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Sony sold 4.5 million PlayStation 5 consoles last year


Japanese electronics and media giant Sony shipped 4.6 million PlayStation 5 platforms worldwide in 2020, as revealed by published information along with the company's latest earnings report.

The figure highlights Sony's current ability to produce the platform in large quantities, which has been extremely difficult to purchase since its launch in November.

Demand for PlayStation 4 fell significantly year-on-year, with 1.4 million units shipped in the October-December quarter – down 77 percent from the previous year.

Sony was able to sell fewer PlayStation 4 devices in the quarter than from July to September.

Sony's overall gaming business performed much better than a year ago, with revenue swelled 40 percent to 883.2 billion yen ($8.4 billion) driven in part by PlayStation 5 sales.

Operating profit rose 50 percent to 80.2 billion yen ($763.3 million) due to higher game sales, PlayStation Plus subscriptions, and improved profit margins for PS4 devices.

However, Sony notes that expenses related to the launch of PlayStation 5 have offset some of its profit gains, and also asserts that PlayStation 5 devices themselves are sold for less than their manufacturing costs.

The loss was due to strategic price points for PlayStation 5 devices that were set below manufacturing costs, the company says.

The Japanese company raised its full-year earnings forecast by a third as it benefited from the growing demand for video games, music, and movies as people enjoy home entertainment amid closures due to the Coronavirus.

Sony now expects 940 billion yen ($8.95 billion) in operating profit in the 12 months to March, compared with its previous forecast of 700 billion yen.

Third-quarter operating profit jumped 20 percent to 359.2 billion yen from a year earlier.

The move to the new platform is also expected to encourage players to switch to online downloads or subscription services, helping Sony boost the profitability of its gaming platform.

Sony has historically been known for devices such as music player Walkman and TVs and has invested heavily in recent years in promoting entertainment content and distribution.

At the same time, Sony is streamlining its consumer electronics business, with plans this year to close a factory in Malaysia that manufactures home audio equipment, headphones, and other products.