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Sony reduces PlayStation 5 forecast to 18m units due to component shortage

Platform holder says it will “need to be proactive” to maintain supply, is unconcerned by dip in active PS Plus users

Sony expects to sell 18 million PlayStation 5 units during its next financial year, a reduction of previous forecasts thanks to the ongoing shortage of semiconductors and other vital components.

Investors asked the company's executive deputy president and chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki about the reduction during an earnings call, transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

The call followed the release of Sony's full-year results for FY2021, in which PlayStation sales rose slightly to $20.7 billion and 11.5 million PS5 units were shipped worldwide, bringing the console's lifetime figure to nearly 20 million.

Sony previously estimated it would sell 22.6 million, although Totoki said this figure had involved "more than PS5" adding that it was reduced "because of the constraint of components."

"18 million units is what we feel very comfortable that we can get the parts and components [for]," Totoki said, adding this was "still short somewhat" of current demand for the latest PlayStation console.

He later added that the impact of the component shortage was "not only restricted to game business" and still subject to change.

"We do have a good feel about how to procure the components and parts, but going forward, for example, the situation of the pandemic in China -- if it worsens going forward and if the lockdowns will expand further, then that will have a possibility of affecting the protection and that can be a downside risk," he said.

"However, this will not happen overnight. So for us, we need to be proactive, have a focus and take appropriate measures."

Nintendo's full-year results, also released yesterday, showed a similar issue with the component shortage. The platform holder reported hardware sales were down 20% to 23 million units, bringing overall sales down 3.6% to $13.1 billion.

Elsewhere, Totoki was asked about the upcoming revamp of PlayStation Plus, and the reported dip in active subscribers.

For the final quarter of its financial year -- three months ended March 31, 2022 -- Sony reported there were 47.4 million active PS Plus users. This was down from the 48 million reported in the previous quarter, and a slight dip from the 47.6 million in Q4 FY2022.

Totoki emphasised that total gameplay time remains an important metric, rather than purely just subscriber numbers, adding that stay-at-home requirements were not as strict in 2022 compared to the previous year.

"The stay-at-home demand was a temporary factor, but after it has subsided, it seems to me that the high level of engagement is maintained," he said. "So on a mid-term basis; I don't see much concern on PS Plus.

"I am sure that the high level of engagement will continue. That's a positive take that I have about the renewal. We will start the renewal from June... and we would like it to [steadily] grow and be supported by users. So I would like you to have great expectations on this together with me."

Elsewhere during the call, he reiterated Jim Ryan's comments to GamesIndustry.biz regarding including brand new first-party releases in PlayStation Plus at launch, suggesting that both the quality and investment would suffer if Sony took this approach.

Totoki also estimated that Sony's $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2022.