The recent holiday financial reports from the gaming industry’s Big 3, Microsoft and Sony, have provided valuable insights into their video game division revenues. In this article, we will be focusing specifically on their gaming earnings and not the overall company performance.
Our analysis shows that PlayStation continues to be the leader in terms of gaming revenues, however, the gap between PlayStation and Xbox has increased since last year. Let’s take a closer look at the trends and their implications.
According to Sony’s Calendar Year 2022 financial reports, the PlayStation games division generated a revenue of $24.4 billion in 2022. This data, however, represents the calendar year (Jan-Dec) and not the fiscal year (Apr-Mar of the preceding year). The $24.4 billion revenue is a decrease of $200 million compared to the $24.6 billion earned in 2021, which could be attributed to the fluctuation in foreign exchange and a lower revenue throughout January to September 2022.
On the other hand, Microsoft’s Xbox games division generated a revenue of $15.56 billion in 2022. It is not surprising that PlayStation has outperformed Xbox (and similarly, Nintendo), but it’s still worth examining by how much. Our calculations show that PlayStation outperformed Xbox by $8.85 billion in 2022, which is an increase of $535 million compared to 2021’s gap of $8.32 billion.
These figures provide valuable insights into the strengths of each company. Xbox has managed to generate billions of dollars in revenue despite having fewer first-party game releases, thanks to its combination of services such as Game Pass and full game sales. Additionally, Microsoft says that it has been selling every Xbox console at a loss, but this is compensated by the wide breadth of content and services that Xbox offers. It is worth noting that these figures do not include Xbox gaming profits, as Microsoft does not disclose this data. On the other hand, Sony reported a 10.7% profit margin for PlayStation in 2022.
In terms of monthly active users, Xbox just reported a record-breaking 120 million, which surpasses PlayStation’s 112 million. However, it is important to note that the way Microsoft recognizes Xbox MAUs is different from how Sony recognizes PlayStation MAUs, as Xbox technically includes PCs and other devices where Xbox games and services are available, while Sony only recognizes users predominantly active on PlayStation hardware.
Sony is aggressively expanding its reach by flooding retailers with PlayStation 5s, as it tries to recapture the majority share of the new console generation. During the holiday period, hardware sales increased by 75% and drove hardware revenues to $3.11 billion. Sony shipped 7.1 million PS5s during the holidays and plans to ship 6.2 million more units from January to March 2023. While this target may seem unrealistic, Sony is trying to make up for unit sales lost during the 2020-2021 pandemic when PS5 stock was unavailable. Additionally, Sony’s first-party games, such as God of War Ragnarok, have also contributed to the holiday period’s success, generating 11 million game sales in just a few months.
Both Sony and Microsoft benefited from the release of Modern Warfare II, a new Call of Duty game that generated $1 billion in full game sales in just 10 days. Despite this, both companies saw a decrease in earnings throughout 2022, which is expected since last year’s figures were a result of pandemic spending. As consumers now have less disposable income due to rising living costs, a portion of entertainment spending has been redirected towards more basic necessities like rent, food, and utilities.
this data provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the console market in 2022 and gives valuable information to contextualize the regulatory scrutiny of the Microsoft-