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PS4 launch helps Sony's PlayStation business swing to profits

The launch of the PlayStation 4 has a positive impact on Sony's PlayStation business -- although Sony said it will now record losses for the full fiscal year due to issues in other divisions.
The launch of the PlayStation 4 has a positive impact on Sony's PlayStation business -- although Sony said it will now record losses for the full fiscal year due to issues in other divisions. Sony's game business has been recording losses for a while now, but for the quarter ended December 31, 2013, the PS4 launch -- and a favorable foreign exchange rate -- pushed the PlayStation sector back into the black. The company says that it sold a combined 7.8 million PS3s and PS4s in the third quarter -- since we know that the PS4 sold 4.2 million units in that timeframe, that means the PS3 sold approximately 3.6 million units. Sony says there was also a "dramatic increase" in the number of people signing up to its annual PlayStation Plus subscription service. Meanwhile the PS Vita and PSP combined sold 2 million -- a significant increase over the previous quarter's 800,000 sold, and the 600,000 sold in the quarter before that. For the full fiscal year, Sony estimates it'll sell 15 million PS3s and PS4s, and 5 million Vitas and PSPs. Sony says that while the PS4 is selling better than expected, the PS3 is now selling less than expected as a direct result of the PS4's success -- therefore the full year forecast remains unchanged from before. Notably, Sony told us last year that the 5 million estimate for the PSP and Vita was merely a worst-case scenario -- it would appear this worst-case scenario will occur. For the quarter ended December 31, 2013, Sony's Game business recorded revenues of 441.8 billion yen ($4.4 billion), up 64.6 percent year-over-year, and operating income of 18 billion yen ($177.4 million), up from 4.6 billion yen ($45.3 million) year-over-year. Note that when you take into account the first nine months of the fiscal year, Sony's Game business is actually down year-over-year, with operating income of 2.4 billion yen ($23.6 million) from 3.3 billion yen ($32.5 million). Overall, Sony recorded quarterly revenues of 2.4 trillion yen ($23.7 billion), up 23.9 percent year-over-year, and profits of 27.0 billion yen ($266.0 million), compared to losses of 10.8 billion yen ($106.5 million) year-over-year. But the company was forced to decrease its forecast for the full fiscal year, due to large-scale restructuring within the company. Sony says it is looking to reform its PC and TV businesses in an attempt to revitalize its electronics business, selling off its PC business and laying off around 5000 employees. As a result, the company now expects losses of 110 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the full fiscal year, compared to the 30 billion yen ($295.6 million) that the company forecast back in October.

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