Sony Group Corp. raised its full-year forecast as its PlayStation and entertainment businesses sustained momentum even as a sluggish global economy hurt other parts of its business.
(Bloomberg) — Sony Group Corp. raised its full-year forecast as its PlayStation and entertainment businesses sustained momentum even as a sluggish global economy hurt other parts of its business.
The Tokyo-based company nudged up its net income forecast by 2% to ¥860 billion ($6 billion), thanks to a weaker yen contributing to sales at its games, music and financial units. But that’s still below market estimates of ¥898 billion. Sony also said it expects ¥12.2 trillion in sales, up from ¥11.5 trillion. It left its full-year operating profit outlook unchanged.
The PlayStation 5, Sony’s most important product, has been the best-selling console in the US this year, in both unit and dollar terms, according to data from Circana. Supply constraints that dogged the games system since its launch in 2020 are now history, and Sony’s working to catch up on lost time: the company needs to build out its PS5 user base to entice more developers to create specifically for the platform.
“Sales momentum for the PS5 slowed from the previous quarter, and that’s going to make it tough for Sony to hit a target of 25 million units this fiscal year,” said Toyo Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda. “Sony would need to cut prices or release new models to keep its games business momentum intact.”
The company said it now sees an increase in sales of third-party titles including add-on content, but added that will be “substantially offset primarily by a deterioration in profitability of PlayStation 5 hardware mainly due to changes in promotions by geographic region and the sales channel mix.”
Outside its core games division, Sony said it has reduced expectations at its movie and image-sensor operations.
The company’s smartphone image sensor business is facing significant headwinds from a stubbornly weak mobile market. Key customer Apple Inc. said at its most recent earnings report that its iPhone is also facing suppressed demand. Some manufacturing yield issues of Sony’s camera sensors also posed a challenge for iPhone 15 production, Bloomberg News previously reported.
Read more: Apple to Keep IPhone Shipments Steady Despite 2023 Turmoil
Sony reported better-than-expected operating profit in its fiscal first quarter of ¥253 billion, surpassing analyst estimates of ¥242.3 billion. Revenue was ¥2.96 trillion, 33% up from last year’s ¥2.2 trillion in the same period.
The Japanese entertainment conglomerate has been beefing up its content offerings in recent years, though the biggest hits of the summer have come from its rivals — from Activision Blizzard Inc.’s Diablo IV to Warner Bros. Pictures’ Barbie, a film that Sony previously held the rights to. Console rival Microsoft Corp.’s takeover of Activision is also nearing conclusion, though the near-term impact of that deal on Sony’s business is likely negligible as the companies have agreed to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles for at least a decade.
(Updates with analyst comment)
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