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PlayStation business bolsters Sony as it aims for profit growth

Sony has been leaning on its robust PlayStation business for a while now as it searches for profitability, but the troubled company's latest financial report plots a course for significant profit growth in the year ahead.

Sony has been leaning on its robust PlayStation business for a while now as it searches for profitability, but the troubled company's latest financial report plots a course for significant profit growth in the year ahead.

The PlayStation business will likely play a strong part in that predicted growth -- the company now has over 10 million PlayStation Plus subscribers and is reporting a 33 percent year-over-year increase in sales for its Games & Network Services division.

But Sony is expecting its game business to remain essentially flat as rising PlayStation 4 hardware and software sales offset decreasing sales of PlayStation 3 units and software.

Instead, the company is predicting that its cost-cutting efforts last year -- including dumping its PC business and selling off Sony Online Entertainment --  will unfetter it to reap big profits in the year ahead. 

For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015, Sony recorded profits of 68.5 billion yen (~$573.8 million USD). In the year ahead it hopes to nearly quintuple that, forecasting it will reap 320 billion yen (~$2.68 billion USD) in profits driven by its afore-mentioned cost-cutting efforts and the sales of its image sensors.

"We are emerging from losses but still recuperating," Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida told Reuters and other media outlets at a press conference today in Tokyo, noting that Sony was leery of setting its profit bar higher for the year ahead (some market analysts peg it at 408 billion yen) after its recent failures to meet expectations.

"In the past seven years," admitted Yoshida, "we revised (earnings guidance) downwards around 15 times."

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