Profit for Sony’s gaming business dropped 14%, down to 73.1 billion yen, in the company’s third quarter which ended in December compared to the same period last year, thanks to a significant slowdown of PlayStation 4 sales, the company reported Friday.
“Hardware sales dropped to 8.1 million units in the quarter, but that’s meeting our expectations for a console entering its sixth year,” chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki said in the earnings briefing. He added that the drop in PlayStation 4 sales were offset by strong software sales for the quarter.
While sales for the console slowed, Sony remains upbeat about its games business primarily because of the massive install base, with more than 91.6 million sales of the PS4 to date and the system’s monthly active users exceeding 90 million.
The PlayStation Plus subscribers count also continues to increase with 36.3 million members as of December, up from 31.5 million compared to December 2017.
Totoki said that the company plans to try an mitigate the volatility created by the “console cycle” going forward by leveraging that massive customer base.
Speculation about when the company will announce its next console — likely named the PlayStation 5 — has been stoked by news that for the first time in the 24-year history of E3, Sony Interactive Entertainment won’t be attending the show. Sources say the company simply doesn’t have enough games for the PS4 to warrant an appearance or press conference.
Sony officially said it wants to “experiment with new ways to delight gamers,” and that it is “exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
The company also canceled its PlayStation Showcase which was expected to be held late last year.
Overall, Sony had a strong third quarter, reporting $3.78 billion of net profit with revenues of $21.3 billion.