Yesterday, it was Nintendo. Today, Sony is showing that the console market is still going strong with the release of its financial earnings report. For the first fiscal quarter ended on June 30, 2015, Sony had sales of 1.8 trillion yen ($14.8 billion), which is nearly the same total sales recorded during the first quarter last year. The good news is net income jumped way up from 26.8 billion yen ($260.5 million, last year's exchange rates) to 82.4 billion yen ($676 million).
Part of the improvement is the fact that Sony is a leaner and tighter company now, having divulged itself of assets that weren't directly helping the company. This included Sony's shares in Square Enix Holdings, which led to a 4.8 billion yen ($46.7 million, last year's exchange rates) gain last year.
Drilling down in the Games & Network Services division, which houses Sony's PlayStation business, we're seeing significant gains. The division's sales are up 12 percent year-over-year, totaling 288.6 billion yen ($2.4 billion). Operating income is up 15.1 billion yen ($160 million) over last year's totals, despite including a 4.7 billion yen loss ($39 million) due to the PlayStation Network cyberattack. That's largely on the back of PlayStation 4 hardware and software sales, with the PlayStation 3 seeing some declines.
PlayStation 4 continues to be a boon for Sony, with the system selling 3 million units during the quarter. When you add in unit sales of 7.5 million for fiscal year 2013 and 14.8 million for fiscal year 2014, the PlayStation has sold a total of 25.3 million units worldwide. (That's sell-through, not shipments.) That puts the current-generation console ahead of the PlayStation 2, which had shipped 24.99 million consoles by December 31, 2001. 24.99 million shipped within 22 months of launch, versus 25.3 million sold within 20 months of launch; that's a good comparison for Sony.
The great sales have actually led the gaming division to increase their forecast for the fiscal year.
For us, the practical outcome of this is the PlayStation 4 is now the reigning home console. We can potentially see third-party support favoring Sony's platform. The PlayStation 4 is far ahead of the Wii U and continues to outpace the Xbox One each quarter, though Microsoft has done its best to lower the gap per quarter. (More information on that at Ars Technica.) The Xbox One is behind, but gets to stay in the game because it's not too far behind the PlayStation 4 power-wise and third-parties can't afford to ignore Xbox One consumers. That userbase may be smaller than the PS4's, but it's still sizable.
Japan is the only stumbling block to PlayStation 4 domination, with the Wii U (and handhelds in general) still leading in that region. It's possible that gap will be closed eventually, especially with titles like Dark Souls III, Final Fantasy XV, Dragon Quest XI, Persona 5, and Street Fighter V potentially giving the PS4 a leg up as Nintendo looks forward to its NX platform.
As it stands, 2015 is looking like a good year for Sony and what we know of 2016 looks to continue that momentum.