Sony Continues to Expand PlayStation 5 Footprint, Distance Itself From Rivals

The Sony PlayStation ecosystem continues to distance itself from rivals Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Switch in the competitive video game market.

Sony Interactive Entertainment April 28 said it sold a record 19.1 million PlayStation 5 video game consoles in the fiscal year ended March 31, beating its forecast of 18 million by more than 6%.

Many of those unit sales were to gamers over 45 years of age, the fastest growing consumer base, up nearly 22 million since 2018, according to research group Circana.

By comparison, Sony said it sold 11.5 million PS5 consoles in the previous fiscal year, ended March 31, 2022, as the company was facing supply chain issues brought on by the COVID pandemic. The company’s gaming division annual revenue was 33% higher ($26.6 billion) than the previous fiscal year at $20 billion, coming in as the biggest category by sales. Sony is forecasting 25 million PS5 units sold through March 31, 2024.

Meanwhile, rival Xbox Gaming saw quarterly revenue decrease $133 million or 4% driven by a decline in Xbox hardware sales. Hardware revenue decreased 30% on a strong prior year comparable, driven by lower volume of consoles sold. Xbox content and services revenue increased 3% driven by growth in the subscription-based Xbox Game Pass.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In terms of hardware sales, Sony has sold about 30 million PS5 consoles  compared to around 18.5 million Xbox Series units.

Xbox Gaming nine-month revenue decreased $800 million or 6% driven by declines in Xbox content and services and Xbox hardware. Xbox content and services revenue decreased 5% driven by a decline in first-party content, offset in part by growth in Xbox Game Pass. Xbox hardware revenue decreased 11% driven by lower volume and price of consoles sold.

Nintendo reported a 26% drop in Switch hardware sales to 1.5 million in the nine-month period ended Dec. 22, 2022, from 1.9 million units in the previous-year period. Software sales dipped 4% to 17.2 million units from 17.9 million during the previous-year period.

Notably, Ampere Analysis said Sony ended 2022 with 45% market share in video games, followed by 27.7% for Nintendo and 27.3% for Microsoft. The percentages were all down by 1.6% and 0.5% for Sony and Nintendo, respectively, while Microsoft saw a 1.8% market share increase.

Sony continues to object to Microsoft’s planned $69 billion acquisition of game publisher Activision Blizzard, claiming the merger would limit Activision’s popular Call of Duty franchise to Xbox platforms, among other concerns. The British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulatory agency last week blocked the proposed sale, citing cloud gaming concerns, a decision both Microsoft and Activision are appealing.

Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter disagrees with the CMA decision, believing it will be overturned.

“The CMA’s ruling disregards the fact that several cloud-based services have closed over the last two decades, including those offered by Google (Stadia), Time Warner (GameTap) and startups OnLive and Gaikai,” Pachter wrote in a note. “We agree that Activision content is highly unlikely to ever be licensed to cloud gaming services, but disagree that Microsoft’s ownership of Activision would change the outcome for third parties such as Sony.”

Fubo TV Comes to Xbox One

Online TV service FuboTV is launching its first app on Microsoft’s Xbox One video game platform. With the new app, Xbox users (with a $54.99 subscription) can stream sports, news and entertainment TV channels, VOD movies and TV shows. Xbox One X and Xbox One S users can also stream 4K content.

FuboTV features include replaying the last live channel watched when the app is launched. Users can flip through other channels while watching live video. They can also browse recommended sports, news and entertainment content — both live and on demand.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Subs can DVR entire series, including upcoming episodes, and monitor available cloud DVR storage via a progress bar. All DVR content is available in perpetuity until the user deletes it.

Fubo also lets up to six users within a subscription personalize their viewing options. Each user can create their own profile, favorite channels (which sets the preferred order of how channels appear in the Electronic Program Guide) and DVR the content they want to watch. Personalized content recommendations for each profile will be launched soon.

Follow us on Instagram

Xbox users can subscribe to fuboTV by navigating to the app from the Microsoft Store on Xbox. Additionally, fuboTV will optimize Xbox’s faster load times to ensure less buffering such as when the user selects a live new channel to watch.

“Microsoft makes it easy for us to bring our HTML5 TV application to their platform,” Geir Magnusson Jr., CTO, fuboTV, said in a statement. “We’ll continue to iterate on the app to leverage even more Xbox One features. We look forward to bringing fuboTV’s HTML 5 TV application to even more platforms, including other gaming consoles and smart TVs.”

GameStop: Surviving the Waiting Game

As the world’s largest video game retailer, GameStop has big expectations for new generation consoles coming a year from now from Sony PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox platforms.

In the meantime, the Grapevine, Tex.-based chain continues to absorb fiscal body blows as gamers halt spending on packaged media and/or explore digital alternatives.

Global sales decreased 25.7% to $1.4 billion in the most-recent fiscal period. New hardware sales plummeted 45.8%, while new software sales decreased 32.6%.

GameStop CEO George Sherman

“While the near-term top line environment remains challenged, we do not believe these results are indicative of what we would expect for the business in the long term,” CEO George Sherman said on the fiscal call.

As previously reported, GameStop has begun to divest operations in the Nordics, including Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

“While this will take several months to complete, we believe this effort will yield roughly $15 million in [pre-tax earnings] improvement,” Sherman said.

GameStop also reduced in-store inventories 30%, in addition to investing $115 million in the company and repurchasing 22 million shares for a total investment of $175 million in the quarter.

“Despite the near-term demand headwinds for current generation gaming hardware and software products, GameStop’s evolution as an industry leader to reposition the business model are on track,” Sherman said.

The executive said the chain is also in the process of “re-imagining” the GameStop in-store concept with new layout tests in 12 stores in the Tulsa, Okla. region.

“We’re very encouraged by what we are learning from the numerous customer immersive experiences we are testing,” Sherman said.