Sony Corp. (SNE), desperate for any success to help turn around its faltering prospects, announced some good news. Sales of its PlayStation 4 (PS4) have topped 7 million. It reached the milestone on April 6, according to the company.
Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said:
The response from the global gaming community for PS4 has been overwhelming and we are truly humbled that gamers are selecting PS4 as their next generation console of choice. The PS4 journey has just begun, and although we are still facing difficulties keeping up with the strong demand worldwide, we remain steadfast in our commitment to meet the needs of our customers, and surpassing the wildest expectations of gamers by delivering new user experiences that inspire and engage. We look forward to unveiling many of these experiences to our fans in the coming months.
Sony management also reported that sales of software for the gaming platform rose to more than 20.5 million as of April 3. This includes both downloads and software sold through retail outlets.
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No matter how many PS4s Sony sells, it still has to contend with the success of its primary rival, Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox One. The world's largest software company has used its console as a means to get its software and entertainment library into living rooms. For a time, Microsoft believed this might be a way to distribute copies of Windows-based products. Cloud-based versions of Windows have been very popular recently, so Microsoft has another shot at this sort of distribution. The Xbox One is as much a home theater and Internet-connected entertainment platform as it is a gaming device.
Whether PS4's success helps Sony's overall strategy is a matter of opinion, even if its unit sales rise rapidly. Many outsiders have questioned whether Sony's mix of gaming devices, TV and camera businesses, and a movie studio make sense operated under one parent company. Sony management has made the case, without much success, that there is synergy among these units.
One sign that Sony has not convinced the outside world that its broad plans can fuel a turnaround is Wall Street's reaction. Sony's shares are down almost 30% over the past five years, compared to a 110% gain in the S&P 500.
Sony management has at least proved one thing. Its decades-old PlayStation platform still has legs.
Just over a month ago, PS4 sales topped 6 million. And Sony's movie studio business has done well recently.
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