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Optimistic about VR and games, Sony raises its earnings forecast

Sony seems to be feeling pretty good about the state of its games business, as the company has raised its profit forecasts on the back of PS Plus revenue, PS4 sales -- and the impending PSVR debut.

Sony seems to be feeling pretty good about the state of its games business, as the company this week raised its profit forecasts on the back of PlayStation Plus revenue, PlayStation 4 console sales and the impending release of the PlayStation VR headset.

The move sheds a bit more light on how highly Sony currently values its Games & Network Services division, which it described in a message to The Street and other press outlets as "the largest growth driver" in its current mid-range financial plan.  

Accordingly, during a corporate strategy meeting in Tokyo this week Sony lifted the bar for how much revenue it expects its games division to make during its 2017 fiscal year (which ends in March) by roughly $3 billion, from $13.6 - $15.6 billion to $17.5 - $18.5 billion.

That rise is partly due to the strong growth of Sony's PlayStation Plus program, which recently surpassed 20 million subscribers, but a large part of it is based on the impending October launch of its $400 PSVR headset.

"It's an area where Sony can leverage its expertise in cameras, filming, content production as well as entertainment assets," Sony chief Kazuo Hirai reportedly told investors in reference to the company's VR optimism. 

However, the company is not changing its overall profit target for the year, which remains at $4.9 billion, and is actually lowering profit expectations for its Devices division thanks to decreasing demand for some of the high-end smartphones which include Sony's image sensors.

Fun fact: According to Reuters, the company also confirmed this week that it plans to develop a robot "capable of forming emotional bonds," presumably with people and/or other robots.

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