During the first quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, gaming was booming thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Now that things are starting to open up again and people are no longer staying at home, the comedown from this is a predicted drop in software sales. Sony has reported their software sales between April and June 2021 dropped 20% when compared to the previous year as they had predicted, but first party titles like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and MLB The Show 21 still exceeded expectations.
Physical sales dropped by 32.5% while digital games sales dropped by 22.6% compared to this time last year. DLC fared no better with sales decreasing by 16.5%. This doesn’t mean their sales were disappointing though. Despite the drop, software sales of games and their add-ons still totaled 63.6 million units for the first quarter of the fiscal year. Digital sales made up 71% of this total. As worked out by ResetEra, this means more than 699,000 titles are sold every day, or more than 8.09 PS4/PS5 games are sold per second. In fact, software sales have increased by 31% when compared to Q1 FY19, so Sony thinks “the game market has expanded significantly over the last two years”.
Even Sony’s first party title sales dropped from 18.7 million sales in Q1 FY20 to 10.5 million in FY21. In FY20, The Last of Us Part II was released and sold incredibly well, breaking digital sales records for PlayStation. While Sony’s FY21 first-party titles didn’t match these sales, the company did confirm all of their first-party titles released during the quarter exceeded sales expectations as reported by Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad. These include MLB The Show 21, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and Returnal, the latter of which was described as a “mega hit.” Just last week, Sony had revealed Rift Apart had sold 1.1 million copies since its release, while Returnal sits at 560,000 copies.
Sales of MLB The Show 21 have been even more successful than predicted thanks to the game’s release on multiple platforms. Because of “strong add-on sales,” the game “contributed significantly to sales and profit during the quarter,” likely fueled by the many more players who have tried the game thanks to its addition to Xbox Game Pass. The choice to put the game on Xbox was also influenced by the success of Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone on PC. As such, PlayStation Studios is “accelerating investment” to help port titles to new platforms. While Nixxes Studio was acquired to help with this process, they will also be offering support to all of the PlayStation Studios “in a horizontal manner” for development of other games.[Source: Sony (1, 2), ResetEra, Sony via Twitter (1, 2)]