply be that it’s starting to hit saturation point now. Aside from teenagers growing old enough to get it as a gift or buy it with their own earnings, you’d have to think most people who have any interest in buying the PS3 have already done so by now.
Sony’s only response — and even this is unconfirmed — appears to be producing a new series of “superslim” PS3s. Of the rumored models, only a potentially dirt cheap one that uses flash memory rather than a hard drive seems likely to help capture new buyers. Even then, a cut to a rumored $149 or so might not attract too many cheapskates given the price of games.
With the Move motion control system having failed to gain much traction, it still seems as if the only thing that will revitalise Sony’s gaming fortunes is the PS4 and that’s still looking to be an absolute minimum of 18 months away.