Sony is dependent on PlayStation, and that's why it's so hopeful for its new VR headset

Staying relevant in consumer tech is hard. Just look at Sony. The Japanese giant has managed to keep itself in the public consciousness for decades, but over that time it’s seen the rise and fall of the Walkman, the death of Vaio laptops, and a continuous dwindling of its Xperia phone segment. In recent years, consistent profits have been hard to come by.

Still, it’s held on, thanks in large part to one shining star: PlayStation. Its PlayStation 4 is the undisputed winner of this generation of gaming consoles thus far, with its PlayStation Store driving billions in digital software sales in particular. While the company has spent time skinning down its many other brands, PlayStation has only grown.

This chart from Statista shows how just how critical PlayStation has become for Sony. In the last fiscal year, its gaming division led the company in revenue by a healthy margin. But even that doesn’t quite tell the full story: In its last quarter, for instance, PlayStation almost single-handedly carried the company to profits.

Sony’s PlayStation VR headset goes on sale Thursday, and works exclusively with the PlayStation 4. Combined with the forthcoming PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 4 Slim, Sony is very clearly trying to keep up PlayStation’s momentum. Given how important the platform has become, it might have to.

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