Today Sony sent a press release indicating its plans to improve the profitability of its core businesses for the fiscal year 2014 and “establish foundations for sustainable growth” from fiscal year 2014, and it’s not very surprising that the first business to be listed is the one related to gaming, which is one of the most solid within the company’s portfolio.
In the game and network services business, Sony aims to expand the installed base of PlayStation 4 (“PS4”) and reinforce its network services in order to drive increased profit growth. As of April 6, 2014, PS4 had achieved cumulative sell-through of 7 million units, with Sony aiming to further consolidate its No.1 position in the home console market in FY14. Approximately half of PS4 users have registered for the PlayStation Plus subscription service, and the number of active users registered to PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network already exceeds 52 million. In the U.S., Sony plans to start an open beta version of the PlayStation Now game streaming service this summer and introduce a new, cloud-based television service within the calendar year 2014. Sales from the network business, including game, music and video services, for FY13 exceeded 200 billion yen and Sony is expecting continued sales growth in this business going forward.
According to the press release, Sony currently considers that it’ll be possible to achieve a profit of around 400 billion yen (just south of 4 billion dollars) in fiscal year 2015 as a result of “cost savings […] alleviation of losses from the PC and other businesses, profit contribution from the core electronics businesses (game and network services, mobile and imaging), and stable profit generated by the entertainment and financial services businesses.”
While it’s not too surprising that Sony considers consolidating its leadership in the home console business a priority, it’s actually interesting to hear that the company plans for PlayStation Now to enter an “open beta” this Summer, as all the previous communication about it simply mentioned the service’s launch for the upcoming season, without making any mention of an open beta phase.
We can only hope that it won’t stay in beta as long as PlayStation Home did.