Sales of Sony Corp.'s (SNE) PlayStation 4 reached 2.1 million units worldwide, temporarily giving it bragging rights over Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox. Given that the PS4 just launched and that the holiday season is critical to console sales, the news has to be among the best that the battered Japanese consumer electronics company has issued in a very long time.
The public company reported:
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. today announced that cumulative sell through for the PlayStation4 (PS4) computer entertainment system worldwide has surpassed 2.1 million units as of December 1, 2013. The number includes the 700,000 units sold through in Europe and Australasia launching on November 29. The PS4 system became available on November 15 in the United States and Canada and on November 29 in Europe, Australasia and Latin America and is now available in 32 countries globally.
"PS4 delivered the best launch in PlayStation history with the North American release and we've continued this incredibly successful start in Europe, Australasia and Latin America," said Andrew House, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "Demand remains incredibly strong and continues to overwhelm the supply worldwide, but we are diligently working to meet those growing demands and to deliver additional PS4 units to our retail partners throughout the holiday season. We are extremely grateful for the passion of PlayStation fans and thank them for their continued support."
One of the most important parts of the announcement is that PS4 sales appear to have surged outside the United States, giving Sony a broader base for these sales, and consequently, success.
Sony has had little success in its other major businesses, which run from cameras and TVs to its movie studio business. Sony Entertainment, which includes the company's movie and TV programming assets, is seen by many investors as a poor match with its core consumer electronics businesses and a drag on management time, and often earnings. Michael Lynton, the chief of the unit, recently defended its performance. However, at the same time, it posted weak numbers in the most recent quarter. After a $131 million loss in Sony's last reported quarter, several media outlets claim Sony Entertainment will cut annual costs by $100 million.
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For the time being, the PS4 is Sony's light at the end of the tunnel, and for the time being it is brightening.