Sony managed to ship an outrageous 20 million PlayStation 4 consoles between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017, putting total shipments of the console up to 60 million units worldwide. As of 1st January the device had sold 53.4 million units directly to consumers, so it's probably safe to assume that its install base isn't particular far off the shipped number. Through the current fiscal year, the organisation expects to ship a further 18 million units, as the machine nears that all-important 100 million units milestone.
Operating income for the PlayStation division hit ¥135.6 billion (~$1.2 billion), which is just shy of the group's record profit in fiscal year 1998, when it raked in ¥137 billion during the peak of the PSone era. Despite this, gaming once again wasn't the Japanese giant's biggest earner, as its financial division brought in a dizzying amount of cash: ¥166.4 billion (~$1.5 billion). As previously reported, Sony Pictures lost a lot of money due to an accounting write-down, while the recent earthquake in Japan had an impact on its semiconductors and components business.
All in all, the company posted operating income of ¥288.7 billion (~$2.5 billion) for the end of the 2016 fiscal year, down almost 2 per cent year-over-year. However, looking to the future, with the earthquake issues and Sony Pictures' problems dealt with, it's anticipating almost double that for the period through March 2018. As part of that, despite expecting PS4 shipments to be slightly lower, it's predicting profits in the region of ¥170 billion (~$1.5 billion) from the PlayStation division, which would be a record for the gaming group.
The forecasts certainly paint a positive picture for Sony, as it looks to capitalise on all of the progress it's made over the past few years and really turn in a substantial profit. To be honest, given how long we've reported on losses within the Japanese company, it's still quite novel to be talking about profits – even if natural disasters and blockbuster bombas prevented this report from being as positive as it could have been.