According to Sony, PlayStation owners spend less time playing games.
Outlining the situation in its fiscal report for the first quarter ended June 30, 2022, the company explained the total gameplay time for PlayStation users declined by 15 percent year-on-year.
Although there were some minor ebbs and flows throughout the quarter, the console maker conceded that players are delivering “a much lower level of engagement” than it anticipated in its previous forecast.
According to the Japanese company, the COVID-19 pandemic rebound is what caused its engagement woes. They claim that “the overall market for games has declined as users have more opportunities to travel outside due to the reduction in COVID-19 infection in key markets.”
“Taking this into consideration, we intend to take actions to increase user engagement during the second half of fiscal year, when major titles, including first-party software, are scheduled to be released. This will primarily involve increasing the supply and promotion of the new PlayStation Plus service.”
Not only did engagement take a hit in Q1, but so was other metrics. Looking specifically at the company’s Game & Network Services (G&NS) segment, sales decreased by 2 percent year-on-year to 604.1 billion yen ($4.5 billion) due to declining first and third-party software sales, including add-on content.
Operating income also fell to 52.8 trillion yen ($395.9m) due to the software sales dip and rising development cost.
Sony revealed that the PlayStation 5 sold 2.34 million units in Q1 – slightly more than the 2.3million units it sold in Q1 2013 – indicating that the console now has 21.7 million units.
Full game software sales fell to 47.1 million units in Q1 FY22 from 63.6 million units in Q1 FY21, however, with first-party software sales also dropping to 6.4 million units from 10.5 million units over that same period.
PlayStation Plus subscribers remained relatively stable at 47.3 million users, but the number of Monthly Active Users (MAU), fell to 102,000,000 in Q1 FY22 from 102.5 million in Q1 Fiscal21.
Sony reiterated its hardware forecast for the future and expects that PlayStation 5 sales will reach 18 million units by fiscal year’s end.
The company is now also forecasting G&NS sales of 40 billion yen (a downward revision of 1 percent) and operating income of 50 billion yen (a downward revision of 16 percent) for the full year ended March 31, 2022.