Sony stresses PlayStation user engagement as hardware sales taper off

FILE PHOTO: Inside a GameStop store Sony PS5 gaming consoles are pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sony on Thursday emphasised the strength of user engagement with its gaming platform as sales of the PlayStation 5 console taper off and companies in the sector look for recurring revenue.

PS5 users are spending around 25% more than during the previous PS4 console's lifecycle, boosted by add-on content and services, including the PlayStation Plus subscription option.

"This behaviour underpins the durable, predictable nature of our revenue base," gaming executive Hideaki Nishino told a strategy briefing.

Sony has restructured the management of the gaming business, whose weak margins have concerned investors, with Nishino to become CEO of its platform business group from next month.

The conglomerate sees lower PS5 sales of 18 million units in the current financial year, after narrowly missing its revised target of 21 million units last year.

The gaming sector is grappling with the cost of developing high-profile titles and weaker industry growth, with companies moving to lay off employees and halt projects.

Sony has a thin games pipeline for this year but one bright spot has been live service title "Helldivers 2", which has sold more than 12 million units since launching in February.

Live service games, which offer continuous, updated play, are being released in PS5 and PC versions simultaneously, said Herman Hulst, who will become CEO of the studio business group.

Sony is best known for its single-player titles. This month, it released a PC version of "Ghosts of Tsushima", which first launched in 2020.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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