The Last of Us Part 1 on PC has not gone well, to put it mildly. Eyebrows Joel was fun for a while but it's been a month now, and Naughty Dog is still struggling to get it right. Sony's overall strategy of putting out more of its first-party games on PC, on the other hand, seems to be going very well indeed.
The sign of Sony's healthy PC strategy emerged from the company's FY2022 financial report, specifically under the "Others" category in the Game and Network Services Segment Supplemental Information section.
The document defines "Others" as "revenue from peripherals including PlayStationVR and revenue from sales of first-party titles on platforms other than PlayStation consoles." And the numbers over the past two fiscal years are pretty remarkable.
Fiscal year 2021 was fairly flat (all numbers are in millions of yen, and the USD conversions are at today's yen-to-dollar ratio):
- Q1 FY21 - ¥47,161 ($385.8 million)
- Q2 FY21 - ¥41,356 ($303.2 million)
- Q3 FY21 - ¥47,351 ($347.2 million)
- Q4 FY21 - ¥51,702 ($379.1 million)
2022 was a different story, however, and ended up almost doubling the sales of 2021:
- Q1 FY22 - ¥60,478 ($443.6 million)
- Q2 FY22 - ¥54,508 ($399.8 million)
- Q3 FY22 - ¥82,031 ($601.7 million)
- Q4 FY22 - ¥142,900 ($1.048 billion)
It's impossible to say exactly how much of the jump can be attributed directly to PC game sales. "Peripherals" covers a lot of ground including devices like controllers, and the PSVR2 released on February 22, right in the middle of Sony's fourth quarter: Whether or not it was a sales success seems to be a matter of some debate, but even at the low end of estimates, it accounted for a hefty chunk of change.
But while we can't extract PC game releases specifically from that category, there's no doubt that it was a very big year for Sony on the PC. Sony's FY2022 releases on Steam include Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Returnal, and The Last of Us Part 1. That's a beefy lineup by any measure. (For the record, I have not forgotten God of War—it came to PC in January 2022, making it an FY21 release.)
Sony's fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31, which explains the Q3 revenue spikes—that's the holiday quarter (October 1 to December 31), sometimes called the "golden quarter," when consumer spending inevitably ramps up. But it's interesting to note how the revenue increase has spilled over into Q4 (January 1 to March 31) in the past couple of years. The rise in FY21 wasn't nearly as sharp as it was in FY22, but there was also no PSVR2 release that year. Did God of War on PC really lift quarterly revenues that much? I'm not an analyst but it sure looks like it played a very big role.
It's a relatively small slice of Sony's total gaming pie: By comparison, PlayStation 4 and 5 exceeded ¥1.12 trillion yen ($8.2 billion), while game software (including add-on content like in-game currency and DLC) surpassed ¥1.7 trillion ($12.6 billion). But the bottom line is that by all appearances, Sony's gaming division is doing very well in the "everything but actual PlayStation stuff" category. And we can expect more to come: Sony said in its consolidated financial results speech transcript that "we aim to continue creating new IP, rolling out catalog titles for PC, and strengthening live service development."