The state of Sony
How's everyone's favourite image sensor vendor doing?
Welcome back to Multicore for Thursday, May 25th.
Today we'll be checking in on Sony, which over the past couple of days has been holding its 2023 Business Segment Meeting. This is where it updates investors and analysts on the state of its core businesses.
As far as Multicore is concerned, that basically means PlayStations and image sensors. This is unfortunately not the time or the place for me to regale you with my thoughts on life insurance or Spider-Man movies. Sony is a relatively focused company these days, with gaming by far its biggest segment by revenue and image sensors as its core hardware profit driver.
Let's start with gaming. Eric Lempel, Sony's SVP for global marketing, kicked off the briefing by calling the PlayStation 5 "the strongest platform we have ever built", pointing to sustained demand for the system now that supply issues have been resolved. The January-March 2023 quarter, Lempel says, was the highest ever fiscal Q4 for PlayStation hardware sell-through, meaning sales to consumers rather than retailers. 5 million PS5 units were sold in those three months, which are usually slow for gaming hardware.
The PS5 is still tracking slightly below the PS4 in sales pace, however, which Sony attributes to the supply constraints throughout 2022. By next year, Sony expects the PS5 to have overtaken the PS4 at the equivalent point in its lifecycle, and says this is already the case in Japan.
Lempel was also bullish on the recent launch of the PS VR2 headset, saying it's sold through roughly 600,000 units after six weeks and has outpaced the original PS VR from the start. An important caveat there is that the first PS VR was heavily supply-constrained for months around the world, and for around a year in places including Japan.
However, the PS VR2 figures are better than expected. An IDC forecast estimated that just 270,000 units had been sold between the February 22nd launch date and the end of March, while Bloomberg previously reported that Sony slashed launch orders by half and was expecting to ship about 1.5 million units this financial year.